Interpretation Of The Law Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Interpretation Of The Law. Here they are! All 100 of them:

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.
Noam Chomsky
Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose, keep in touch (or don't), care about birthdays, waste and lose time, brush their teeth, feel nostalgia, scrub stains, have religions and political parties and laws, wear keepsakes, apologize years after an offense, whisper, fear themselves, interpret dreams, hide their genitalia, shave, bury time capsules, and can choose not to eat something for reasons of conscience. The justifications for eating animals and for not eating them are often identical: we are not them.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals)
Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
There is nothing more potentially hostile than the indigenous ego interpreting the laws of his conqueror upon his own people
Domingo Martinez (Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir)
...Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers... for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality... But I had gradually come by this time, i.e., 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow at sign, &c., &c., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian. ...By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported, (and that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become), that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost uncomprehensible by us, that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events, that they differ in many important details, far too important, as it seemed to me, to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses; by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire had some weight with me. Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can be hardly denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation which we now put on metaphors and allegories. But I was very unwilling to give up my belief... Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.
Charles Darwin (The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82)
There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for me to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed or enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
A perception that exists in the mind is often interpreted as a universal truth.
Al Ries (The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk)
Choice, is what presents us with a multitude of paths, because choice creates a flow of electrons through the brain in a manner that inexorably leads to quantum superposition, and the many-worlds that are the inevitable result.
Kevin Michel (Moving Through Parallel Worlds To Achieve Your Dreams)
What's law? Control? Law filters chaos and what drips through? Serenity? Law -- our highest ideal and our basest nature. Don't look too closely at the law. Do, and you'll find the rationalized interpretations, the legal casuistry, the precedents of convenience. You'll find the serenity, which is just another word for death.
Frank Herbert (Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, #2))
Experience cannot beat logic, and interpretations of observational evidence which are not in line with the laws of logical reasoning are no refutation of these but the sign of a muddled mind (or would one accept someone’s observational report that he had seen a bird that was red and non-red all over at the same time as a refutation of the law of contradiction rather than the pronouncement of an idiot?).
Hans-Hermann Hoppe (The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy)
Nowadays the job of the judge is not to do justice. The judge is more of a functionary . He's like a civil servant whose job is to interpret words written down by another branch of the government, whether those words are just or not.
N. Stephan Kinsella
Judges ought to remember that their office is to interpret law, and not to make law, or give law.
Francis Bacon (The Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral, Including also his Apophthegms, Elegant Sentences and Wisdom of the Ancients)
Good laws left to the interpretation of evil men are no longer good.
Ian Brady (The Gates of Janus: Serial Killing and Its Analysis)
In the 'Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics,' the trajectory of your life is no longer just one straight path to an eventuality, but is instead one path of many, on an ever-branching tree of possibilities.
Kevin Michel (Moving Through Parallel Worlds To Achieve Your Dreams)
It's very, very difficult I think for us to have a transparent debate about secret programs approved by a secret court issuing secret court orders based on secret interpretations of the law.
Tom Udall
Remember: the universe neither judges, nor interprets, nor second guesses your will. If it did, there would be no poverty, no hunger, no suffering.
Stephen Richards
But gay marriage is coming to America first and foremost because marriage here is a secular concern, not a religious one. The objection to gay marriage is almost invariably biblical, but nobody's legal vows in this country are defined by interpretation of biblical verse - or at least, not since the Supreme Court stood up for Richard and Mildred Loving. A church wedding ceremony is a nice thing, but it is neither required for legal marriage in America nor does it constitute legal marriage in America. What constitutes legal marriage in this country is that critical piece of paper that you and your betrothed must sign and then register with the state. The morality of your marriage may indeed rest between you and God, but it's that civic and secular paperwork which makes your vows official here on earth. Ultimately, then, it is the business of America's courts, not America's churches, to decide the rules of matrimonial law, and it is in those courts that the same-sex marriage debate will finally be settled.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
Vicars, he often thought, are essentially God’s lawyers on the earth. Interpreters of the law, the finders of nuance, sifters through rationalizations to get at the truth or the need of the moment. Guessers, in other words.
Julie Anne Long (A Notorious Countess Confesses (Pennyroyal Green, #7))
The dream shows how recollections of one’s everyday life can be worked into a structure where one person can be substituted for another, where unacknowledged feelings like envy and guilt can find expression, where ideas can be linked by verbal similarities, and where the laws of logic can be suspended.
Sigmund Freud (The Interpretation of Dreams (World's Classics))
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden & Civil Disobedience)
What could begin to deny self, if there were not something in man different from self? William Law
Aldous Huxley (The Perennial Philosophy: An Interpretation of the Great Mystics, East and West)
I was forced to confront my own prejudice. I had come to the farm with the unarticulated belief that concrete things were for dumb people and abstract things were for smart people. I thought the physical world - the trades - was the place you ended up if you weren't bright or ambitious enough to handle a white-collar job. Did I really think that a person with a genius for fixing engines, or for building, or for husbanding cows, was less brilliant than a person who writes ad copy or interprets the law? Apparently I did, though it amazes me now.
Kristin Kimball (The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love)
To restate an old law - when a man bites a fish, that's good, but when a fish bites a man, that's bad. This is one way of saying it's all right if man kills an animal, but if an animal attacks man, the act is reprehensible. The animal is labelled "killer," something to be feared, hated, shunned, punished, even killed by man. How dangerous are those sea animals with bad reputations? A few actually kill. A few maim. Some are poisonous when eaten by man. Most sting, stab,or poison and cause mild to severe discomfort to man. Yet man is one of the larger beings that sea creatures encounter, and these poisons usually can't kill him. Very often these poisons are used defensively against predators and offensively in food gathering. There are a few animals that have won themselves a bad reputation even though they have little or no effect on man. They have won their rating through man's interpretation of their attitude towards lower animals. These animals have been seen feeding in what appears to be a savage manner. But this behavior may perhaps be comparable to a man tearing the flesh off a chicken leg with his teeth.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau (The Ocean World (Abradale))
Astrology is the study of man’s response to planetary stimuli. The stars have no conscious benevolence or animosity; they merely send forth positive and negative radiations. Of themselves, these do not help or harm humanity, but offer a lawful channel for the outward operation of cause-effect equilibriums which each man has set into motion in the past. “A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. His horoscope is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its probable future results. But the natal chart can be rightly interpreted only by men of intuitive wisdom: these are few.
Paramahansa Yogananda (The Autobiography of a Yogi ("Popular Life Stories"))
To inquire into what God has made is the main function of the imagination. It is aroused by facts, is nourished by facts; seeks for higher and yet higher laws in those facts; but refuses to regard science as the sole interpreter of nature, or the laws of science as the only region of discovery.
George MacDonald (A Dish of Orts)
The morning after the 9/11 attacks...we began talking about the Twin Towers attack. Ruud shook his head sadly about it all. He said, "It's so weird, isn't it, all these people saying this has to do with Islam?" I couldn't help myself...I blurted out, "But it *is* about Islam. This is based in belief. This is Islam." Ruud said, "Ayaan, of course these people may have been Muslims, but they are a lunatic fringe. We have extremist Christians, too, who interpret the bible literally. Most Muslims do not believe these things. To say so is to disparage a faith which is the second largest religion in the world, and which is civilized, and peaceful." I walked into the office thinking, "I have to wake these people up."...The Dutch had forgotten that it was possible for people to stand up and wage war, destroy property, imprison, kill, impose laws of virtue because of the call of God. That kind of religion hadn't been present in Holland for centuries. It was not a lunatic fringe who felt this way about America and the West. I knew that a vast mass of Muslims would see the attacks as justified retaliation against the infidel enemies of Islam.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
I didn’t know enough about human politics to know who was correct, but I did know enough about politics in general to guess that everyone would interpret the law in the way that best suited themselves.
Brandon Sanderson (ReDawn (Skyward, #2.2))
For an ideology differs from a simple opinion in that it claims to possess either the key to history, or the solution for all the "riddles of the universe," or the intimate knowledge of the hidden universal laws which are supposed to rule nature and man. Few ideologies have won enough prominence to survive the hard competitive struggle of persuasion, and only two have come out on top and essentially defeated all others: the ideology which interprets history as an economic struggle of classes, and the other that interprets history as a natural fight of races. The appeal of both to large masses was so strong that they were able to enlist state support and establish themselves as official national doctrines. But far beyond the boundaries within which race-thinking and class-thinking have developed into obligatory patterns of thought, free public opinion has adopted them to such an extent that not only intellectuals but great masses of people will no longer accept a presentation of past or present facts that is not in agreement with either of these views.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
From a legal point of view—” He shook his head. “Forget the law. It isn’t going to help. They’ll cite it where it suits them, ignore it where it doesn’t. They’re clerics, Archeth. They spend their whole fucking lives selectively interpreting textual authority to advantage.
Richard K. Morgan (The Steel Remains (A Land Fit for Heroes, #1))
In a direct response to African Americans patrolling Oakland, California, and “copwatching,” Republicans in California passed the Mulford Act, which banned open carry of loaded firearms in California. Who signed that law? Republican patron saint and then governor of California Ronald Reagan. The absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment is new, but using gun rights or gun control, as necessary, to maintain racial dominance is old.
Elie Mystal (Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution)
When confronted with a problem involving the use of the reasoning faculties, individuals of strong intellect keep their poise, and seek to reach a solution by obtaining facts bearing upon the question. Those of immature mentality, on the other hand, when similarly confronted, are overwhelmed. While the former may be qualified to solve the riddle of their own destiny, the latter must be led like a flock of sheep and taught in simple language. They depend almost entirely upon the ministrations of the shepherd. The Apostle Paul said that these little ones must be fed with milk, but that meat is the food of strong men. Thoughtlessness is almost synonymous with childishness, while thoughtfulness is symbolic of maturity. There are, however, but few mature minds in the world; and thus it was that the philosophic-religious doctrines of the pagans were divided to meet the needs of these two fundamental groups of human intellect--one philosophic, the other incapable of appreciating the deeper mysteries of life. To the discerning few were revealed the esoteric, or spiritual, teachings, while the unqualified many received only the literal, or exoteric, interpretations. In order to make simple the great truths of Nature and the abstract principles of natural law, the vital forces of the universe were personified, becoming the gods and goddesses of the ancient mythologies. While the ignorant multitudes brought their offerings to the altars of Priapus and Pan (deities representing the procreative energies), the wise recognized in these marble statues only symbolic concretions of great abstract truths. In all cities of the ancient
Manly P. Hall (The Secret Teachings of All Ages)
Events in life are not negative or positive. They are completely neutral. The universe does not care about your fate; it is indifferent to the violence that may hit you or to death itself. Things merely happen to you. It is your mind that chooses to interpret them as negative or positive.
50 Cent (The 50th Law)
To deny access to translation and interpreting services oppresses human rights and violates laws.
Nataly Kelly (Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World)
I love the order of deal making, the clarity oof language--how there is little room for interpretation and none for error. I love the black-and-white terms.
Rebecca Serle (In Five Years)
The lack of insight to reality, life and history as well as into God's ways, or sunan in His creation, some people will continue to seek or demand the impossible. They will imagine what does not or cannot happen, misunderstand occurrences and events, and interpret them on the basis of cherished illusions which in no way reflect God's sunan or the essence of Islamic law.
يوسف القرضاوي (Uṣūl al Fiqh al Islāmī: Source Methodology in Islamic Jurisprudence)
For those who believe executive branch officials will voluntarily interpret their surveillance authorities with restraint, I believe it is more likely that I will achieve my life-long dream of playing in the NBA.
Ron Wyden
Here one comes upon an all-important English trait: the respect for constituitionalism and legality, the belief in 'the law' as something above the state and above the individual, something which is cruel and stupid, of course, but at any rate incorruptible. It is not that anyone imagines the law to be just. Everyone knows that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. But no one accepts the implications of this, everyone takes for granted that the law, such as it is, will be respected, and feels a sense of outrage when it is not. Remarks like 'They can't run me in; I haven't done anything wrong', or 'They can't do that; it's against the law', are part of the atmosphere of England. The professed enemies of society have this feeling as strongly as anyone else. One sees it in prison-books like Wilfred Macartney's Walls Have Mouths or Jim Phelan's Jail Journey, in the solemn idiocies that take places at the trials of conscientious objectors, in letters to the papers from eminent Marxist professors, pointing out that this or that is a 'miscarriage of British justice'. Everyone believes in his heart that the law can be, ought to be, and, on the whole, will be impartially administered. The totalitarian idea that there is no such thing as law, there is only power, has never taken root. Even the intelligentsia have only accepted it in theory. An illusion can become a half-truth, a mask can alter the expression of a face. The familiar arguments to the effect that democracy is 'just the same as' or 'just as bad as' totalitarianism never take account of this fact. All such arguments boil down to saying that half a loaf is the same as no bread. In England such concepts as justice, liberty and objective truth are still believed in. They may be illusions, but they are powerful illusions. The belief in them influences conduct,national life is different because of them. In proof of which, look about you. Where are the rubber truncheons, where is the caster oil? The sword is still in the scabbard, and while it stays corruption cannot go beyond a certain point. The English electoral system, for instance, is an all but open fraud. In a dozen obvious ways it is gerrymandered in the interest of the moneyed class. But until some deep change has occurred in the public mind, it cannot become completely corrupt. You do not arrive at the polling booth to find men with revolvers telling you which way to vote, nor are the votes miscounted, nor is there any direct bribery. Even hypocrisy is powerful safeguard. The hanging judge, that evil old man in scarlet robe and horse-hair wig,whom nothing short of dynamite will ever teach what century he is living in, but who will at any rate interpret the law according to the books and will in no circumstances take a money bribe,is one of the symbolic figures of England. He is a symbol of the strange mixture of reality and illusion, democracy and privilege, humbug and decency, the subtle network of compromises, by which the nation keeps itself in its familiar shape.
George Orwell (Why I Write)
If we look upon the earth as a place where our 'higher selves' have come to learn, to experience, or even to be judged, then the splitting of realities that occurs with the many-worlds interpretation is merely an extension of these functions.
Kevin Michel (Moving Through Parallel Worlds To Achieve Your Dreams)
Our laws as we support them now are slow, wasteful, cumbrous systems, which require a special caste to interpret and another to enforce; wherein the average citizen knows nothing of the law, and cares only to evade it when he can, obey it when he must.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Man-Made World)
Today courts wrongly interpret separation of church and state to mean that religion has no place in the public arena, or that morality derived from religion should not be permitted to shape our laws. Somehow freedom for religious expression has become freedom from religious expression. Secularists want to empty the public square of religion and religious-based morality so they can monopolize the shared space of society with their own views. In the process they have made religious believers into second-class citizens.
Dinesh D'Souza (What's So Great About Christianity)
Or was it a question of how the laws were actually interpreted and enforced at the time they committed their crimes, and that they were not applied to them? What is law? Is it what is on the books, or what is actually enacted and obeyed in a society? Or is law what must be enacted and obeyed, whether or not it is on the books, if things are to go right?
Bernhard Schlink (The Reader)
If untruths become part of our language—untruths that in context are intended to be interpreted as polite expressions or figure of speech—then each person is left to decide for themselves the meaning of any sentence. And when language and meaning become subjective, society breaks down. The rule of law becomes a grey area. Commands become suggestions. And how do you keep anyone, including yourself, accountable for actions based on ambiguous language?
Alex Latimer (The Space Race)
Grace interpreted as a principle, pecca fortiter as a principle, grace at a low cost, is in the last resort simply a new law, which brings neither help nor freedom. Grace as a living word, pecca fortiter as our comfort in tribulation and as a summons to discipleship, costly grace is the only pure grace, which really forgives sins and gives freedom to the sinner.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
The dream-thoughts and the dream-content lie before us like two versions of the same content in two different languages, or rather, the dream-content looks to us like a translation of the dream-thoughts into another mode of expression, and we are supposed to get to know its signs and laws of grammatical construction by comparing the original and the translation.
Sigmund Freud (The Interpretation of Dreams (World's Classics))
The Enlightenment may have made its most lasting impact in the way we live and think today through its social history. Our institutions and laws, our conception of the state, and our political sensitivity all stem from Enlightenment ideas… Remarkably enough, at the center of these ideas stands the age-old concept of natural law. Much if the Enlightenment’s innovation in in political theory may be traced to a change in the interpretation of that concept.
Louis Dupré
In a country ruled by laws, it seemed to me that nothing was more important than removing politics from the process of choosing judges. During previous administrations in California, governors had often handed out judgeships to friends and cronies like prizes at a company picnic. Not only had this produced a lot of inferior judges, it had placed a number of partisans on the bench who believed that putting on the black robes of a judge gave them a license to rewrite the laws. I wanted judges who would interpret the Constitution, not rewrite it.
Ronald Reagan (An American Life: The Autobiography)
My little friend Grildrig; you have made a most admirable panegyrick upon your country. You have clearly proved that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator. That laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. I observe among you, some lines of an institution, which in its original might have been tolerable; but these half erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions. It doth not appear, from all you have said, how any one perfection is required towards the procurement of any one station among you...I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives, to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels)
The more we delve into quantum mechanics the stranger the world becomes; appreciating this strangeness of the world, whilst still operating in that which you now consider reality, will be the foundation for shifting the current trajectory of your life from ordinary to extraordinary.
Kevin Michel (Moving Through Parallel Worlds To Achieve Your Dreams)
The Bible isn’t an answer book. It isn’t a self-help manual. It isn’t a flat, perspicuous list of rules and regulations that we can interpret objectively and apply unilaterally to our lives. The Bible is a sacred collection of letters and laws, poetry and proverbs, philosophy and prophecies, written and assembled over thousands of years in cultures and contexts very different from our own, that tells the complex, ever-unfolding story of God’s interaction with humanity.
Rachel Held Evans (A Year of Biblical Womanhood)
Faith cannot be about absolute certainty in the letters of the Bible and wrath against those who don’t comply (Ephesians 2:15). It has to be about overwhelming trust in God’s love,6 which as the apostle Paul confirms, is beyond the letter of law and narrow legalistic interpretations.
Amos Smith (Healing the Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots)
The passage, “And He rested on the seventh day” (Exod. xx. 11) is interpreted as follows: On the seventh Day the forces and laws were complete, which during the previous six days were in the state of being established for the preservation of the Universe. They were not to be increased or modified.
Maimonides (A Guide for the Perplexed)
Animals are property. There are laws that supposedly protect animal interests in being treated “humanely,” but that term is interpreted in large part to mean that we cannot impose “unnecessary” harm on animals, and that is measured by what treatment is considered as necessary within particular industries, and according to customs of use, to exploit animals. The bottom line is that animals do not have any respect-based rights in the way that humans have, because we do not regard animals as having any moral value. They have only economic value. We value their interests economically, and we ignore their interests when it is economically beneficial for us to do so. At this point in time, it makes no sense to focus on the law, because as long as we regard animals as things, as a moral matter, the laws will necessarily reflect that absence of moral value and continue to do nothing to protect animals. We need to change social and moral thinking about animals before the law is going to do anything more.
Gary L. Francione
By their actions, the Founding Fathers made clear that their primary concern was religious freedom, not the advancement of a state religion. Individuals, not the government, would define religious faith and practice in the United States. Thus the Founders ensured that in no official sense would America be a Christian Republic. Ten years after the Constitutional Convention ended its work, the country assured the world that the United States was a secular state, and that its negotiations would adhere to the rule of law, not the dictates of the Christian faith. The assurances were contained in the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797 and were intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers.
Franklin T. Lambert (The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America)
Whatever is real in our universe is real in a moment of time, which is one of a succession of moments. The past was real but is no longer real. We can, however, interpret and analyze the past, because we find evidence of past processes in the present. The future does not yet exist and is therefore open. We can reasonably infer some predictions, but we cannot predict the future completely. Indeed, the future can produce phenomena that are genuinely novel, in the sense that no knowledge of the past could have anticipated them. Nothing transcends time, not even the laws of nature. Laws are not timeless. Like everything else, they are features of the present, and they can evolve over time.
Lee Smolin (Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe)
Why are Muslims being “preserved” in some time capsule of centuries gone by? Why is it okay that we continue to live in a world where our women are compared to candy waiting to be consumed? Why is it okay for women of the rest of the world to fight for freedom and equality while we are told to cover our shameful bodies? Can’t you see that we are being held back from joining this elite club known as the 21st century? Noble liberals like yourself always stand up for the misrepresented Muslims and stand against the Islamophobes, which is great but who stands in my corner and for the others who feel oppressed by the religion? Every time we raise our voices, one of us is killed or threatened. . . . What you did by screaming “racist!” was shut down a conversation that many of us have been waiting to have. You helped those who wish to deny there are issues, deny them. What is so wrong with wanting to step into the current century? There should be no shame. There is no denying that violence, misogyny and homophobia exist in all religious texts, but Islam is the only religion that is adhered to so literally, to this day. In your culture you have the luxury of calling such literalists “crazies.” . . . In my culture, such values are upheld by more people than we realise. Many will try to deny it, but please hear me when I say that these are not fringe values. It is apparent in the lacking numbers of Muslims willing to speak out against the archaic Shariah law. The punishment for blasphemy and apostasy, etc, are tools of oppression. Why are they not addressed even by the peaceful folk who aren’t fanatical, who just want to have some sandwiches and pray five times a day? Where are the Muslim protestors against blasphemy laws/apostasy? Where are the Muslims who take a stand against harsh interpretation of Shariah?7
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now)
The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 1o) can he interpreted mystically in such a way that the question of the knowledge of God becomes its focus. The priest and the Levite, who walk past the man who fell among robbers and was seriously hurt, are pious God-fearing persons. They "know" God and the law of God. They have God the same way that the one who knows has that which is known. They know what God wants them to be and do. They also know where God is to he found, in the scriptures and the cult of the temple. For them, God is mediated through the existing institutions. They have their God - one who is not to he found on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. What is wrong with this knowledge of God? The problem is not the knowledge of the Torah or the knowledge of the temple. (It is absurd to read an anti-Judaistic meaning into a story of the Jew Jesus, since it could just as well have come from Hillel or another Jewish teacher.) What is false is a knowledge of God that does not allow for any unknowing or any negative theology. Because both actors know that God is "this," they do not see "that." Hence the Good Samaritan is the anti-fundamentalist story par excellence. "And so I ask God to rid me of God," Meister Eckhart says. The God who is known and familiar is too small for him.
Dorothee Sölle (The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance)
The 'Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics' speaks to possibility and it speaks to opportunity. By appreciating its existence and adopting the paradigm of its existence, we start to realize that our future has infinite potentiality, and we realize that the 'Ideal Parallel World' of our dreams already exists along one path of our potential future; therefore our behaviors in the present can guide us to that 'Ideal Parallel World.
Kevin Michel (Moving Through Parallel Worlds To Achieve Your Dreams)
Some modern theologians have, quite rightly, protested against an excessively moralistic interpretation of Christianity. The Holiness of God is something more and other than moral perfection: His claim upon us is something more and other than the claims of moral duty. I do not deny it: But this conception, like that of corporate guilt, is very easily used as an evasion of the real issue. God may be more than moral goodness: He is not less. The road to the promised land runs past Sinai. The moral law may exist to be transcended, but there is no transcending it for those who have not first admitted its claims upon them, and then tried with all their strength to meet that claim, and fairly and squarely face the fact of their failure.
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
How did Kirchmann understand the worthlessness of jurisprudence ? The answer lies in the aphorism: "Three revisions by the legislator and whole libraries became wastepaper." With a sharp alteration this answer became a slogan:"A stroke of the legislator's pen and whole libraries became wastepaper." Another aphorism in the same vein made the point even more brusquely and less politely: "Positive law turns the jurist into a worm in rotten wood." Kirchmann meant that jurisprudence could never catch up with legislation. Thus our predicament becomes immediately obvious. What remains of a science reduced to annotating and interpreting constantly changing regulations issued by state agencies presumed to be in the best position to know and articulate their true intent?
Carl Schmitt
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)
He was perfectly astonished with the historical account gave him of our affairs during the last century; protesting “it was only a heap of conspiracies, rebellions, murders, massacres, revolutions, banishments, the very worst effects that avarice, faction, hypocrisy, perfidiousness, cruelty, rage, madness, hatred, envy, lust, malice, and ambition, could produce.” His majesty, in another audience, was at the pains to recapitulate the sum of all I had spoken; compared the questions he made with the answers I had given; then taking me into his hands, and stroking me gently, delivered himself in these words, which I shall never forget, nor the manner he spoke them in: “My little friend Grildrig, you have made a most admirable panegyric upon your country; you have clearly proved, that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator; that laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied, by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. I observe among you some lines of an institution, which, in its original, might have been tolerable, but these half erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions. It does not appear, from all you have said, how any one perfection is required toward the procurement of any one station among you; much less, that men are ennobled on account of their virtue; that priests are advanced for their piety or learning; soldiers, for their conduct or valour; judges, for their integrity; senators, for the love of their country; or counsellors for their wisdom. As for yourself,” continued the king, “who have spent the greatest part of your life in travelling, I am well disposed to hope you may hitherto have escaped many vices of your country. But by what I have gathered from your own relation, and the answers I have with much pains wrung and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels)
I can’t believe you would represent a killer like that Jake. I thought you were one of us. xxx ‘Gotta have a lawyer, Helen. You can’t put the boy in the gas chamber if he doesn’t have a lawyer. Surely, you understand.’ xxx ‘...I can’t imagine doing that for a living, representing killers and child rapists and such.’ ‘How often do you read the Constitution?’ ‘...the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, says that a person accused of a serious crime must have a lawyer. And that’s the law of the land.
John Grisham (A Time for Mercy (Jake Brigance, #3))
With guilt there arises indeed a sort of demand which can be called scrupulosity and whose ambiguous character is extremely interesting. A scrupulous consciousness is a delicate consciousness, a precise consciousness, enamored of increasing perfection... This atomization of the law into a multitude of commandments entails an endless 'juridization' of action and a quasi-obsessional ritualization of daily life... With it we enter into the hell of guilt, such as St. Paul described it: the law itself becomes a source of sin.
Paul Ricœur (The Conflict of Interpretations (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy))
In 1967, the second resolution to the cat problem was formulated by Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner, whose work was pivotal in laying the foundation of quantum mechanics and also building the atomic bomb. He said that only a conscious person can make an observation that collapses the wave function. But who is to say that this person exists? You cannot separate the observer from the observed, so maybe this person is also dead and alive. In other words, there has to be a new wave function that includes both the cat and the observer. To make sure that the observer is alive, you need a second observer to watch the first observer. This second observer is called “Wigner’s friend,” and is necessary to watch the first observer so that all waves collapse. But how do we know that the second observer is alive? The second observer has to be included in a still-larger wave function to make sure he is alive, but this can be continued indefinitely. Since you need an infinite number of “friends” to collapse the previous wave function to make sure they are alive, you need some form of “cosmic consciousness,” or God. Wigner concluded: “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Toward the end of his life, he even became interested in the Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism. In this approach, God or some eternal consciousness watches over all of us, collapsing our wave functions so that we can say we are alive. This interpretation yields the same physical results as the Copenhagen interpretation, so this theory cannot be disproven. But the implication is that consciousness is the fundamental entity in the universe, more fundamental than atoms. The material world may come and go, but consciousness remains as the defining element, which means that consciousness, in some sense, creates reality. The very existence of the atoms we see around us is based on our ability to see and touch them.
Michio Kaku (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest To Understand, Enhance and Empower the Mind)
Another view of the Constitution was put forward early in the twentieth century by the historian Charles Beard (arousing anger and indignation, including a denunciatory editorial in the New York Times). He wrote in his book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution: Inasmuch as the primary object of a government, beyond the mere repression of physical violence, is the making of the rules which determine the property relations of members of society, the dominant classes whose rights are thus to be determined must perforce obtain from the government such rules as are consonant with the larger interests necessary to the continuance of their economic processes, or they must themselves control the organs of government. In short, Beard said, the rich must, in their own interest, either control the government directly or control the laws by which government operates. Beard applied this general idea to the Constitution, by studying the economic backgrounds and political ideas of the fifty-five men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draw up the Constitution. He found that a majority of them were lawyers by profession, that most of them were men of wealth, in land, slaves, manufacturing, or shipping, that half of them had money loaned out at interest, and that forty of the fifty-five held government bonds, according to the records of the Treasury Department. Thus, Beard found that most of the makers of the Constitution had some direct economic interest in establishing a strong federal government: the manufacturers needed protective tariffs; the moneylenders wanted to stop the use of paper money to pay off debts; the land speculators wanted protection as they invaded Indian lands; slaveowners needed federal security against slave revolts and runaways; bondholders wanted a government able to raise money by nationwide taxation, to pay off those bonds. Four groups, Beard noted, were not represented in the Constitutional Convention: slaves, indentured servants, women, men without property. And so the Constitution did not reflect the interests of those groups. He wanted to make it clear that he did not think the Constitution was written merely to benefit the Founding Fathers personally, although one could not ignore the $150,000 fortune of Benjamin Franklin, the connections of Alexander Hamilton to wealthy interests through his father-in-law and brother-in-law, the great slave plantations of James Madison, the enormous landholdings of George Washington. Rather, it was to benefit the groups the Founders represented, the “economic interests they understood and felt in concrete, definite form through their own personal experience.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present)
But I bring up my background in the law because hatred is a pretty big reason I’ve written this book. Not the healthiest emotion, I know, but for me it’s clarifying. What conservatives do and try to do through the Constitution and the law is disgusting. They use the law to humiliate people, to torture people, and to murder people, and tell you they’re just “following orders” from the Constitution. They frustrate legislation meant to help people, free people, or cure people, and they tell you it’s because of “doctrinal interpretative framework.” They use the very same legal arguments that have been used to justify slavery, segregation, and oppression for four hundred years on this continent and tell you it’s the only “objective” way of interpreting the law.
Elie Mystal (Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution)
There is no longer a Christian mind." -Blamires What did Blamires mean? To say that there is no Christian mind means that believers may be highly educated in terms of technical proficiency, and yet have no biblical worldview for interpreting the subject matter of their field. "We speak of the 'modern mind', and of the 'scientific mind', using that word 'mind' of a collectively accepted set of notions and attitudes," Blamires explains. But we have lost the Christian mind. There is now no shared, biblically based set of assumptions on subjects like law, education, economics, politics, science, or the arts. As a moral being, the Christian follows the biblical ethic. As a spiritual being, he prays and attends worship services. But as a thinking Christian, he has succumbed to secularism.
Nancy R. Pearcey
Wilson argued further, as he had to, that the federal courts are not bound to the Constitution. “The weightiest import of the matter is seen only when it is remembered that the courts are the instruments of the nation’s growth, and that the way in which they serve that use will have much to do with the integrity of every national process. If they determine what powers are to be exercised under the Constitution, they by the same token determine also the adequacy of the Constitution in respect of the needs and interests of the nation; our conscience in matters of law and our opportunity in matters of politics are in their hands.”10 Moreover, the only legitimate opinions the federal courts can render are those that endorse and promote the expansion of federal power. “[T]hat if they had interpreted the Constitution in its strict letter, as some proposed, and not in its spirit, like the charter of a business corporation and not like the charter of a living government, the vehicle of a nation
Mark R. Levin (Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America)
All idealization makes life poorer. To beautify it is to take away its character of complexity — it is to destroy it. Leave that to the moralists, my boy. History is made by men, but they do not make it in their heads. The ideas that are born in their consciousness play an insignificant part in the march of events. History is dominated and determined by the tool and the production — by the force of economic conditions. Capitalism has made socialism, and the laws made by the capitalist for the protection of property are responsible for anarchism. No one can tell what form the social organisation may take in the future. Then why indulge in prophetic phantasies? At best they can only interpret the mind of the prophet, and can have no objective value. Leave that pastime to the moralists, my boy.
Joseph Conrad (The Secret Agent)
Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
The three terms of Federalist rule had been full of dazzling accomplishments that Republicans, with their extreme apprehension of federal power, could never have achieved. Under the tutelage of Washington, Adams, and Hamilton, the Federalists had bequeathed to American history a sound federal government with a central bank, a funded debt, a high credit rating, a tax system, a customs service, a coast guard, a navy, and many other institutions that would guarantee the strength to preserve liberty. They activated critical constitutional doctrines that gave the American charter flexibility, forged the bonds of nationhood, and lent an energetic tone to the executive branch in foreign and domestic policy. Hamilton, in particular, bound the nation through his fiscal programs in a way that no Republican could have matched. He helped to establish the rule of law and the culture of capitalism at a time when a revolutionary utopianism and a flirtation with the French Revolution still prevailed among too many Jeffersonians. With their reverence for states’ rights, abhorrence of central authority, and cramped interpretation of the Constitution, Republicans would have found it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve these historic feats. Hamilton
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
The statue of Justice, symbol of the law, as she holds aloft her balance scale, is blindfolded. Justice is blind to race, creed, color – and to personal eccentricity. If there were a comparable state of Clio, the Muse of history, she would have to be presented with the blindfold lying at her feet, because the balance of her scales must be weighed with a conscious awareness of the facts and interpretations she must weigh.
Leonard J. Arrington (Brigham Young: American Moses)
Overt bigotry, Jim Crow laws and policies, government-mandated discrimination, and the belief in black inferiority have virtually disappeared. Laissez-faire racism, instead, involves persistent negative stereotyping of African Americans, a tendency to blame blacks for their own conditions, appeals to meritocracy, and resistance to meaningful policy efforts to ameliorate America’s racist social conditions and institutions. Government is formally race neutral and committed to antidiscrimination, and most white Americans prefer a more volitional and cultural, as opposed to inherent and biological, interpretation of blacks’ disadvantage status.
Thomas M. Shapiro
The President is at liberty, both in law and conscience, to be as big a man as he can. His capacity will set the limit; and if Congress be overborne by him, it will be no fault of the makers of the Constitution, – it will be from no lack of constitutional powers on its part, but only because the President has the nation behind him, and the Congress has not.” “The chief instrumentality by which the law of the Constitution has been extended to cover the facts of national development has of course been judicial interpretation, – the decisions of the courts. The process of formal amendment of the Constitution was made so difficult by provisions of the Constitution itself that it has seldom been feasible to use it; and the difficulty of formal amendment has undoubtedly made the courts more liberal, not to say lax, in their interpretation than they would otherwise have been. The whole business of adaptation has been theirs, and they have undertaken it with open minds, sometimes even with boldness and a touch of audacity...” “The old theory of the sovereignty of the States, which used so to engage our passions, has lost its vitality. The war between the States established at least this principle, that the federal government is, through its courts, the final judge of its own powers... We are impatient of state legislatures because they seem to us less representative of the thoughtful opinion of the country than Congress is. We know that our legislatures do not think alike, but we are not sure that our people do not think alike...
Woodrow Wilson (Constitutional Government in the United States (Library of Liberal Thought))
This preoccupation with the classics was the happiest thing that could have befallen me. It gave me a standard of values. To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education. ... Faulty though my own practice has always been, I learned sound doctrine - the virtue of a clean, bare style, of simplicity, of a hard substance and an austere pattern. Above all the Calvinism of my boyhood was broadened, mellowed, and also confirmed. For if the classics widened my sense of the joy of life they also taught its littleness and transience; if they exalted the dignity of human nature they insisted upon its frailties and the aidos with which the temporal must regard the eternal. I lost then any chance of being a rebel, for I became profoundly conscious of the dominion of unalterable law. ... Indeed, I cannot imagine a more precious viaticum than the classics of Greece and Rome, or a happier fate than that one's youth should be intertwined with their world of clear, mellow lights, gracious images, and fruitful thoughts. They are especially valuable to those who believe that Time enshrines and does not destroy, and who do what I am attempting to do in these pages, and go back upon and interpret the past. No science or philosophy can give that colouring, for such provide a schematic, and not a living, breathing universe. And I do not think that the mastery of other literatures can give it in a like degree, for they do not furnish the same totality of life - a complete world recognisable as such, a humane world, yet one untouchable by decay and death...
John Buchan (Memory Hold-the-Door: The Autobiography of John Buchan)
The Right is General - It might be supposed from the phraseology of this provision that the right to keep and bear arms was only guaranteed to the militia but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent. The militia as has been elsewhere explained consists of those persons who under the law are liable to the performance of military duty and are officered and enrolled for service when called upon. But the law may make provision for the enrollment of all who are fit to perform military duty or of a small number only or it may wholly omit to make any provision at all and if the right were limited to those enrolled the purpose of this guaranty might be defeated altogether by the action or neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check. The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is that the people from whom the militia must be taken shall have the right to keep and bear arms and they need no permission or regulation of law for the purpose.
Thomas McIntyre Cooley (General Principles of Constitutional law in the United States of America;)
When a soul in sin, under the impetus of grace, turns to God, there is penance; but when a soul in sin refuses to change, God sends chastisement. This chastisement need not be external, and certainly it is never arbitrary; it comes as an inevitable result of breaking God’s moral law. But the entrenched forces of the modern world are irrational, men nowadays do not always interpret disasters as the moral events they are. When calamity strikes the flint of human hearts, sparks of sacred fire are kindled and men will normally begin to make an estimate of their true worth. In previous ages this was usual: a disordered individual could find his way back to peace because he lived in an objective world inspired by Christian order. But the frustrated man of today, having lost his faith in God, living as he does, in a disordered chaotic world, has no beacon to guide him. In times of trouble he sometimes turns in upon himself, like a serpent devouring its own tail. Given such a man, who worships the false trinity of (1) his own pride, which acknowledges no law; (2) his own sensuality, which makes earthly comfort it goal; (3) his license, which interprets liberty as the absences of all restraint and law—then a cancer is created which is impossible to cure except through an operation or calamity unmistakable as God’s action in history. It is always through sweat and blood and tears that the soul is purged of its animal egotism and laid open to the Spirit … Catastrophe can be to a world that has forgotten God what a sickness can be to a sinner; in the midst of it millions might be brought not to a voluntary, but to an enforced crisis. Such a calamity would put an end to Godlessness and make vast numbers of men, who might otherwise lose their souls, turn to God.
Fulton J. Sheen (Peace of Soul: Timeless Wisdom on Finding Serenity and Joy by the Century's Most Acclaimed Catholic Bishop)
But I bring up my background in the law because hatred is a pretty big reason I’ve written this book. Not the healthiest emotion, I know, but for me it’s clarifying. What conservatives do and try to do through the Constitution and the law is disgusting. They use the law to humiliate people, to torture people, and to murder people, and tell you they’re just “following orders” from the Constitution. They frustrate legislation meant to help people, free people, or cure people, and they tell you it’s because of “doctrinal interpretative framework.” They use the very same legal arguments that have been used to justify slavery, segregation, and oppression for four hundred years on this continent and tell you it’s the only “objective” way of interpreting the law. Most legal stories
Elie Mystal (Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution)
With the best of intentions, the generation before mine worked diligently to prepare their children to make an intelligent case for Christianity. We were constantly reminded of the superiority of our own worldview and the shortcomings of all others. We learned that as Christians, we alone had access to absolute truth and could win any argument. The appropriate Bible verses were picked out for us, the opposing positions summarized for us, and the best responses articulated for us, so that we wouldn’t have to struggle through two thousand years of theological deliberations and debates but could get right to the bottom line on the important stuff: the deity of Christ, the nature of the Trinity, the role and interpretation of Scripture, and the fundamentals of Christianity. As a result, many of us entered the world with both an unparalleled level of conviction and a crippling lack of curiosity. So ready with the answers, we didn’t know what the questions were anymore. So prepared to defend the faith, we missed the thrill of discovering it for ourselves. So convinced we had God right, it never occurred to us that we might be wrong. In short, we never learned to doubt. Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God. The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it. The former is a vice; the latter a virtue. Where would we be if the apostle Peter had not doubted the necessity of food laws, or if Martin Luther had not doubted the notion that salvation can be purchased? What if Galileo had simply accepted church-instituted cosmology paradigms, or William Wilberforce the condition of slavery? We do an injustice to the intricacies and shadings of Christian history when we gloss over the struggles, when we read Paul’s epistles or Saint Augustine’s Confessions without acknowledging the difficult questions that these believers asked and the agony with which they often asked them. If I’ve learned anything over the past five years, it’s that doubt is the mechanism by which faith evolves. It helps us cast off false fundamentals so that we can recover what has been lost or embrace what is new. It is a refining fire, a hot flame that keeps our faith alive and moving and bubbling about, where certainty would only freeze it on the spot. I would argue that healthy doubt (questioning one’s beliefs) is perhaps the best defense against unhealthy doubt (questioning God). When we know how to make a distinction between our ideas about God and God himself, our faith remains safe when one of those ideas is seriously challenged. When we recognize that our theology is not the moon but rather a finger pointing at the moon, we enjoy the freedom of questioning it from time to time. We can say, as Tennyson said, Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be; They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than they.15 I sometimes wonder if I might have spent fewer nights in angry, resentful prayer if only I’d known that my little systems — my theology, my presuppositions, my beliefs, even my fundamentals — were but broken lights of a holy, transcendent God. I wish I had known to question them, not him. What my generation is learning the hard way is that faith is not about defending conquered ground but about discovering new territory. Faith isn’t about being right, or settling down, or refusing to change. Faith is a journey, and every generation contributes its own sketches to the map. I’ve got miles and miles to go on this journey, but I think I can see Jesus up ahead.
Rachel Held Evans (Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions)
There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Unfortunately, the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government have become increasingly concerned with their image and their political parties, have drifted away from strict interpretations of the Constitution, and have substituted their own ideologies for the original vision. As a result, our government produces massively complicated taxation schemes, impossibly intricate and uninterpretable health care laws, and other intrusive measures instead of being a watchful guardian of our rights. Instead of providing an environment that allows diligent people to thrive on the basis of their own hard work and entrepreneurship, our government has taken on the role of trying to care for everyone’s needs and redistributing the fruits of everyone’s labors in a way consistent with its own ideology.
Ben Carson (One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future)
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Frosh (2002) has suggested that therapeutic spaces provide children and adults with the rare opportunity to articulate experiences that are otherwise excluded from the dominant symbolic order. However, since the 1990s, post-modern and post-structural theory has often been deployed in ways that attempt to ‘manage’ from; afar the perturbing disclosures of abuse and trauma that arise in therapeutic spaces (Frosh 2002). Nowhere is this clearer than in relation to organised abuse, where the testimony of girls and women has been deconstructed as symptoms of cultural hysteria (Showalter 1997) and the colonisation of women’s minds by therapeutic discourse (Hacking 1995). However, behind words and discourse, ‘a real world and real lives do exist, howsoever we interpret, construct and recycle accounts of these by a variety of symbolic means’ (Stanley 1993: 214). Summit (1994: 5) once described organised abuse as a ‘subject of smoke and mirrors’, observing the ways in which it has persistently defied conceptualisation or explanation. Explanations for serious or sadistic child sex offending have typically rested on psychiatric concepts of ‘paedophilia’ or particular psychological categories that have limited utility for the study of the cultures of sexual abuse that emerge in the families or institutions in which organised abuse takes pace. For those clinicians and researchers who take organised abuse seriously, their reliance upon individualistic rather than sociological explanations for child sexual abuse has left them unable to explain the emergence of coordinated, and often sadistic, multi—perpetrator sexual abuse in a range of contexts around the world.
Michael Salter (Organised Sexual Abuse)
The apostle Paul often appears in Christian thought as the one chiefly responsible for the de-Judaization of the gospel and even for the transmutation of the person of Jesus from a rabbi in the Jewish sense to a divine being in the Greek sense. Such an interpretation of Paul became almost canonical in certain schools of biblical criticism during the nineteenth century, especially that of Ferdinand Christian Baur, who saw the controversy between Paul and Peter as a conflict between the party of Peter, with its 'Judaizing' distortion of the gospel into a new law, and the party of Paul, with its universal vision of the gospel as a message about Jesus for all humanity. Very often, of course, this description of the opposition between Peter and Paul and between law and gospel was cast in the language of the opposition between Roman Catholicism (which traced its succession to Peter as the first pope) and Protestantism (which arose from Luther's interpretation of the epistles of Paul). Luther's favorite among those epistles, the letter to the Romans, became the charter for this supposed declaration of independence from Judaism.
Jaroslav Pelikan (Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture)
Then the Interpreter took Christian by the hand and led him into a very large parlor that was full of dust because it was never swept. After He had reviewed it a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to come and sweep. Now when he began to sweep, the dust began to fly about so much and was so thick that Christian almost choked. Then said the Interpreter to a damsel who stood nearby, "Bring water, and sprinkle the room." When she had done as requested, it was swept and cleansed very pleasantly. Then Christian asked, "What does this mean?" The Interpreter answered, "This parlor is the heart of a man that has never been sanctified by the sweet grace of the gospel; the dust is his original sin and inward corruptions that have defiled the whole man. The first man that began to sweep is the Law; the damsel that brought water and sprinkled it is the gospel. You saw that as soon as the first man began to sweep, the dust filled the room so thickly that it could not be cleansed, and you almost choked on it. This is to show you that the Law, instead of cleansing the heart from sin, actually revives, increases, and adds strength to it. Even though the Law uncovers and forbids sin, it is powerless to conquer or subdue
John Bunyan (The Pilgrim's Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come)
Among the cultivated and mentally active, hagiography is now a very unpopular form of literature. The fact is not at all surprising. The cultivated and the mentally active have an insatiable appetite for novelty, diversity and distraction. But the saints, however commanding their talents and whatever the nature of their professional activities, are all incessantly preoccupied with only one subject—spiritual Reality and the means by which they and their fellows can come to the unitive knowledge of that Reality. And as for their actions—these are as monotonously uniform as their thoughts; for in all circumstances they behave selflessly, patiently and with indefatigable charity. No wonder, then, if the biographies of such men and women remain unread. For one well educated person who knows anything about William Law there are two or three hundred who have read Boswell’s life of his younger contemporary. Why? Because, until he actually lay dying, Johnson indulged himself in the most fascinating of multiple personalities; whereas Law, for all the superiority of his talents was almost absurdly simple and single-minded. Legion prefers to read about Legion. It is for this reason that, in the whole repertory of epic, drama and the novel there are hardly any representations of true theocentric saints.
Aldous Huxley (The Perennial Philosophy: An Interpretation of the Great Mystics, East and West)
In Boston right around the same time, another criminologist did a similar study: Half the crime in the city came from 3.6 percent of the city’s blocks. That made two examples. Weisburd decided to look wherever he could: New York. Seattle. Cincinnati. Sherman looked in Kansas City, Dallas. Anytime someone asked, the two of them would run the numbers. And every place they looked, they saw the same thing: Crime in every city was concentrated in a tiny number of street segments. Weisburd decided to try a foreign city, somewhere entirely different—culturally, geographically, economically. His family was Israeli, so he thought Tel Aviv. Same thing. “I said, ‘Oh my God. Look at that! Why should it be that five percent of the streets in Tel Aviv produce fifty percent of the crime? There’s this thing going on, in places that are so different.’” Weisburd refers to this as the Law of Crime Concentration.6 Like suicide, crime is tied to very specific places and contexts. Weisburd’s experiences in the 72nd Precinct and in Minneapolis are not idiosyncratic. They capture something close to a fundamental truth about human behavior. And that means that when you confront the stranger, you have to ask yourself where and when you’re confronting the stranger—because those two things powerfully influence your interpretation of who the stranger is.
Malcolm Gladwell (Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know)
A philosopher once said 'It is necessary for the very existence of science that the same conditions always produce the same results'. Well, they do not. You set up the circumstances, with the same conditions every time, and you cannot predict behind which hole you will see the electron. Yet science goes on in spite of it - although the same conditions do not always produce the same results. <...> What is necessary 'for the very existence of science', and what the characteristics of nature are, are not to be determined by pompous preconditions, they are determined always by the material with which we work, by nature herself. We look, and we see what we find, and we cannot say ahead of time successfully what it is going to look like. <...> If science is to progress, what we need is the ability to experiment, honesty in reporting results - the results must be reported without somebody saying what they would like the results to have been - and finally - an important thing - the intelligence to interpret the results.
Richard P. Feynman (The Character of Physical Law)
Leave all the ‘wise men to mock it or tolerate.’ Let them reach the moon or the stars, they are all dead. Nothing lives outside of man. Man is the living soul, turning slowly into a life-giving Spirit. But you cannot tell it except in a parable or metaphor to excite the mind of man to get him to go out and prove it. Leave the good and evil and eat of the Tree of Life. Nothing in the world is untrue if you want it to be true. You are the truth of everything that you perceive. ‘I am the truth, and the way, the life revealed.’ If I have physically nothing in my pocket, then in Imagination I have MUCH. But that is a lie based on fact, but truth is based on the intensity of my imagination and then I will create it in my world. Should I accept facts and use them as to what I should imagine? No. It is told us in the story of the fig tree. It did not bear for three years. One said, ‘Cut it down, and throw it away.’ But the keeper of the vineyard pleaded NO’! Who is the tree? I am the tree; you are the tree. We bear or we do not. But the Keeper said he would dig around the tree and feed it ‘or manure it, as we would say today’ and see if it will not bear. Well I do that here every week and try to get the tree ‘you’ me to bear. You should bear whatever you desire. If you want to be happily married, you should be. The world is only response. If you want money, get it. Everything is a dream anyway. When you awake and know what you are creating and that you are creating it that is a different thing. The greatest book is the Bible, but it has been taken from a moral basis and it is all weeping and tears. It seems almost ruthless as given to us in the Gospel, if taken literally. The New Testament interprets the Old Testament, and it has nothing to do with morals. You change your mind and stay in that changed state until it unfolds. Man thinks he has to work himself out of something, but it is God asleep in you as a living soul, and then we are reborn as a life-giving spirit. We do it here in this little classroom called Earth or beyond the grave, for you cannot die. You can be just as asleep beyond the grave. I meet them constantly, and they are just like this. Same loves and same hates. No change. They will go through it until they finally awake, until they cease to re-act and begin to act. Do not take this story lightly which I have told you tonight. Take it to heart. Tonight when you are driving home enact a scene. No matter what it is. Forget good and evil. Enact a scene that implies you have what you desire, and to the degree that you are faithful to that state, it will unfold in your world and no power can stop it, for there is no other power. Nothing is independent of your perception of it, and this goes for that great philosopher among us who is still claiming that everything is independent of the perceiver, but that the perceiver has certain powers. It is not so. Nothing is independent of the perceiver. Everything is ‘burned up’ when I cease to behold it. It may exist for another, but not for me. Let us make our dream a noble one, for the world is infinite response to you, the being you want to be. Now let us go into the silence.
Neville Goddard (The Law: And Other Essays on Manifestation)
Many religious fundamentalists around the world would like to see the establishment of theocracies — states where religion and government are closely intertwined. While some just reject separation of [name of place of worship] and state, others go further and insist that one religion’s tenets be made law. The normal arguments for a theocracy are that, for example, it would lend a greater sense of morality to the making and enforcement of laws. Or that as our laws were originally derived from some moral commandments in a particular religion, it makes sense to enthrone this religion as chief in the state. Basically, theocrats can talk until the cows come home about how great it would be if we were ruled by God, how great it would be if our laws followed God’s laws, and so forth. But this vision of theocracy will never come to be, and should never come to be. The fundamental problem with every theocracy is that is innately unfair. Not just unfair to those who do not follow the state religion, but also unfair to those who do not follow the state religion as it is understood and interpreted by the humans who run the state. After all, who really believes that all the Muslims in any of the Islamic theocracies we have today are happy? Those who believe the wrong things about Islam from one particular point of view are mercilessly vilified — the present civil war in Iraq is an excellent example. Why a theocracy would be unfair to those who don’t practice the state religion should be very apparent. Whatever flowery talk there may be of equality, if the laws are derived from one religion, then the laws will favour that religion, like it or not. At this point, supporters of theocracy often get riled up. This is because they can point topassages in their holy book which they argue justify their claims that their religion would be fair to all. On occasion they will also argue that their particular God’s laws are perfect.
John Lee
This parlor, said the Interpreter, is the heart of a man who was never sanctified by the sweet grace of the gospel. The dust is his original sin and inward corruptions that have defiled the whole man. He that began to sweep at first, is the law. But she that brought water and sprinkled it is the gospel. Now you saw that as soon as the first began to sweep the dust flew about the room so that it could not be cleaned, and you were almost choked with it. This is to show you that the law, instead of cleansing the heart by its working, from sin, does revive, strengthen and increase sin in the soul even as it does discover and forbid it. For the law does not give power to subdue sin. Again, you saw the young woman sprinkle the room with water, upon which it was cleansed with pleasure. This is to show you that when the sweet and precious influence of the gospel comes into the heart then sin is vanquished and subdued and the soul made clean and, consequently, fit for the king of glory to inhabit.
Max McLean (The Pilgrim's Progress)
This is so whether the said body of citizens or its prevailing part does this directly of itself, or commits the task to another or others who are not and cannot be the legislator in an unqualified sense but only in a certain respect and at a certain time and in accordance with the authority of the primary legislator. And in consequence of this I say that laws and anything else instituted by election must receive their necessary approval from the same primary authority and no other: whatever may be the situation concerning various ceremonies or solemnities, which are not required for the results of an election to stand but for their good standing, and even without which the election would be no less valid. I say further that it is by the same authority that laws and anything else instituted by election must receive any addition or subtraction or even total overhaul, any interpretation and any suspension: depending on the demands of time and place and other circumstances that might make one of these measures opportune for the sake of the common advantage in such matters.
Marsilius of Padua (The Defender of the Peace (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought))
Two centuries ago, the United States settled into a permanent political order, after fourteen years of violence and heated debate. Two centuries ago, France fell into ruinous disorder that ran its course for twenty-four years. In both countries there resounded much ardent talk of rights--rights natural, rights prescriptive. . . . [F]anatic ideology had begun to rage within France, so that not one of the liberties guaranteed by the Declaration of the Rights of Man could be enjoyed by France's citizens. One thinks of the words of Dostoievski: "To begin with unlimited liberty is to end with unlimited despotism." . . . In striking contrast, the twenty-two senators and fifty-nine representatives who during the summer of 1789 debated the proposed seventeen amendments to the Constitution were men of much experience in representative government, experience acquired within the governments of their several states or, before 1776, in colonial assembles and in the practice of the law. Many had served in the army during the Revolution. They decidedly were political realists, aware of how difficult it is to govern men's passions and self-interest. . . . Among most of them, the term democracy was suspect. The War of Independence had sufficed them by way of revolution. . . . The purpose of law, they knew, is to keep the peace. To that end, compromises must be made among interests and among states. Both Federalists and Anti-Federalists ranked historical experience higher than novel theory. They suffered from no itch to alter American society radically; they went for sound security. The amendments constituting what is called the Bill of Rights were not innovations, but rather restatements of principles at law long observed in Britain and in the thirteen colonies. . . . The Americans who approved the first ten amendments to their Constitution were no ideologues. Neither Voltaire nor Rousseau had any substantial following among them. Their political ideas, with few exceptions, were those of English Whigs. The typical textbook in American history used to inform us that Americans of the colonial years and the Revolutionary and Constitutional eras were ardent disciples of John Locke. This notion was the work of Charles A. Beard and Vernon L. Parrington, chiefly. It fitted well enough their liberal convictions, but . . . it has the disadvantage of being erroneous. . . . They had no set of philosophes inflicted upon them. Their morals they took, most of them, from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Their Bill of Rights made no reference whatever to political abstractions; the Constitution itself is perfectly innocent of speculative or theoretical political arguments, so far as its text is concerned. John Dickinson, James Madison, James Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, George Mason, and other thoughtful delegates to the Convention in 1787 knew something of political theory, but they did not put political abstractions into the text of the Constitution. . . . Probably most members of the First Congress, being Christian communicants of one persuasion or another, would have been dubious about the doctrine that every man should freely indulge himself in whatever is not specifically prohibited by positive law and that the state should restrain only those actions patently "hurtful to society." Nor did Congress then find it necessary or desirable to justify civil liberties by an appeal to a rather vague concept of natural law . . . . Two centuries later, the provisions of the Bill of Rights endure--if sometimes strangely interpreted. Americans have known liberty under law, ordered liberty, for more than two centuries, while states that have embraced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, with its pompous abstractions, have paid the penalty in blood.
Russell Kirk (Rights and Duties: Reflections on Our Conservative Constitution)
Then there occurred to me the 'glucklichste Gedanke meines Lebens,' the happiest thought of my life, in the following form. The gravitational field has only a relative existence in a way similar to the electric field generated by magnetoelectric induction. Because for an observer falling freely from the roof of a house there exists-at least in his immediate surroundings-no gravitational field [his italics]. Indeed, if the observer drops some bodies then these remain relative to him in a state of rest or of uniform motion, independent of their particular chemical or physical nature (in this consideration the air resistance is, of course, ignored). The observer therefore has the right to interpret his state as 'at rest.' Because of this idea, the uncommonly peculiar experimental law that in the gravitational field all bodies fall with the same acceleration attained at once a deep physical meaning. Namely, if there were to exist just one single object that falls in the gravitational field in a way different from all others, then with its help the observer could realize that he is ina gravitational field and is falling in it. If such an object does not exist, however-as experience has shown with great accuracy-then the observer lacks any objective means of perceiving himself as falling in a gravitational field. Rather he has the right to consider his state as one of rest and his environment as field-free relative to gravitation. The experimentally known matter independence of the acceleration of fall is therefore a powerful argument for the fact that the relativity postulate has to be extended to coordinate systems which, relative to each other, are in non-uniform motion.
Albert Einstein
Berkman called no witnesses of his own. Instead, with the aid of an ill-trained interpreter, he began to read his long speech. “Some may wonder why I have declined a legal defense,” Berkman said. “My reasons are twofold. In the first place, I am an anarchist: I do not believe in man-made laws, designed to enslave and oppress humanity. Secondly, an extraordinary phenomenon like an attentat cannot be measured by the narrow standards of legality.” In short, Berkman said, he would explain the deed, and by doing so, society itself would be put on trial. An hour into his presentation, much of which was heard only in mangled English, Judge McClung’s patience came to an end. He ordered Berkman to finish by the rapidly approaching hour of one o’clock. “I can have all the time I want for my defense and will take all the time I need,” Berkman replied. “No, you haven’t,” said the judge. “We’ll teach you different if you think you can dictate to us.” Berkman and his interpreter sputtered on. At 1:10 the judge stopped Berkman and gave the prosecutor the floor. Holding the dagger in his hands, he urged the jury to convict Berkman. The jury didn’t even stir from the box. It immediately pronounced Berkman guilty on all counts. McClung sentenced him to 22 years of confinement.
James McGrath Morris (Revolution By Murder: Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and the Plot to Kill Henry Clay Frick (Kindle Single))
To narrow natural rights to such neat slogans as "liberty, equality, fraternity" or "life, liberty, property," . . . was to ignore the complexity of public affairs and to leave out of consideration most moral relationships. . . . Burke appealed back beyond Locke to an idea of community far warmer and richer than Locke's or Hobbes's aggregation of individuals. The true compact of society, Burke told his countrymen, is eternal: it joins the dead, the living, and the unborn. We all participate in this spiritual and social partnership, because it is ordained of God. In defense of social harmony, Burke appealed to what Locke had ignored: the love of neighbor and the sense of duty. By the time of the French Revolution, Locke's argument in the Second Treatise already had become insufficient to sustain a social order. . . . The Constitution is not a theoretical document at all, and the influence of Locke upon it is negligible, although Locke's phrases, at least, crept into the Declaration of Independence, despite Jefferson's awkwardness about confessing the source of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." If we turn to the books read and quoted by American leaders near the end of the eighteenth century, we discover that Locke was but one philosopher and political advocate among the many writers whose influence they acknowledged. . . . Even Jefferson, though he had read Locke, cites in his Commonplace Book such juridical authorities as Coke and Kames much more frequently. As Gilbert Chinard puts it, "The Jeffersonian philosophy was born under the sign of Hengist and Horsa, not of the Goddess Reason"--that is, Jefferson was more strongly influenced by his understanding of British history, the Anglo-Saxon age particularly, than by the eighteenth-century rationalism of which Locke was a principal forerunner. . . . Adams treats Locke merely as one of several commendable English friends to liberty. . . . At bottom, the thinking Americans of the last quarter of the eighteenth century found their principles of order in no single political philosopher, but rather in their religion. When schooled Americans of that era approved a writer, commonly it was because his books confirmed their American experience and justified convictions they held already. So far as Locke served their needs, they employed Locke. But other men of ideas served them more immediately. At the Constitutional Convention, no man was quoted more frequently than Montesquieu. Montesquieu rejects Hobbes's compact formed out of fear; but also, if less explicitly, he rejects Locke's version of the social contract. . . . It is Montesquieu's conviction that . . . laws grow slowly out of people's experiences with one another, out of social customs and habits. "When a people have pure and regular manners, their laws become simple and natural," Montesquieu says. It was from Montesquieu, rather than from Locke, that the Framers obtained a theory of checks and balances and of the division of powers. . . . What Madison and other Americans found convincing in Hume was his freedom from mystification, vulgar error, and fanatic conviction: Hume's powerful practical intellect, which settled for politics as the art of the possible. . . . [I]n the Federalist, there occurs no mention of the name of John Locke. In Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention there is to be found but one reference to Locke, and that incidental. Do not these omissions seem significant to zealots for a "Lockean interpretation" of the Constitution? . . . John Locke did not make the Glorious Revolution of 1688 or foreordain the Constitution of the United States. . . . And the Constitution of the United States would have been framed by the same sort of men with the same sort of result, and defended by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, had Locke in 1689 lost the manuscripts of his Two Treatises of Civil Government while crossing the narrow seas with the Princess Mary.
Russell Kirk (Rights and Duties: Reflections on Our Conservative Constitution)
The “United States” does not exist as a nation, because the ruling class of the U.S./Europe exploits the world without regard to borders and nationality.  For instance, multinational or global corporations rule the world.  They make their own laws by buying politicians– Democrats and Republicans, and white politicians in England and in the rest of Europe.  We are ruled by a European power which disregards even the hypocritical U.S. Constitution.  If it doesn’t like the laws of the U.S., as they are created, interpreted and enforced, the European power simply moves its base of management and labor to some other part of the world.   Today the European power most often rules through neocolonial regimes in the so-called “Third World.”  Through political leaders who are loyal only to the European power, not to their people and the interests of their nation, the European power sets up shop in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  By further exploiting the people and stealing the resources of these nations on every continent outside Europe, the European power enhances its domination.  Every institution and organization within the European power has the purpose of adding to its global domination: NATO, the IMF, the World Bank, the military, and the police.   The European power lies to the people within each “nation” about national pride or patriotism.  We foolishly stand with our hands over our hearts during the “National Anthem” at football games while the somber servicemen in their uniforms hold the red, white and blue flag, then a military jet flies over and we cheer.  This show obscures the real purpose of the military, which is to increase European power through intimidation and the ongoing invasion of the globe.  We are cheering for imperialist forces.  We are standing on Native land celebrating the symbols of de-humanizing terrorism.  Why would we do this unless we were being lied to?   The European imperialist power lies to us about its imperialism.  It’s safe to say, most “Americans” do not recognize that we are part of an empire.  When we think of an empire we think of ancient Rome or the British Empire.  Yet the ongoing attack against the Native peoples of “North America” is imperialism.  When we made the “Louisiana Purchase” (somehow the French thought Native land was theirs to sell, and the U.S. thought it was ours to buy) this was imperialism.  When we stole the land from Mexico, this was imperialism (the Mexican people having been previously invaded by the European imperialist power).  Imperialism is everywhere.  Only the lies of capitalism could so effectively lead us to believe that we are not part of an empire.
Samantha Foster (Center Africa / and Other Essays To Raise Reparations for African Liberation)
The Levellers . . . only change and pervert the natural order of things: they load the edifice of society by setting up in the air what the solidity of the structure requires to be on the ground. . . . Far am I from denying in theory, full as far is my heart from withholding in practice (if I were of power to give or to withhold), the real rights of men. In denying their false claims of right, I do not mean to injure those which are real, and are such as their pretended rights would totally destroy. . . . In this partnership all men have equal rights; but not to equal things. . . . Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom. Among these wants is to be reckoned the want, out of civil society, of a sufficient restraint upon their passions. Society requires not only that the passions of individuals should be subjected, but that even in the mass and body, as well as in the individuals, the inclinations of men should frequently be thwarted, their will controlled, and their passions brought into subjection. This can only be done by a power out of themselves, and not, in the exercise of its function, subject to that will and to those passions which it is its office to bridle and subdue. In this sense the restraints on men, as well as their liberties, are to be reckoned among their rights. . . . Society is, indeed, a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure; but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. . . . You would not cure the evil by resolving that there should be no more monarchs, nor ministers of state, nor of the Gospel— no interpreters of law, no general officers, no public councils. You might change the names: the things in some shape must remain. A certain quantum of power must always exist in the community, in some hands, and under some appellation. Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names— to the causes of evil, which are permanent, not to the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear. Otherwise you will be wise historically, a fool in practice. . . . The effects of the incapacity shown by the popular leaders in all the great members of the commonwealth are to be covered with the 'all-atoning name' of Liberty. . . . But what is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint. Those who know what virtuous liberty is cannot bear to see it disgraced by incapable heads, on account of their having high-sounding words in their mouths. . . . To make a government requires no great prudence. Settle the seat of power, teach obedience, and the work is done. To give freedom is still more easy. It is not necessary to guide; it only requires to let go the rein. But to form a free government, that is to temper together these opposite elements of liberty and restraint in one consistent work, requires much thought, deep reflection, a sagacious, powerful, and combining mind.
Edmund Burke
In the nouveau roman of Robbe-Grillet there is an attempt at a more or less Copernican change in the relation between the paradigm and the text. In Camus the counter-pointing is less doctrinaire; in Dostoevsky there is no evidence of any theoretical stand at all, simply rich originality within or without, as it chances, normal expectations. All these are novels which most of us would agree (and it is by a consensus of this kind only that these matters, quite rightly, are determined) to be at least very good. They represent in varying degrees that falsification of simple expectations as to the structure of a future which constitutes peripeteia. We cannot, of course, be denied an end; it is one of the great charms of books that they have to end. But unless we are extremely naive, as some apocalyptic sects still are, we do not ask that they progress towards that end precisely as we have been given to believe. In fact we should expect only the most trivial work to conform to pre-existent types. It is essential to the drift of all these talks that what I call the scepticism of the clerisy operates in the person of the reader as a demand for constantly changing, constantly more subtle, relationships between a fiction and the paradigms, and that this expectation enables a writer much inventive scope as he works to meet and transcend it. The presence of such paradigms in fictions may be necessary-that is a point I shall be discussing later--but if the fictions satisfy the clerisy, the paradigms will be to a varying but always great extent attenuated or obscured. The pressure of reality on us is always varying, as Stevens might have said: the fictions must change, or if they are fixed, the interpretations must change. Since we continue to 'prescribe laws to nature'--Kant's phrase, and we do--we shall continue to have a relation with the paradigms, but we shall change them to make them go on working. If we cannot break free of them, we must make sense of them.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)