Intriguing Political Quotes

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He was done with politics and intrigue. He loved her, and no empire, no king, and no earthly fear would keep him from her. No, if they tried to take her from him, he'd rip the world apart with his bare hands. And for some reason, that didn't terrify him.
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1))
Fiction has been maligned for centuries as being "false," "untrue," yet good fiction provides more truth about the world, about life, and even about the reader, than can be found in non-fiction.
Clark Zlotchew
Temples are for the gods,” Thucydides said. “No city has the hubris to put her own citizens on a temple.” Phidias promised, “The Athenians will look like gods.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
Is there anyone at this court who isn't my enemy?" "Not if I can help it," Laurent said.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince (Captive Prince, #1))
Do you know the song Violet Crowned Athens?” he asked. Yellow hair like hers was rare among the Greeks. Though some people say that Helen of Troy . . .
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and most remarkable race which has appeared in the world. — Winston S. Churchill
Ellen Brazer (Clouds Across the Sun)
As Blake turned around to continue his walk back to Main Justice, he spotted one of the tourists taking his picture. “Don’t waste your film!” Blake yelled at the man. “I’m not that important!” But the $500 stuffed in the photographer’s back pocket argued otherwise.
Chad Boudreaux (Scavenger Hunt)
He had always been so careful, never revealed his true identity. But somehow, they’d fingered him, and his life had changed forever—for the worst. He couldn’t help but think that some­one in the Central Intelligence Agency had turned on him. One of his own.
Chad Boudreaux (Scavenger Hunt)
Theatres are curious places, magician's trick-boxes where the golden memories of dramtic triumphs linger like nostalgic ghosts, and where the unexplainable, the fantastic, the tragic, the comic and the absurd are routine occurences on and off the stage. Murders, mayhem, politcal intrigue, lucrative business, secret assignations, and of course, dinner.
E.A. Bucchianeri (Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, (Gadfly Saga, #1))
Well. I think it's safe to say that, in my absence, the power grabbing and backstabbing and political intrigue has officially reached an all-time Otherworld high.
Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange, #1))
Stepping back, Anika smiled at her prisoners and clicked open the Zippo. Its flame hopped to life. Wasting no time, she underhand-tossed the lighter through the air. It hit the middle of its target, and the banner exploded into flames. 
Chad Boudreaux (Homecoming Queen: A Small Town Political Thriller)
Life can change in the flash of a shooting star, and the people we love can be out of our reach forever.
Rebecca Rosenberg (Champagne Widows: First Woman of Champagne, Veuve Clicquot)
Politics is a moving target with no bullseye of truth, breaking up more families than uniting them.
Rebecca Rosenberg (Champagne Widows: First Woman of Champagne, Veuve Clicquot)
Kurt, could you please serve this invoice upon the Prussian Pickle, the Major General von Trotha for  the disrupting the legitimate working of F..H. Schmidt Engineering Services?
Michael G. Kramer (His Forefathers and Mick)
Ascending the creaky steps, she heard the old timers discussing the weather. But this wasn’t the usual small talk. They ranked Texas storms. Not by category, wind speed, or monetary damage, but by casualties—body count. 
Chad Boudreaux (Homecoming Queen: A Small Town Political Thriller)
She inched closer to him. "I intrigue you?" "You know you do," he replied boldly, his eyes burning into hers. Wow-things were suddenly heating up fast. He wondered if they would have sex right there on her desk.Somebody better move that stapler. With a coy look, Taylor stood up to whisper in Jason's ear. "then I think you're going to find this next part really intriging," she said breathlessly. He gazed down at her-he like the sound of that-and raised one eybrow expectantly as taylor grinned wickedly and- Slammed the office door right in his face. For a moment, Jason could only stand there in the hallway with his nose pressed against the cold wood of her door. After a few seconds, he knocked politely. Taylor whipped open the door, unamused. Jason grinned at her. "I just gotta ask: where did you get the whole 'all the cute girls run around naked' thing?
Julie James (Just the Sexiest Man Alive)
From her desk, she observed Willy demonstrating his ability to blow snot bubbles out of his slightly runny nose. Emma politely ignored him; Maggie’s face showed disgust at his grossness; Harley giggled; and competitive Joseph tried his best, with no luck, to make something, anything come out of his nose.
Cricket Rohman (Wanted: An Honest Man (Lindsey Lark #1))
Intelligence is power; it is the flame behind the spark of intrigue
Tobsha Learner (The Witch of Cologne)
Out in the field, any connection with home just makes you weaker. It reminds you that you were once civilized, soft; and that can get you killed faster than a bullet through the head.
Henry Mosquera (Sleeper's Run)
When they reached their ship, Ed gazed out at the bay. It was black. The sky was black, but the bay was even blacker. It was a slick, oily blackness that glowed and reflected the moonlight like a black jewel. Ed saw the tiny specks of light around the edges of the bay where he knew ships must be docked, and at different points within the bay where vessels would be anchored. The lights were pale and sickly yellow when compared with the bright blue-white sparkle of the stars overhead, but the stars glinted hard as diamonds, cold as ice. Pg. 26.
Clark Zlotchew (Once upon a Decade: Tales of the Fifties)
She remembered what her old priest had said: a half-truth masquerading as a whole truth was nothing but an untruth. But half-truths were horseplay in Miranda, where big lies came quick and easy. And they were about to come a lot easier.
Chad Boudreaux (Homecoming Queen: A Small Town Political Thriller)
Besides, just because they wore frills and makeup didn't mean they weren't dangerous[...]
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
Her palace shimered with onyx, garnet, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue.
Stacy Schiff (Cleopatra: A Life)
Kremlin political intrigues are comparable to a bulldog fight under a rug. An outsider only hears the growling, and when he sees the bones fly out from beneath it is obvious who won.
Winston S. Churchill
India, she now knew, would not be content staying in the background, was nobody's wallpaper, insisted in interjecting itself into everyone's life, meddling with it, twisting it, molding it beyond recognition. India, she had found out, was a place of political intrigue and economic corruption, a place occupied by real people with their incessantly human needs, desires, ambitions, and aspirations, and not the exotic, spiritual, mysterious entity that was a creation of the Western imagination.
Thrity Umrigar (The Weight of Heaven)
I tell my story as well to let the Israeli people know that there is hope. If I, the son of a terrorist organization dedicated to the extinction of Israel, can reach a point where I not only learned to love the Jewish people but risked my life for them, there is a light of hope.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
The fact is, few Westerners can come close to understanding the complexities of the Middle East and its people.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
we must love people—on all sides of the world—unconditionally.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
But Hamas was not alone in its cover-up and self-serving deceptions. Despite what it displayed on its own news footage, Al-Jazeera continued to broadcast the lies.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
Whole columns are devoted to parliamentary debates and to political intrigues; while the vast everyday life of a nation appears only in the columns given to economic subjects, or in the pages devoted to reports of police and law cases. And when you read the newspapers, your hardly think of the incalculable number of beings—all humanity, so to say—who grow up and die, who know sorrow, who work and consume, think and create outside the few encumbering personages who have been so magnified that humanity is hidden by their shadows, enlarged by our ignorance.
Pyotr Kropotkin (The Conquest of Bread (Working Classics))
Palestinians no longer blamed Yasser Arafat or Hamas for their troubles. Now they blamed the Israelis for killing their children. But I still couldn't escape a fundamental question: Why were those children out there in the first place? Where were the parents? Why didn't their mothers and fathers keep them inside? Those children should have been sitting at their desks in school, not running in the streets throwing stones at armed soldiers.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
People spread gossips, calumny, and false accusations to destroy their subject victim's integrity. Question the motive of people who erroneously, offensively, defensively, intrusively, abusively and intentionally brand you as a threat, a risk or a danger to life or security. ~ Angelica Hopes, K.H. Trilogy
Angelica Hopes
There were three ways to kill a king: You could face him with all the force of your military might, and in the end one of you would fall. You could stab him from behind like a coward, cringing in the shadows. Or you could kill him slowly, from the inside out, so he wouldn't even know until it was too late. If you did your job right, he might even thank you for it. These were the differences between Soldiers, Assassins, and Politicians. Only Politicians did it with a certain flair.
Traci Chee (The Speaker (Sea of Ink and Gold, #2))
things) in deep penetration into target territory, information-gathering and withdrawal unseen. Rumours had long persisted that part of London’s extensive help to Lagos had been the presence of our Special Forces. Political denial had always been
Frederick Forsyth (The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue)
Then I read this: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45). That’s it! I was thunderstruck
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
People Power is too often an inverted fairy story - the triumph of innocence coming at the start and the Ugly Sisters of intrigue and ambition coming on stage in triumph for the final curtain.
Mark Almond
I can see how your mother would have a point. Having a debate with a politically minded woman can be intriguing and even entertaining but to share a house with her and have her always campaigning and protesting at the dinner table,” he slanted his gaze down toward me. “That could be very tiring indeed.
Gwenn Wright (Katherine's Journal (The von Strassenberg Saga, #2.5))
We come from different backgrounds. We are born into different worlds, different religions, different politics, different economic statuses, different races or combinations of races, but we are all the same. 
William West (The Ascension of Mary)
Vaguely he wanted a girl but he did not want to have to work to get her. He would have liked to have a girl but he did not want to have to spend a long time getting her. He did not want to get into the intrigue and the politics. He did not want to have to do any courting. He did not want to tell any more lies. It wasn’t worth it.
Ernest Hemingway (The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway)
William Butler Yeats’s “Second Coming” seems perfectly to render our present predicament: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” This is an excellent description of the current split between anaemic liberals and impassioned fundamentalists. “The best” are no longer able to fully engage, while “the worst” engage in racist, religious, sexist fanaticism. However, are the terrorist fundamentalists, be they Christian or Muslim, really fundamentalists in the authentic sense of the term? Do they really believe? What they lack is a feature that is easy to discern in all authentic fundamentalists, from Tibetan Buddhists to the Amish in the U.S.: the absence of resentment and envy, the deep indifference towards the non-believers’ way of life. If today’s so-called fundamentalists really believe they have their way to truth, why should they feel threatened by non-believers, why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns him. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist’s search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, the terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued, fascinated by the sinful life of the non-believers. One can feel that, in fighting the sinful Other, they are fighting their own temptation. These so-called Christian or Muslim fundamentalists are a disgrace to true fundamentalists. It is here that Yeats’s diagnosis falls short of the present predicament: the passionate intensity of a mob bears witness to a lack of true conviction. Deep in themselves, terrorist fundamentalists also lack true conviction-their violent outbursts are proof of it. How fragile the belief of a Muslim must be, if he feels threatened by a stupid caricature in a low-circulation Danish newspaper. The fundamentalist Islamic terror is not grounded in the terrorists’ conviction of their superiority and in their desire to safeguard their cultural-religious identity from the onslaught of global consumerist civilization. The problem with fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but rather that they themselves secretly consider themselves inferior. This is why our condescending, politically correct assurances that we feel no superiority towards them only make them more furious and feeds their resentment. The problem is not cultural difference (their effort to preserve their identity), but the opposite fact that the fundamentalists are already like us, that secretly they have already internalized our standards and measure themselves by them. (This clearly goes for the Dalai Lama, who justifies Tibetan Buddhism in Western terms of the pursuit of happiness and avoidance of pain.) Paradoxically, what the fundamentalists really lack is precisely a dose of that true “racist” conviction of one’s own superiority.
Slavoj Žižek (Violence: Six Sideways Reflections)
Scourge of the Betrayer is as harsh and profane as anything RichardK Morgan or Joe Abercrombie serves up. Fortunately, Saylards has the skills -and the humor - to pull it off. Snappy dialogue, political intrigue, shadycharacters, gripping action sequences, a poor guy that has no idea what he’sgotten himself into... Yeah, there’s a lot to like about this debut.
David Anthony Durham
As long as we continue to search for enemies anywhere but inside ourselves, there will always be a Middle East problem. Religion is not the solution. Religion without Jesus is just self-righteousness. Freedom from oppression will not resolve things either. Delivered from the oppression of Europe, Israel became the oppressor. Delivered from persecution, Muslims became persecutors. Abused spouses and children often go on to abuse spouses and children. It is a cliché, but it’s still true: hurt people, unless they are healed, hurt people.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
Why croak with dishonesty when your target subject discovers, listens, and witnesses beyond the veil of your duplicity? Your proliferation of misinformation, disinformation, gossips, polemics, planted intrigues, lies, calumny, misjudgement, and all other forms of smear campaign, may deceive gullible hearts but you cannot destroy the unparalleled truth which is in the hands of your target victim. ~ Angelica Hopes, K.H. Trilogy
Angelica Hopes
Traditional Muslims stand at the foot of the ladder, living in guilt for not really practicing Islam. At the top are fundamentalists, the ones you see in the news killing women and children for the glory of the god of the Qur’an. Moderates are somewhere in between. A moderate Muslim is actually more dangerous than a fundamentalist, however, because he appears to be harmless, and you can never tell when he has taken that next step toward the top. Most suicide bombers began as moderates.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
The terror is trapped inside of him and paralyzes him. He closes his eyes again and tries to drown out the scream - but it keeps ringing and ringing and ringing in his ears.
Suneeta Misra (Rani of Rampur)
The very nature of human organizations creates orthodoxy, and orthodoxies, in turn, give birth to reformers and mavericks, men such as Luther and Kepler.
James A. Connor (Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother)
in 1620 Kepler’s mother was being tried for witchcraft.
James A. Connor (Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother)
Kepler was, as author Arthur Koestler called him, the “watershed” where the medieval world finally gave way to the modern.
James A. Connor (Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother)
As long as we continue to search for enemies anywhere but inside ourselves, there will always be a Middle East problem.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
Our enemies are ideas, and ideas don’t care about incursions and curfews.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
One with a cubicle and a desk that snags your panty hose and endless memos about the right way to dispose of recyclables. And lots and lots of petty intrigue and small-minded politics, all intended to distract you from the fact that you're getting two percent raises from a company that's returning twenty percent to its stockholders. That's a real grown-up's job.
Laura Lippman (The Sugar House (Tess Monaghan, #5))
In the course of your life you will be continually encountering fools. There are simply too many to avoid. We can classify people as fools by the following rubric: when it comes to practical life, what should matter is getting long term results, and getting the work done in as efficient and creative a manner as possible. That should be the supreme value that guides people’s action. But fools carry with them a different scale of values. They place more importance on short-term matters – grabbing immediate money, getting attention from the public or media, and looking good. They are ruled by their ego and insecurities. They tend to enjoy drama and political intrigue for their own sake. When they criticize, they always emphasize matters that are irrelevant to the overall picture or argument. They are more interested in their career and position than in the truth. You can distinguish them by how little they get done, or by how hard they make it for others to get results. They lack a certain common sense, getting worked up about things that are not really important while ignoring problems that will spell doom in the long term. The natural tendency with fools is to lower yourself to their level. They annoy you, get under your skin, and draw you into a battle. In the process, you feel petty and confused. You lose a sense of what is really important. You can’t win an argument or get them to see your side or change their behavior, because rationality and results don’t matter to them. You simply waste valuable time and emotional energy. In dealing with fools you must adopt the following philosophy: they are simply a part of life, like rocks or furniture. All of us have foolish sides, moments in which we lose our heads and think more of our ego or short-term goals. It is human nature. Seeing this foolishness within you, you can then accept it in others. This will allow you to smile at their antics, to tolerate their presence as you would a silly child, and to avoid the madness of trying to change them. It is all part of the human comedy, and it is nothing to get upset or lose sleep over.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
Hamas, on the other hand, Islamized the Palestinian problem, making it a religious problem. And this problem could be resolved only with a religious solution, which meant that it could never be resolved because we believed that the land belonged to Allah. Period. End of discussion. Thus for Hamas, the ultimate problem was not Israel’s policies. It was the nation-state Israel’s very existence.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
I asked myself what Palestinians would do if Israel disappeared—if everything not only went back to the way it was before 1948 but if all the Jewish people abandoned the Holy Land and were scattered again. And for the first time, I knew the answer. We would still fight. Over nothing. Over a girl without a head scarf. Over who was toughest and most important. Over who would make the rules and who would get the best seat.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
He did not want them themselves really. They were too complicated. There was something else. Vaguely he wanted a girl but he did not want to have to work to get her. He would have liked to have a girl but he did not want to have to spend a long time getting her. He did not want to get into the intrigue and the politics. He did not want to have to do any courting. He did not want to tell any more lies. It wasn't worth it.
Ernest Hemingway (In Our Time)
Later, everybody agreed the baths should have been closed sooner; they agreed health education should have been more direct and more timely. And everybody also agreed blood banks should have tested blood sooner, and that a search for the AIDS virus should have been started sooner, and that scientists should have laid aside their petty intrigues. Everybody subsequently agreed that the news media should have offered better coverage of the epidemic much earlier, and that the federal government should have done much, much more. By the time everyone agreed to all this, however, it was too late. Instead people died. Tens of thousands of them.
Randy Shilts (And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic)
The histories and tragedies of Shakespeare that Lincoln loved most dealt with themes that would resonate to a president in the midst of civil war: political intrigue, the burdens of power, the nature of ambition, the relationship of leaders to those they governed. The plays illuminated with stark beauty the dire consequences of civil strife, the evils wrought by jealousy and disloyalty, the emotions evoked by the death of a child, the sundering of family ties or love of country.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln)
A few years ago, a Nigerian-born playwright came to a talk that I gave at the British Library in London. She was intrigued by the lecture, the idea that 6 million African-Americans had had to seek political asylum within the borders of their own country during the Great Migration, a history that she had not known of. She talked with me afterward and said something that I have never forgotten, that startled me in its simplicity. “You know that there are no black people in Africa,” she said.
Isabel Wilkerson (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents)
Uncovering a hidden slice of wartime America, Harvey Solomon's Such Splendid Prisons tells an intriguing story of elite Axis prisoners incarcerated by the U.S. government, replete with behind-the-scenes diplomatic machinations and political calculations.
Winston Groom
[L]ife presents itself by no means as a gift for enjoyment, but as a task, a drudgery to be performed; and in accordance with this we see, in great and small, universal need, ceaseless cares, constant pressure, endless strife, compulsory activity, with extreme exertion of all the powers of body and mind. Many millions, united into nations, strive for the common good, each individual on account of his own; but many thousands fall as a sacrifice for it. Now senseless delusions, now intriguing politics, incite them to wars with each other; then the sweat and the blood of the great multitude must flow, to carry out the ideas of individuals, or to expiate their faults. In peace industry and trade are active, inventions work miracles, seas are navigated, delicacies are collected from all ends of the world, the waves engulf thousands. All push and drive, others acting; the tumult is indescribable. But the ultimate aim of it all, what is it? To sustain ephemeral and tormented individuals through a short span of time in the most fortunate case with endurable want and comparative freedom from pain, which, however, is at once attended with ennui; then the reproduction of this race and its striving. In this evident disproportion between the trouble and the reward, the will to live appears to us from this point of view, if taken objectively, as a fool, or subjectively, as a delusion, seized by which everything living works with the utmost exertion of its strength for some thing that is of no value. But when we consider it more closely, we shall find here also that it is rather a blind pressure, a tendency entirely without ground or motive.
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror)
Characters who engage in murder, sadistic cruelty, malignant selfishness or narcissism, dishonorable and dishonest acts, and obsessions with relative frivolities such as political intrigue and playing the game of thrones transgress against not just individuals but society itself.
James Lowder (Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire)
Subtly, in any organization, religious or otherwise, solidarity becomes ossification, the faith becomes orthodoxy, and compliance becomes more important than conversion of spirit. By the time of the Reformation, Christianity had gotten to the point where authority itself had become the problem. To
James A. Connor (Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother)
These examples should be models for communication, precisely because they inspire curiosity. “How does money influence politics?” is not an especially engaging question, but “If I were running for president, how would I raise lots of money with few conditions and no scrutiny?” is much more intriguing.
Tim Harford (The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics)
My conscience commands me to love an enemy and not harm him, to avoid adding new causes for separation; it tells me that I ought to be an example of moderation and mildness for my enemy; perhaps through my actions, I might encourage him to do the same, and then at last may God send us the dear desired peace.”8 For
James A. Connor (Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother)
in general, religiously observant people were offended by Jesus, but those estranged from religious and moral observance were intrigued and attracted to him. We see this throughout the New Testament accounts of Jesus’s life. In every case where Jesus meets a religious person and a sexual outcast (as in Luke 7) or a religious person and a racial outcast (as in John 3-4) or a religious person and a political outcast (as in Luke 19), the outcast is the one who connects with Jesus and the elder-brother type does not. Jesus says to the respectable religious leaders “the tax collectors and the prostitutes enter the kingdom before you” (Matthew 21:31).
Timothy J. Keller (The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith)
I would not have thought,” he wrote to Mästlin, “that it could be so sweet, in union with my brothers, to suffer injury for religion, to abandon house, fields, friends, and nation. If real martyrdom is like this, to lay down one’s life, our exultation is so much the greater, the greater the loss, and it is an easy matter to die for faith.”23
James A. Connor (Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother)
Truthfully I may confess that as often as I contemplate the proper order, as one results from another and becomes diminished, it is as if I have read a heavenly passage not written in meaningful letters but with the essential things in this world which tells me: Put your reason herein to comprehend these things. JOHANNES KEPLER, IN HIS CALENDAR FOR 1604
James A. Connor (Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother)
But there is another story, to which I was an even more direct witness, and that is the story of how a man skilled in deception and intrigue took over an entire political party and bent it to his will. The four years of the Trump presidency destroyed many friendships, and not a few marriages. But it also destroyed the Republican Party—once devoted to robust alliances, a healthy mistrust of executive power, and the expansion of democracy around the world—and turned it into something else, something unrecognizable, an antidemocratic party, a party willing to tear down the institutions of its own government, a party willing to give aid and comfort to a malign foreign power that wishes to destroy us, a party hostile to the truth.
Adam Schiff (Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could)
Any critique of Islam is denounced as an expression of Western Islamophobia, Salman Rushdie is denounced for unnecessarily provoking Muslims and being (partially, at least) responsible for the fatwa condemning him to death, and so on. The result of such stances is what one should expect in such cases: the more the Western liberal Leftists probe into their guilt, the more they are accused by Muslim fundamentalists of being hypocrites who try to conceal their hatred of Islam. [T]his constellation perfectly reproduces the paradox of the superego: the more you obey what the Other demands of you, the guiltier you are. It is as if the more you tolerate Islam, the stronger its pressure on you will be. What this implies is that terrorist fundamentalists, be they Christian or Muslim, are not really fundamentalists in the authentic sense of the term--what they lack is a feature that is easy to discern in all authentic fundamentalists, from Tibetan Buddhists to the Amish in the US: the absence of resentment and envy, the deep indifference towards the non-believers' way of life. If today's so-called fundamentalists really believe they have found their way to Truth, why should they feel threatened by non-believers, why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist's search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, the terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued and fascinated by the sinful life of the non-believers. One can feel that, in fighting the sinful other, they are fighting their own temptation. The passionate intensity of a fundamentalist mob bears witness to the lack of true conviction; deep in themselves, terrorist fundamentalists also lack true conviction--their violent outbursts are proof of it. How fragile the belief of a Muslim would be if he felt threatened by, say, a stupid caricature in a low-circulation Danish newspaper? Fundamentalist Islamic terror is not grounded in the terrorists' conviction of their superiority and in their desire to safeguard their cultural-religious identify from the onslaught of global consumerist civilization. The problem with fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but, rather, that they themselves secretly consider themselves inferior. This is why our condescending politically correct assurances that we feel no superiority towards them only makes them more furious and feed their resentment. The problem is not cultural difference (their effort to preserve their identity), but the opposite: the fact that the fundamentalists are already like us, that, secretly, they have already internalized our standards and measure themselves by them.
Slavoj Žižek
We’re at a holiday ball where I’m auctioning off the paintings my dead husband commissioned for his mistress. Does it sound like I’ve been treated kindly thus far?” A flush imbued her cheeks with a red glow as she huffed in annoyance. The Bryony he’d known prior to her marriage had been polite and a tad stiff in his presence—a genteel lady careful with her manners. This show of frustration intrigued him. I can’t afford to be intrigued.
Jemma Frost (The Grand Mistletoe Assembly)
Vaguely he wanted a girl but he did not want to have to work to get her. He would have liked to have a girl but he did not want to have spend a long time getting her. He did not want to get into the intrigue and the politics. He did not want to have to do any courting. He did not want to tell any more lies. It wasn't worth it. He did not want any consequences. He did not want any consequences ever again. He wanted to live along without consequences.
Ernest Hemingway (Soldier's Home)
Kandiaronk: I have spent six years reflecting on the state of European society and I still can’t think of a single way they act that’s not inhuman, and I genuinely think this can only be the case, as long as you stick to your distinctions of ‘mine’ and ‘thine’. I affirm that what you call money is the devil of devils; the tyrant of the French, the source of all evils; the bane of souls and slaughterhouse of the living. To imagine one can live in the country of money and preserve one’s soul is like imagining one could preserve one’s life at the bottom of a lake. Money is the father of luxury, lasciviousness, intrigues, trickery, lies, betrayal, insincerity, – of all the world’s worst behaviour. Fathers sell their children, husbands their wives, wives betray their husbands, brothers kill each other, friends are false, and all because of money. In the light of all this, tell me that we Wendat are not right in refusing to touch, or so much as to look at silver?
David Graeber (The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity)
Often the greatest obstacle to our pursuit of mastery comes from the emotional drain we experience in dealing with the resistance and manipulations of the people around us. If we are not careful, our minds become absorbed in endless political intrigues and battles. The principal problem we face in the social arena is our naïve tendency to project onto people our emotional needs and desires of the moment. We misread their intentions and react in ways that cause confusion or conflict. Social intelligence is the ability to see people in the most realistic light possible. By moving past our usual self-absorption, we can learn to focus deeply on others, reading their behavior in the moment, seeing what motivates them, and discerning any possible manipulative tendencies. Navigating smoothly the social environment, we have more time and energy to focus on learning and acquiring skills. Success attained without this intelligence is not true mastery, and will not last.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
Ultimately, Hitler decided not to invade–at least he hasn't done so yet," Muller smirked as he spoke. "But what struck us both at the time was the spectacle of the leader of a great nation like Germany seemingly able to do whatever he wanted, without any apparent constraints. He could override his military leadership, ignore objections of even his closest advisors, like Göring, and simply roll the dice, gambling that sending the army into the Rhineland wouldn't provoke a war with France.
William N. Walker (A Spy In Vienna: A Paul Muller Novel of Political Intrigue (Wages of Appeasement Book 2))
He hated himself for not acting, for standing like a damned coward. He would make it up to her—he would see to it that she was freed, and after that … After that … She didn’t fight him when he carried her to her rooms, instructing the physician to follow. He was done with politics and intrigue. He loved her, and no empire, no king, and no earthly fear would keep him from her. No, if they tried to take her from him, he’d rip the world apart with his bare hands. And for some reason, that didn’t terrify him.
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1))
The house belongs to us. James and I grew up here. That mansion is our home," Mia replied with a sweet smile. "Or, well, it was. James and Lily have their own little cottage now." The Dursleys looked dumbfounded, which Mia discovered was not very difficult for them. "Grew up here?" Petunia gaped at Mia. "So, it's just you here, then? That big house all to yourself?" Mia could tell by the tone of voice that the woman was trying to be polite now that she was aware the Potters had money. "Oh no, I moved to London." She then pointed to Sirius and Remus standing beside James, pouring drinks for one another. "I live with those two handsome men." Petunia blushed furiously, looking scandalised. "You live with two men?" Mia grinned, half tempted to tell her, in detail, what she and those two men had done right here in this very orchard. The particular shade of red on Petunia's face was intriguing, to say the least, but nowhere near as amusing as the purple that Vernon was turning as he muttered, "shameful" and "scandalous" under his breath.
Shaya Lonnie (The Debt of Time)
Equally as intriguing as the concept of personalized medicine is the proposal to develop the first drugs based on race. Think of the paradox: a classification system constructed centuries ago to enslave people became the portal for the most cutting-edge biomedical advance of the twenty-first century. Predicting drug response based on a patient’s race rather than on genetic traits, says Lawrence Lesco of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation Research, is “like telling time with a sundial instead of looking at a Rolex watch.
Dorothy Roberts (Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century)
It was his first definite encounter with the wary-eyed, platitudinous, evasive Labour leaders, and he realised at once the formidable barrier of inert leadership they constituted, between the discontented masses and constructive change. They seemed to be almost entirely preoccupied by internecine intrigues and the "discipline of the Party". They were steeped in Party professionalism. They were not in any way traitors to their cause, or wilfully reactionary, but they had no minds for a renascent world. They meant nothing, but they did not know they meant nothing. They regarded Rud just as in their time they had regarded Liberalism, Fabianism, Communism, Science, suspecting them all, learning nothing from them, blankly resistant. They did not want ideas in politics. They just wanted to be the official representatives of organised labour and make what they could by it. Their manner betrayed their invincible resolution, as strong as an animal instinct, to play politics according to the rules, to manoeuvre for positions, to dig themselves into positions -- and squat...
H.G. Wells (The Holy Terror)
Many people in the West who stereotype all Muslims as terrorists don’t know about the side of Islam that reflects love and mercy. It cares for the poor, widows, and orphans. It facilitates education and welfare. It unites and strengthens. This is the side of Islam that motivated those early leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Of course, there is also the other side, the one that calls all Muslims to jihad, to struggle and contend with the world until they establish a global caliphate, led by one holy man who rules and speaks for Allah.
Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices)
If education causes better economic understanding, there is an argument for education subsidies—albeit not necessarily higher subsidies than we have now.62 If the connection is not causal, however, throwing money at education treats a symptom of economic illiteracy, not the disease. You would get more bang for your buck by defunding efforts to “get out the vote.”63 One intriguing piece of evidence against the causal theory is that educational attainment rose substantially in the postwar era, but political knowledge stayed about the same.64
Bryan Caplan (The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies)
The next seven months after his discovery, he set his ideas into a book he ponderously titled Prodomus Dissertationum Cosmographicarum, Continens Mysterium Cosmographicum, the Forerunner of the Cosmological Essays, Which Contains the Secret of the Universe. The subtitle was On the Marvelous Proportion of the Celestial Spheres, and on the True and Particular Causes of the Number, Size, and Periodic Motions of the Heavens, Established by Means of the Five Regular Geometric Solids.14 Arguably, no book title in the history of Western civilization has ever claimed more for itself than this one.
James A. Connor (Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother)
What did we talk about? I don't remember. We talked so hard and sat so still that I got cramps in my knee. We had too many cups of tea and then didn't want to leave the table to go to the bathroom because we didn't want to stop talking. You will think we talked of revolution but we didn't. Nor did we talk of our own souls. Nor of sewing. Nor of babies. Nor of departmental intrigue. It was political if by politics you mean the laboratory talk that characters in bad movies are perpetually trying to convey (unsuccessfully) when they Wrinkle Their Wee Brows and say (valiantly--dutifully--after all, they didn't write it) "But, Doctor, doesn't that violate Finagle's Constant?" I staggered to the bathroom, released floods of tea, and returned to the kitchen to talk. It was professional talk. It left my grey-faced and with such concentration that I began to develop a headache. We talked about Mary Ann Evans' loss of faith, about Emily Brontë's isolation, about Charlotte Brontë's blinding cloud, about the split in Virginia Woolf's head and the split in her economic condition. We talked about Lady Murasaki, who wrote in a form that no respectable man would touch, Hroswit, a little name whose plays "may perhaps amuse myself," Miss Austen, who had no more expression in society than a firescreen or a poker. They did not all write letters, write memoirs, or go on the stage. Sappho--only an ambiguous, somewhat disagreeable name. Corinna? The teacher of Pindar. Olive Schriener, growing up on the veldt, wrote on book, married happily, and ever wrote another. Kate Chopin wrote a scandalous book and never wrote another. (Jean has written nothing.). There was M-ry Sh-ll-y who wrote you know what and Ch-rl-tt- P-rk-ns G-lm-an, who wrote one superb horror study and lots of sludge (was it sludge?) and Ph-ll-s Wh--tl-y who was black and wrote eighteenth century odes (but it was the eighteenth century) and Mrs. -nn R-dcl-ff- S-thw-rth and Mrs. G--rg- Sh-ld-n and (Miss?) G--rg-tt- H-y-r and B-rb-r- C-rtl-nd and the legion of those, who writing, write not, like the dead Miss B--l-y of the poem who was seduced into bad practices (fudging her endings) and hanged herself in her garter. The sun was going down. I was blind and stiff. It's at this point that the computer (which has run amok and eaten Los Angeles) is defeated by some scientifically transcendent version of pulling the plug; the furniture stood around unknowing (though we had just pulled out the plug) and Lady, who got restless when people talked at suck length because she couldn't understand it, stuck her head out from under the couch, looking for things to herd. We had talked for six hours, from one in the afternoon until seven; I had at that moment an impression of our act of creation so strong, so sharp, so extraordinarily vivid, that I could not believe all our talking hadn't led to something more tangible--mightn't you expect at least a little blue pyramid sitting in the middle of the floor?
Joanna Russ (On Strike Against God)
One of many intriguing aspects of Karen Stenner's research on authoritarian predispositions is that it hints at how and why political revolutions might take place in this new and different twenty-first-century world. Over a crackly video link between Australia and Poland, she reminded me that the "authoritarian predisposition" she has identified is not exactly the same thing as closed-mindedness. It is better described as simple-mindedness: people are often attracted to authoritarian ideas because they are bothered by complexity. They dislike divisiveness. They prefer unity. A sudden onslaught of diversity--diversity of opinions, diversity of experiences--therefore makes them angry. They seek solutions in new political language that makes them feel safer and more secure.
Anne Applebaum (Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism)
BÉGEARSS [very conceited]. My dear, there’s nothing to it. To start with, there are just two things that make the world go round: morality and politics. Morality, a very footling thing, means being fair and honest. It is, so they say, the basis of a number of rather boring virtues.[...] Politics is the art of making things happen, of leading people and events by the nose: it’s child’s play. Its purpose is self-interest, its method intrigue. Always economical with the truth, it has boundless, dazzling possibilities which stand like a beacon and draw you on. As deep as Etna, it smoulders and rumbles for a long time before finally erupting into the light of day. By then nothing can stop it. It calls for superior talents and is threatened by only one thing: honest principles. [He laughs] That’s the key to all the deals that are ever made!
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (The Barber of Seville / The Marriage of Figaro / The Guilty Mother)
At least since the first petals of the counterculture bloomed across Europe and the United States in the 1960s, it has been fashionable to affirm that all religions are beautiful and all are true. This claim, which reaches back to All Religions Are One (1795) by the English poet, printmaker, and prophet William Blake, is as odd as it is intriguing.¹ No one argues that different economic systems or political regimes are one and the same. Capitalism and socialism are so obviously at odds that their differences hardly bear mentioning. The same goes for democracy and monarchy. Yet scholars continue to claim that religious rivals such as Hinduism and Islam, Judaism and Christianity are, by some miracle of the imagination, essentially the same, and this view resounds in the echo chamber of popular culture, not least in Dan Brown's multi-million-dollar Da Vinci Code franchise.
Stephen Prothero (God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter)
This was in fact the book's crude and intriguing prophecy: that henceforth popular myths, or better, myths trimmed for the masses, would be the vehicle of political action--fables, chimeras, phantasms that needed to have nothing whatever to do with truth, reason, or science in order to be productive nonetheless, to determine life and history, and thereby to prove themselves dynamic realities. ...It made it possible to understand that truth's fate was closely related to that of the individual, indeed identical with it--and that fate was devaluation. The book opened a sardonic rift between truth and power, truth and life, truth and community. Its implicit message was that community deserved far greater precedence, that truth's goal was community, and that whoever wished to be part of the community must be prepared to jettison major portions of truth and science, to make the sacrificium intellectus.
Thomas Mann (Doctor Faustus)
The connection between dopamine and belief was established by experiments conducted by Peter Brugger and his colleague Christine Mohr at the University of Bristol in England. Exploring the neurochemistry of superstition, magical thinking, and belief in the paranormal, Brugger and Mohr found that people with high levels of dopamine are more likely to find significance in coincidences and pick out meaning and patterns where there are none. In one study, for example, they compared twenty self-professed believers in ghosts, gods, spirits, and conspiracies to twenty self-professed skeptics of such claims. They showed all subjects a series of slides consisting of people’s faces, some of which were normal while others had their parts scrambled, such as swapping out eyes or ears or noses from different faces. In another experiment, real and scrambled words were flashed. In general, the scientists found that the believers were much more likely than the skeptics to mistakenly assess a scrambled face as real, and to read a scrambled word as normal. In the second part of the experiment, Brugger and Mohr gave all forty subjects L-dopa, the drug used for Parkinson’s disease patients that increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. They then repeated the slide show with the scrambled or real faces and words. The boost of dopamine caused both believers and skeptics to identify scrambled faces and real and jumbled words as normal. This suggests that patternicity may be associated with high levels of dopamine in the brain. Intriguingly, the effect of L-dopa was stronger on skeptics than believers. That is, increased levels of dopamine appear to be more effective in making skeptics less skeptical than in making believers more believing.8 Why? Two possibilities come to mind: (1) perhaps the dopamine levels of believers are already higher than those of skeptics and so the latter will feel the effects of the drug more; or (2) perhaps the patternicity proclivity of believers is already so high that the effects of the dopamine are lower than those of skeptics. Additional research shows that people who profess belief in the paranormal—compared to skeptics—show a greater tendency to perceive “patterns in noise,”9 and are more inclined to attribute meaning to random connections they believe exist.
Michael Shermer (The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths)
It doesn't take ten years of study, you don't need to go to the University, to find out that this is a damned good world gone wrong. Gone wrong, because it is being monkeyed with by people too greedy and mean and wrong-hearted altogether to do the right thing by our common world. They've grabbed it and they won't let go. They might lose their importance; they might lose their pull. Everywhere it's the same. Beware of the men you make your masters. Beware of the men you trust. We've only got to be clear-headed to sing the same song and play the same game all over the world, we common men. We don't want Power monkeyed with, we don't want Work and Goods monkeyed with, and, above all, we don't want Money monkeyed with. That's the elements of politics everywhere. When these things go wrong, we go wrong. That's how people begin to feel it and see it in America. That's how we feel it here -- when we look into our minds. That's what common people feel everywhere. That's what our brother whites -- "poor whites" they call them -- in those towns in South Carolina are fighting for now. Fighting our battle. Why aren't we with them? We speak the same language; we share the same blood. Who has been keeping us apart from them for a hundred and fifty-odd years? Ruling classes. Politicians. Dear old flag and all that stuff! Our school-books never tell us a word about the American common man; and his school-books never tell him a word about us. They flutter flags between us to keep us apart. Split us up for a century and a half because of some fuss about taxing tea. And what are our wonderful Labour and Socialist and Communist leaders doing to change that? What are they doing to unite us English-speaking common men together and give us our plain desire? Are they doing anything more for us than the land barons and the factory barons and the money barons? Not a bit of it! These labour leaders of to-day mean to be lords to-morrow. They are just a fresh set of dishonest trustees. Look at these twenty-odd platforms here! Mark their needless contradictions! Their marvellous differences on minor issues. 'Manoeuvres!' 'Intrigue.' 'Personalities.' 'Monkeying.' 'Don't trust him, trust me!' All of them at it. Mark how we common men are distracted, how we are set hunting first after one red herring and then after another, for the want of simple, honest interpretation...
H.G. Wells (The Holy Terror)
ALL POST-COMMUNIST SOCIETIES ARE uprooted ones because Communism uprooted traditions, so nothing fits with anything else,” explained the philosopher Patapievici. Fifteen years earlier, when I had last met him, he had cautioned: “The task for Romania is to acquire a public style based on impersonal rules, otherwise business and politics will be full of intrigue, and I am afraid that our Eastern Orthodox tradition is not helpful in this regard. Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Russia, Greece—all the Orthodox nations of Europe—are characterized by weak institutions. That is because Orthodoxy is flexible and contemplative, based more on the oral traditions of peasants than on texts. So there is this pattern of rumor, lack of information, and conspiracy….”11 Thus, in 1998, did Patapievici define Romanian politics as they were still being practiced a decade and a half later. Though in 2013, he added: “No one speaks of guilt over the past. The Church has made no progress despite the enormous chance of being separated from the state for almost a quarter century. The identification of religious faith with an ethnic-national group, I find, is a moral heresy.” Dressed now in generic business casual and wearing fashionable glasses, Patapievici appeared as a figure wholly of the West—more accurately of the global elite—someone you might meet at a fancy
Robert D. Kaplan (In Europe's Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond)
The most intriguing correlations obtained by the Minnesota study were also among the most unexpected. Social and political attitudes between twins reared apart were just as concordant as those between twins reared together: liberals clustered with liberals, and orthodoxy was twinned with orthodoxy. Religiosity and faith were also strikingly concordant: twins were either both faithful or both nonreligious. Traditionalism, or “willingness to yield to authority,” was significantly correlated. So were characteristics such as “assertiveness, drive for leadership, and a taste for attention.” Other studies on identical twins continued to deepen the effect of genes on human personality and behavior. Novelty seeking and impulsiveness were found to have striking degrees of correlation. Experiences that one might have imagined as intensely personal were, in fact, shared between twins. “Empathy, altruism, sense of equity, love, trust, music, economic behavior, and even politics are partially hardwired.” As one startled observer wrote, “A surprisingly high genetic component was found in the ability to be enthralled by an esthetic experience such as listening to a symphonic concert.” Separated by geographic and economic continents, when two brothers, estranged at birth, were brought to tears by the same Chopin nocturne at night, they seemed to be responding to some subtle, common chord struck by their genomes.
Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Gene: An Intimate History)
Last year, I did a comprehensive study of T. E. Lawrence—Lawrence of Arabia. Lawrence played a pivotal role in the development of the modern Arab world. He was both pro-Arab and a Zionist. Unlike today, during this time period, this was not a contradiction. I read the entirety of Lawrence’s tome, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, as well as his personal letters. Colonel Lawrence had a comprehensive and personal relation with the emerging Arab political leaders during World War I. He also encountered the Persians (the Iranians of today). He made an interesting and important observation regarding their unique view of Islam. Lawrence observed that the “Shia Mohammedans from Pershia . . . were surly and fanatical, refusing to eat or drink with infidels; holding the Sunni as bad as Christians; following only their own priests and notables.” Each of these three leaders provides valuable insight into the intrigue that is the Middle East today, because the lessons they learned from their leadership in their eras can instruct us on the challenges we face in our own time. A new alliance has developed in the last few years that has created what I call an unholy alliance. History often repeats itself. We no longer have the luxury of simply letting history unfold. We must change the course of events, rewriting the history if needed, to preserve our constitutional republic. In this volume, I discuss and analyze the history and suggest a path of engagement to end what is the latest in a history-spanning line of attempts to export Sharia law and radical jihad around the world. We will win. We must win. We have no option.
Jay Sekulow (Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia, and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World)
COUNT. What’s to stop you taking her with you to London? FIGARO. A man who was married and had to be away so much? I’d never hear the end of it. COUNT. But with your qualities and brains you could climb the ladder and end up with an important government post one of these days. FIGARO. Brains? Climb the ladder? Your Lordship must think I’m stupid. Second-rate and grovelling, that’s the thing to be, and then the world’s your oyster. COUNT. All you’d have to do is take a few lessons in politics from me. FIGARO. I know what politics is. COUNT. Like you know the key to the English language? FIGARO. Not that it’s anything to boast about. It means pretending you don’t know what you do know and knowing what you don’t, listening to what you don’t understand and not hearing what you do, and especially, claiming you can do more than you have the ability to deliver. More often that not, it means making a great secret of the fact that there are no secrets; locking yourself in your inner sanctum where you sharpen pens and give the impression of being profound and wise, whereas you are, as they say, hollow and shallow; playing a role well or badly; sending spies everywhere and rewarding the traitors; tampering with seals, intercepting letters, and trying to dignify your sordid means by stressing your glorious ends. That’s all there is to politics, and you can have me shot if it’s not. COUNT. But what you’ve defined is intrigue. FIGARO. Call it politics, intrigue, whatever you want. But since to me the two things are as alike as peas in a pod, I say good luck to whoever has anything to do with either. ‘Truly, I love my sweetheart more’, as old King Henry’s song goes.
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (The Barber of Seville / The Marriage of Figaro / The Guilty Mother)
The Pirates' most advanced and widely discussed technological innovation is an online system called LiquidFeedback, which allows the party to better understand what its members think about issues of the day. Here is how it works: Any member of the party can register (with the optino of using a pseudonym) with LiquidFeedback and propose that the Pirates should do x. If more than 10 percent of other members find this proposal intriguing, it passes to the next stage, in which party members can vote for or against it. After the proposal has been submitted, and before it has moved to the voting stage, other party members can launch counterproposals on a similar subject or make suggestions about how to improve the original one. What's interesting is that party members can transfer their votes to those they consider more knowledgeable about a given subject; thus, someone recognized as an expert on transportation policy might end up casting ten votes rather than one. To prevent some such experts from accumulating and abusing power, transferred votes can be recalled to their original "ownders." The votes cast in LiquidFeedback are not bniding; they simply inform party officials about the views of the grass roots. Big policy proposals are still discussed and voted upon at the party congress. LiquidFeedback thus aims to provide the intellectual inputs to the Pirates' work; the outputs are still determined by rather conventional means. This all sounds great in theory...but the reality is much grimmer. In one German region, reports Der Spiegel, the Pirates used LiquidFeedback to gather general opinions on only two issues, while only twenty votes were cast in the controversial law on circumcision.
Evgeny Morozov
Yes, he was down at the edge of the garden on this side, standing by the fence. I thought”—he hesitated, looking down into his glass—“I rather thought he was looking up at your window.” “My window? How extraordinary!” I couldn’t repress a mild shiver, and went across to fasten the shutters, though it seemed a bit late for that. Frank followed me across the room, still talking. “Yes, I could see you myself from below. You were brushing your hair and cursing a bit because it was standing on end.” “In that case, the fellow was probably enjoying a good laugh,” I said tartly. Frank shook his head, though he smiled and smoothed his hands over my hair. “No, he wasn’t laughing. In fact, he seemed terribly unhappy about something. Not that I could see his face well; just something about the way he stood. I came up behind him, and when he didn’t move, I asked politely if I could help him with something. He acted at first as though he didn’t hear me, and I thought perhaps he didn’t, over the noise of the wind, so I repeated myself, and I reached out to tap his shoulder, to get his attention, you know. But before I could touch him, he whirled suddenly round and pushed past me and walked off down the road.” “Sounds a bit rude, but not very ghostly,” I observed, draining my glass. “What did he look like?” “Big chap,” said Frank, frowning in recollection. “And a Scot, in complete Highland rig-out, complete to sporran and the most beautiful running-stag brooch on his plaid. I wanted to ask where he’d got it from, but he was off before I could.” I went to the bureau and poured another drink. “Well, not so unusual an appearance for these parts, surely? I’ve seen men dressed like that in the village now and then.” “Nooo …” Frank sounded doubtful. “No, it wasn’t his dress that was odd. But when he pushed past me, I could swear he was close enough that I should have felt him brush my sleeve—but I didn’t. And I was intrigued enough to turn round and watch him as he walked away. He walked down the Gereside Road, but when he’d almost reached the corner, he … disappeared. That’s when I began to feel a bit cold down the backbone.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
The whole reason I’d written about him so freely was that I never expected to face him in person and could therefore imagine him in ways that gratified my conception of who he should be: a white trash savant imbued with junkyard political savvy. In truth, I found the magazine completely disgusting—as I was meant to, obviously: it had long been the most reviled instance of mass-circulation pornography around and used people like me (shame-ridden bourgeois feminists and other elites) for target practice, with excremental grossness among its weapons of choice. It was also particularly nasty to academics who in its imagination are invariably prissy and uptight—sadly I’m one of this breed too. (A cartoon academic to his wife: “Eat your pussy? You forget, Gladys, I have a Ph.D.”)1 Maybe I yearned to be rescued from my primness, though Flynt was obviously no one’s idea of a white knight. (Of course, being attracted to what you’re also repelled by is not exactly unknown in human history.) For some reason, I tend to be drawn to excess: to men who laugh too loud and drink too much, who are temperamentally and romantically immoderate, have off-kilter politics and ideas. Aside from that, it also happened that in the period during which my ideas about things were being formed, the bawdy French satirist Rabelais was enjoying an intellectual revival in my sorts of circles, along with the idea of the “carnivalesque”: the realm of subversion and sacrilege—the grotesque, the unruly, the profane—where the lower bodily stratum and everything that emerges from it is celebrated for supposedly subverting established pieties and hierarchies. I was intrigued by these kinds of ideas, despite—or more likely because of—my aforementioned primness. Contemplating where one might locate these carnivalesque impulses in our own time I’d immediately thought of Hustler, even though back then I had only the vaguest idea what bodily abhorrences awaited me within its shrink-wrapped covers (as if a thin sheet of plastic were sufficient to prevent seepage from the filth within). In fact, the first time I peeled away the protective casing and tried to actually read a copy, I was so disgusted I threw it away, I didn’t even want it in the house.
Laura Kipnis (Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation)
In fact, properly speaking, no parish priest has any convictions on politics. At the back of his mind, he regards the state as an enemy that has usurped the temporal power of the Pope. Being an enemy, the state must be exploited as much as possible and without any qualms of conscience. Because of this innate and perhaps unconscious hostility to the state as an institution, the parish priest cannot see that it is the duty of a citizen to endeavour to make political life as morally clean as possible. He cannot see that the community as a whole must always come into the forefront of every citizen's political consciousness and that personal interests must be sacrificed to the interests of the nation. No. The parish priest regards himself as the commander of his parish, which he is holding for His Majesty the Pope. Between himself and the Pope there is the Bishop, acting, so to speak, as the Divisional Commander. As far as the Civil Power is concerned, it is a semi-hostile force which must be kept in check, kept in tow, intrigued against and exploited, until that glorious day when the Vicar of Christ again is restored to his proper position as the ruler of the earth and the wearer of the Imperial crown. This point of view helps the parish priest to adopt a very cold-blooded attitude towards Irish politics. He is merely either for or against the government. If he has a relative in a government position, he is in favour of the government. If he has a relative who wants a position and cannot get it, then he is against the government. But his support of the government is very precarious and he makes many visits to Dublin and creeps up back stairs into ministerial offices, cajoling and threatening. He is most commonly seen making a cautious approach to the Education Office, where he has all sorts of complaints to lodge and all sorts of suggestions to make. Every book recommended by the education authorities for the schools is examined by him, and if he finds a single idea in any of them that might be likely to inspire thought of passion, then he is up in arms at once. Like an army of black beetles on the march, he and his countless brothers invade Dublin and lay siege to the official responsible. Woe to that man.
Liam O'Flaherty (A Tourist's Guide to Ireland)
When you contribute to a safer world for the truth, contribute to help stop violence and help end impunity: be vigilant, be alert, stay safe, protect your emotions and health from aggressive troublemakers and manipulators, and have a strong, diplomatic, clear and firm boundaries. Be honest, be factual, and have an indestructible firm coping mechanism ways while you could experience waves of digital aggression as they would like to silence you, discredit you, and they try to ruin your integrity, persona, reputation and credibility. The deceptive, evil manipulators plant lies and create intrigues, polemics mongering, gossip-mongering, and calumny committed by abusive political harridans, bitches and assholes who can shame you privately and publicly. Group cyber lynching, group cyberbullying, defamatory libellous slander is committed by these cyber aggressors who are also financial-political abusive parasites, pathological liar cyberbullies toxic manipulators, and repetitive abusers. Usually when the stakes are high, these manipulative, deceptive, dishonest, unscrupulous aggressive and vindictive, abusive toxic people would resort to any forms of aggression/abuse: digital or cyber aggression, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and psychological abuse, financial/economic abuse, and/or physical aggression. When a group of habitual, deceptive, toxic netizens, digital aggressors send you threats, disturb your family member with their concocted destructive lies, and they took hold a copy of your passport or ID - change it immediately. Document the threats, the libellous slander, done by these aggressive and abusive people who took advantage of you, used you, and abused you, and do not hesitate to report them to the right authorities. You have to learn how to handle these scammers, habitual offensive abusive offenders/perpetrators, manipulators, bullies, digital aggressors/aggression, cyber lynchers, coward, pathological liars, opportunistic users, economic/financial abusers, emotional, psychological and verbal abusers, and repetitive abusers without breaking the law. Even if they dehumanised you, shamed you and abused you for several years, do not and never dehumanise them. Always remember the three Rs of life: 1. Respect for self 2. Respect for others 3. Responsibility for all your actions ~ Angelica Hopes, an excerpt from The S. Trilogy
Angelica Hopes (Life Issues)
The tendency to want what has been banned and therefore to presume that it is more worthwhile is not limited to such commodities as laundry soap. In fact, the tendency is not limited to commodities at all but extends to restrictions on information. In an age when the ability to acquire, store, and manage information is becoming increasingly the determinant of wealth and power, it is important to understand how we typically react to attempts to censor or otherwise constrain our access to information. Although much data exist on our reactions to various kinds of potentially censorable material—media violence, pornography, radical political rhetoric—there is surprisingly little evidence as to our reactions to the act of censoring them. Fortunately, the results of the few studies that have been done on the topic are highly consistent. Almost invariably, our response to the banning of information is a greater desire to receive that information and a more favorable attitude toward it than before the ban.112 The intriguing thing about the effects of censoring information is not that audience members want to have the information more than they did before; that seems natural. Rather, it is that they come to believe in the information more, even though they haven’t received it. For example, when University of North Carolina students learned that a speech opposing coed dorms on campus would be banned, they became more opposed to the idea of coed dorms. Thus, without ever hearing the speech, they became more sympathetic to its argument. This raises the worrisome possibility that especially clever individuals holding a weak or unpopular position can get us to agree with that position by arranging to have their message restricted. The irony is that for such people—members of fringe political groups, for example—the most effective strategy may not be to publicize their unpopular views, but to get those views officially censored and then to publicize the censorship. Perhaps the authors of this country’s Constitution were acting as much as sophisticated social psychologists as staunch civil libertarians when they wrote the remarkably permissive free-speech provision of the First Amendment. By refusing to restrain freedom of speech, they may have been attempting to minimize the chance that new political notions would win support via the irrational course of psychological reactance.
Robert B. Cialdini (Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials))
The story of Cassius Clay’s lost bicycle would later be told as an indication of the boxer’s determination and the wonders of accidental encounters, but it carries broader meaning, too. If Cassius Clay had been a white boy, the theft of his bicycle and an introduction to Joe Martin might have led as easily to an interest in a career in law enforcement as boxing. But Cassius, who had already developed a keen understanding of America’s racial striation, knew that law enforcement wasn’t a promising option. This subject—what white America allowed and expected of black people—would intrigue him all his life. “At twelve years old I wanted to be a big celebrity,” he said years later. “I wanted to be world famous.” The interviewer pushed him: Why did he want to be famous? Upon reflection he answered from a more adult perspective: “So that I could rebel and be different from all the rest of them and show everyone behind me that you don’t have to Uncle Tom, you don’t have to kiss you-know-what to make it . . . I wanted to be free. I wanted to say what I wanna say . . . Go where I wanna go. Do what I wanna do.” For young Cassius, what mattered was that boxing was permitted, even encouraged, and that it gave him more or less equal status to the white boys who trained with him. Every day, on his way to the gym, Cassius passed a Cadillac dealership. Boxing wasn’t the only way for him to acquire one of those big, beautiful cars in the showroom window, but it might have seemed that way at the time. Boxing suggested a path to prosperity that did not require reading and writing. It came with the authorization of a white man in Joe Martin. It offered respect, visibility, power, and money. Boxing transcended race in ways that were highly unusual in the 1950s, when black Americans had limited control of their economic and political lives. Boxing more than most other sports allowed black athletes to compete on level ground with white athletes, to openly display their strength and even superiority, and to earn money on a relatively equal scale. As James Baldwin wrote in The Fire Next Time, many black people of Clay’s generation believed that getting an education and saving money would never be enough to earn respect. “One needed a handle, a lever, a means of inspiring fear,” Baldwin wrote. “It was absolutely clear the police would whip you and take you in as long as they could get away with it, and that everyone else—housewives, taxi
Jonathan Eig (Ali: A Life)
Had she witnessed his swim? He didn’t see how she could have missed it if she’d indeed been lunching by the water. The more intriguing question was, had she liked what she’d seen? Ever the scientist, Darius couldn’t let the hypothesis go unchallenged. Ignoring his boots where they lay in the grass at the edge of the landing, he strode barefoot toward his quarry. “So I’m to understand that you lunch by the pond every day, Miss Greyson?” he asked as he stalked her through the shin-high grass. Her chin wobbled just a bit, and she took a nearly imperceptible step back. He’d probably not have noticed it if he hadn’t been observing her so closely. But what kind of scientist would he be if he didn’t attend to the tiniest of details? “Every day,” she confirmed, her voice impressively free of tremors. The lady knew how to put up a strong front. “After working indoors for several hours, it’s nice to have the benefits of fresh air and a change of scenery. The pond offers both.” He halted his advance about a foot away from her. “I imagine the scenery changed a little more than you were expecting today.” His lighthearted tone surprised him nearly as much as it did her. Her brow puckered as if he were an equation she couldn’t quite decipher. Well, that was only fair, since he didn’t have a clue about what he was trying to do, either. Surely not flirt with the woman. He didn’t have time for such vain endeavors. He needed to extricate himself from this situation. At once. Not knowing what else to do, Darius sketched a short bow and begged her pardon as if he were a gentleman in his mother’s drawing room instead of a soggy scientist dripping all over the vegetation. “I apologize for intruding on your solitude, Miss Greyson, and I hope I have not offended you with my . . . ah . . .” He glanced helplessly down at his wet clothing. “Dampness?” The amusement in his secretary’s voice brought his head up. “My father used to be a seaman, Mr. Thornton, and I grew up swimming in the Gulf. You aren’t the first man I’ve seen take a swim.” Though the way her gaze dipped again to his chest and the slow swallowing motion of her throat that followed seemed to indicate that she hadn’t been as unmoved by the sight as she would have him believe. That thought pleased him far more than it should have. “Be that as it may, I’ll take special care not to avail myself of the pond during the midday hours in the future.” He expected her to murmur some polite form of thanks for his consideration, but she didn’t. No, she stared at him instead. Long enough that he had to fight the urge to squirm under her perusal. “You know, Mr. Thornton,” she said with a cock of her head that gave him the distinct impression she was testing her own hypothesis. “I believe your . . . dampness has restored your ability to converse with genteel manners.” Her lips curved in a saucy grin that had his pulse leaping in response. “Perhaps you should swim more often.
Karen Witemeyer (Full Steam Ahead)