Forcing Issues Quotes

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Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers)
Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers)
When people say they don't want to get into a relationship, it should never be taken into face value because it is never really the whole truth. It is usually a vast collection of issues and fears and complications, forced to conceal one tiny hope lurking underneath it all: that someday, somebody will come along to discover, accept and understand and strengthen that feeble hope.
Marla Miniano (Every Girl's Guide to Flings)
Yeah, there are no more “colored” water fountains, and it’s supposed to be illegal to discriminate, but if I can be forced to sit on the concrete in too-tight cuffs when I’ve done nothing wrong, it’s clear there’s an issue. That things aren’t as equal as folks say they are.
Nic Stone (Dear Martin (Dear Martin, #1))
Hey!" I yell. Everyone turns around and looks at us. I glance at Six and her eyes are wide. I inhale a deep breath, then turn back to the table. Specifically to Holder. "She fist bumped me,"I say, pointing at Six. "It's not my fault. She hates purses and she fist bumped me, then she made me push her on the damn merry-go-round. After that, she demanded to see where I had sex in the park, then she forced me to sneak into my own bedroom. She's weird and half the time I can't keep up with her, but she thinks I'm funny as hell. And Chunk asked me this morning if I wanted to love her someday, and I realized I've never hoped I could love someone more than I want to love her. So every single one of you who has an issue with us dating is going to have to get over it because..." I pause and turn toward Six. "Because you fist bumped me and I could care less who knows we're together. I'm not going anywhere and I don't want to go anywhere so stop thinking I'm into you because I'm not supposed to be into you." I lift my hands and tilt her face toward mine. "I'm into you because you're awesome. And because you let me accidentally touch your boob." She's smiling wider than I've ever seen her smile. "Daniel Wesley, where'd you learn those smooth moves?" I laugh. "Not moves, Six. Charisma.
Colleen Hoover (Finding Cinderella (Hopeless, #2.5))
There's no bright side," Phineas objected. "The man's got no gonads." "But she hit the target," Carlos said. "The man has got no gonads," Phineas repeated forcefully. "It was an accident." Caitlyn set her gun on the counter. "I was aiming for his chest." "You blew his pecker to Connecticut," Phineas muttered. She grinned. "I think you have issues, Phineas. It was only a paper pecker.
Kerrelyn Sparks (Eat Prey Love (Love at Stake, #9))
The fear of abandonment forced me to comply as a child, but I’m not forced to comply anymore. The key people in my life did reject me for telling the truth about my abuse, but I’m not alone. Even if the consequence for telling the truth is rejection from everyone I know, that’s not the same death threat that it was when I was a child. I’m a self-sufficient adult and abandonment no longer means the end of my life.
Christina Enevoldsen (The Rescued Soul: The Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal)
A victory is scored when your opponents are forced to debate issues they would rather leave ignored
Owen Jones (The Establishment: And how they get away with it)
Science fiction is held in low regard as a branch of literature, and perhaps it deserves this critical contempt. But if we view it as a kind of sociology of the future, rather than as literature, science fiction has immense value as a mind-stretching force for the creation of the habit of anticipation. Our children should be studying Arthur C. Clarke, William Tenn, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury and Robert Sheckley, not because these writers can tell them about rocket ships and time machines but, more important, because they can lead young minds through an imaginative exploration of the jungle of political, social, psychological, and ethical issues that will confront these children as adults.
Alvin Toffler (Future Shock)
As a human, I am flawed in that it is difficult for me to consider others before myself. It feels like I have to fight against this force, this current within me that, more often than not, wants to avoid serious issues and please myself, buy things for myself, feed myself, entertain myself, and all of that.
Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality (Paperback))
God, she had forced a married man, a father, to kiss her. Now people thought that he was having an affair. His wife was probably crying into her pillow. His kids would grow up with horrible daddy issues and become serial killers.
Ali Hazelwood (The Love Hypothesis (The Love Hypothesis))
And yet even among the friends of liberty, many people are deceived into believing that government can make them safe from all harm, provide fairly distributed economic security, and improve individual moral behavior. If the government is granted a monopoly on the use of force to achieve these goals, history shows that power is always abused. Every single time.
Ron Paul (Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom)
Page 142: "When a spouse says to the alcoholic, "you need to go to AA," that is obviously not true. The addict feels no need to do that at all, and isn't. But when she says, "I am moving out and will be open to getting back together when you are getting treatment for your addiction," then all of a sudden the addict feels "I need to get some help or I am going to lose my marriage." The need has been transferred. It is the same with any kind of problematic behavior of a person who is not taking feedback and ownership. The need and drive to do something about it must be transferred to that person, and that is done through having consequences that finally make him feel the pain instead of others. When he feels the pain, he will feel the need to change...A plan that has hope is one that limits your exposure to the foolish person's issues and forces him to feel the consequences of his performance so that he might have hope of waking up and changing.
Henry Cloud (Necessary Endings)
Two babies in little more than a year and a half. Knockout Jimmy was forced to give up boxing and take a job in the paper mill. It broke him, and in turn, he broke us all.
Kate Avelynn (Flawed)
In my experience, commitment leads to expectations, and expectations lead to lies, and hurt, and disappointment-stuff I'd rather not experience, or force others to experience.
Ali Hazelwood (Check & Mate)
(Space programs are) a force operating on educational pipelines that stimulate the formation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians... They're the ones that make tomorrow come. The foundations of economies... issue forth from investments we make in science and technology.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Sir, people never wanted me to make it to squire. They won't like it any better if I become a knight. I doubt I'll ever get to command a force larger than, well, just me.' Raoul shook his head. 'You're wrong.' As she started to protest, he raised a hand. 'Hear me out. I have some idea of what you've had to bear to get this far, and it won't get easier. But there are larger issues than your fitness for knighthood, issues that involve lives and livelihoods. Attend,' he said, so much like Yayin, one of her Mithran teachers, that Kel had to smile. 'At our level, there are four kids of warrior,' he told Kel. He raised a fist and held up one large finger. 'Heroes, like Alanna the Lioness. Warriors who find dark places and fight in them alone. This is wonderful, but we live in the real world. There aren't many places without any hope or light.' He raised a second finger. 'We have knights- plain, everyday knights, like your brothers. They patrol their borders and protect their tenants, or they go into troubled areas at the king's command and sort them out. They fight in battles, usually against other knights. A hero will work like an everyday knight for a time- it's expected. And most knights must be clever enough to manage alone.' Kel nodded. 'We have soldiers,' Raoul continued, raising a third finger. 'Those warriors, including knights, who can manage so long as they're told what to do. These are more common, thank Mithros, and you'll find them in charge of companies in the army, under the eye of a general. Without people who can take orders, we'd be in real trouble. 'Commanders.' He raised his little finger. 'Good ones, people with a knack for it, like, say, the queen, or Buri, or young Dom, they're as rare as heroes. Commanders have an eye not just for what they do, but for what those around them do. Commanders size up people's strengths and weaknesses. They know where someone will shine and where they will collapse. Other warriors will obey a true commander because they can tell that the commander knows what he- or she- is doing.' Raoul picked up a quill and toyed with it. 'You've shown flashes of being a commander. I've seen it. So has Qasim, your friend Neal, even Wyldon, though it would be like pulling teeth to get him to admit it. My job is to see if you will do more than flash, with the right training. The realm needs commanders. Tortall is big. We have too many still-untamed pockets, too curse many hideyholes for rogues, and plenty of hungry enemies to nibble at our borders and our seafaring trade. If you have what it takes, the Crown will use you. We're too desperate for good commanders to let one slip away, even a female one. Now, finish that'- he pointed to the slate- 'and you can stop for tonight.
Tamora Pierce (Squire (Protector of the Small, #3))
Volumes can be and have been written about the issue of freedom versus dictatorship, but, in essence, it comes down to a single question: do you consider it moral to treat men as sacrificial animals and to rule them by physical force?
Ayn Rand
Betsy: "Do you have daddy issues, Warren?" Warren: "Dad was supportive, intelligent, read to me as a kid, left me a trillion dollars. It's hard to complain.
Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Vol. 4: The Dark Angel Saga, Book 2)
If you want to be free to serve Jesus, there’s no question—stay single. Marriage takes a lot of time. But if you want to become more like Jesus, I can’t imagine any better thing to do than to get married. Being married forces you to face some character issues you’d never have to face otherwise.
Gary L. Thomas (Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?)
Education is very important. The more education a woman has the more she is looked down upon. Nothing comes easy for a woman, and that is why she is tough. She has to earn everything she works hard for—that’s fine, and honestly, it isn’t an issue. Hard work grooms a woman to be a powerful force.
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
In job interviews they’d ask me, What’s your greatest weakness? and I’d explain that I’ll probably spend a good portion of the workday terrorized by thoughts I’m forced to think, possessed by a nameless and formless demon, so if that’s going to be an issue, you might not want to hire me.
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
The reality is that all God has to do is reveal himself to you,and you'll gladly join the mission in service to his kingdom. He doesn't force the issue; he just has to reveal himself as is: mighty,wondrous, gracious, loving, and radically saving. No man goes back to saltine crackers when he's had fillet mignon.
Matt Chandler (The Explicit Gospel)
Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers)
In 1970, a superior Court judge issues an order forcing the desegregation of Los Angeles schools. The judge survives an assassination attempt and loses his job in the next election.
James Frey (Bright Shiny Morning)
I tend to flood and freeze up if I’m feeling overwhelmed. When this happens, it’s usually because I feel like the world is crashing down and all is lost. One trick I’ve learned is to force myself to make a list of what’s actually wrong. Usually, soon into making the list, I find I can group most of the issues into two or three larger all-encompassing problems. So it’s really not all that bad. Having a finite list of problems is much better than having an illogical feeling that everything is wrong.
Ed Catmull (Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration)
In the end, abortion is an issue of fundamental human rights. To force women to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against their will is to deprive them of the right to make basic decisions about their lives and well-being, and to give that power to the state.
Katha Pollitt (Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights)
You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Why We Can't Wait)
After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, Guides us by vanities. Think now She gives when our attention is distracted And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late What’s not believed in, or if still believed, In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon Into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes. These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.
T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land and Other Poems)
We can in fact remove from our hearts the toxic forces of greed, hate, and delusion.
Gil Fronsdal (Issue at Hand)
Jung said that to be in a situation where there is no way out or to be in a conflict where there is no solution is the classical beginning of the process of individuation. It is meant to be a situation without solution; the unconscious wants the hopeless conflict in order to put ego consciousness up against the wall, so that the man has to realize that whatever he does is wrong, whichever way he decides will be wrong. This is meant to knock out the superiority of the ego, which always acts from the illusion that it has the responsibility of decision. . . If he is ethical enough to suffer to the core of his personality, then generally, because of the insolubility of the conscious situation, the Self manifests. In religious language you could say that the situation without issue is meant to force the man to rely on an act of God.
Marie-Louise von Franz (The Interpretation of Fairy Tales (C. G. Jung Foundation Books Series))
He glanced over at me. 'Scared? Of Reggie? What, she thinks he might force her to give up caffeine for real or something?' 'No,' I said. 'Of what, then?' he asked. I paused, only just now realizing that the subject was hitting a little close to home. 'You know, getting hurt. Putting herself out there, opening up to someone.' 'Yeah,' he said, adding some cheese straws to the car, but risk is just part of relationships. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.' I picked up a box of cheese straws, examinig it. 'Yeah,' I said. 'But it's not all about chance, either.' 'Meaning what?' he asked, taking the box from me and adding the rest. 'Just that, if you know ahead of time that there might an issue that dooms everything- like, say, you're incredibly controlling and independent, like Harriet- maybe it's better to acknowledge that and not waste your time. Or someone else's.
Sarah Dessen (Lock and Key)
Wake up, buddy,” Royce whispered, nudging him. Hadrian was damp with sweat. “About time you got here. I was starting to think you ran off and left me.” “I considered it, but the thought of Magnus as my best man kinda forced the issue. Nice haircut, by the way. It looks good on you—very knightly.
Michael J. Sullivan (Heir of Novron (The Riyria Revelations, #5-6))
And every historic effort to forge a democratic project has been undermined by two fundamental realities: poverty and paranoia. The persistence of poverty generates levels of despair that deepen social conflict the escalation of paranoia produces levels of distrust that reinforce cultural division. Rae is the most explosive issue in American life precisely because it forces us to confront the tragic facts of poverty and paranoia despair, and distrust. In short, a candid examination of race matters takes us to the core of the crisis of American democracy (p. 107).
Cornel West (Race Matters)
Nowadays, a simple faulty brake light traffic stop, can get a black person killed. It's better to fix the broken light bulb, then having to face and cooperate with a senseless police officer.
Anthony Liccione
You cannot force people to walk with God. You cannot force them to repent. All you can do is live with integrity and invite them to do so as well. Take things a step at a time. Give them consequences when they refuse to deal with serious issues, and pray. Pray like the dickens. Pray every step of the way.
John Eldredge (Love and War: Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed Of)
Plans are useful in the sense that they're proof that planning has taken place. The planning process forces people to think through the right issues. Bus as for the plans themselves they just don't work on the battle field
Chip Heath
Force and rape are not an issue because he is a believing Muslim and he is an Osman Mahamud.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Infidel)
Anyone who clings to the historically untrue—and thoroughly immoral—doctrine that ‘violence never settles anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers)
When two men of science disagree, they do not invoke the secular arm; they wait for further evidence to decide the issue, because, as men of science, they know that neither is infallible. But when two theologians differ, since there is no criteria to which either can appeal, there is nothing for it but mutual hatred and an open or covert appeal to force.
Bertrand Russell
You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film
Ryan Gosling
I don’t know that she can ever make you a proper wife,” Tavis said in a low voice that sounded precariously close to pleading. “Don’t force the issue. I wouldn’t have her hurt or ill-treated for anything in the world. She is dear to all of us. You are receiving a gift, Laird. Whether you choose to believe so or not, you are receiving something more precious than gold
Maya Banks (Never Seduce a Scot (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs, #1))
The growing sensitivity of people to any sort of open and frank discussion of important issues is no service to civilisation, let alone law and order. I wrote a play about a man who happened to be a salesman, and several organisations of sales people flew to arms. Now it is the lawyers. If I am to back away from these objections you must surely see that I shall be forced to write about people with no occupation whatever.
Arthur Miller
The central issue in that pre-mortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? Christ and all who followed Him stood for the former proposition—freedom of choice; Satan stood for the latter—coercion and force. The war that began in heaven over this issue is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments.” (BYU devotional held Tuesday, 16 September 1986, President Ezra Taft Benson)
Ezra Taft Benson
I do not believe guilt is inherited, but responsibility is, and there is nobody alive today whose existence has not been shaped by colonialist, racist forces. That is a legacy we all live with, and we should all deal with the consequences. If you have benefitted, then soaking yourself in remorse and guilt does not help anyone. What you can do, though, is ask constantly how you have felt those benefits. At whose expense were they gained?
Alice Procter (The Whole Picture: The colonial story of the art in our museums... and why we need to talk about it)
Such moments passed and the wasting fires of lust sprang up again. The verses passed from his lips and the inarticulate cries and the unspoken brutal words rushed forth from his brain to force a passage. His blood was in revolt. He wandered up and down the dark slimy streets peering into the gloom of lanes and doorways, listening eagerly for any sound. He moaned to himself like some baffled prowling beast. He wanted to sin with another of his kind, to force another being to sin with him and to exult with her in sin. He felt some dark presence moving irresistibly upon him from the darkness, a presence subtle and murmurous as a flood filling him wholly with itself. Its murmur besieged his ears like the murmur of some multitude in sleep; its subtle streams penetrated his being. His hands clenched convulsively and his teeth set together as he suffered the agony of its penetration. He stretched out his arms in the street to hold fast the frail swooning form that eluded him and incited him: and the cry that he had strangled for so long in his throat issued from his lips. It broke from him like a wail of despair from a hell of sufferers and died in a wail of furious entreaty, a cry for an iniquitous abandonment, a cry which was but the echo of an obscene scrawl which he had read on the oozing wall of a urinal.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
In the sexual-liberation movement of the sixties, its ideology and practice, neither force nor the subordinate status of women was an issue. It was assumed that — unrepressed — everyone wanted intercourse all the time (men, of course, had other important things to do; women had no legitimate reason not to want to be fucked); and it was assumed that in women an aversion to intercourse, or not climaxing from intercourse, or not wanting intercourse at a particular time or with a particular man, or wanting fewer partners than were available, or getting tired, or being cross, were all signs of and proof of sexual repression. Fucking per se was freedom per se.
Andrea Dworkin (Right-Wing Women)
I write because it’s a way of puzzling out answers to situations in the world that I don’t understand. The act of writing a book gives me the same experience that I hope reading it gives readers. It forces me to sort through the various points of view on a given issue or situation and ultimately come to a conclusion. Doing that might not change my mind, but it almost always gives me a stronger sense of why my opinion is what it is—a question we rarely ask ourselves.
Jodi Picoult
He knew he could force the issue. Be blunt. But in getting his way, he would have to watch the bright light go out of her eyes. He would see her slim shoulders slump and know he was the cause. Damn it all to hell, he didn't think he could stand that. Yet another testament to how bad he had it for her. Women, he thought with a sigh. What had God been thinking?
Susan Mallery (Summer Nights (Fool's Gold, #8))
Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [Billions and Billions of Demons - JANUARY 9, 1997 ISSUE]
Richard C. Lewontin
Man’s mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch – or build a cyclotron – without a knowledge of his aim and of the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think. “But to think is an act of choice. The key to what you so recklessly call ‘human nature,’ the open secret you live with, yet dread to name, is the fact that man is a being of volitional consciousness. Reason does not work automatically; thinking is not a mechanical process; the connections of logic are not made by instinct. The function of your stomach, lungs, or heart is automatic; the function of your mind is not. In any hour and issue of your life, you are free to think or to evade that effort. But you are not free to escape from your nature, from the fact that reason is your means of survival – so that for you, who are a human being, the question ‘to be or not to be’ is the question ‘to think or not to think.’ . . . “Man has no automatic code of survival. His particular distinction from all other living species is the necessity to act in the face of alternatives by means of volitional choice. . . Man must obtain his knowledge and choose his actions by a process of thinking, which nature will not force him to perform. Man has the power to act as his own destroyer – and that is the way he has acted through most of his history (pages 1012-1013).
Ayn Rand
The Single Perspective Instinct We find simple ideas very attractive. We enjoy that moment of insight, we enjoy feeling we really understand or know something. And it is easy to take off down a slippery slope, from one attention-grabbing simple idea to a feeling that this idea beautifully explains, or is the beautiful solution for, lots of other things. The world becomes simple. All problems have a single cause—something we must always be completely against. Or all problems have a single solution—something we must always be for. Everything is simple. There’s just one small issue. We completely misunderstand the world. I call this preference for single causes and single solutions the single perspective instinct. For example, the simple and beautiful idea of the free market can lead to the simplistic idea that all problems have a single cause—government interference—which we must always oppose; and that the solution to all problems is to liberate market forces by reducing taxes and removing regulations, which we must always support. Alternatively, the simple and beautiful idea of equality can lead to the simplistic idea that all problems are caused by inequality, which we should always oppose; and that the solution to all problems is redistribution of resources, which we should always support.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
Members of teams that tend to avoid conflict must occasionally assume the role of a “miner of conflict”—someone who extracts buried disagreements within the team and sheds the light of day on them. They must have the courage and confidence to call out sensitive issues and force team members to work through them. This requires a degree of objectivity during meetings and a commitment to staying with the conflict until it is resolved. Some
Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable)
...there is a force in the world that doesn't want us to live good stories. It doesn't want us to face our issues, to face our fear and bring something beautiful into the world... I believe God wants us to create beautiful stories, and whatever it is that isn't God wants us to create meaningless stories, teaching the world around us that life just isn't worth living.
Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)
So you think money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim you product by tears, or of looters, who can take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Jung has said that to be in a situation where there is no way out, or to be in a conflict where there is no solution, is the classical beginning of the process of individuation. It is meant to be a situation without solution: the unconscious wants the hopeless conflict in order to put ego-consciousness up against the wall, so that the man has to realise that whatever he does is wrong, whichever way he decides will be wrong. This is meant to knock out the superiority of the ego, which always acts from the illusion that it has the responsibility of decision. Naturally, if a man says, "Oh well, then I shall just let everything go and make no decision, but just protract and wriggle out of [it]," the whole thing is equally wrong, for then naturally nothing happens. But if he is ethical enough to suffer to the core of his personality, then generally because of the insolubility of the conscious situation, the Self manifests. In religious language you could say that the situation without issue is meant to force the man to rely on an act of God. In psychological language the situation without issue, which the anima arranges with great skill in a man's life, is meant to drive him into a condition in which he is capable of experiencing the Self. When thinking of the anima as the soul guide, we are apt to think of Beatrice leading Dante up to Paradise, but we should not forget that he experienced that only after he had gone through Hell. Normally, the anima does not take a man by the hand and lead him right up to Paradise; she puts him first into a hot cauldron where he is nicely roasted for a while.
Marie-Louise von Franz (The Interpretation of Fairy Tales (C. G. Jung Foundation Books Series))
There is a major difference between couples who are dealing with non-attachment-related issues and those who are engaged in intimacy struggles. While the first couples want to find a common ground and reach a resolution that will bring them closer together, the latter either engage in ongoing, irreconcilable fights or one of the two is forced to compromise unilaterally in areas that are near and dear to him or her.
Amir Levine (Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love)
Don’t take life for granted. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t run from your problems. Don’t entertain negative people. Don’t abuse your friendships. Don’t hold onto the past. Don’t throw away opportunities. Don’t blame others for your failures. Don’t quarrel over small issues. Don’t make excuses for your mistakes. Don’t try to please your enemies. Don’t run from your responsibilities. Don’t force your opinions on others. Don’t complain about things you can change. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Don’t let undeserving people into your life.
Matshona Dhliwayo
that we are in here not to correct the deformation but to accustom ourselves to it: that one of our problems was our inability to recognize and accept our own deformities. Just as each person has certain idiosyncrasies in the way he or she walks, people have idiosyncrasies in the way they think and feel and see things, and though you might want to correct them, it doesn’t happen overnight, and if you try to force the issue in one case, something else might go funny.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
You can avoid the issues from abuse for only so long. Sooner or later, the problems in your life cause you to either face it or go deeper into denial. Most of you will eventually be forced into admitting that it is indeed the sexual abuse that is the root of your problems. Even then, the tendency will be to ‘forgive and forget’ in the belief that by doing so the pain will be assuaged.
Beverly Engel (The Right to Innocence: Healing the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Therapeutic 7-Step Self-Help Program for Men and Women, Including How to Choose a Therapist and Find a Support Group)
I’m not forcing you to do anything. You need to make your own damn decisions . And I'm not playing this game where we ignore reality and pretend to have a normal conversation for a few hours. You need to face reality and stop turning life into a movie. I'm not a puppet in your show. This is real life and you're always trying to ignore it for some cheap fantasy version where no problems exist. That's not noble of you, okay? You're not strong. You're a weak person like the rest of us. You've just learned to excel at avoiding issues. But there are issues . Life has so many freaking issues and if you can't force your own self to face life and make decisions without someone telling you what the hell to do, you're just going to end up another chess piece moved around by others.
Marilyn Grey (When the City Sleeps (Unspoken #6))
The military conflict itself, by dominating everything in its time, diminished other issues, made people choose sides in the one contest that was publicly important, forced people onto the side of the Revolution whose interest in Independence was not at all obvious. Ruling elites seem to have learned through the generations—consciously or not—that war makes them more secure against internal trouble.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States)
No doubt she was wondering how to fight him off. That made him feel like some sordid roué, thinking of nothing but his own pleasure. But as little as he’d been in polite company, even Ash knew better than to issue a clarification. “No, Miss Lowell,” Ash could imagine himself saying, “I would never force myself on you. I mean to seduce you into willingness. That’s all.” That would get him a fork stabbed through his hand, by the black look she gave her pudding. Thank God the knives had been removed along with the beef.
Courtney Milan (Unveiled (Turner, #1))
I was also motivated by a strong sense of fear that we had still not begun to deal with, let alone solve, any of the fundamental issues arising from the gas attack. Specifically, for people who are outside the main system of Japanese society (the young in particular), there remains no effective alternative or safety net. As long as this crucial gap exists in our society, like a kind of black hole, even if Aum is suppressed, other magnetic force fields—"Aum-like" groups—will rise up again, and similar incidents are bound to take place.
Haruki Murakami (Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche)
I am talking about self absorbtion. If you think about it, the human race is pretty self absorbed. Racism might be the symptoms of a greater disease, What I mean is, as a human, I am flawed in that it is difficult for me to consider others before myself. It feels like I have a fight against this force, this current within me that more often than not wants to avoid serious issues and wants to please myself, buy things for myself, feed myself, entertain myself, and all that. All I am saying is that if we , as a species could fix our self absorption, we could end a lot of pain in the world.
Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality (Paperback))
individuals are concerned not with the moral issue of realizing these standards, but with the amoral issue of engineering a convincing impression that these standards are being realized. Our activity, then, is largely concerned with moral matters, but as performers we do not have a moral concern in these moral matters. As performers we are merchants of morality. Our day is given over to intimate contact with the goods we display and our minds are filled with intimate understandings of them; but it may well be that the more attention we give to these goods, th e more d is ta n t we feel from them and from those who are believing enough to buy them. To use a different imagery, the very obligation and profitablility of appearing always in a steady moral light, of being a socialized character, forces us to be the sort of person who is practiced in the ways of the stage.
Erving Goffman
They're trying to breed a nation of techno-peasants. Educated just enough to keep things going, but not enough to ask tough questions. They encourage any meme that downplays thoughtful analysis or encourages docility or self indulgence or uniformity. In what other society do people use "smart" and "wise" as insults? We tell people "don't get smart." Those who try, those who really like to learn, we call "nerds." Look at television or the press or the trivia that passes for political debate. When a candidate DOES try to talk about the issues, the newspapers talk about his sex life. Look at Saturday morning cartoon shows. Peasants, whether they're tilling fields or stuffing circuit boards, are easier to manipulate. Don't question; just believe. Turn off your computer and Trust the Force. Or turn your computer on and treat it like the Oracle of Delphi. That's right. They've made education superficial and specialized. Science classes for art majors? Forget it! And how many business or engineering students get a really good grounding in the humanities? When did universities become little more than white collar vocational schools?
Michael Flynn (In the Country of the Blind)
Whether or not the United States has saved the world, it did save France a time or two. When the American Expeditionary Forces commanded by General John J. Pershing came to the aid of France during World War I, they marched into Paris on July 4, 1917, heading straight for Picpus Cemetery. Colonel Charles E. Stanton, whose uncle had been Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war, addressed the French people while standing before Lafayette’s tomb. “America has joined forces with the Allied Powers,” he said, “and what we have of blood and treasure are yours. Therefore it is that with loving pride we drape the colors in tribute of respect to this citizen of your great republic. And here and now, in the presence of the illustrious dead, we pledge our hearts and our honor in carrying this war to a successful issue. Lafayette, we are here.” •
Sarah Vowell (Lafayette in the Somewhat United States)
The idea of humanity becomes more and more of a power in the civilized world, and, owing to the expansion and increasing speed of means of communication, and also owing to the influence, still more material than moral, of civilization upon barbarous peoples, this idea of humanity begins to take hold even of the minds of uncivilized nations. This idea is the invisible power of our century, with which the present powers — the States — must reckon. They cannot submit to it of their own free will because such submission on their part would be equivalent to suicide, since the triumph of humanity can be realized only through the destruction of the States. But the States can no longer deny this idea nor openly rebel against it, for having now grown too strong, it may finally destroy them. In the face of this fainful alternative there remains only one way out: and that is hypocrisy. The States pay their outward respects to this idea of humanity; they speak and apparently act only in the name of it, but they violate it every day. This, however, should not be held against the States. They cannot act otherwise, their position having become such that they can hold their own only by lying. Diplomacy has no other mission. Therefore what do we see? Every time a State wants to declare war upon another State, it starts off by launching a manifesto addressed not only to its own subjects but to the whole world. In this manifesto it declares that right and justice are on its side, and it endeavors to prove that it is actuated only by love of peace and humanity and that, imbued with generous and peaceful sentiments, it suffered for a long time in silence until the mounting iniquity of its enemy forced it to bare its sword. At the same time it vows that, disdainful of all material conquest and not seeking any increase in territory, it will put and end to this war as soon as justice is reestablished. And its antagonist answers with a similar manifesto, in which naturally right, justice, humanity, and all the generous sentiments are to be found respectively on its side. Those mutually opposed manifestos are written with the same eloquence, they breathe the same virtuous indignation, and one is just as sincere as the other; that is to say both of them are equally brazen in their lies, and it is only fools who are deceived by them. Sensible persons, all those who have had some political experience, do not even take the trouble of reading such manifestos. On the contrary, they seek ways to uncover the interests driving both adversaries into this war, and to weigh the respective power of each of them in order to guess the outcome of the struggle. Which only goes to prove that moral issues are not at stake in such wars.
Mikhail Bakunin
Money is just one of the forces that blind us to information and issues which we could pay attention to - but don't. It exacerbates and often rewards all the other drivers of willful blindness; our preference for the familiar, our love for individuals and for big ideas, a love of busyness and our dislike of conflict and change, the human instinct to obey and conform and our skill at displacing and diffusing responsibility. All of these operate and collaborate with varying intensities at different moments in our lives. The common denominator is that they all make us protect our sense of self-worth, reducing dissonance and conferring a sense of security, however illusory. In some ways, they all act like money; making us feel good at first, with consequences we don't see. We wouldn't be so blind if our blindness didn't deliver rewards; the benefit of comfort and ease.
Margaret Heffernan (Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril)
First off, as has been well stated by many Indigenous Feminists before us, the idea of gender equality did not come from the suffragettes or other so-called "foremothers" of feminist theory. It should also be recognized that although we are still struggling for this thing called "gender equality," it is not actually a framed issue within the feminist realm, but a continuation of the larger tackling of colonialism. So this idea that women of colour all of a sudden realized "we are women," and magically joined the feminist fight actually re-colonizes people for who gender equality and other "feminist" notions is a remembered history and current reality since before Columbus. The mainstream feminist movement is supposed to have started in the early 1900s with women fighting for the right to vote. However, these white women deliberately excluded the struggles of working class women of color and participated in the policy of forced sterilization for Aboriginal women and women with disabilities. Furthermore, the idea that we all need to subscribe to the same theoretical understandings of history is marginalizing. We all have our own truths and histories to live.
Erin Konsmo (Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism)
THE POWER TO CHOOSE Choice implies consciousness — a high degree of consciousness. Without it, you have no choice. Choice begins the moment you disidentify from the mind and its conditioned patterns, the moment you become present. Until you reach that point, you are unconscious, spiritually speaking. This means that you are compelled to think, feel, and act in certain ways according to the conditioning of your mind. Nobody chooses dysfunction, conflict, pain. Nobody chooses insanity. They happen because there is not enough presence in you to dissolve the past, not enough light to dispel the darkness. You are not fully here. You have not quite woken up yet. In the meantime, the conditioned mind is running your life. Similarly, if you are one of the many people who have an issue with their parents, if you still harbor resentment about something they did or did not do, then you still believe that they had a choice — that they could have acted differently. It always looks as if people had a choice, but that is an illusion. As long as your mind with its conditioned patterns runs your life, as long as you are your mind, what choice do you have? None. You are not even there. The mind-identified state is severely dysfunctional. It is a form of insanity. Almost everyone is suffering from this illness in varying degrees. The moment you realize this, there can be no more resentment. How can you resent someone's illness? The only appropriate response is compassion. If you are run by your mind, although you have no choice you will still suffer the consequences of your unconsciousness, and you will create further suffering. You will bear the burden of fear, conflict, problems, and pain. The suffering thus created will eventually force you out of your unconscious state.
Eckhart Tolle (Practicing the Power of Now)
My love for these books, at its purest, is not really about Peeta or anything silly and girly. I love that a young woman character is fierce and strong but hum in ways I find believable, relatable. Katniss is clearly a heroine, but a heroine with issues. She intrigues me because she never seems to know her own strength. She isn't blandly insecure the way girls are often forced to be in fiction. She is brave but flawed. She is a heroine, but she is also a girl who loves two boys and can't choose which boy she loves more. She is not sure she is up to the task of leading a revolution, but she does her best, even as she doubts herself. Katniss endures the unendurable. She is damaged and it shows. At times, it might seem like her suffering is gratuitous, but life often presents unendurable circumstances people manage to survive. Only the details differ. The Hunger Games trilogy is dark and brutal, but in the end, the books also offer hope - for a better world and a better people and, for one woman, a better life, a life she can share with a man who understands her strength and doesn't expect her to compromise that strength, a man who can hold her weak places and love her through the darkest of her memories, the worst of her damage. Of course I love the Hunger Games. The trilogy offers the tempered hope that everyone who survives something unendurable hungers for.
Roxane Gay
The words "everyone get along" were the main culprit in and of itself. It was an accursed phrase. Those words emphasized the problem. They were Geass. It was an evil law imposed by teachers in a narrow­-minded world. For the sake of complying with that law, they forcefully established the tactic known as “turning a blind eye” to the friction that inevitably ensued. It showed in how they handled personality types that didn’t adhere to the mainstream. There were cases when you have to deal with those you hated, too. In those situations, if you spelled out “I hate you” or “I don’t want to put up with you” to them, things could possibly change. There was also a chance things could improve or open up to negotiation. But that became impossible when you stifled your problems and only smoothed over the surface issues. It was tacit approval of the lazy deceit known as ‘tone policing’. That’s why I shot down Hayama’s words.
Wataru Watari (やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。4)
The Constitution is a limitation of the government, not on private individuals--that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government--that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizens' protection against the government. Instead of being a protector of man's rights, the government is becoming their most dangerous violator; instead of guarding freedom, the government is establishing slavery; instead of protecting men from the initiators of physical force, the government is initiating physical force and coercion in any manner and issue it pleases; instead of serving as the instrument of objectivity in human relationships, the government is creating a deadly, subterranean reign of uncertainty and fear, by means of nonobjective laws whose interpretation is left to the arbitrary decisions of random bureaucrats; instead of protecting men from injury by whim, the government is arrogating to itself the power of unlimited whim--so that we are fast approaching the stage of ultimate inversion; the stage where the government is "free" to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may only act by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of humanity, the stage of rule by brute force.
Ayn Rand (The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism)
Intellectual property, more than ever, is a line drawn around information, which asserts that despite having been set loose in the world - and having, inevitably, been created out of an individual's relationship with the world - that information retains some connection with its author that allows that person some control over how it is replicated and used. In other words, the claim that lies beneath the notion of intellectual property is similar or identical to the one that underpins notions of privacy. It seems to me that the two are inseparable, because they are fundamentally aspects of the same issue, the need we have to be able to do something by convention that is impossible by force: the need to ringfence certain information. I believe that the most important unexamined notion - for policymakers and agitators both - in these debates is that they are one: you can't persuade people on the one hand to abandon intellectual property (a decision which, incidentally, would mean an even more massive upheaval in the way the world runs than we've seen so far since 1990) and hope to keep them interested in privacy. You can't trash privacy and hope to retain a sense of respect for IP.
Nick Harkaway (The Blind Giant)
We must not be deluded into making concessions, whether on Kashmir or any other issue, in the naive expectation that these would end the hostility of the ISI and its cohorts. We must understand that Pakistan’s fragile sense of self-worth rests on its claim to be superior to India, stronger and more valiant than India, richer and more capable than India. This is why the killers of 26/11 struck the places they did, because their objective was not only to kill and destroy, but also to pull down India’s growth, tarnish its success story and darken its lustre in the world. The more we grow and flourish in the world, the more difficult we make it for the Pakistani military to sustain its myth of superiority or even parity. There are malignant forces in Islamabad who see their future resting upon India’s failure. These are not motives we can easily overcome.
Shashi Tharoor (Pax Indica: India and the World of the Twenty-first Century)
Obviously, if theism is a belief in a God and atheism is a lack of a belief in a God, no third position or middle ground is possible. A person can either believe or not believe in a God. Therefore, our previous definition of atheism has made an impossibility out of the common usage of agnosticism to mean 'neither affirming nor denying a belief in God.' Actually, this is no great loss, because the dictionary definition of agnostic is still again different from Huxley’s definition. The literal meaning of agnostic is one who holds that some aspect of reality is unknowable. Therefore, an agnostic is not simply someone who suspends judgment on an issue, but rather one who suspends judgment because he feels that the subject is unknowable and therefore no judgment can be made. It is possible, therefore, for someone not to believe in a God (as Huxley did not) and yet still suspend judgment (ie, be an agnostic) about whether it is possible to obtain knowledge of a God. Such a person would be an atheistic agnostic. It is also possible to believe in the existence of a force behind the universe, but to hold (as did Herbert Spencer) that any knowledge of that force was unobtainable. Such a person would be a theistic agnostic.
Gordon Stein
When The Matrix debuted in 1999, it was a huge box-office success. It was also well received by critics, most of whom focused on one of two qualities—the technological (it mainstreamed the digital technique of three-dimensional “bullet time,” where the on-screen action would freeze while the camera continued to revolve around the participants) or the philosophical (it served as a trippy entry point for the notion that we already live in a simulated world, directly quoting philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s 1981 reality-rejecting book Simulacra and Simulation). If you talk about The Matrix right now, these are still the two things you likely discuss. But what will still be interesting about this film once the technology becomes ancient and the philosophy becomes standard? I suspect it might be this: The Matrix was written and directed by “the Wachowski siblings.” In 1999, this designation meant two brothers; as I write today, it means two sisters. In the years following the release of The Matrix, the older Wachowski (Larry, now Lana) completed her transition from male to female. The younger Wachowski (Andy, now Lilly) publicly announced her transition in the spring of 2016. These events occurred during a period when the social view of transgender issues radically evolved, more rapidly than any other component of modern society. In 1999, it was almost impossible to find any example of a trans person within any realm of popular culture; by 2014, a TV series devoted exclusively to the notion won the Golden Globe for Best Television Series. In the fifteen-year window from 1999 to 2014, no aspect of interpersonal civilization changed more, to the point where Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner attracted more Twitter followers than the president (and the importance of this shift will amplify as the decades pass—soon, the notion of a transgender US president will not seem remotely implausible). So think how this might alter the memory of The Matrix: In some protracted reality, film historians will reinvestigate an extremely commercial action movie made by people who (unbeknownst to the audience) would eventually transition from male to female. Suddenly, the symbolic meaning of a universe with two worlds—one false and constructed, the other genuine and hidden—takes on an entirely new meaning. The idea of a character choosing between swallowing a blue pill that allows him to remain a false placeholder and a red pill that forces him to confront who he truly is becomes a much different metaphor. Considered from this speculative vantage point, The Matrix may seem like a breakthrough of a far different kind. It would feel more reflective than entertaining, which is precisely why certain things get remembered while certain others get lost.
Chuck Klosterman (But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past)
A government must rule by the Grace of God or by the will of the people, it must believe in authority or in the Revolution; on these issues compromise is possible only in semblance, and only for a time. The Revolution, like the disbelief which has always accompanied it, cannot be stopped halfway; it is a force that, once awakened, will not rest until it ends in a totalitarian Kingdom of this world. The history of the last two centuries has proved nothing if not this. To appease the Revolution and offer it concessions, as Liberals have always done, thereby showing that they have no truth with which to oppose it, is perhaps to postpone, but not to prevent, the attainment of its end. And to oppose the radical Revolution with a Revolution of one's own, whether it be "conservative," " non-violent," or "spiritual," is not merely to reveal ignorance of the full scope and nature of the Revolution of our time, but to concede as well the first principle of that Revolution: that the old truth is no longer true, and a new truth must take its place.
Seraphim Rose (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age)
On April 11, 1945, my father’s infantry company was attacked by German forces, and in the early stages of battle, heavy artillery fire led to eight casualties. According to the citation: “With complete disregard for his own safety, Private Pausch leaped from a covered position and commenced treating the wounded men while shells continued to fall in the immediate vicinity. So successfully did this soldier administer medical attention that all the wounded were evacuated successfully.” In recognition of this, my dad, then twenty-two years old, was issued the Bronze Star for valor. In the fifty years my parents were married, in the thousands of conversations my dad had with me, it had just never come up. And so there I was, weeks after his death, getting another lesson from him about the meaning of sacrifice—and about the power of humility.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
[Free trade agreements] are trade agreements that don't stick to trade…they colonize environmental labor, and consumer issues of grave concern (in terms of health safety, and livelihoods too) to many, many hundreds of millions of people - and they do that by subordinating consumer, environmental, and labor issues to the imperatives and the supremacy of international commerce. That is exactly the reverse of how democratic societies have progressed, because over the decades they've progressed by subordinating the profiteering priorities of companies to, say, higher environmental health standards; abolition of child labor; the right of workers to have fair worker standards…and it's this subordination of these three major categories that affect people's lives, labor, environment, the consumer, to the supremacy and domination of trade; where instead of trade getting on its knees and showing that it doesn't harm consumers - it doesn't deprive the important pharmaceuticals because of drug company monopolies, it doesn't damage the air and water and soil and food (environmentally), and it doesn't lacerate the rights of workers - no, it's just the opposite: it's workers and consumers and environments that have to kneel before this giant pedestal of commercial trade and prove that they are not, in a whole variety of ways, impeding international commerce…so this is the road to dictatorial devolution of democratic societies: because these trade agreements have the force of law, they've got enforcement teeth, and they bypass national courts, national regulatory agencies, in ways that really reflect a massive, silent, mega-corporate coup d'etat…that was pulled off in the mid-1990's.
Ralph Nader
The boys in the Clipper had been winnowed down by punishing competition, and in the winnowing a kind of common character had issued forth: they were all skilled, they were all tough, they were all fiercely determined, but they were also all good-hearted. Every one of them had come from humble origins or been humbled by the ravages of the hard times in which they had grown up. Each in his own way, they had all learned that nothing could be taken for granted in life, that for all their strength and good looks and youth, forces were at work in the world that were greater than they. The challenges they had faced together had taught them humility—the need to subsume their individual egos for the sake of the boat as a whole—and humility was the common gateway through which they were able now to come together and begin to do what they had not been able to do before.
Daniel James Brown (The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics)
The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee, by a group of former Confederate soldiers; its first grand wizard was a Confederate general who was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. The Klan soon spread beyond the South to the Midwest and the West and became, in the words of historian Eric Foner, “the domestic terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.” The main point of the Klan’s orgy of violence was to prevent blacks from voting—voting, that is, for Republicans. Leading Democrats, including at least one president, two Supreme Court justices, and innumerable senators and congressmen, were Klan members. The last one, Robert Byrd, died in 2010 and was eulogized by President Obama and former President Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton called him her “mentor.” The sordid history of the Democratic Party in the early twentieth century is also married to the sordid history of the progressive movement during the same period. Progressives like Margaret Sanger—founder of Planned Parenthood and a role model for Hillary Clinton—supported such causes as eugenics and social Darwinism. While abortion was not an issue in Sanger’s day, she backed forced sterilization for “unfit” people, notably minorities. Sanger’s Negro Project was specifically focused on reducing the black population.
Dinesh D'Souza (Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party)
Good evening," it lowed and sat back heavily on its haunches, "I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in parts of my body? It harrumphed and gurgled a bit, wriggled its hind quarters into a more comfortable position and gazed peacefully at them. Its gaze was met by looks of startled bewilderment from Arthur and Trillian, a resigned shrug from Ford Prefect and naked hunger from Zaphod Beeblebrox. "Something off the shoulder perhaps?" suggested the animal. "Braised in a white wine sauce?" "Er, your shoulder?" said Arthur in a horrified whisper. "But naturally my shoulder, sir," mooed the animal contentedly, "nobody else's is mine to offer." Zaphod leapt to his feet and started prodding and feeling the animal's shoulder appreciatively. "Or the rump is very good," murmured the animal. "I've been exercising it and eating plenty of grain, so there's a lot of good meat there." It gave a mellow grunt, gurgled again and started to chew the cud. It swallowed the cud again. "Or a casserole of me perhaps?" it added. "You mean this animal actually wants us to eat it?" whispered Trillian to Ford. "Me?" said Ford, with a glazed look in his eyes. "I don't mean anything." "That's absolutely horrible," exclaimed Arthur, "the most revolting thing I've ever heard." "What's the problem, Earthman?" said Zaphod, now transferring his attention to the animal's enormous rump. "I just don't want to eat an animal that's standing there inviting me to," said Arthur. "It's heartless." "Better than eating an animal that doesn't want to be eaten," said Zaphod. "That's not the point," Arthur protested. Then he thought about it for a moment. "All right," he said, "maybe it is the point. I don't care, I'm not going to think about it now. I'll just ... er ..." The Universe raged about him in its death throes. "I think I'll just have a green salad," he muttered. "May I urge you to consider my liver?" asked the animal, "it must be very rich and tender by now, I've been force-feeding myself for months." "A green salad," said Arthur emphatically. "A green salad?" said the animal, rolling his eyes disapprovingly at Arthur. "Are you going to tell me," said Arthur, "that I shouldn't have green salad?" "Well," said the animal, "I know many vegetables that are very clear on that point. Which is why it was eventually decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly. And here I am." It managed a very slight bow. "Glass of water please," said Arthur. "Look," said Zaphod, "we want to eat, we don't want to make a meal of the issues. Four rare steaks please, and hurry. We haven't eaten in five hundred and seventy-six thousand million years." The animal staggered to its feet. It gave a mellow gurgle. "A very wise choice, sir, if I may say so. Very good," it said. "I'll just nip off and shoot myself." He turned and gave a friendly wink to Arthur. "Don't worry, sir," he said, "I'll be very humane." It waddled unhurriedly off to the kitchen. A matter of minutes later the waiter arrived with four huge steaming steaks.
Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
Some books about the Holocaust are more difficult to read than others. Some books about the Holocaust are nearly impossible to read. Not because one does not understand the language and concepts in the books, not because they are gory or graphic, but because such books are confrontational. They compel us to “think again,” or to think for the first time, about issues and questions we might rather avoid. Gabriel Wilensky’s book, Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Antisemitism Paved the Road to the Holocaust is one book I found difficult, almost impossible to read. Why? Because I had to confront the terrible underside of Christian theology, an underside that contributed in no small part to the beliefs and attitudes too many Christians – Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox – had imbibed throughout centuries of anti-Jewish preaching and teaching that “paved the road to the Holocaust.” I cannot say that I “liked” Gabriel Wilensky’s book, Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Antisemitism Paved the Road to the Holocaust. I didn’t, but I can say it was instructive and forced me to think again about that Jew from Nazareth, Jesus, and about his message of universal love and service – “What you do for the least of my brothers [and sisters], you do for me” (Matthew 25: 40). As Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, the Holocaust did not begin with Auschwitz. The Holocaust began with words. And too many of those hate-filled words had their origin in the Christian Scriptures and were uttered by Christian preachers and teachers, by Christians generally, for nearly two millennia. Is it any wonder so many Christians stood by, even participated in, the destruction of the European Jews during the Nazi era and World War II? I recommend Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Antisemitism Paved the Road to the Holocaust because all of us Christians – Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox – must think again, or think for the first time, about how to teach and preach the Christian Scriptures – the “New Testament” writings – in such a way that the words we utter, the attitudes we encourage, do not demean, disrespect, or disregard our Jewish brothers and sisters, that our words do not demean, disrespect, or disregard Judaism. I hope the challenge is not an impossible one.
Carol Rittner
But this was not enough on its own to generate the kind of terror that Mao wanted. On 18 August, a mammoth rally was held in Tiananmen Square in the center of Peking, with over a million young participants. Lin Biao appeared in public as Mao's deputy and spokesman for the first time. He made a speech calling on the Red Guards to charge out of their schools and 'smash up the four olds' defined as 'old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits." Following this obscure call, Red Guards all over China took to the streets, giving full vent to their vandalism, ignorance, and fanaticism. They raided people's houses, smashed their antiques, tore up paintings and works of calligraphy. Bonfires were lit to consume books. Very soon nearly all treasures in private collections were destroyed. Many writers and artists committed suicide after being cruelly beaten and humiliated, and being forced to witness their work being burned to ashes. Museums were raided. Palaces, temples, ancient tombs, statues, pagodas, city walls anything 'old' was pillaged. The few things that survived, such as the Forbidden City, did so only because Premier Zhou Enlai sent the army to guard them, and issued specific orders that they should be protected. The Red Guards only pressed on when they were encouraged. Mao hailed the Red Guards' actions as "Very good indeed!" and ordered the nation to support them. He encouraged the Red Guards to pick on a wider range of victims in order to increase the terror. Prominent writers, artists, scholars, and most other top professionals, who had been privileged under the Communist regime, were now categorically condemned as 'reactionary bourgeois authorities." With the help of some of these people's colleagues who hated them for various reasons, ranging from fanaticism to envy, the Red Guards began to abuse them. Then there were the old 'class enemies': former landlords and capitalists, people with Kuomintang connections, those condemned in previous political campaigns like the 'rightists' and their children.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
It is hard to understand how a compassionate world order can include so many people afflicted by acute misery, persistent hunger and deprived and desperate lives, and why millions of innocent children have to die each year from lack of food or medical attention or social care. This issue, of course, is not new, and it has been a subject of some discussion among theologians. The argument that God has reasons to want us to deal with these matters ourselves has had considerable intellectual support. As a nonreligious person, I am not in a position to assess the theological merits of this argument. But I can appreciate the force of the claim that people themselves must have responsibility for the development and change of the world in which they live. One does not have to be either devout or non devout to accept this basic connection. As people who live-in a broad sense-together, we cannot escape the thought that the terrible occurrences that we see around us are quintessentially our problems. They are our responsibility-whether or not they are also anyone else's. As competent human beings, we cannot shirk the task of judging how things are and what needs to be done. As reflective creatures, we have the ability to contemplate the lives of others. Our sense of behavior may have caused (though that can be very important as well), but can also relate more generally to the miseries that we see around us and that lie within our power to help remedy. That responsibility is not, of course, the only consideration that can claim our attention, but to deny the relevance of that general claim would be to miss something central about our social existence. It is not so much a matter of having the exact rules about how precisely we ought to behave, as of recognizing the relevance of our shared humanity in making the choices we face.
Amartya Sen (Development as Freedom)
It’s not easy to feel good about yourself when you are constantly being told you’re rubbish and/or part of the problem. That’s often the situation for people working in the public sector, whether these be nurses, civil servants or teachers. The static metrics used to measure the contribution of the public sector, and the influence of Public Choice theory on making governments more ‘efficient’, has convinced many civil-sector workers they are second-best. It’s enough to depress any bureaucrat and induce him or her to get up, leave and join the private sector, where there is often more money to be made. So public actors are forced to emulate private ones, with their almost exclusive interest in projects with fast paybacks. After all, price determines value. You, the civil servant, won’t dare to propose that your agency could take charge, bring a helpful long-term perspective to a problem, consider all sides of an issue (not just profitability), spend the necessary funds (borrow if required) and – whisper it softly – add public value. You leave the big ideas to the private sector which you are told to simply ‘facilitate’ and enable. And when Apple or whichever private company makes billions of dollars for shareholders and many millions for top executives, you probably won’t think that these gains actually come largely from leveraging the work done by others – whether these be government agencies, not-for-profit institutions, or achievements fought for by civil society organizations including trade unions that have been critical for fighting for workers’ training programmes.
Mariana Mazzucato (The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy)
Yet, if the American Negro has arrived at his identity by virtue of the absoluteness of his estrangement from his past, American white men still nourish the illusion that there is some means of recovering the European innocence, of returning to a state in which black men do not exist. This is one of the greatest errors Americans can make. The identity they fought so hard to protect has, by virtue of that battle, undergone a change: Americans are as unlike any other white people in the world as it is possible to be. I do not think, for example, that it is too much to suggest that the American vision of the world-which allows so little reality, generally speaking, for any of the darker forces in human life, which tends until today to paint moral issues in glaring black and white owes a great deal to the battle waged by Americans to maintain between themselves and black men a human separation which could not be bridged. It is only now beginning to be borne in on us, very faintly, it must be admitted, very slowly, and very much against our will--that this vision of the world is dangerously inaccurate, and perfectly useless. For it protects our moral high-mindedness at the terrible expense of weakening our grasp of reality. People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.
James Baldwin (Notes of a Native Son)
Leaving controversial issues aside, the first and main purpose of this book may be summed up by a phrase of Laplace: “If we were able to make an exact catalogue of all particles and forces which are active in a speck of dust, the laws of the universe at large would hold no more mysteries for us”. On a medium-sized school globe the State of Israel occupies not much more space than a speck of dust; and yet there is hardly a political, social or cultural problem whose prototype cannot be found in it, and found in a rare concentration and intensity. The very smallness of this country of about three-quarters of a million souls makes it easy to survey trends which in other nations appear confused and diluted by size. The fact that it so often was in the past, and is again in the present, in the focus of global conflicts and passions, makes the speck of dust glow in a phosphorescent light. The fact that it is a State of Jews, and of Jews of the most conscious and intense type, makes the microscopic processes in this microscopic country reflect laws of universal validity: for Jewry is not a question of race—“it is the human condition carried to its extreme”.
Arthur Koestler (Promise and Fulfilment - Palestine 1917-1949)
Capacity for keen observation • Exceptional ability to predict and foresee problems and trends • Special problem-solving resources; extraordinary tolerance for ambiguity; fascination with dichotomous puzzles • Preference for original thinking and creative solutions • Excitability, enthusiasm, expressiveness, and renewable energy • Heightened sensitivity, intense emotion, and compassion • Playful attitude and childlike sense of wonder throughout life • Extra perceptivity, powerful intuition, persistent curiosity, potential for deep insight, early spiritual experiences • Ability to learn rapidly, concentrate for long periods of time, comprehend readily, and retain what is learned; development of more than one area of expertise • Exceptional verbal ability; love of subtleties of written and spoken words, new information, theory, and discussion • Tendency to set own standards and evaluate own efforts • Unusual sense of humor, not always understood by others • Experience of feeling inherently different or odd • History of being misunderstood and undersupported • Deep concerns about universal issues and nature, and reverence for the interconnectedness of all things • Powerful sense of justice and intolerance for unfairness • Strong sense of independence and willingness to challenge authority • Awareness of an inner force that “pulls” for meaning, fulfillment, and excellence • Feelings of urgency about personal destiny and a yearning at a spiritual level for answers to existential puzzles
Mary-Elaine Jacobsen (The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius(tm))
There have been ample opportunities since 1945 to show that material superiority in war is not enough if the will to fight is lacking. In Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan the balance of economic and military strength lay overwhelmingly on the side of France, the United States, and the Soviet Union, but the will to win was slowly eroded. Troops became demoralised and brutalised. Even a political solution was abandoned. In all three cases the greater power withdrew. The Second World War was an altogether different conflict, but the will to win was every bit as important - indeed it was more so. The contest was popularly perceived to be about issues of life and death of whole communities rather than for their fighting forces alone. They were issues, wrote one American observer in 1939, 'worth dying for'. If, he continued, 'the will-to-destruction triumphs, our resolution to preserve civilisation must become more implacable...our courage must mount'. Words like 'will' and 'courage' are difficult for historians to use as instruments of cold analysis. They cannot be quantified; they are elusive of definition; they are products of a moral language that is regarded sceptically today, even tainted by its association with fascist rhetoric. German and Japanese leaders believed that the spiritual strength of their soldiers and workers in some indefinable way compensate for their technical inferiority. When asked after the war why Japan lost, one senior naval officer replied that the Japanese 'were short on spirit, the military spirit was weak...' and put this explanation ahead of any material cause. Within Germany, belief that spiritual strength or willpower was worth more than generous supplies of weapons was not confined to Hitler by any means, though it was certainly a central element in the way he looked at the world. The irony was that Hitler's ambition to impose his will on others did perhaps more than anything to ensure that his enemies' will to win burned brighter still. The Allies were united by nothing so much as a fundamental desire to smash Hitlerism and Japanese militarism and to use any weapon to achieve it. The primal drive for victory at all costs nourished Allied fighting power and assuaged the thirst for vengeance. They fought not only because the sum of their resources added up to victory, but because they wanted to win and were certain that their cause was just. The Allies won the Second World War because they turned their economic strength into effective fighting power, and turned the moral energies of their people into an effective will to win. The mobilisation of national resources in this broad sense never worked perfectly, but worked well enough to prevail. Materially rich, but divided, demoralised, and poorly led, the Allied coalition would have lost the war, however exaggerated Axis ambitions, however flawed their moral outlook. The war made exceptional demands on the Allied peoples. Half a century later the level of cruelty, destruction and sacrifice that it engendered is hard to comprehend, let alone recapture. Fifty years of security and prosperity have opened up a gulf between our own age and the age of crisis and violence that propelled the world into war. Though from today's perspective Allied victory might seem somehow inevitable, the conflict was poised on a knife-edge in the middle years of the war. This period must surely rank as the most significant turning point in the history of the modern age.
Richard Overy (Why the Allies Won)
Of the things I had not known when I started out, I think the most important was the degree to which the legacy of the McCarthy period still lived. It had been almost seven years since Joe McCarthy had been censured when John Kennedy took office, and most people believed that his hold on Washington was over. ... among the top Democrats, against whom the issue of being soft on Communism might be used, and among the Republicans, who might well use the charge, it was still live ammunition. ... McCarthyism still lingered ... The real McCarthyism went deeper in the American grain than most people wanted to admit ... The Republicans’ long, arid period out of office [twenty years, ended by the Eisenhower administration], accentuated by Truman’s 1948 defeat of Dewey, had permitted the out-party in its desperation, to accuse the leaders of the governing party of treason. The Democrats, in the wake of the relentless sustained attacks on Truman and Acheson over their policies in Asia, came to believe that they had lost the White House when they lost China. Long after McCarthy himself was gone, the fear of being accused of being soft on Communism lingered among the Democratic leaders. The Republicans had, of course, offered no alternative policy on China (the last thing they had wanted to do was suggest sending American boys to fight for China) and indeed there was no policy to offer, for China was never ours, events there were well outside our control, and our feudal proxies had been swept away by the forces of history. But in the political darkness of the time it had been easy to blame the Democrats for the ebb and flow of history. The fear generated in those days lasted a long time, and Vietnam was to be something of an instant replay after China. The memory of the fall of China and what it did to the Democrats, was, I think, more bitter for Lyndon Johnson than it was for John Kennedy. Johnson, taking over after Kennedy was murdered and after the Kennedy patched-up advisory commitment had failed, vowed that he was not going to be the President of the United States who lost the Great Society because he lost Saigon. In the end it would take the tragedy of the Vietnam War and the election of Richard Nixon (the only political figure who could probably go to China without being Red-baited by Richard Nixon) to exorcise those demons, and to open the door to China.
David Halberstam (The Best and the Brightest)
‎"The indictment [the Western/modern question, 'Why be moral?'] also issued from a gross underrating of the 'moral' force that was regarded within the Islamic tradition as an essential and integral part of the 'law.' At the foundation of this underrating stood the observer's ideological judgement about religion (at least the Islamic religion), a judgment of repugnance, especially when religion as a moral and theological force is seen to be fused with law. The judgement, in other words, undercuts a proper apprehension of the role of modernity as a legal form, of its power and force. Historical evidence [in modernity/Enlightenment thought and its intellectual progeny] was thus made to fit into what makes sense to us, not what made sense to a culture that defined itself -- systematically, teleologically, and existentially -- in different terms. This entrenched repugnance for the religious -- at least in this case to the 'Islamic' in Muslim societies -- amounted, in legal terms, to the foreclosure of the possibility of considering the force of the moral within the realm of the legal, and vice versa. Theistic teleology, eschatology, and socially grounded moral gain, status, honor, shame, and much else of a similar type were reduced in importance, if not totally set aside, in favor of other explanations that 'fit better' within our preferred, but distinctively modern, countermoral systems of value. History was brought down to us, to the epistemological here and now, according to our own terms, when in theory no one denies that it was our historiographical set of terms that ought to have been subordinated to the imperatives of historical writing.
Wael B. Hallaq (The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity's Moral Predicament)
Once there were three tribes. The Optimists, whose patron saints were Drake and Sagan, believed in a universe crawling with gentle intelligence—spiritual brethren vaster and more enlightened than we, a great galactic siblinghood into whose ranks we would someday ascend. Surely, said the Optimists, space travel implies enlightenment, for it requires the control of great destructive energies. Any race which can't rise above its own brutal instincts will wipe itself out long before it learns to bridge the interstellar gulf. Across from the Optimists sat the Pessimists, who genuflected before graven images of Saint Fermi and a host of lesser lightweights. The Pessimists envisioned a lonely universe full of dead rocks and prokaryotic slime. The odds are just too low, they insisted. Too many rogues, too much radiation, too much eccentricity in too many orbits. It is a surpassing miracle that even one Earth exists; to hope for many is to abandon reason and embrace religious mania. After all, the universe is fourteen billion years old: if the galaxy were alive with intelligence, wouldn't it be here by now? Equidistant to the other two tribes sat the Historians. They didn't have too many thoughts on the probable prevalence of intelligent, spacefaring extraterrestrials— but if there are any, they said, they're not just going to be smart. They're going to be mean. It might seem almost too obvious a conclusion. What is Human history, if not an ongoing succession of greater technologies grinding lesser ones beneath their boots? But the subject wasn't merely Human history, or the unfair advantage that tools gave to any given side; the oppressed snatch up advanced weaponry as readily as the oppressor, given half a chance. No, the real issue was how those tools got there in the first place. The real issue was what tools are for. To the Historians, tools existed for only one reason: to force the universe into unnatural shapes. They treated nature as an enemy, they were by definition a rebellion against the way things were. Technology is a stunted thing in benign environments, it never thrived in any culture gripped by belief in natural harmony. Why invent fusion reactors if your climate is comfortable, if your food is abundant? Why build fortresses if you have no enemies? Why force change upon a world which poses no threat? Human civilization had a lot of branches, not so long ago. Even into the twenty-first century, a few isolated tribes had barely developed stone tools. Some settled down with agriculture. Others weren't content until they had ended nature itself, still others until they'd built cities in space. We all rested eventually, though. Each new technology trampled lesser ones, climbed to some complacent asymptote, and stopped—until my own mother packed herself away like a larva in honeycomb, softened by machinery, robbed of incentive by her own contentment. But history never said that everyone had to stop where we did. It only suggested that those who had stopped no longer struggled for existence. There could be other, more hellish worlds where the best Human technology would crumble, where the environment was still the enemy, where the only survivors were those who fought back with sharper tools and stronger empires. The threats contained in those environments would not be simple ones. Harsh weather and natural disasters either kill you or they don't, and once conquered—or adapted to— they lose their relevance. No, the only environmental factors that continued to matter were those that fought back, that countered new strategies with newer ones, that forced their enemies to scale ever-greater heights just to stay alive. Ultimately, the only enemy that mattered was an intelligent one. And if the best toys do end up in the hands of those who've never forgotten that life itself is an act of war against intelligent opponents, what does that say about a race whose machines travel between the stars?
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
A brick could be used to show you how to live a richer, fuller, more satisfying life. Don’t you want to have fulfillment and meaning saturating your existence? I can show you how you can achieve this and so much more with just a simple brick. For just $99.99—not even an even hundred bucks, I’ll send you my exclusive life philosophy that’s built around a brick. Man’s used bricks to build houses for centuries. Now let one man, me, show you how a brick can be used to build your life up bigger and stronger than you ever imagined. But act now, because supplies are limited. This amazing offer won’t last forever. You don’t want to wake up in ten years to find yourself divorced, homeless, and missing your testicles because you waited even two hours too long to obtain this information. Become a hero today—save your life. Procrastination is only for the painful things in life. We prolong the boring, but why put off for tomorrow the exciting life you could be living today? If you’re not satisfied with the information I’m providing, I’m willing to offer you a no money back guarantee. That’s right, you read that wrong. If you are not 100% dissatisfied with my product, I’ll give you your money back. For $99.99 I’m offering 99.99%, but you’ve got to be willing to penny up that percentage to 100. Why delay? The life you really want is mine, and I’m willing to give it to you—for a price. That price is a one-time fee of $99.99, which of course everyone can afford—even if they can’t afford it. Homeless people can’t afford it, but they’re the people who need my product the most. Buy my product, or face the fact that in all probability you are going to end up homeless and sexless and unloved and filthy and stinky and probably even disabled, if not physically than certainly mentally. I don’t care if your testicles taste like peanut butter—if you don’t buy my product, even a dog won’t lick your balls you miserable cur. I curse you! God damn it, what are you, slow? Pay me my money so I can show you the path to true wealth. Don’t you want to be rich? Everything takes money—your marriage, your mortgage, and even prostitutes. I can show you the path to prostitution—and it starts by ignoring my pleas to help you. I’m not the bad guy here. I just want to help. You have some serious trust issues, my friend. I have the chance to earn your trust, and all it’s going to cost you is a measly $99.99. Would it help you to trust me if I told you that I trust you? Well, I do. Sure, I trust you. I trust you to make the smart decision for your life and order my product today. Don’t sleep on this decision, because you’ll only wake up in eight hours to find yourself living in a miserable future. And the future indeed looks bleak, my friend. War, famine, children forced to pimp out their parents just to feed the dog. Is this the kind of tomorrow you’d like to live in today? I can show you how to provide enough dog food to feed your grandpa for decades. In the future I’m offering you, your wife isn’t a whore that you sell for a knife swipe of peanut butter because you’re so hungry you actually considered eating your children. Become a hero—and save your kids’ lives. Your wife doesn’t want to spread her legs for strangers. Or maybe she does, and that was a bad example. Still, the principle stands. But you won’t be standing—in the future. Remember, you’ll be confined to a wheelchair. Mushrooms are for pizzas, not clouds, but without me, your life will atom bomb into oblivion. Nobody’s dropping a bomb while I’m around. The only thing I’m dropping is the price. Boom! I just lowered the price for you, just to show you that you are a valued customer. As a VIP, your new price on my product is just $99.96. That’s a savings of over two pennies (three, to be precise). And I’ll even throw in a jar of peanut butter for free. That’s a value of over $.99. But wait, there’s more! If you call within the next ten minutes, I’ll even throw in a blanket free of charge. . .
Jarod Kintz (Brick)
Originally, the word power meant able to be. In time, it was contracted to mean to be able. We suffer the difference. Iwas waiting for a plane when I overheard two businessmen. One was sharing the good news that he had been promoted, and the other, in congratulation, said, “More power to you.” I've heard this expression before, but for some reason, I heard it differently this time and thought, what a curious sentiment. As a good wish, the assumption is that power is the goal. Of course, it makes a huge difference if we are wishing others worldly power or inner power. By worldly power, I mean power over things, people, and situations—controlling power. By inner power, I mean power that comes from being a part of something larger—connective power. I can't be certain, but I'm fairly sure the wish here was for worldly power, for more control. This is commonplace and disturbing, as the wish for more always issues from a sense of lack. So the wish for more power really issues from a sense of powerlessness. It is painfully ironic that in the land of the free, we so often walk about with an unspoken and enervating lack of personal freedom. Yet the wish for more controlling power will not set us free, anymore than another drink will quench the emptiness of an alcoholic in the grip of his disease. It makes me think of a game we played when I was nine called King of the Hill, in which seven or eight of us found a mound of dirt, the higher the better, and the goal was to stand alone on top of the hill. Once there, everyone else tried to throw you off, installing themselves as King of the Hill. It strikes me now as a training ground for worldly power. Clearly, the worst position of all is being King of the Hill. You are completely alone and paranoid, never able to trust anyone, constantly forced to spin and guard every direction. The hills may change from a job to a woman to a prized piece of real estate, but those on top can be so enslaved by guarding their position that they rarely enjoy the view. I always hated King of the Hill—always felt tense in my gut when king, sad when not, and ostracized if I didn't want to play. That pattern has followed me through life. But now, as a tired adult, when I feel alone and powerless atop whatever small hill I've managed to climb, I secretly long for anyone to join me. Now, I'm ready to believe there's more power here together.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
In Uprooting Racism, Paul Kivel makes a useful comparison between the rhetoric abusive men employ to justify beating up their girlfriends, wives, or children and the publicly traded justifications for widespread racism. He writes: During the first few years that I worked with men who are violent I was continually perplexed by their inability to see the effects of their actions and their ability to deny the violence they had done to their partners or children. I only slowly became aware of the complex set of tactics that men use to make violence against women invisible and to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. These tactics are listed below in the rough order that men employ them.… (1) Denial: “I didn’t hit her.” (2) Minimization: “It was only a slap.” (3) Blame: “She asked for it.” (4) Redefinition: “It was mutual combat.” (5) Unintentionality: “Things got out of hand.” (6) It’s over now: “I’ll never do it again.” (7) It’s only a few men: “Most men wouldn’t hurt a woman.” (8) Counterattack: “She controls everything.” (9) Competing victimization: “Everybody is against men.” Kivel goes on to detail the ways these nine tactics are used to excuse (or deny) institutionalized racism. Each of these tactics also has its police analogy, both as applied to individual cases and in regard to the general issue of police brutality. Here are a few examples: (1) Denial. “The professionalism and restraint … was nothing short of outstanding.” “America does not have a human-rights problem.” (2) Minimization. Injuries were “of a minor nature.” “Police use force infrequently.” (3) Blame. “This guy isn’t Mr. Innocent Citizen, either. Not by a long shot.” “They died because they were criminals.” (4) Redefinition. It was “mutual combat.” “Resisting arrest.” “The use of force is necessary to protect yourself.” (5) Unintentionality. “[O]fficers have no choice but to use deadly force against an assailant who is deliberately trying to kill them.…” (6) It’s over now. “We’re making changes.” “We will change our training; we will do everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.” (7) It’s only a few men. “A small proportion of officers are disproportionately involved in use-of-force incidents.” “Even if we determine that the officers were out of line … it is an aberration.” (8) Counterattack. “The only thing they understand is physical force and pain.” “People make complaints to get out of trouble.” (9) Competing victimization. The police are “in constant danger.” “[L]iberals are prejudiced against police, much as many white police are biased against Negroes.” The police are “the most downtrodden, oppressed, dislocated minority in America.” Another commonly invoked rationale for justifying police violence is: (10) The Hero Defense. “These guys are heroes.” “The police routinely do what the rest of us don’t: They risk their lives to keep the peace. For that selfless bravery, they deserve glory, laud and honor.” “[W]ithout the police … anarchy would be rife in this country, and the civilization now existing on this hemisphere would perish.” “[T]hey alone stand guard at the upstairs door of Hell.
Kristian Williams (Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America)