No Government Is Perfect Quotes

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Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Winston S. Churchill (Churchill Speaks: Collected Speeches in Peace and War, 1897-1963)
Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly -- that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to oneself. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion -- these are the two things that govern us.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Stories)
When it can be said by any country in the world, my poor are happy, neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them, my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars, the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive, the rational world is my friend because I am the friend of happiness. When these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and government. Independence is my happiness, the world is my country and my religion is to do good.
Thomas Paine (Rights of Man)
God's law is 'right reason.' When perfectly understood it is called 'wisdom.' When applied by government in regulating human relations it is called 'justice.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.
Aldous Huxley (Ends and Means)
Independence has nothing to do with whether or not someone chooses to be single or to be married, to have children or to not have children. Independence by definition is about self-governing. About choosing for yourself. About making your own decisions.
Krista Ritchie (Some Kind of Perfect (Calloway Sisters #5))
It's all very well to put the government in the hands of the perfect man, but what do you do when the perfect man gets a bellyache?
David Eddings (Belgarath the Sorcerer)
Freedom is sloppy. But since tyranny's the only guaranteed byproduct of those who insist on a perfect world, freedom will have to do.
Bill Willingham (Fables - Werewolves of the Heartland)
We now know the basic rules governing the universe, together with the gravitational interrelationships of its gross components, as shown in the theory of relativity worked out between 1905 and 1916. We also know the basic rules governing the subatomic particles and their interrelationships, since these are very neatly described by the quantum theory worked out between 1900 and 1930. What's more, we have found that the galaxies and clusters of galaxies are the basic units of the physical universe, as discovered between 1920 and 1930. ...The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern 'knowledge' is that it is wrong... My answer to him was, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together. The basic trouble, you see, is that people think that 'right' and 'wrong' are absolute; that everything that isn't perfectly and completely right is totally and equally wrong. However, I don't think that's so. It seems to me that right and wrong are fuzzy concepts, and I will devote this essay to an explanation of why I think so. When my friend the English literature expert tells me that in every century scientists think they have worked out the universe and are always wrong, what I want to know is how wrong are they? Are they always wrong to the same degree?
Isaac Asimov
If there were a nation of Gods, it would govern itself democratically. A government so perfect is not suited to men.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract)
They want us to be afraid. They want us to be afraid of leaving our homes. They want us to barricade our doors and hide our children. Their aim is to make us fear life itself! They want us to hate. They want us to hate 'the other'. They want us to practice aggression and perfect antagonism. Their aim is to divide us all! They want us to be inhuman. They want us to throw out our kindness. They want us to bury our love and burn our hope. Their aim is to take all our light! They think their bricked walls will separate us. They think their damned bombs will defeat us. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that my soul and your soul are old friends. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that when they cut you I bleed. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that we will never be afraid, we will never hate and we will never be silent for life is ours!
Kamand Kojouri
There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which a man may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a man to approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other. Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as any "Way."... A person should study as they see fit.
Miyamoto Musashi (A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy)
We believe that to govern perfectly it is necessary to avoid governing too much.
James Hilton (Lost Horizon)
A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame… as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world…aware that his effort will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure. [...] “My point is that one person is responsible. Always. [...] In terms of morals there is no such thing as ‘state.’ Just men. Individuals. Each responsible for his own acts.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress)
A Radical is a man with both feet firmly planted--in the air. A Conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward. A Reactionary is a somnambulist walking backwards. A Liberal is a man who uses his legs and his hands at the behest--at the command--of his head.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
It is strange to me that most people assume companies will be imperfect (as they are), but they assume that government agencies will be perfect, which they are not.
Matt Ridley (The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves)
Equality, as understood by the American Founders, is the natural right of every individual to live freely under self-government, to acquire and retain the property he creates through his own labor, and to be treated impartially before a just law. Moreover, equality should not be confused with perfection, for man is also imperfect, making his application of equality, even in the most just society, imperfect. Otherwise, inequality is the natural state of man in the sense that each individual is born unique in all his human characteristics. Therefore, equality and inequality, properly comprehended, are both engines of liberty.
Mark R. Levin (Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America)
Genua had once controlled the river mouth and taxed its traffic in a way that couldn't be called piracy because it was done by the city government, and therefore sound economics and perfectly all right.
Terry Pratchett (Witches Abroad (Discworld, #12; Witches, #3))
I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end: "C-Students from Yale." George W. Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka Christians, and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences. To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete's foot . . . PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose! . . . So many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. They have taken charge of communications and the schools, so we might as well be Poland under occupation. They might have felt that taking our country into an endless war was simply something decisive to do. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin' day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reasons that they don't give a fuck what happens next. Simply can't. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody's telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass! There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
What are you so mad about? That we still have a government? We still have “traffic lights.” We’re sorry. The government’s not perfect, but some people wish it was better, not gone.
Jon Stewart
McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything he stands for. Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72)
Government is the perfect portrayer of the accuracy of the axiom that if you lie big enough, long enough, the lie becomes the “truth.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
I reached down and picked up a baseball bat at my feet and I flung it as hard as it could. It circled and arced high in the air until it slammed against the side of the dining hall with a crack and fell. I sat down in the dirt. Then I lay down in the dirt. Because not only was there no trail to follow, there was no evidence he’d ever been here. There was no evidence any of them had been here.
Laura Anderson Kurk (Perfect Glass)
[The answer of Solon to the question 'Which is the most perfect popular government?'] That where the least injury done to the meanest individual, is considered as an insult on the whole constitution.
Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together.
James Madison
Because it is a monopoly, government brings inefficiency and stagnation to most things it runs; government agencies pursue the inflation of their budgets rather than the service of their customers; pressure groups form an unholy alliance with agencies to extract more money from taxpayers for their members. Yet despite all this, most clever people still call for government to run more things and assume that if it did so, it would somehow be more perfect, more selfless, next time.
Matt Ridley (The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves)
The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon. Our government's got a war on drugs....But get this: The two most widely abused and addictive and destructive of all substances are both perfectly legal. One, of course, is ethyl alcohol. And President George W. Bush, no less, and by his own admission, was smashed, or tiddley-poo, or four sheets to the wind a good deal of time from when he was sixteen until he was forty. When he was forty-one, he says, Jesus appeared to him and made him knock off the sauce, stop gargling nose paint. Other drunks have seen pink elephants.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
To make a contented slave, you must make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate his power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery. The man that takes his earnings, must be able to convince him that he has a perfect right to do so. It must not depend upon mere force; the slave must know no Higher Law than his master's will. The whole relationship must not only demonstrate, to his mind, its necessity, but its absolute rightfulness.
Frederick Douglass
Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless.
Milton Friedman
It was about how men walk into a forest afraid because they know all the things that can happen. They might wake the noisy birds and cause chaos. But kids come into the trees and see the magic. They climb them and see stars that the men were too afraid to see.
Laura Anderson Kurk
This is not even one of the weirder Atlantises. No crystals here, no flying cars, no perfect governments, no psychic powers. (Those last two things don’t exist, anyway.)
Amal El-Mohtar (This is How You Lose the Time War)
When you grow up in middle America you are inculcated from the earliest age with the belief - no, the understanding - that America is the richest and most powerful nation on earth because God likes us best. It has the most perfect form of government, the most exciting sporting events, the tastiest food and amplest portions, the largest cars, the cheapest gasoline, the most abundant natural resources, the most productive farms, the most devastating nuclear arsenal and the friendliest, most decent and most patriotic folks on Earth. Countries just don't come any better. So why anyone would want to live anywhere else is practically incomprehensible. In a foreigner it is puzzling; in a native it is seditious. I used to feel this way myself.
Bill Bryson
A utopian system, when established by men, is likely to be synonymous with a dystopian depression. The only way for perfect peace by man is absolute control of all wrongs. Bully-cultures find this: with each and every mistake, another village idiot is shamed into nothingness and mindlessly shut down by the herd. This is a superficial peace made by force and by fear, one in which there is no freedom to breathe; and the reason it is impossible for man to maintain freedom and peace for everyone at the same time. Christ, on the other hand, transforms, instead of controls, by instilling his certain inner peace. This is the place where one realizes that only his holiness is and feels like true freedom, rather than like imprisonment, and, too, why Hell, I imagine, a magnified version of man's never-ending conflict between freedom and peace, would be the flesh's ultimate utopia - yet its ultimate regret.
Criss Jami (Healology)
It constantly amazes me that defenders of the free market are expected to offer certainty and perfection while government has only to make promises and express good intentions. Many times, for instance, I’ve heard people say, "A free market in education is a bad idea because some child somewhere might fall through the cracks," even though in today’s government school, millions of children are falling through the cracks every day.
Lawrence W. Reed
No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Winston S. Churchill
It requires emphasis that the states established the American Republic and, through the Constitution, retained for themselves significant authority to ensure the republic's durability. This is not to say that the states are perfect governing institutions. Many are no more respectful of unalienable rights than is the federal government. But the issue is how best to preserve the civil society in a world of imperfect people and institutions. The answer, the Framers concluded, is to diversify authority with a combination of governing checks, balances, and divisions, intended to prevent the concentration of unbridled power in the hands of a relative few imperfect people.
Mark R. Levin (The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic)
As heirs to a legacy more than two centuries old, it is understandable why present-day Americans would take their own democracy for granted. A president freely chosen from a wide-open field of two men every four years; a Congress with a 99% incumbency rate; a Supreme Court comprised of nine politically appointed judges whose only oversight is the icy scythe of Death -- all these reveal a system fully capable of maintaining itself. But our perfect democracy, which neither needs nor particularly wants voters, is a rarity. It is important to remember there still exist other forms of government in the world today, and that dozens of foreign countries still long for a democracy such as ours to be imposed on them.
Jon Stewart (America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction)
When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost... All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
H.L. Mencken
Unlimited power is the ideal thing when it is in safe hands. The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government, and earthly despotism would be the absolute perfect earthly government if the conditions were the same; namely the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual; but as a perishable, perfect man must die and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
The Carls were the perfect vector for disagreement because, through all of this, we still knew practically nothing about them. Governments were accused of hiding things because people just couldn’t accept that those in power were exactly as lost as the rest of us. Human beings are terrible at accepting uncertainty, so when we’re ignorant, we make assumptions based on how we imagine the world. And our guess is so obviously correct that other guesses seem, at best, willful ignorance—at worst, an attack.
Hank Green (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (The Carls, #1))
Mortality is a school of suffering and trials. We are here that we may be educated in a school of suffering and of fiery trials, which school was necessary for Jesus, our Elder Brother, who, the scriptures tell us, ‘was made perfect through suffering.’ It is necessary that we suffer in all things, that we may be qualified and worthy to rule, and govern all things, even as our Father in Heaven and His eldest son, Jesus.
Lorenzo Snow
There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral - immoral from the scientific point of view.' 'Why?' 'Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of someone else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here ofr. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion - these are the two things that govern us. And yet [...] I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream - I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all maladies of medievalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal - to something finer, richer, than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. [...] We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us. ... The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.
Oscar Wilde
We are all imperfect. We can not expect perfect government.
William Howard Taft
I do not believe in democracy, but I am perfectly willing to admit that it provides the only really amusing form of government ever endured by mankind.
H.L. Mencken (A Mencken Chrestomathy)
All learning is useful, all the sciences are curious, all the arts are beautiful; but the most useful, most curious and most beautiful is perfect knowledge and perfect government of oneself.
Frances Wright
Infinite intelligence leads and guides me in all my ways. Perfect health is mine, and the Law of Harmony operates in my mind and body. Beauty, love, peace, and abundance are mine. The principle of right action and divine order govern my entire life. I know my major premise is based on the eternal truths of life, and I know, feel, and believe that my subconscious mind responds according to the nature of my conscious mind thinking.
Joseph Murphy (The Power of Your Subconscious Mind)
The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly—that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course, they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion—these are the two things that govern us.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
It was about acceptance, he thought. About realizing no one is perfect and no one can expect to change someone else. Which
Cammie McGovern (Say What You Will)
The answer of Solon on the question, 'Which is the most perfect popular govemment,' has never been exceeded by any man since his time, as containing a maxim of political morality, 'That,' says he, 'where the least injury done to the meanest individual, is considered as an insult on the whole constitution.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
Sect. 4. TO understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.
John Locke (Second Treatise of Government)
If I have one message to give to the secular American people, it’s that the world is not divided into countries. The world is not divided between East and West. You are American, I am Iranian, we don’t know each other, but we talk together and we understand each other perfectly. The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between me and you. And our governments are very much the same.
Marjane Satrapi
We formed an impromptu circle just so we could look at each other and memorize faces. We hardly noticed the waiting officials. We hardly noticed anything but our little family whose ties weren’t loosening at all. In fact, this impending separation only seemed to be binding us together with a double overhand knot, hard to untie and unfailing.
Laura Anderson Kurk (Perfect Glass)
[Obamacare] was almost the perfect example of politics in the Bubble Era, where the time horizon for anyone with real power is always close to zero, long-term thinking is an alien concept, and even the most massive and ambitious undertakings are motivated entirely by short-term rewards. A radical reshaping of the entire economy, for two election cycles’ worth of campaign cash – that was what this bill meant. It sounds absurdly reductive to say so, but there’s no other explanation that makes any sense.
Matt Taibbi (Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America)
The Constitution says: "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." The meaning of this is simply We, the people of the United States, acting freely and voluntarily as individuals, consent and agree that we will cooperate with each other in sustaining such a government as is provided for in this Constitution. The necessity for the consent of "the people" is implied in this declaration. The whole authority of the Constitution rests upon it. If they did not consent, it was of no validity. Of course it had no validity, except as between those who actually consented. No one's consent could be presumed against him, without his actual consent being given, any more than in the case of any other contract to pay money, or render service. And to make it binding upon any one, his signature, or other positive evidence of consent, was as necessary as in the case of any other-contract. If the instrument meant to say that any of "the people of the United States" would be bound by it, who did not consent, it was a usurpation and a lie. The most that can be inferred from the form, "We, the people," is, that the instrument offered membership to all "the people of the United States;" leaving it for them to accept or refuse it, at their pleasure.
Lysander Spooner (No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority (Complete Series))
You can see the same immorality or amorality in the Christian view of guilt and punishment. There are only two texts, both of them extreme and mutually contradictory. The Old Testament injunction is the one to exact an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (it occurs in a passage of perfectly demented detail about the exact rules governing mutual ox-goring; you should look it up in its context (Exodus 21). The second is from the Gospels and says that only those without sin should cast the first stone. The first is a moral basis for capital punishment and other barbarities; the second is so relativistic and "nonjudgmental" that it would not allow the prosecution of Charles Manson. Our few notions of justice have had to evolve despite these absurd codes of ultra vindictiveness and ultracompassion.
Christopher Hitchens (Letters to a Young Contrarian)
I am a sick man. ... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased. However, I know nothing at all about my disease, and do not know for certain what ails me. I don't consult a doctor for it, and never have, though I have a respect for medicine and doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, sufficiently so to respect medicine, anyway (I am well-educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am superstitious). No, I refuse to consult a doctor from spite. That you probably will not understand. Well, I understand it, though. Of course, I can't explain who it is precisely that I am mortifying in this case by my spite: I am perfectly well aware that I cannot "pay out" the doctors by not consulting them; I know better than anyone that by all this I am only injuring myself and no one else. But still, if I don't consult a doctor it is from spite. My liver is bad, well--let it get worse! I have been going on like that for a long time--twenty years. Now I am forty. I used to be in the government service, but am no longer. I was a spiteful official. I was rude and took pleasure in being so. I did not take bribes, you see, so I was bound to find a recompense in that, at least. (A poor jest, but I will not scratch it out. I wrote it thinking it would sound very witty; but now that I have seen myself that I only wanted to show off in a despicable way, I will not scratch it out on purpose!)
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
Within sixty-minute limits or one-hundred-yard limits or the limits of a game board, we can look for perfect moments or perfect structures. In my fiction I think this search sometimes turns out to be a cruel delusion. No optimism, no pessimism. No homesickness for lost values or for the way fiction used to be written. Everybody seems to know everything. Subjects surface and are totally exhausted in a matter of days or weeks, totally played out by the publishing industry and the broadcast industry. Nothing is too arcane to escape the treatment, the process. Making things difficult for the reader is less an attack on the reader than it is on the age and its facile knowledge-market. The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail. Some people prefer to believe in conspiracy because they are made anxious by random acts. Believing in conspiracy is almost comforting because, in a sense, a conspiracy is a story we tell each other to ward off the dread of chaotic and random acts. Conspiracy offers coherence. I see contemporary violence as a kind of sardonic response to the promise of consumer fulfillment in America... I see this desperation against the backdrop of brightly colored packages and products and consumer happiness and every promise that American life makes day by day and minute by minute everywhere we go. Discarded pages mark the physical dimensions of a writer’s labor. Film allows us to examine ourselves in ways earlier societies could not—examine ourselves, imitate ourselves, extend ourselves, reshape our reality. It permeates our lives, this double vision, and also detaches us, turns some of us into actors doing walk-throughs. Every new novel stretches the term of the contract—let me live long enough to do one more book. You become a serious novelist by living long enough.
Don DeLillo
And as the recession continues and our prospects look bleaker and bleaker, I’m excited. I look to the past to see what our future will be like. And in times of economic hardship and harsh governments, of pointless wars and mass unemployment, there was pop art and there was punk, there was hip hop and grafitti, there was acid house and riot grrrl. There was art and music and books that could bring you to your knees with their utter perfection. Because, when everything else is gone, all we’re left with is our imaginations.
Sarra Manning (Adorkable)
That which the external world perceives as quite motionless has the appearance of being quite at rest. However much it may change, in relation to the external world it always stays at rest. This principle governs all self-modifications. That is why the beautiful appears so much at rest. Everything beautiful is a self-illuminated, perfect individual.
Novalis (Philosophical Writings)
I went on to explain that it is an honour, and also that we need a transport policy. "If by 'we' you mean Britain, that's perfectly true," he acknowledged. "But if by 'we' you mean you and me and this Department, we need a transport policy like an aperture in the cranial cavity.
Jonathan Lynn & Anthony Jay (The Complete Yes Minister)
The populations of wealthy democratic societies expect to have total choice over their satellite TV packages, yet think it perfectly normal to allow the state to make all the choices in respect of their health care. It's a curious inversion of citizenship to demand control over peripheral leisure activities but to contract out the big life-changing stuff to the government.
Mark Steyn (America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It)
Hi there, cutie." Ash turned his head to find an extremely attractive college student by his side. With black curly hair, she was dressed in jeans and a tight green top that displayed her curves to perfection. "Hi." "You want to go inside for a drink? It's on me." Ash paused as he saw her past, present, and future simultaneously in his mind. Her name was Tracy Phillips. A political science major, she was going to end up at Harvard Med School and then be one of the leading researchers to help isolate a mutated genome that the human race didn't even know existed yet. The discovery of that genome would save the life of her youngest daughter and cause her daughter to go on to medical school herself. That daughter, with the help and guidance of her mother, would one day lobby for medical reforms that would change the way the medical world and governments treated health care. The two of them would shape generations of doctors and save thousands of lives by allowing people to have groundbreaking medical treatments that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford. And right now, all Tracy could think about was how cute his ass was in leather pants, and how much she'd like to peel them off him. In a few seconds, she'd head into the coffee shop and meet a waitress named Gina Torres. Gina's dream was to go to college herself to be a doctor and save the lives of the working poor who couldn't afford health care, but because of family problems she wasn't able to take classes this year. Still Gina would tell Tracy how she planned to go next year on a scholarship. Late tonight, after most of the college students were headed off, the two of them would be chatting about Gina's plans and dreams. And a month from now, Gina would be dead from a freak car accident that Tracy would see on the news. That one tragic event combined with the happenstance meeting tonight would lead Tracy to her destiny. In one instant, she'd realize how shallow her life had been, and she'd seek to change that and be more aware of the people around her and of their needs. Her youngest daughter would be named Gina Tory in honor of the Gina who was currently busy wiping down tables while she imagined a better life for everyone. So in effect, Gina would achieve her dream. By dying she'd save thousands of lives and she'd bring health care to those who couldn't afford it... The human race was an amazing thing. So few people ever realized just how many lives they inadvertently touched. How the right or wrong word spoken casually could empower or destroy another's life. If Ash were to accept Tracy's invitation for coffee, her destiny would be changed and she would end up working as a well-paid bank officer. She'd decide that marriage wasn't for her and go on to live her life with a partner and never have children. Everything would change. All the lives that would have been saved would be lost. And knowing the nuance of every word spoken and every gesture made was the heaviest of all the burdens Ash carried. Smiling gently, he shook his head. "Thanks for asking, but I have to head off. You have a good night." She gave him a hot once-over. "Okay, but if you change your mind, I'll be in here studying for the next few hours." Ash watched as she left him and entered the shop. She set her backpack down at a table and started unpacking her books. Sighing from exhaustion, Gina grabbed a glass of water and made her way over to her... And as he observed them through the painted glass, the two women struck up a conversation and set their destined futures into motion. His heart heavy, he glanced in the direction Cael had vanished and hated the future that awaited his friend. But it was Cael's destiny. His fate... "Imora thea mi savur," Ash whispered under his breath in Atlantean. God save me from love.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark Side of the Moon (Dark-Hunter, #9; Were-Hunter, #3))
No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wide. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government - except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Winston Churchill
From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.
James Madison (Federalist Papers Nos. 10 and 51)
I would address one general admonition to all, that they consider what are the true ends of knowledge, and that they seek it not either for pleasure of the mind, or for contention, or for superiority to others, or for profit, or for fame, or power, or any of these inferior things, but for the benefit and use of life; and that they perfect and govern it in charity. For it was from lust of power that the Angels fell, from lust of knowledge that man fell, but of charity there can be no excess, neither did angel or man come in danger by it.
Francis Bacon
In Denmark, “social trust”—a general feeling that you trust your fellow citizens and the pillar institutions of government, law courts, police, hospitals, and so on—is generally found to be the highest in the world. A perfect example of Danish “social trust” is the image of babies sleeping in carriages outside a restaurant while the parents eat inside. You might say, “But no one is watching!” A Dane will say, “Everyone is watching.
Rick Steves (Travel as a Political Act (Rick Steves))
This necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessing of which, would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this remissness, will point out the necessity, of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.
Thomas Paine (Common Sense)
When parties in a state are violent, he offered a wonderful contrivance to reconcile them. The method is this: You take a hundred leaders of each party; you dispose them into couples of such whose heads are nearest of a size; then let two nice operators saw off the occiput of each couple at the same time, in such a manner that the brain may be equally divided. Let the occiputs, thus cut off, be interchanged, applying each to the head of his opposite party-man. It seems indeed to be a work that requires some exactness, but the professor assured us, "that if it were dexterously performed, the cure would be infallible." For he argued thus: "that the two half brains being left to debate the matter between themselves within the space of one skull, would soon come to a good understanding, and produce that moderation, as well as regularity of thinking, so much to be wished for in the heads of those, who imagine they come into the world only to watch and govern its motion: and as to the difference of brains, in quantity or quality, among those who are directors in faction, the doctor assured us, from his own knowledge, that "it was a perfect trifle.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.)
A perfect society needs no rulers," they said. "Knowledge and authority ought to be held in common. In order to imagine a new existence, we must free ourselves from the structures of both our failed government and the unjustifiable hegemony of the wasp nests. Hear what you can hear and learn what you can learn while we remain among them. But be ready.
E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 55 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #55))
Fascism talks ideology, but it is really just marketing—marketing for power. It is recognizable by its need to purge, by the strategies it uses to purge, and by its terror of truly democratic agendas. It is recognizable by its determination to convert all public services to private entrepreneurship, all nonprofit organizations to profit-making ones—so that the narrow but protective chasm between governance and business disappears. It changes citizens into taxpayers—so individuals become angry at even the notion of the public good. It changes neighbors into consumers—so the measure of our value as humans is not our humanity or our compassion or our generosity but what we own. It changes parenting into panicking—so that we vote against the interests of our own children; against their health care, their education, their safety from weapons. And in effecting these changes it produces the perfect capitalist, one who is willing to kill a human being for a product (a pair of sneakers, a jacket, a car) or kill generations for control of products (oil, drugs, fruit, gold).
Toni Morrison (The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations)
Nothing is done. Everything in the world remains to be done or done over. The greatest picture is not yet painted, the greatest play isn’t written, the greatest poem is unsung. There isn’t in all the world a perfect railroad, nor a good government, nor a sound law. Physics, mathematics, and especially the most advanced and exact of the sciences are being fundamentally revised. . . Psychology, economics, and sociology are awaiting a Darwin, whose work in turn is awaiting an Einstein.
Lincoln Steffens
Everyday morality is always a blend, variously proportioned, of perfect morality and other more ambiguous ideas, for the most part religious. The greater the proportion of pure morality in a particular system, the happier and more enduring the society. Ultimately, a society governed by the pure principles of universal morality could last until the end of the world.
Michel Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles)
Several very suprising things have occurred. To begin with, I met Augustus Milray, the most perfect example of an old ass the present Government has produced. His manner oozed diplomatic secrecy as he drew me aside in the Club into a quiet corner.
Agatha Christie (The Man in the Brown Suit (Colonel Race, #1))
Watching him walk over, Alex mused that Eli Cooper was the sort of man who knew how to use his physicality. Beneath his handmade shirts and tailored suits, a street fighter hummed through every loose-limbed motion. But that impression did not extend to his face, which was structurally perfect. Skyscraper-high cheekbones. Superhero jaw. A mouth that should have a government warning. There were no signs of past trouble with a jealous husband or an abandoned girlfriend. No one had ever broken his nose. No one had busted his lip. Strange, because her first instinct on seeing him was to roundhouse kick him into the next millennium.
Kate Meader (Playing with Fire (Hot in Chicago, #2))
...there is no such thing as a parttime partisan. Real partisans are partisans always and as long as they live. They put fallen governments back in power and overthrow governments that have just been put in power with the help of partisans. Mr Matzerath contended - and his thesis struck me as perfectly plausible - that among all those who go in for politics your incorrigible partisan, who undermines what he has just set up, is closest to the artist because he consistently rejects what he has just set up.
Günter Grass (The Tin Drum)
State philosophy reposes on a double identity: of the thinking subject, and of the concepts it creates and to which it lends its own presumed attributes of sameness and constancy. The subjects, its concepts, and also the objects in the world to which the concepts are applied have a shared, internal essence: the self-resemblance at the basis of identity. Representational thought is analogical; its concern is to establish a correspondence between these symmetrically structured domains. The faculty of judgment is the policeman of analogy, assuring that each of these terms is honestly itself, and that the proper correspondences obtain. In thought its end is truth, in action justice. The weapons it wields in their pursuit are limitive distribution (the determination of the exclusive set of properties possessed by each term in contradistinction to the others: logos, law) and hierarchical ranking (the measurement of the degree of perfection of a term’s self-resemblance in relation to a supreme standard, man, god, or gold: value, morality). The modus operandi is negation: x = x = not y. Identity, resemblance, truth, justice, and negation. The rational foundation for order. The established order, of course: philosophers have traditionally been employees of the State. The collusion between philosophy and the State was most explicitly enacted in the first decade of the nineteenth century with the foundation of the University of Berlin, which was to become the model of higher learning throughout Europe and in the United States. The goal laid out for it by Wilhelm von Humboldt (based on proposals by Fichte and Schleiermacher) was the ‘spiritual and moral training of the nation,’ to be achieved by ‘deriving everything from an original principle’ (truth), by ‘relating everything to an ideal’ (justice), and by ‘unifying this principle and this ideal to a single Idea’ (the State). The end product would be ‘a fully legitimated subject of knowledge and society’ – each mind an analogously organized mini-State morally unified in the supermind of the State. More insidious than the well-known practical cooperation between university and government (the burgeoning military funding of research) is its philosophical role in the propagation of the form of representational thinking itself, that ‘properly spiritual absolute State’ endlessly reproduced and disseminated at every level of the social fabric.
Gilles Deleuze (A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia)
But we need to search for and find, what we need to own and perfect into a magnificent, shining thing, is a new kind of politics. Not the politics of governments, but the politics of resistance. The politics of opposition. The politics of forcing accountability. The politics of slowing things down. In the present circumstances, I'd say the only thing worth globalizing is dissent.
Megan McKenna (The New Stations of the Cross: The Way of the Cross According to Scripture)
Though simple and obvious as an act of art, the drawing portrayed the silly, helpless tendency of fundamental things to get way off course and turn into nonsense, illustrated the church's grotesque pearling around its traditional heart, explained the pernicious extrapolating rules and observances of governments - implicated all of us in a gradual apostasy from every perfect thing we find or make.
Denis Johnson (The Name of the World)
There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral—immoral from the scientific point of view." "Why?" "Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly—that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty hat one owes to one's self. Of course, they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion—these are the two things that govern us. And yet, I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream—I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of mediaevalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal—to something finer, richer than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray (Collector's Edition): Including the Uncensored 13 Chapter Version & The Revised 20 Chapter Version)
Meditation I KNOW there is a Power for Good which is responding to me and bringing into my experience everything that is necessary to my unfoldment, to my happiness, to my peace, to my health, and to my success. I know there is a Power for Good that enables me to help others and to bless the whole world. So I say quietly to myself: There is one Life, that Life is God, that Life is perfect, that Life is my life now. It is flowing through me, circulating in me. I am one with Its rhythm. My heart beats with the pulsation of the Universe, in serenity, in peace, and in joy. My whole physical being is animated by the Divine Spirit, and if there is anything in it that does not belong, it is cast out because there is One Perfect Life in me now. And I say to myself: I am daily guided so that I shall know what to do under every circumstance, in every situation. Divine Intelligence guides me in love, in joy, and in complete self-expression. Desiring that the Law of Good alone shall control me, I bless and prosper everything I am doing; I multiply every activity; I accept and expect happiness and complete success. Realizing that I am one with all people, I affirm that there is a silent Power flowing through me and them, which blesses and heals and prospers, makes happy and glad their pathway. And realizing that the world is made up of people like myself, I bless the world and affirm that it shall come under the Divine government of Good, under the Divine providence of Love, and under the Divine leadership of the Supreme Intelligence. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Ernest Shurtleff Holmes (Living the Science of Mind)
All sciences have their mysteries and at certain points the apparently most obvious theory will be found in contradiction with experience. Politics, for example, offers several proofs of this truth. In theory, is anything more absurd than hereditary monarchy? We judge it by experience, but if government had never been heard of and we had to choose one, whoever would deliberate between hereditary and elective monarchy would be taken for a fool. Yet we know by experience that the first is, all things considered, the best that can be imagined, while the second is the worst. What arguments could not be amassed to establish that sovereignty comes from the people? However they all amount to nothing. Sovereignty is always taken, never given, and a second more profound theory subsequently discovers why this must be so. Who would not say the best political constitution is that which has been debated and drafted by statesmen perfectly acquainted with the national character, and who have foreseen every circumstance? Nevertheless nothing is more false. The best constituted people is the one that has the fewest written constitutional laws, and every written constitution is WORTHLESS.
Joseph de Maistre (St Petersburg Dialogues: Or Conversations on the Temporal Government of Providence)
Well… maybe so. This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it—that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes and all his imprecise talk about “new politics” and “honesty in government,” is one of the few men who’ve run for President of the United States in this century who really understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything he stands for. Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72)
The whole idea of a unified universe with mathematically regular laws, that was what had been flushed down the toilet; the whole notion of physics. Three thousand years of resolving big complicated things into smaller pieces, discovering that the music of the planets was the same tune as a falling apple, finding that the true laws were perfectly universal and had no exceptions anywhere and took the form of simple maths governing the smallest parts, not to mention that the mind was the brain and the brain was made of neurons, a brain was what a person was - And then a woman turned into a cat, so much for all that.
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
So, ignorant we are. But we're not stupid. Indeed...remaining ignorant about politics and our government is a perfectly rational response to the government we have. The question isn't what we know. The question is what we're capable of knowing, and doing, if we have the right incentives, and the right opportunity.
Lawrence Lessig
I figured the government wouldn't let poison flow from the taps. But in general, I'm too trusting of the government. I'm the polar opposite of the Tea Partiers. I have no problem with a nanny state. But in this case, the nanny state has been chatting on the cell phone and ignoring the baby as it plays with matches.
A.J. Jacobs (Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection)
But whoever seriously considers the immense extent of territory comprehended within the limits of the United States, together with the variety of its climates, productions, and commerce, the difference of extent, and number of inhabitants in all; the dissimilitude of interest, morals, and politics, in almost every one, will receive it as an intuitive truth, that a consolidated republican form of government therein, can never form a perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to you and your posterity, for to these objects it must be directed. This unkindred legislature therefore, composed of interests opposite and dissimilar in their nature, will in its exercise, emphatically be like a house divided against itself.
George Clinton
It's WW2 and there are wage controls in place. Instead of health care, companies decide to offer employees shoes. Having absorbed those costs, they later lobby for every company to be required to offer shoes. That calls forth regulation and monopolization of the shoe industry. Shoes are heavily subsidized. Every shoe must be approved. Producers must be domestic. They must adhere to a certain quality. They can't discriminate based on foot size or individual need. Prices rise, and some people lack shoes, so the Affordable Shoe Act forces everyone to buy into an official shoe plan or pay a fee. Here we have a perfect plan for making shoes egregiously expensive. The entire country would be consumed with the fear of being shoeless if they lose their job. The left wing calls for a single shoe provider to offer universal shoes and the right wing meekly suggests that shoe makers be permitted to sell across state lines. Meanwhile, libertarians suggest that we just forget the whole thing and let the market make and deliver shoes of every quality to anyone from anyone. Everyone screams that this is an insane and dangerous idea.
Jeffrey Tucker
So the insurgency was born in a perfect storm of American errors--not establishing order; not providing the semblance of any government; confirming to the Sunnis who had once lorded it over Iraq's Shia majority that they were officially the underdogs; and throwing hundreds of thousands of soldiers onto the streets in an economy where the jobless rate was around 50 percent, while simultaneously ensuring that there was an unlimited supply of weaponry at hand for those angry young men.
Peter L. Bergen (The Longest War: A History of the War on Terror and the Battles with Al Qaeda Since 9/11)
Quote of the day:Quote of the day: A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy. Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley
Last night, at a press conference, the City Council reminded everyone that the Dog Park is there for our community enjoyment and use, and so it is important that no one enter, look at, or think about the Dog Park. They are adding a new advanced camera system to keep an eye on the great black walls of the Dog Park at all times, and if anyone is caught trying to enter it, they will be forced to enter it, and will never be heard from again. If you see hooded figures in the Dog Park, no you didn’t. The hooded figures are perfectly safe, and should not be approached at any costs. The City Council ended the conference by devouring a raw potato in quick, small bites of their sharp teeth and rough tongues. No follow-up questions were asked, although there were a few follow-up screams. We have also received word via encrypted radio pulses about the opening of a new store: Lenny’s Bargain House of Gardenwares and Machine Parts, which until recently was that abandoned warehouse the government was using for the highly classified and completely secret tests I was telling you about last week. Lenny’s will serve as a helpful new source for all needs involving landscaping and lawn-decorating materials and also as a way for the government to unload all the machines and failed tests and dangerous substances that otherwise would be wasted on things like “safe disposal” or “burying in a concrete tomb until the sun goes out.” Get out to Lenny’s for their big grand opening sale. Find eight government secrets and get a free kidnapping and personality reassignment so that you’ll forget you found them!
Joseph Fink (Welcome to Night Vale (Welcome to Night Vale, #1))
You revolutionists' the other continued, with leisurely self-confidence, 'are the slaves of the social convention, which is afraid of you; slaves of it as much as the very police that stands up in the defence of that convention. Clearly you are, since you want to revolutionize it. It governs your action, too, and thus neither your thought nor your action can ever be conclusive. (...) 'You are not a bit better than the forces arrayed against you -- than the police, for instance. The other day I came suddenly upon Chief Inspector Heat at the corner of Tottenham Court Road. He looked at me very steadily. But I did not look at him. Why should I give him more than a glance ? He was thinking of many things -- of his superiors, of his reputation, of the law courts, of his salary, of newspapers -- of a hundred things. But I was thinking of my perfect detonator only. He meant nothing to me. He was as insignificant as -- I can't call to mind anything insignificant enough to compare him with -- except Karl Yundt perhaps. Like to like. The terrorist and the policeman both come from the same basket. Revolutions, legality -- counter moves in the same game; forms of idleness at bottom identical. He plays his little game -- so do you propagandists.
Joseph Conrad (The Secret Agent)
A living wage provides the basics of food, clothing, and shelter along with access to transportation and basic health care without further government assistance.
David Gottstein (A More Perfect Union: Unifying Ideas for a Divided America)
To the extent the fully able-bodied or partially able-bodied, are able enough to provide a service, they should be required to do so.
David Gottstein (A More Perfect Union: Unifying Ideas for a Divided America)
Workfare, not welfare.
David Gottstein (A More Perfect Union: Unifying Ideas for a Divided America)
Unless you think you’re dealing with the second coming of Jesus Christ, you are under no obligation to assume that any person on earth is 100% perfect all of the time.
Joseph Befumo (The Republicrat Junta: How Two Corrupt Parties, in Collusion with Corporate Criminals, have Subverted Democracy, Deceived the People, and Hijacked Our Constitutional Government)
Confusing a model – such as that of a perfectly competitive market – with the theory of which it is one representation can limit applicability still further.
Elinor Ostrom (Governing the Commons (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions))
The problem is that our corporate, government, and education cultures are configured for the 75 or 80 percent of people who are larks or third birds. Owls are like left-handers in a right-handed world—forced to use scissors and writing desks and catcher’s mitts designed for others. How they respond is the final piece of the puzzle in divining the rhythms of the day.
Daniel H. Pink (When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing)
Discipline If you set out to seek freedom, then learn above all things to govern your soul and your senses, for fear that your passions and longings may lead you away from the path you should follow. Chaste be your mind and your body, and both in subjection, obediently, steadfastly seeking the aim set before them; only through discipline may a man learn to be free. Action Daring to do what is right, not what fancy may tell you, valiantly grasping occasions, not cravenly doubting – freedom comes only through deeds, not through thoughts taking wing. Faint not nor fear, but go out to the storm and the action, trusting in God whose commandment you faithfully follow; freedom, exultant, will welcome your spirit with joy. Suffering A change has come indeed. Your hands, so strong and active, are bound; in helplessness now you see your action is ended; you sigh in relief, your cause committing to stronger hands; so now you may rest contented. Only for one blissful moment could you draw near to touch freedom; then, that it might be perfected in glory, you gave it to God. Death Come now, thou greatest of feasts on the journey to freedom eternal; death, cast aside all the burdensome chains, and demolish the walls of our temporal body, the walls of our souls that are blinded, so that at last we may see that which here remains hidden. Freedom, how long we have sought thee in discipline, action, and suffering; dying, we now may behold thee revealed in the Lord.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I AM’ Master of my world. ‘I AM’ the Victorious, Intelligence governing it. I send forth into my world this Mighty, Radiant, Intelligent Energy of God. I command It to create all Perfection—to draw to me the Opulence of God made visible in my hands and use. ‘I AM’ no longer the Babe of Christ, but the Master Presence grown to Full Stature, and I speak and command with authority.
Comte de Saint-Germain (The "I am" discourses)
Thus did I receive, through the singing of these various hymns and the moral education that accompanied them, not only a religious, but a political schooling of sorts. For though the intertwining of morality and politics does not necessarily make for a clear understanding of the cynicism that governs world affairs., it does engender impatience with and a rejection of this cynicism, and a real belief in a more perfect, less unjust world. And though I regret not having been taught more about the real world, I have never regretted being taught this kind of morality first.
Jean Said Makdisi (Teta, Mother and Me: Three Generations of Arab Women)
He did not share his father’s belief that the Germans were a superior type of human, but on the other hand he could see that German mastery of Europe would be no bad thing. The French had many brilliant talents—cooking, painting, fashion, wine—but they were not good at government. French officials saw themselves as some kind of aristocracy, and thought it was perfectly all right to
Ken Follett (Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy #1))
Okay . . . let’s see. I don’t think we should take away a citizen’s right to own a gun. But I do think it should be one hell of a difficult process to get your hands on one. I think women should decide what to do with their own bodies, as long as it’s within the first trimester or it’s a medical emergency. I think government programs are absolutely necessary but I also think a more systematic process needs to be put in place that would encourage people to get off of welfare, rather than to stay on it. I think we should open up our borders to immigrants, as long as they register and pay taxes. I’m certain that life-saving medical care should be a basic human right, not a luxury only the wealthy can afford. I think college tuition should automatically be deferred and then repaid over a twenty-year period on a sliding scale. I think athletes are paid way too much, teachers are paid way too little, NASA is underfunded, weed should be legal, people should love who they want to love, and Wi-Fi should be universally accessible and free.” When he’s finished, he calmly reaches for his mug of hot chocolate and brings it back to his mouth. “Do you still love me?
Colleen Hoover (All Your Perfects)
On the levels of politics and theology, beauty is perfectly compatible with nonsense and tyranny. Which is very fortunate; for if beauty were incompatible with non­sense and tyranny, there would be precious little art in the world. The masterpieces of painting, sculpture and architecture were produced as religious or political propaganda, for the greater glory of a god, a govern­ment or a priesthood. But most kings and priests have been despotic and all religions have been riddled with superstition. Genius has been the servant of tyranny and art has advertised the merits of the local cult. Time, as it passes, separates the good art from the bad meta­physics. Can we learn to make this separation, not after the event, but while it is actually taking place? That is the question.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
Of course, you might be perfectly happy ceding all authority to the algorithms and trusting them to decide things for you and for the rest of the world. If so, just relax and enjoy the ride. You don't need to do anything about it. The algorithms will take care of everything. If, however, you want to retain some control over your personal existence and the future of life, you have to run faster than the algorithms, faster than Amazon and the government, and get to know yourself before they do. To run fast, don't take much baggage with you. Leave all your illusions behind. They are very heavy.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
New rules—we needed new rules. No one opens the main doors but me. No one leaves the property without me. No one goes outside without letting me know. I had these horrible images in my head of kids being restrained against their wills, of kids crying my name out, begging me to help them when I was powerless. Desperate times… Lord, my soul called out. Lord…somehow that’s as far as I could get. I didn’t have the words.
Laura Anderson Kurk (Perfect Glass)
Fewer than 5 percent of Danes attend church. In godless Denmark, the national government funds a high quality education for all children, rich and poor alike, while in God-fearing America, education is funded through local property taxes, so neighborhood and income dictate a child’s educational opportunities. Add in race and ethnicity factors to create a perfectly stratified school system segregated by educational opportunity.
Frank Schaeffer (Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to give love, create beauty and find peace)
An artist is identical with an anarchist,' he cried. 'You might transpose the words anywhere. An anarchist is an artist. The man who throws a bomb is an artist, because he prefers a great moment to everything. He sees how much more valuable is one burst of blazing light, one peal of perfect thunder, than the mere common bodies of a few shapeless policemen. An artist disregards all governments, abolishes all conventions. The poet delights in disorder only. If it were not so, the most poetical thing in the world would be the Underground Railway.' 'So it is,' said Mr. Syme. 'Nonsense!' said Gregory, who was very rational when any one else attempted paradox.
G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare)
Let no man marvel if in what I am about to say concerning Princedoms wholly new, both as regards the Prince and the form of Government, I cite the highest examples. For since men for the most part follow in the footsteps and imitate the actions of others, and yet are unable to adhere exactly to those paths which others have taken, or attain to the virtues of those whom they would resemble, the wise man should always follow the roads that have been trodden by the great, and imitate those who have most excelled, so that if he cannot reach their perfection, he may at least acquire something of its savour. Acting in this like the skilful archer, who seeing that the object he would hit is distant, and knowing the range of his bow, takes aim much above the destined mark; not designing that his arrow should strike so high, but that flying high it may alight at the point intended.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
Galileo essentially started out from where Archimedes left off, proceeding in the same direction as defined by his Greek predecessor. This is true not only of Galileo but also of the other great figures of the so-called “scientific revolution,” such as Leibniz, Huygens, Fermat, Descartes, and Newton. All of them were Archimedes’ children. With Newton, the science of the scientific revolution reached its perfection in a perfectly Archimedean form. Based on pure, elegant first principles and applying pure geometry, Newton deduced the rules governing the universe. All of later science is a consequence of the desire to generalize Newtonian, that is, Archimedean methods.
Reviel Netz (The Archimedes Codex)
But the long tunnels of art through which I walked in Rome that day had no ragged edges, cowardly colors, or shades of pastel that didn't know what to do with themselves. The wisdom, perfection, and beauty of the colors and forms I passed were more than enough, in their collectivity, to hint at the principles which govern the hereafter, whatever that may be. Indeed, even a detail of one painting can offer solid direction in this regard if one knows how to look
Mark Helprin (Memoir from Antproof Case)
Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable.
George Washington (George Washington's Farewell Address)
No man in civil society can be exempted from the laws of it: for if any man may do what he thinks fit, and there be no appeal on earth, for redress or security against any harm he shall do; I ask, whether he be not perfectly still in the state of nature, and so can be no part or member of that civil society; unless any one will say, the state of nature and civil society are one and the same thing, which I have never yet found any one so great a patron of anarchy as to affirm.
John Locke (Second Treatise of Government)
These two visions—Darwinian organicism and Christian messianism—seem contradictory today because they reside on different sides of the culture war. But in the Progressive Era, these visions complemented each other perfectly. And Wilson embodied this synthesis. The totalitarian flavor of such a worldview should be obvious. Unlike classical liberalism, which saw the government as a necessary evil, or simply a benign but voluntary social contract for free men to enter into willingly, the belief that the entire society was one organic whole left no room for those who didn’t want to behave, let alone “evolve.” Your home, your private thoughts, everything was part of the organic body politic, which the state was charged with redeeming.
Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning)
I'll make you a little confession. I am not ashamed to use the word class. I will also plead guilty to another charge. The charge is that people belonging to my class think they're better than other people. You're damn right we're better. We're better because we do not shirk our obligations either to ourselves or to others. We do not whine. We do not organize a minority group and blackmail the government. We do not prize mediocrity for mediocrity's sake. Oh I am aware that we hear a great many flattering things nowadays about your great common man - you know, it has already been revealing to me that he is perfectly content so to be called, because that is exactly what he is: the common man and when I say common I mean common as hell.
Walker Percy (The Moviegoer)
Shin told me that the EDA spent decades engineering a special strain of weed that helps people focus and enhances their ability to play videogames! Once they had it perfected, that was when the government finally started legalizing it in the States.” He raised his arms in victory. “This ganja is part of the war effort! I love it!” He broke into song, and Shin immediately joined him. “ ‘America. Fuck yeah. Comin’ to save the motherfuckin’ day, yeah!’ ” They broke up into another laughing fit.
Ernest Cline (Armada)
Glaring, Kai leaned back against the headrest. "I'm already uncomfortable with you piloting this ship and being in control of my life. Try not to make it worse." "Why does everyone think I'm such a bad pilot?" "Cinder told me as much." "Well, tell Cinder I'm perfectly capable of flying a blasted podship without killing anyone. My flight instructor at the Andromeda - which is a very prestigious military academy in the Republic, I will have you know-" "I know what Andromeda Academy is." "Yeah, well, my flight instructor said I was a natural." "Right," Kai drawled. "Was that the same flight instructor who wrote in you official report about your inattentiveness, refusal to take safety precautions seriously, and overconfident attitude that often bordered on ... what was the word she used>? 'Fool-hardy', I think?" "Oh, yeah. Commander Reid. She had a thing for me." The radar blinked, picking up a cruiser in the far distance, and Thorne deftly changed directions to keep them out of its course. "I didn't realize I had a royal stalker. I'm flattered, Your Majesty." "Even better - you had an entire government team assigned to digging up information on you. They reported twice daily for over a week. You did run off with the most-wanted criminal in the world, after all.
Marissa Meyer (Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4))
One simple and basic fact of life is that no individual – or group of individuals – can ever be wise or knowledgeable enough to run society. Our core fantasy of “government” is that in some remote and sunlit chamber, with lacquered mahogany tables, deep leather chairs and sleepless men and women, there exists a group who are so wise, so benevolent, so omniscient and so incorruptible that we should turn over to them the education of our children, the preservation of our elderly, the salvation of the poor, the provision of vital services, the healing of the sick, the defense of the realm and of property, the administration of justice, the punishment of criminals, and the regulation of virtually every aspect of a massive, infinitely complex and ever-changing social and economic system. These living man-gods have such perfect knowledge and perfect wisdom that we should hand them weapons of mass destruction, and the endless power to tax, imprison and print money – and nothing but good, plenty and virtue will result.
Stefan Molyneux (Everyday Anarchy: The Freedom of Now)
The continent has embraced a spiritual death long before the demographic one. In those seventeen European countries that have fallen into the "lowest-low fertility," where are the children? In a way, you're looking at them: the guy sipping espresso at a sidewalk cafe listening to his iPod, the eternal adolescent charges of the paternalistic state. The government makes the grown-up decisions and we spend our pocket money on our record collection...the long-term cost of welfare is the infantilization of the population. The populations of wealthy democratic societies expect to have total choice over their satellite TV package, yet think it perfectly normal to allow the state to make all the choices in respect of their health care. It's a curious inversion of citizenship to demand control over peripheral leisure activities but to contract out the big life-changing stuff to the government. And it's hard to come up with a wake-up call for a society as dedicated as latter-day Europe to the belief that life is about sleeping in.
Mark Steyn (America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It)
Toshiaki learned that all living organisms were governed by their DNA. He was impressed by perfection of this system.Why did existence have the ability to design such a beautiful code? And how could such a simple structure account for endless diversity of life forms?
Hideaki Sena
Let us fool ourselves no longer. At the very moment Western nations, threw off the ancient regime of absolute government, operating under a once-divine king, they were restoring this same system in a far more effective form in their technology, reintroducing coercions of a military character no less strict in the organization of a factory than in that of the new drilled, uniformed, and regimented army. During the transitional stages of the last two centuries, the ultimate tendency of this system might b e in doubt, for in many areas there were strong democratic reactions; but with the knitting together of a scientific ideology, itself liberated from theological restrictions or humanistic purposes, authoritarian technics found an instrument at hand that h as now given it absolute command of physical energies of cosmic dimensions. The inventors of nuclear bombs, space rockets, and computers are the pyramid builders of our own age: psychologically inflated by a similar myth of unqualified power, boasting through their science of their increasing omnipotence, if not omniscience, moved by obsessions and compulsions no less irrational than those of earlier absolute systems: particularly the notion that the system itself must be expanded, at whatever eventual co st to life. Through mechanization, automation, cybernetic direction, this authoritarian technics has at last successfully overcome its most serious weakness: its original dependence upon resistant, sometimes actively disobedient servomechanisms, still human enough to harbor purposes that do not always coincide with those of the system. Like the earliest form of authoritarian technics, this new technology is marvellously dynamic and productive: its power in every form tends to increase without limits, in quantities that defy assimilation and defeat control, whether we are thinking of the output of scientific knowledge or of industrial assembly lines. To maximize energy, speed, or automation, without reference to the complex conditions that sustain organic life, have become ends in themselves. As with the earliest forms of authoritarian technics, the weight of effort, if one is to judge by national budgets, is toward absolute instruments of destruction, designed for absolutely irrational purposes whose chief by-product would be the mutilation or extermination of the human race. Even Ashurbanipal and Genghis Khan performed their gory operations under normal human limits. The center of authority in this new system is no longer a visible personality, an all-powerful king: even in totalitarian dictatorships the center now lies in the system itself, invisible but omnipresent: all its human components, even the technical and managerial elite, even the sacred priesthood of science, who alone have access to the secret knowledge by means of which total control is now swiftly being effected, are themselves trapped by the very perfection of the organization they have invented. Like the Pharoahs of the Pyramid Age, these servants of the system identify its goods with their own kind of well-being: as with the divine king, their praise of the system is an act of self-worship; and again like the king, they are in the grip of an irrational compulsion to extend their means of control and expand the scope of their authority. In this new systems-centered collective, this Pentagon of power, there is no visible presence who issues commands: unlike job's God, the new deities cannot be confronted, still less defied. Under the pretext of saving labor, the ultimate end of this technics is to displace life, or rather, to transfer the attributes of life to the machine and the mechanical collective, allowing only so much of the organism to remain as may be controlled and manipulated.
Lewis Mumford
Socialism, of course, cannot survive if this is the commonly held belief, because they teach that faith in government is the conduit to a perfect society. The quicker the spread of atheism, then, the quicker the spread of government as the solution to our every problem.
Candace Owens (Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation)
The substance of the universe is obedient and compliant; and the reason that governs it has in itself no cause for doing evil, for it has no malice, nor does it do evil to anything, nor is anything harmed by it. But all things are made and perfected according to this reason.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
What do we find, here in America, in the field of 'politics?' We find first a party system which is the technical arrangement to carry on a fight. It is perfectly conceivable that a flourishing democratic government be carried on without any parties at all; public functionaries being elected on their merits, and each proposed measure judged on its merits; though this sounds impossible to the androcentric mind. 'There has never been a democracy without factions and parties!" is protested. There has never been a democracy, so far--only an androcracy.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Man-Made World)
A God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a God who does not exist. A world without God, the living God who establishes moral laws to govern and perfect His children, is also a world without ultimate truth or justice. It is a world where moral relativism reigns supreme.
D. Todd Christofferson
I am a sick man.... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased. However, I know nothing at all about my disease, and do not know for certain what ails me. I don’t consult a doctor for it, and never have, though I have a respect for medicine and doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, sufficiently so to respect medicine, anyway (I am well-educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am superstitious). No, I refuse to consult a doctor from spite. That you probably will not understand. Well, I understand it, though. Of course, I can’t explain who it is precisely that I am mortifying in this case by my spite: I am perfectly well aware that I cannot “pay out” the doctors by not consulting them; I know better than anyone that by all this I am only injuring myself and no one else. But still, if I don’t consult a doctor it is from spite. My liver is bad, well — let it get worse! I have been going on like that for a long time — twenty years. Now I am forty. I used to be in the government service, but am no longer. I was a spiteful official. I was rude and took pleasure in being so. I did not take bribes, you see, so I was bound to find a recompense in that, at least. (A poor jest, but I will not scratch it out. I wrote it thinking it would sound very witty; but now that I have seen myself that I only wanted to show off in a despicable way, I will not scratch it out on purpose!)
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Complete Works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Here is one way to conceptualize NASA's heroic era: in 1961, Kennedy gave his "moon speech" to Congress, charging them to put an American on the moon "before the decade is out." In the eight years that unspooled between Kennedy's speech and Neil Armstrong's first historic bootprint, NASA, a newborn government agency, established sites and campuses in Texas, Florida, Alabama, California, Ohio, Maryland, Mississippi, Virginia, and the District of Columbia; awarded multi-million-dollar contracts and hired four hundred thousand workers; built a fully functioning moon port in a formerly uninhabited swamp; designed and constructed a moonfaring rocket, spacecraft, lunar lander, and space suits; sent astronauts repeatedly into orbit, where they ventured out of their spacecraft on umbilical tethers and practiced rendezvous techniques; sent astronauts to orbit the moon, where they mapped out the best landing sites; all culminating in the final, triumphant moment when they sent Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to step out of their lunar module and bounce about on the moon, perfectly safe within their space suits. All of this, start to finish, was accomplished in those eight years.
Margaret Lazarus Dean (Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight)
This, not incidentally, is another perfect setting for deindividuation: on one side, the functionary behind a wall of security glass following a script laid out with the intention that it should be applied no matter what the specific human story may be, told to remain emotionally disinvested as far as possible so as to avoid preferential treatment of one person over another - and needing to follow that advice to avoid being swamped by empathy for fellow human beings in distress. The functionary becomes a mixture of Zimbardo's prison guards and the experimenter himself, under siege from without while at the same time following an inflexible rubric set down by those higher up the hierarchical chain, people whose job description makes them responsible, but who in turn see themselves as serving the general public as a non-specific entity and believe or have been told that only strict adherence to a system can produce impartial fairness. Fairness is supposed to be vested in the code: no human can or should make the system fairer by exercising judgement. In other words, the whole thing creates a collective responsibility culminating in a blameless loop. Everyone assumes that it's not their place to take direct personal responsibility for what happens; that level of vested individual power is part of the previous almost feudal version of responsibility. The deindividuation is actually to a certain extent the desired outcome, though its negative consequences are not.
Nick Harkaway (The Blind Giant)
Already she is adapting herself, as she will adapt herself to very new régime. This morning I even heard her talking reverently about 'Der Führer' to the porters' wife. If anybody were to remind her that, at the elections last November, she voted communist,she would probably deny it hotly, and in perfect good faith. She is merely acclimatizing herself, in accordance with a natural law, like an animal which changes its coat for the winter. Thousands of people like Frl. Schroeder are acclimatizing themselves. After all, whatever government is in power, they are doomed to live in this town.
Christopher Isherwood
rational anarchist believes that concepts such as “state” and “society” and “government” have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame … as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world … aware that his effort will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress)
I was once in San Francisco, and I parked in the only available space, which happened to be on the other side of the street. The law descended on me. Was I aware of how dangerous the manoeuvre I’d just made was? I looked at the law a bit blankly. What had I done wrong? I had, said the law, parked against the flow of traffic. Puzzled, I looked up and down the street. What traffic? I asked. The traffic that would be there, said the law, if there was any traffic. This was a bit metaphysical, even for me, so I explained, a bit lamely, that in England we just park wherever we can find a parking space available, and weren’t that fussy about which side of the street it was on. He looked at me aghast, as if I was lucky to have got out of a country of such wild and crazy car parkers alive, and promptly gave me a ticket. Clearly he would rather have deported me before my subversive ideas brought chaos and anarchy to streets that normally had to cope with nothing more alarming than a few simple assault rifles. Which, as we know, in the States are perfectly legal, and without which they would be overrun by herds of deer, overbearing government officers, and lawless British tea importers.
Douglas Adams (The Salmon of Doubt (Dirk Gently, #3))
Human reason reduced to its own resources is perfectly worthless, not only for creating but also for preserving any political or religious association, because it only produces disputes, and, to conduct himself well, man needs not problems but beliefs. His cradle should be surrounded by dogmas, and when his reason is awakened, it should find all his opinions ready-made, at least all those relating to his conduct. Nothing is so important to him as prejudices, Let us not take this word in a bad sense. It does not necessarily mean false ideas, but only, in the strict sense of the word, opinions adopted before any examination. Now these sorts of opinions are man’s greatest need, the true elements of his happiness, and the Palladium of empires. Without them, there can be neither worship, nor morality, nor government. There must be a state religion just as there is a state policy; or, rather, religious and political dogmas must be merged and mingled together to form a complete common or national reason strong enough to repress the aberrations of individual reason, which of its nature is the mortal enemy of any association whatever because it produces only divergent opinions. All known nations have been happy and powerful to the extent that they have more faithfully obeyed this national reason, which is nothing other than the annihilation of individual dogmas and the absolute and general reign of national dogmas, that is to say, of useful prejudices. Let each man call upon his individual reason in the matter of religion, and immediately you will see the birth of an anarchy of belief or the annihilation of religious sovereignty. Likewise, if each man makes himself judge of the principles of government, you will at once see the birth of civil anarchy or the annihilation of political sovereignty. Government is a true religion: it has its dogmas, its mysteries, and its ministers. To annihilate it or submit it to the discussion of each individual is the same thing; it lives only through national reason, that is to say through political faith, which is a creed. Man’s first need is that his nascent reason be curbed under this double yoke, that it be abased and lose itself in the national reason, so that it changes its individual existence into another common existence, just as a river that flows into the ocean always continues to exist in the mass of water, but without a name and without a distinct reality.
Joseph de Maistre (Against Rousseau: On the State of Nature and On the Sovereignty of the People)
There's one big difference between the poor and the rich,' Kite says, taking a drag from his cigarette. We are in a pub, at lunch-time. John Kite is always, unless stated otherwise, smoking a fag, in a pub, at lunch-time. 'The rich aren't evil, as so many of my brothers would tell you. I've known rich people -- I have played on their yachts -- and they are not unkind, or malign, and they do not hate the poor, as many would tell you. And they are not stupid -- or at least, not any more than the poor are. Much as I find amusing the idea of a ruling class of honking toffs, unable to put their socks on without Nanny helping them, it is not true. They build banks, and broker deals, and formulate policy, all with perfect competency. 'No -- the big difference between the rich and the poor is that the rich are blithe. They believe nothing can ever really be so bad, They are born with the lovely, velvety coating of blitheness -- like lanugo, on a baby -- and it is never rubbed off by a bill that can't be paid; a child that can't be educated; a home that must be left for a hostel, when the rent becomes too much. 'Their lives are the same for generations. There is no social upheaval that will really affect them. If you're comfortably middle-class, what's the worst a government policy could do? Ever? Tax you at 90 per cent and leave your bins, unemptied, on the pavement. But you and everyone you know will continue to drink wine -- but maybe cheaper -- go on holiday -- but somewhere nearer -- and pay off your mortgage -- although maybe later. 'Consider, now, then, the poor. What's the worst a government policy can do to them? It can cancel their operation, with no recourse to private care. It can run down their school -- with no escape route to a prep. It can have you out of your house and into a B&B by the end of the year. When the middle-classes get passionate about politics, they're arguing about their treats -- their tax breaks and their investments. When the poor get passionate about politics, they're fighting for their lives. 'Politics will always mean more to the poor. Always. That's why we strike and march, and despair when our young say they won't vote. That's why the poor are seen as more vital, and animalistic. No classical music for us -- no walking around National Trust properties, or buying reclaimed flooring. We don't have nostalgia. We don't do yesterday. We can't bear it. We don't want to be reminded of our past, because it was awful; dying in mines, and slums, without literacy, or the vote. Without dignity. It was all so desperate, then. That's why the present and the future is for the poor -- that's the place in time for us: surviving now, hoping for better, later. We live now -- for our instant, hot, fast treats, to prep us up: sugar, a cigarette, a new fast song on the radio. 'You must never, never forget, when you talk to someone poor, that it takes ten times the effort to get anywhere from a bad postcode, It's a miracle when someone from a bad postcode gets anywhere, son. A miracle they do anything at all.
Caitlin Moran (How to Build a Girl (How to Build a Girl, #1))
The UFOs were explicable enough, just experimental aircrafts from the airport. Of course the government was not going to tell people what was actually going on. She would not be surprised if the government encouraged the UFO cultists to flock there as the perfect cover, since no one would ever believe them.
Thomm Quackenbush (Artificial Gods (Night's Dream, #3))
The Constitution became even more acceptable to the public at large after the first Congress, responding to criticism, passed a series of amendments known as the Bill of Rights. These amendments seemed to make the new government a guardian of people’s liberties: to speak, to publish, to worship, to petition, to assemble, to be tried fairly, to be secure at home against official intrusion. It was, therefore, perfectly designed to build popular backing for the new government. What was not made clear—it was a time when the language of freedom was new and its reality untested—was the shakiness of anyone’s liberty when entrusted to a government of the rich and powerful.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (1:22-25). James is talking about those who read the Bible regularly but whose lives are no different from the lives of unbelievers. They hear sermons, go to midweek Bible studies, and keep a Bible on their nightstand—but the Word of God has no impact or influence on the way they live. They fill their minds with the same filth their worldly counterparts wallow in. They tell the same jokes, use the same filthy speech, they cheat the boss and the government, and maybe even cheat on their spouses. What is the point of reading God’s Word when it has no effect on their daily lives?
Michael Youssef (God, Just Tell Me What to Do (Leading the Way Through the Bible))
We have seen the kind of morality which is even now shaping itself in the ideas of the masses and of the thinkers. This morality will issue no commands. It will refuse once and for all to model individuals according to an abstract idea, as it will refuse to mutilate them by religion, law or government. It will leave to the individual man full and perfect liberty. It will be but a simple record of facts, a science. And this science will say to man: "If you are not conscious of strength within you, if your energies are only just sufficient to maintain a colorless, monotonous life, without strong impressions, without deep joys, but also without deep sorrows, well then, keep to the simple principles of a just equality. In relations of equality you will find probably the maximum of happiness possible to your feeble energies. "But if you feel within you the strength of youth, if you wish to live, if you wish to enjoy a perfect, full and overflowing life --that is, know the highest pleasure which a living being can desire-- be strong, be great, be vigorous in all you do. "Sow life around you. Take heed that if you deceive, lie, intrigue, cheat, you thereby demean yourself. belittle yourself, confess your own weakness beforehand, play the part of the slave of the harem who feels himself the inferior of his master. Do this if it so pleases you, but know that humanity will regard you as petty, contemptible and feeble, and treat you as such. Having no evidence of your strength, it will act towards you as one worthy of pity-- and pity only. Do not blame humanity if of your own accord you thus paralyze your energies. Be strong on the other hand, and once you have seen unrighteousness and recognized it as such --inequity in life, a lie in science, or suffering inflicted by another-- rise in revolt against the iniquity, the lie or the injustice. "Struggle! To struggle is to live, and the fiercer the struggle the intenser the life. Then you will have lived; and a few hours of such life are worth years spent vegetating.
Pyotr Kropotkin (Anarchist Morality)
Do you think Gandhi was interested in Art?" I asked. "Gandhi? No, of course not." "I think you're right," I agreed. "Neither in art nor in science. And that is why we killed him." "We?" "Yes, we. The intelligent, the active, the forward-looking, the believers in Order and Perfection. Whereas Gandhi was a reactionary who believed only in people. Squalid little individuals governing themselves, village by village, and worshiping the Brahman who is also Atman. It was intolerable. No wonder we bumped him off." But even as I spoke I was thinking that that wasn't the whole story. The whole story included an inconsistency, almost a betrayal. This man who believed only in people had got himself involved in the sub-human mass-madness of nationalism, in the would-be superhuman, but actually diabolic, institution of the nation-state. He got himself involved in these things, imagining that he could mitigate the madness and convert what was satanic in the state to something like humanity. But nationalism and the politics of power had proved too much for him. It is not at the center, not from within the organization, that the saint can cure our regimented insanity; it is only from without, at the periphery. If he makes himself a part of the machine, in which the collective madness is incarnated, one or the other of two things is bound to happen. Either he remains himself, in which case the machine will use him as long as it can and, when he becomes unusable, reject or destroy him. Or he will be transformed into the likeness of the mechanism with and against which he works, and in this case we shall see Holy Inquisitions and alliances with any tyrant prepared to guarantee ecclesiastical privileges.
Aldous Huxley (Ape and Essence)
Pirate and Osbie Feel are leaning on their roof-ledge, a magnificent sunset across and up the winding river, the imperial serpant, crowds of factories, flats, parks, smoky spires and gables, incandescent sky casting downward across the miles of deep streets and roofs cluttering and sinuous river Thames a drastic strain of burnt orange, to remind a visitor of his mortal transience here, to seal or empty all the doors and windows in sight to his eyes that look only for a bit of company, a word or two in the street before he goes up to the soap-heavy smell of the rented room and the squares of coral sunset on the floor-boards—an antique light, self-absorbed, fuel consumed in the metered winter holocaust, the more distant shapes among the threads or sheets of smoke now perfect ash ruins of themselves, nearer windows, struck a moment by the sun, not reflecting at all but containing the same destroying light, this intense fading in which there is no promise of return, light that rusts the government cars at the curbsides, varnishes the last faces hurrying past the shops in the cold as if a vast siren had finally sounded, light that makes chilled untraveled canals of many streets, and that fills with the starlings of London, converging by millions to hazy stone pedestals, to emptying squares and a great collective sleep. They flow in rings, concentric rings on the radar screens. The operators call them ‘angels.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
The world remembers the battle ever since by the taxis. A hundred of them were already in the service of the Military Government of Paris. With 500 more, each carrying five soldiers and making the sixty-kilometer trip to the Ourcq twice, General Clergerie figured he could transport 6,000 troops to the hard-pressed front. The order was issued at 1:00 P.M., the hour for departure fixed for 6:00 P.M. Police passed the word to the taxis in the streets. Enthusiastically the chauffeurs emptied out their passengers, explaining proudly that they had to “go to the battle.” Returning to their garages for gas, they were ordered to the place of assembly where at the given time all 600 were lined up in perfect order. Gallieni, called to inspect them, though rarely demonstrative, was enchanted. “Eh bien, voilà au moins qui n’est pas banal!” (Well, here at least is something out of the ordinary!) he cried. Each with its burden of soldiers, with trucks, buses, and assorted vehicles added to the train, the taxis drove off, as evening fell—the last gallantry of 1914, the last crusade of the old world.
Barbara W. Tuchman (The Guns of August)
As historian Gary Ferguson writes, "while livestock may be the kindling, the real fuel for the burn is that the federal government is behind the project. . . . Westerners couldn't buy a more perfect evil if they rode straight to hell with a saddlebag full of cash." Or, as one stockman said in 1989, "It's not so much the wolves we're afraid of, it's the wolf managers.
William R. Lowry (Repairing Paradise: The Restoration of Nature in America's National Parks)
However, even before the orgies of neoliberalism it was obvious that capitalism is not socially efficient. Market failures are everywhere, from environmental calamities to the necessity of the state’s funding much socially useful science to the existence of public education and public transportation (not supplied through the market) to the outrageous incidence of poverty and famine in countries that have had capitalism foisted on them.3 All this testifies to a “market failure,” or rather a failure of the capitalist, competitive, profit-driven mode of production, which, far from satisfying social needs, multiplies and aggravates them. This should not be surprising. An economic system premised on two irreconcilable antagonisms—that between worker and supplier-of-capital and that between every supplier-of-capital and every other4—and which is propelled by the structural necessity of exploiting and undermining both one’s employees and one’s competitors in order that ever-greater profits may be squeezed out of the population, is not going to lead to socially harmonious outcomes. Only in the unreal world of standard neoclassical economics, which makes such assumptions as perfect knowledge, perfect capital and labor flexibility, the absence of firms with “market power,” the absence of government, and in general the myth of homo economicus—the person susceptible of no other considerations than those of pure “economic rationality”—is societal harmony going to result.
Chris Wright (Worker Cooperatives and Revolution: History and Possibilities in the United States)
What was shocking were the rewards my father's cousins had gathered in the intervening couple of decades. They farmed now on thousands of acres, not hundreds. They drove fancy pickup trucks, owned lakefront property and second homes. A simple Internet search offered the truth of where their riches had come from: good ol' Uncle Sam. Recently I clicked again on a database of farm subsidy payments, and found that five of my father's first cousins had been paid, all told, $3 million between 1995 and 2005 - and that on top of whatever they'd earned outright for the sale of their corn and soybeans. They worked hard, certainly. They'd saved and scrimped through the lean years. They were good and honorable yeoman, and now they'd come through to their great reward: a prime place at the trough of the welfare state. All that corn syrup guzzled down the gullets of America's overweight children, all that beef inefficiently fattened on cheap feed, all that ethanol being distilled in heartland refineries: all of it underwritten by as wasteful a government program as now exists this side of the defense industry. In the last ten years, the federal government has paid $131 million in subsidies and disaster insurance in just the county [in Minnesota] where I grew up. Corn is subsidized to keep it cheap, and the subsidies encourage overproduction, which encourages a scramble for ever more ways to use corn, and thus bigger subsidies - the perfect feedback loop of government welfare.
Philip Connors
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
It is 1908. The stars shone above in the night sky as a steamship floated among the clouds. It's captain, Captain Otra, looked at his watch. He was ahead of his delivery schedule by 30 minutes to deliver the British Government it's much-needed order of concentrated milk and goat cheese from the shores of New Zealand. He had inherited the business from his wife's father. His wife had passed roughly 5 years ago. His daughter Lux Otra was tinkering for the hundredth time on her grandfather's sky faring compass, taking it apart and putting it back together. Each time she fixed, the compass worked perfectly again. Memorizing these intricate steps would give her a temporary satisfaction but now she couldn't do it anymore. She set the compass down and sighed in frustration.
bellatuscana (Saving Time (Time-Traveling Agency, #1))
The nation, so long a victim of monarchical selfishness, thought to deliver itself for ever by declaring that it alone was sovereign. But what was monarchy? The sovereignty of one man. What is democracy? The sovereignty of the nation, or, rather, of the national majority. But it is, in both cases, the sovereignty of man instead of the sovereignty of the law, the sovereignty of the will instead of the sovereignty of the reason; in one word, the passions instead of justice. Undoubtedly, when a nation passes from the monarchical to the democratic state, there is progress, because in multiplying the sovereigns we increase the opportunities of the reason to substitute itself for the will; but in reality there is no revolution in the government, since the principle remains the same. Now, we have the proof to-day that, with the most perfect democracy, we cannot be free.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (What Is Property?)
Watching him then, I simply couldn’t think of him doing anything other than winning. Loss wasn’t the norm, it couldn’t be. I didn’t have the words for it then, what it felt like to watch my cousin, whom I love and whose worries are our worries and whose pain is our pain, manage to be so good at something, to triumph so completely. More than a painful life, more than a culture or a society with the practice and perfection of violence as a virtue and a necessity, more than a meanness or a willingness to sacrifice oneself, what I felt—what I saw—were Indian men and boys doing precisely what we’ve always been taught not to do. I was seeing them plainly, desperately, expertly wanting to be seen for their talents and their hard work, whether they lost or won. That old feeling familiar to so many Indians—that we can’t change anything; can’t change Columbus or Custer, smallpox or massacres; can’t change the Gatling gun or the legislative act; can’t change the loss of our loved ones or the birth of new troubles; can’t change a thing about the shape and texture of our lives—fell away. I think the same could be said for Sam: he might not have been able to change his sister’s fate or his mother’s or even, for a while, his own. But when he stepped in the cage he was doing battle with a disease. The disease was the feeling of powerlessness that takes hold of even the most powerful Indian men. That disease is more potent than most people imagine: that feeling that we’ve lost, that we’ve always lost, that we’ve already lost—our land, our cultures, our communities, ourselves. This disease is the story told about us and the one we so often tell about ourselves. But it’s one we’ve managed to beat again and again—in our insistence on our own existence and our successful struggles to exist in our homelands on our own terms. For some it meant joining the U.S. Army. For others it meant accepting the responsibility to govern and lead. For others still, it meant stepping into a metal cage to beat or be beaten. For my cousin Sam, for three rounds of five minutes he gets to prove that through hard work and natural ability he can determine the outcome of a finite struggle, under the bright, artificial lights that make the firmament at the Northern Lights Casino on the Leech Lake Reservation.
David Treuer (The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present)
Speaking generally, we may say that whatever legal enactments are held to be for the interest of various constitutions, all these preserve them. And the great preserving principle is the one which has been repeatedly mentioned- to have a care that the loyal citizen should be stronger than the disloyal. Neither should we forget the mean, which at the present day is lost sight of in perverted forms of government; for many practices which appear to be democratical are the ruin of democracies, and many which appear to be oligarchical are the ruin of oligarchies. Those who think that all virtue is to be found in their own party principles push matters to extremes; they do not consider that disproportion destroys a state. A nose which varies from the ideal of straightness to a hook or snub may still be of good shape and agreeable to the eye; but if the excess be very great, all symmetry is lost, and the nose at last ceases to be a nose at all on account of some excess in one direction or defect in the other; and this is true of every other part of the human body. The same law of proportion equally holds in states. Oligarchy or democracy, although a departure from the most perfect form, may yet be a good enough government, but if any one attempts to push the principles of either to an extreme, he will begin by spoiling the government and end by having none at all. Wherefore the legislator and the statesman ought to know what democratical measures save and what destroy a democracy, and what oligarchical measures save or destroy an oligarchy. For neither the one nor the other can exist or continue to exist unless both rich and poor are included in it. If equality of property is introduced, the state must of necessity take another form; for when by laws carried to excess one or other element in the state is ruined, the constitution is ruined.
Aristotle (Politics)
The United States had been created through an act of disloyalty. No matter how eloquently the Declaration of Independence had attempted to justify the American rebellion, a residual guilt hovered over the circumstances of the country's founding. Arnold changed all that. By threatening to destroy the newly created republic through, ironically, his own betrayal, Arnold gave this nation of traitors the greatest of gifts; a myth of creation. The American people had come to revere George Washington, but a hero alone was not sufficient to bring them together. Now they had the despised villain Benedict Arnold. They knew both what they were fighting for - and against. The story of American's genesis could finally move beyond the break with the mother country and start to focus on the process by which thirteen former colonies could become a nation. As Arnold had demonstrated, the real enemy was not Great Britain, but those Americans who sought to undercut their fellow citizens commitment to one another. Whether it was Joseph Reed's willingness to promote his state's interests at the expenses of what was best for the country as a whole or Arnold's decision to sell his loyalty to the highest bidder, the greatest danger to America's future cam from self-serving opportunism masquerading as patriotism. At this fragile state in the country's development, a way had to be found to strengthen rather than destroy the existing framework of government. The Continental Congress was far from perfect, but it offered a start to what could one day be a great nation. By turning traitor, Arnold had alerted the American people to how close they had all come to betraying the Revolution by putting their own interests ahead of their newborn country's. Already the name Benedict Arnold was becoming a byword for that most hateful of crimes: treason against the people of the United States.
Nathaniel Philbrick (Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution)
Mr. President I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. Steele a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong. But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect. In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us in returning to our Constituents were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavor to gain partizans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects & great advantages resulting naturally in our favor among foreign Nations as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the strength & efficiency of any Government in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends, on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of the Government, as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its Governors. I hope therefore that for our own sakes as a part of the people, and for the sake of posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution (if approved by Congress & confirmed by the Conventions) wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts & endeavors to the means of having it well administred. On the whole, Sir, I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.
Benjamin Franklin
The non-state organizations that wage it rely largely on terrorism, guerrilla tactics, and popular insurgencies. However, they also engage in small-scale conventional warfare. The perfect examples are Hezbollah in 2006 and Daesh (ISIS) in 2014–2015. Neither organization is a state. Neither maintains the usual distinctions between government, armed forces, and people. However, both have enough money, troops, and conventional weapons to do more than wage terrorism and guerrilla alone.
Martin van Creveld (A History of Strategy: From Sun Tzu to William S. Lind)
In the theatre that I was used to in school and colleges and in amateur circles, the actors rehearsed more or less in secrecy and then sprung their finished perfection. on an unsuspecting audience who were of course surprised into envious admiration: oh, what perfection, what talent, what inspired gifts - I certainly could never do such a thing! Such a theatre is part of the general bourgeois education system which practices education as a process of weakening people, of making them feel they cannot do this or that - oh, it must take such brains! - In other words education as a means of mystifying knowledge and hence reality. Education, far from giving people -the confidence in their ability and capacities to overcome obstacles or to become masters of the laws governing external nature as human beings, tends to make them feel their inadequacies, their weaknesses and their incapacities in the face of reality; and their inability to do anything about the conditions governing their lives. They become more and more alienated from themselves and from their natural and social environment. Education as a process of alienation produces a gallery of active stars and an undifferentiated mass of grateful admirers. The Olympian gods of the Greek mythology or the dashing knights of the middle ages are reborn in the -twentieth century as superstar politicians, scientists, sportsmen, actors, the handsome doers or heroes, with the ordinary people watching passively, gratefully, admiringly.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
But by the Vedas no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times. Just as the law of gravitation existed before its discovery, and would exist if all humanity forgot it, so is it with the laws that govern the spiritual world. The moral, ethical, and spiritual relations between soul and soul and between individual spirits and the Father of all spirits, were there before their discovery, and would remain even if we forgot them. The discoverers of these laws are called Rishis, and we honour them as perfected beings. I am glad to tell this audience that some of the very greatest of them were women. Here it may be said that these laws as laws may be without end, but they must have had a beginning. The Vedas teach us that creation is without beginning or end. Science is said to have proved that the sum total of cosmic energy is always the same. Then, if there was a time when nothing existed, where was all this manifested energy?
Vivekananda (Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (9 volume set))
Thomas Jefferson's Letter to John Holmes on the Missouri Statehood Question – April 20, 1820 I thank you, dear Sir, for the copy you have been so kind as to send me of the letter to your constituents on the Missouri question. It is a perfect justification to them. I had for a long time ceased to read newspapers, or pay any attention to public affairs, confident they were in good hands, and content to be a passenger in our bark to the shore from which I am not distant. But this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper. I can say, with conscious truth, that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach, in any practicable way. The cession of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle which would not cost me a second thought, if, in that way, a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected; and, gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other. Of one thing I am certain, that as the passage of slaves from one State to another, would not make a slave of a single human being who would not be so without it, so their diffusion over a greater surface would make them individually happier, and proportionally facilitate the accomplishment of their emancipation, by dividing the burthen on a greater number of coadjutors. An abstinence too, from this act of power, would remove the jealousy excited by the undertaking of Congress to regulate the condition of the different descriptions of men composing a State. This certainly is the exclusive right of every State, which nothing in the constitution has taken from them and given to the General Government. Could Congress, for example, say, that the non- freemen of Connecticut shall be freemen, or that they shall not emigrate into any other State? I regret that I am now to die in the belief, that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it. If they would but dispassionately weigh the blessings they will throw away, against an abstract principle more likely to be effected by union than by scission, they would pause before they would perpetrate this act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the world. To yourself, as the faithful advocate of the Union, I tender the offering of my high esteem and respect. Th. Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
That’s when I decide that prom is stupid. It’s just a dumb dance that might have meant something to the old me, but the new me doesn’t really give a flying frick. And that’s when Mark Baker, whom I now refer to as Galen’s BFF because of their testosterone-enhanced run-in last year, walks up to me. “You got your dress picked out for prom? Let me guess. It’s violet, to match your eyes.” I raise a brow at him. Since Galen has been gone, Mark has been awfully attentive. Not that Mark isn’t nice, and not that if it were a year ago, I’d be a babbling idiot if he took the time out of being godlike to ask what I planned on wearing for prom. But like everything else, Mark is so one year ago. And I don’t know if I like that. I shrug. “I’m probably not going.” Mark is not good at hiding surprise. “You mean Galen won’t allow you to-“ “Knock it off. I know you think Galen is controlling or whatever, but you’re wrong. And anyways, I can hold my own. If I wanted to go to prom, you can bet your sweet Aspercreme I’d be going.” Mark holds up his hands in surrender. “Simmer down, skillet. I was just asking a polite question. Did you want to talk about starving children or government conspiracy instead?” I laugh. I’d forgotten how easygoing Mark is. “Sorry. I’m just in a bad mood I guess.” “You think?” I punch his arm, then feel guilty about how flirty it looks. “Well, nobody’s perfect.” The bell rings and he starts walking backward, away from me. “But some people who shall remain nameless are pretty close to it.” He winks, then faces the other direction.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
There had been in our country a riot of individualistic materialism, under which complete freedom for the individual—that ancient license which President Wilson a century after the term was excusable has called the "New" Freedom—turned out in practice to mean perfect freedom for the strong to wrong the weak. The total absence of governmental control had led to a portentous growth in the financial and industrial world both of natural individuals and of artificial individuals—that is, corporations. In no other country in the world had such enormous fortunes been gained. In no other country in the world was such power held by the men who had gained these fortunes; and these men almost always worked through, and by means of, the giant corporations which they controlled. The power of the mighty industrial overlords of the country had increased with giant strides, while the methods of controlling them, or checking abuses by them, on the part of the people, through the Government, remained archaic and therefore practically impotent.
Theodore Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography)
The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air.… That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. —Senator Frank Church, Chair, Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 1975
Glenn Greenwald (No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State)
Our capitalist elites have used propaganda, money, and the marginalizing of their critics to erase the first three of philosopher John Locke’s elements of the perfect state: liberty, equality, and freedom. They exclusively empower the fourth, property. Liberty and freedom in the corporate state mean the liberty and freedom of corporations and the rich to exploit and pillage without government interference or regulatory oversight. And the single most important characteristic of government is its willingness to use force, at home and abroad, to protect the interests of the property classes. This abject surrender of the state to the rich is illustrated in the 2017 tax code and the dismantling of environmental regulations. This degradation of basic democratic ideals—evidenced when the Supreme Court refuses to curb wholesale government surveillance of the public or defines pouring unlimited dark money into political campaigns as a form of free speech and the right to petition the government—means the society defines itself by virtues that are dead.
Chris Hedges (America: The Farewell Tour)
Love, the common passion, in which chance and sensation take place of choice and reason, is in some degree, felt by the mass of mankind; for it is not necessary to speak, at present, of the emotions that rise above or sink below love. This passion, naturally increased by suspense and difficulties, draws the mind out of its accustomed state, and exalts the affections; but the security of marriage, allowing the fever of love to subside, a healthy temperature is thought insipid, only by those who have not sufficient intellect to substitute the calm tenderness of friendship, the confidence of respect, instead of blind admiration, and the sensual emotions of fondness. This is, must be, the course of nature—friendship or indifference inevitably succeeds love. And this constitution seems perfectly to harmonize with the system of government which prevails in the moral world. Passions are spurs to action, and open the mind; but they sink into mere appetites, become a personal momentary gratification, when the object is gained, and the satisfied mind rests in enjoyment.
Mary Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (Illustrated))
In the past, one would have been arrested for wanting to leave. Now that nobody was stopping us from emigrating, we were no longer welcome on the other side. The only thing that had changed was the color of the police uniforms. We risked being arrested not in the name of our own government but in the name of other states, those same governments who had urged us to break free. The West had spent decades criticizing the East for its closed borders, funding campaigns to demand freedom of movement, condemning the immorality of states committed to restricting the right to exit. Our exiles used to be received as heroes. Now they were treated as criminals. Perhaps freedom of movement had never really mattered. It was easy to defend it when someone else was doing the dirty work of imprisonment. But what value does the right to exit have if there is no right to enter? Were borders and walls reprehensible only when they served to keep people in, as opposed to keeping them out? The border guards, the patrol boats, the detention and repression of immigrants that were pioneered in southern Europe for the first time in those years [1990s] would become standard practice over the coming decades. The West, initially unprepared for the arrival of thousands of people wanting a different future, would soon perfect a system for excluding the most vulnerable and attracting the more skilled, all the while defending borders to "protect our way of life." And yet, those who sought to emigrate did so because they were attracted to that way of life. Far from posing a threat to the system, they were its most ardent supporters.
Lea Ypi (Free: A Child and a Country at the End of History)
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)
What, in fact, do we know about the peak experience? Well, to begin with, we know one thing that puts us several steps ahead of the most penetrating thinkers of the 19th century: that P.E’.s are not a matter of pure good luck or grace. They don’t come and go as they please, leaving ‘this dim, vast vale of tears vacant and desolate’. Like rainbows, peak experiences are governed by definite laws. They are ‘intentional’. And that statement suddenly gains in significance when we remember Thorndike’s discovery that the effect of positive stimuli is far more powerful and far reaching than that of negative stimuli. His first statement of the law of effect was simply that situations that elicit positive reactions tend to produce continuance of positive reactions, while situations that elicit negative or avoidance reactions tend to produce continuance of these. It was later that he came to realise that positive reactions build-up stronger response patterns than negative ones. In other words, positive responses are more intentional than negative ones. Which is another way of saying that if you want a positive reaction (or a peak experience), your best chance of obtaining it is by putting yourself into an active, purposive frame of mind. The opposite of the peak experience—sudden depression, fatigue, even the ‘panic fear’ that swept William James to the edge of insanity—is the outcome of passivity. This cannot be overemphasised. Depression—or neurosis—need not have a positive cause (childhood traumas, etc.). It is the natural outcome of negative passivity. The peak experience is the outcome of an intentional attitude. ‘Feedback’ from my activities depends upon the degree of deliberately calculated purpose I put into them, not upon some occult law connected with the activity itself. . . . A healthy, perfectly adjusted human being would slide smoothly into gear, perform whatever has to be done with perfect economy of energy, then recover lost energy in a state of serene relaxation. Most human beings are not healthy or well adjusted. Their activity is full of strain and nervous tension, and their relaxation hovers on the edge of anxiety. They fail to put enough effort—enough seriousness—into their activity, and they fail to withdraw enough effort from their relaxation. Moods of serenity descend upon them—if at all—by chance; perhaps after some crisis, or in peaceful surroundings with pleasant associations. Their main trouble is that they have no idea of what can be achieved by a certain kind of mental effort. And this is perhaps the place to point out that although mystical contemplation is as old as religion, it is only in the past two centuries that it has played a major role in European culture. It was the group of writers we call the romantics who discovered that a man contemplating a waterfall or a mountain peak can suddenly feel ‘godlike’, as if the soul had expanded. The world is seen from a ‘bird’s eye view’ instead of a worm’s eye view: there is a sense of power, detachment, serenity. The romantics—Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Goethe, Schiller—were the first to raise the question of whether there are ‘higher ceilings of human nature’. But, lacking the concepts for analysing the problem, they left it unsolved. And the romantics in general accepted that the ‘godlike moments’ cannot be sustained, and certainly cannot be re-created at will. This produced the climate of despair that has continued down to our own time. (The major writers of the 20th century—Proust, Eliot, Joyce, Musil—are direct descendants of the romantics, as Edmund Wilson pointed out in Axel’s Castle.) Thus it can be seen that Maslow’s importance extends far beyond the field of psychology. William James had asserted that ‘mystical’ experiences are not mystical at all, but are a perfectly normal potential of human consciousness; but there is no mention of such experiences in Principles of Psychology (or only in passing).
Colin Wilson (New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution)
At the same time that middle- and upper-middle-class mothers were urged to pipe Mozart into their wombs when they're pregnant so their kids would come out perfectly tuned, the government told poor mothers to get the hell out of the house and get to work--no more children's aid for them. Mothers like us--with health care, laptops, and Cuisinarts--are supposed to replicate the immaculate bedrooms we see in Pottery Barn Kids catalogs, with their designer sheets and quilts, one toy and one stuffed animal atop a gleaming white dresser, and a white rug on the floor that has never been exposed to the shavings from hamster cages, Magic Markers accidentally dropped with their caps off, or Welche's grape juice.... we've been encouraged to turn our backs on other mothers who pick their kids' clothes out of other people's trash and sometimes can't buy a can of beans to feed them. How has it come to seem perfectly reasonable--even justified-- that one class of mother is suppoed to sew her baby's diapers out of Egyptian cotton from that portion of the Nile blessed by the god Osiris while another class of mother can't afford a single baby aspirin?
Susan J. Douglas (The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women)
Hallie didn't believe she was invulnerable. She was never one of those daredevil types; she knew she could get hurt. What I think she meant was that she was lucky to be on her way to Nicaragua. It was the slowest thing to sink into my head, how happy she was. Happy to be leaving. We'd had one time of perfect togetherness in our adult lives, the year when we were both in college in Tucson-her first year, my last-and living together for the first time away from Doc Homer. That winter I'd wanted to fail a subject just so I could hang back, stay there with her, the two of us walking around the drafty house in sweatshirts and wool socks and understanding each other precisely. Bringing each other cups of tea without having to ask. So I stayed on in Tucson for medical school, instead of going to Boston as I'd planned, and met Carlo in Parasitology. Hallie, around the same time, befriended some people who ran a safehouse for Central American refugees. After that we'd have strangers in our kitchen every time of night, kids scared senseless, people with all kinds of damage. Our life was never again idyllic. I should have seen it coming. Once she and I had gone to see a documentary on the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, which was these Americans who volunteered without our government's blessing to fight against Franco and Hitler in the Spanish Civil War. At that point in U.S. history fascism was only maybe wrong, whereas communism was definitely. When we came home from the movie Hallie cried. Not because of the people who gave up life and limb only to lose Spain to Franco, and not for the ones who came back and were harassed for the rest of their lives for being Reds. The tragedy for Hallie was that there might never be a cause worth risking everything for in our lifetime. She was nineteen years old then, and as she lay blowing her nose and sobbing on my bed she told me this. That there were no real causes left. Now she had one-she was off to Nicaragua, a revolution of co-op farms and literacy crusades-and so I guess she was lucky. Few people know so clearly what they want. Most people can't even think what to hope for when they throw a penny in a fountain. Almost no one really gets the chance to alter the course of human events on purpose, in the exact way they wish for it to be altered.
Barbara Kingsolver (Animal Dreams)
Not even the intercourse of the sexes is exempt from the despotism of positive institution. Law pretends even to govern the indisciplinable wanderings of passion, to put fetters on the clearest deductions of reason, and, by appeals to the will, to subdue the involuntary affects of our nature. Love is inevitably consequent upon the perception of loveliness. Love withers under constraint: its very essence is liberty: it is compatible neither with obedience, jealously, nor fear: it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited, where its votaries live in confidence, equality, and unreserve.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Economists are quick to speak of ‘market failure’, and rightly so, but a greater threat comes from ‘government failure‘. Because it is a monopoly, government brings inefficiency and stagnation to most things it runs; government agencies pursue the inflation of their budgets rather than the service of their customers; pressure groups form an unholy alliance with agencies to extract more money from taxpayers for their members. Yet despite all this, most clever people still call for government to run more things and assume that if it did so, it would somehow be more perfect, more selfless, next time.
Matt Ridley (The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves)
Before I left [Monticello], I wanted to understand how much of David's role as a former military officer -- responsible for protecting and promoting this country's foreign policy agenda at home and abroad -- was something that felt, if at all, in tension with his role [as a tour guide] now. 'I was born in the United States of America. I served the country for thirty years, so I actually believe in the idea of America,' he said, straightening up in his chair. 'Are we exceptional? No. Have we had unique advantages based on geography, based on a whole host of factors? Yes. Did a group of people come together in 1776 and conceive of an idea that was pretty radical in its time and then create a system of government, through the Constitution and its amendments, that was pretty radical and pretty novel? Yeah. Have other countries found their own way? Sure. So I believe in the idea of America. I don't believe that this country was perfect. I don't believe it is perfect. I don't believe it's going to be perfect. I believe that the journey to make this a better place is worth the effort and that the United States, if you conceive it not so much as a place to be in but an idea to believe in, it worth fighting for.
Clint Smith (How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America)
For all the allure of speciously stress-free suburbs, for all the grinding of city life, cities endure. And when all those diverse energies are harnessed, and those choices, private and public, cohere, and all the bargains made in a million ways every day hold up, then a city flourishes and is the most stimulating center for life, and the most precious artifact, a culture can create. Think of great cities large and small (size, as with any work of art, does not necessarily determine value) and, in addition to nodes of government, commerce, law, hospitals, libraries, and newspapers will come to mind, as will restaurants and theaters and houses of worship and museums and opera houses and galleries and universities. And so will stadia and arenas and parks. In short, once finds not simply commerce but culture, not simply work but leisure, not only negotium but otium, not simply that which ennobles but also that which perfects us. Such has forever been the ultimate purpose of a city, to mirror our higher state, not simply to shelter us from wind and rain. As with leisure, so with the city: It is the setting to make us not the best that Nature can make us, but to manifest the best we, humankind, adding Art to Nature, can make us.
A. Bartlett Giamatti (Take Time for Paradise: Americans and Their Games)
Which countries contain the most peaceful, the most moral, and the happiest people? Those people are found in the countries where the law least interferes with private affairs; where government is least felt; where the individual has the greatest scope, and free opinion the greatest influence; where administrative powers are fewest and simplest; where taxes are lightest and most nearly equal, and popular discontent the least excited and the least justifiable; where individuals and groups most actively assume their responsibilities, and, consequently, where the morals of admittedly imperfect human beings are constantly improving; where trade, assemblies, and associations are the least restricted; where labor, capital, and populations suffer the fewest forced displacements; where mankind most nearly follows its own natural inclinations; where the inventions of men are most nearly in harmony with the laws of God; in short, the happiest, most moral, and most peaceful people are those who most nearly follow this principle: Although mankind is not perfect, still, all hope rests upon the free and voluntary actions of persons within the limits of right; law or force is to be used for nothing except the administration of universal justice.
Frédéric Bastiat
In the course of her letter writing, she’d learned a few things about the subtle peculiarities of the South’s power brokers. The Mississippi Sovereigns, like most other rebel groups, preferred to be addressed as Brothers; letters to Mr. Sharif, the director of Camp Patience, were exclusively read and acted upon by his secretary, but could never be addressed to his secretary; the Free Southern State government in Atlanta had a perfect record of responding to every letter, but no sooner than two years after the fact. She learned which methods of attack worked and which didn’t. Any familial relation between appellant and recipient, no matter how tenuous, was to be ruthlessly exploited; pictures of dead relatives or horrific war wounds never did any good, although the refugees in possession of such images invariably demanded they be sent anyway; a direct offer of bribery was more likely than not to elicit an insulted response, but an offer to make a donation to a cause of the recipient’s choosing got the same message across more tactfully. It was, in the end, hopeless work, the letters almost always doomed to fail. But for the refugees who paid or begged Martina to write these pleadings on their behalf, hopelessness was no impediment to hope.
Omar El Akkad (American War)
Ultimately, though, it was Super Mario Bros. that taught me what remains perhaps the most important lesson of my life. I am being perfectly sincere. I am asking you to consider this seriously. Super Mario Bros., the 1.0 edition, is perhaps the all-time masterpiece of side-scrolling games. When the game begins, Mario is standing all the way to the left of the legendary opening screen, and he can only go in one direction: He can only move to the right, as new scenery and enemies scroll in from that side. He progresses through eight worlds of four levels each, all of them governed by time constraints, until he reaches the evil Bowser and frees the captive Princess Toadstool. Throughout all thirty-two levels, Mario exists in front of what in gaming parlance is called “an invisible wall,” which doesn’t allow him to go backward. There is no turning back, only going forward—for Mario and Luigi, for me, and for you. Life only scrolls in one direction, which is the direction of time, and no matter how far we might manage to go, that invisible wall will always be just behind us, cutting us off from the past, compelling us on into the unknown. A small kid growing up in small-town North Carolina in the 1980s has to get a sense of mortality from somewhere, so why not from two Italian-immigrant plumber brothers with an appetite for sewer mushrooms?
Edward Snowden (Permanent Record)
We extend our best wishes to you, inhabitants of another world. After reading the following message, you should have a basic understanding of civilization on Earth. By dint of long toil and creativity, the human race has built a splendid civilization, blossoming with a multitude of diverse cultures. We have also begun to understand the laws governing the natural world and the development of human societies. We cherish all that we have accomplished. But our world is still flawed. Hate exists, as does prejudice and war. Because of conflicts between the forces of production and the relations of production, wealth distribution is extremely uneven, and large portions of humanity live in poverty and misery. Human societies are working hard to resolve the difficulties and problems they face, striving to create a better future for Earth civilization.The country that sent this message is engaged in this effort. We are dedicated to building an ideal society, where the labor and value of every member of the human race are fully respected, where everyone's material and spiritual needs are fully met, so that civilization on Earth may become more perfect. With the best of intentions, we look forward to establishing contact with other civilized societies in the universe. We look forward to working together with you to build a better life in this vast universe.
Liu Cixin (The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1))
It is a gratuitous pastime to belittle the material achievements of capitalism by observing that there are things that are more essential for mankind than bigger and speedier motorcars, and homes equipped with central heating, air conditioning, refrigerators, washing machines, and television sets. There certainly are such higher and nobler pursuits. But they are higher and nobler precisely because they cannot be aspired to by any external effort, but require the individual’s personal determination and exertion. those levelling this reproach against capitalism display a rather crude and materialistic view in assuming that moral and spiritual culture could be built either by the government or by the organization of production activities. All that these external factors can achieve in this regard is to bring about an environment and a competence which offers the individuals the opportunity to work at their own personal perfection and edification. It is not the fault of capitalism that the masses prefer a boxing match to a performance of Sophocles’ Antigone, jazz music to Beethoven symphonies, and comics to poetry. But it is certain that while pre-capitalistic conditions as they still prevail in the much greater part of the world makes these good things accessible only to a small minority of people, capitalism gives to the many a favorable chance of striving after them.
Ludwig von Mises (Liberty And Property)
What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?” Dragging his gaze from the beauty of the gardens, Ian looked down at the beauty beside him. “Any place,” he said huskily, “were you are.” He saw the becoming flush of embarrassed pleasure that pinkened her cheeks, but when she spoke her voice was rueful. “You don’t have to say such things to me, you know-I’ll keep our bargain.” “I know you will,” he said, trying not to overwhelm her with avowals of love she wouldn’t yet believe. With a grin he added, “Besides, as it turned out after our bargaining session, I’m the one who’s governed by all the conditions, not you.” Her sideways glance was filled with laughter. “You were much too lenient at times, you know. Toward the end I was asking for concessions just to see how far you’d go.” Ian, who had been multiplying his fortune for the last four years by buying shipping and import-export companies, as well as sundry others, was regarded as an extremely tough negotiator. He heard her announcement with a smile of genuine surprise. “You gave me the impression that every single concession was of paramount importance to you, and that if I didn’t agree, you might call the whole thing off.” She nodded with satisfaction. “I rather thought that was how I ought to do it. Why are you laughing?” “Because,” he admitted, chuckling, “obviously I was not in my best form yesterday. In addition to completely misreading your feelings, I managed to buy a house on Promenade Street for which I will undoubtedly pay five times its worth.” “Oh, I don’t think so,” she said, and, as if she was embarrassed and needed a way to avoid meeting his gaze, she reached up and pulled a leaf off an overhanging branch. In a voice of careful nonchalance, she explained, “In matters of bargaining, I believe in being reasonable, but my uncle would assuredly have tried to cheat you. He’s perfectly dreadful about money.” Ian nodded, remembering the fortune Julius Cameron had gouged out of him in order to sign the betrothal agreement. “And so,” she admitted, uneasily studying the azure-blue sky with feigned absorption, “I sent him a note after you left itemizing all the repairs that were needed at the house. I told him it was in poor condition and absolutely in need of complete redecoration.” “And?” “And I told him you would consider paying a fair price for the house, but not one shilling more, because it needed all that.” “And?” Ian prodded. “He has agreed to sell it for that figure.” Ian’s mirth exploded in shouts of laughter. Snatching her into his arms, he waited until he could finally catch his breath, then he tipped her face up to his. “Elizabeth,” he said tenderly, “if you change your mind about marrying me, promise me you’ll never represent the opposition at the bargaining table. I swear to God, I’d be lost.” The temptation to kiss her was almost overwhelming, but the Townsende coach with its ducal crest was in the drive, and he had no idea where their chaperones might be. Elizabeth noticed the coach, too, and started toward the house. "About the gowns," she said, stopping suddenly and looking up at him with an intensely earnest expression on her beautiful face. "I meant to thank you for your generosity as soon as you arrived, but I was so happy to-that is-" She realized she'd been about to blurt out that she was happy to see him, and she was so flustered by having admitted aloud what she hadn't admitted to herself that she completely lost her thought. "Go on," Ian invited in a husky voice. "You were so happy to see me that you-" "I forgot," she admitted lamely.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Our actions and the problems they create are connected, all around the world. Goats in the Mongolian desert add to air pollution in California; throwing away a computer helps create an illegal economy that makes people sick in Ghana; a loophole in a treaty contributes to deforestation in the American South to generate electricity in England; our idea of the perfect carrot could mean that many others rot in the fields. We can’t pretend anymore that the things we do and wear and eat and use exist only for us, that they don’t have a wider impact beyond our individual lives, which also means that we’re all in this together. • A lack of transparency on the part of governments and corporations has meant that our actions have consequences we are unaware of (see above), and if we knew about them, we would be surprised and angry. (Now, maybe, you are.) • It’s important to understand your actions and larger social, cultural, industrial, and economic processes in context, because then you can better understand which specific policies and practices would make a difference, and what they would achieve. • Living in a way that honors your values is important, even if your personal habits aren’t going to fix everything. We need to remember what is at stake, and the small sacrifices we make may help us do that, if you need reminding. If we know what our sacrifices mean and why they might matter, we might be more willing to make them.
Tatiana Schlossberg (Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don't Know You Have)
The Battle of Good and Evil Polytheism gave birth not merely to monotheist religions, but also to dualistic ones. Dualistic religions espouse the existence of two opposing powers: good and evil. Unlike monotheism, dualism believes that evil is an independent power, neither created by the good God, nor subordinate to it. Dualism explains that the entire universe is a battleground between these two forces, and that everything that happens in the world is part of the struggle. Dualism is a very attractive world view because it has a short and simple answer to the famous Problem of Evil, one of the fundamental concerns of human thought. ‘Why is there evil in the world? Why is there suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people?’ Monotheists have to practise intellectual gymnastics to explain how an all-knowing, all-powerful and perfectly good God allows so much suffering in the world. One well-known explanation is that this is God’s way of allowing for human free will. Were there no evil, humans could not choose between good and evil, and hence there would be no free will. This, however, is a non-intuitive answer that immediately raises a host of new questions. Freedom of will allows humans to choose evil. Many indeed choose evil and, according to the standard monotheist account, this choice must bring divine punishment in its wake. If God knew in advance that a particular person would use her free will to choose evil, and that as a result she would be punished for this by eternal tortures in hell, why did God create her? Theologians have written countless books to answer such questions. Some find the answers convincing. Some don’t. What’s undeniable is that monotheists have a hard time dealing with the Problem of Evil. For dualists, it’s easy to explain evil. Bad things happen even to good people because the world is not governed single-handedly by a good God. There is an independent evil power loose in the world. The evil power does bad things. Dualism has its own drawbacks. While solving the Problem of Evil, it is unnerved by the Problem of Order. If the world was created by a single God, it’s clear why it is such an orderly place, where everything obeys the same laws. But if Good and Evil battle for control of the world, who enforces the laws governing this cosmic war? Two rival states can fight one another because both obey the same laws of physics. A missile launched from Pakistan can hit targets in India because gravity works the same way in both countries. When Good and Evil fight, what common laws do they obey, and who decreed these laws? So, monotheism explains order, but is mystified by evil. Dualism explains evil, but is puzzled by order. There is one logical way of solving the riddle: to argue that there is a single omnipotent God who created the entire universe – and He’s evil. But nobody in history has had the stomach for such a belief. Dualistic
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Alain gazed at the old road, his expression uncharacteristically somber. "The Emperors believe they have the power to force their illusions on all others. This is part of that. The road itself is declared dead, never to be used, and no one dares dispute the Imperial will." "Not much better that the Great Guilds, is it?" "No I do not think so. When you seek allies among the commons, Mari, I believe you should look to those who do not blindly accept the authority of their leaders." "Too much failure to accept authority and you end up with anarchy, like in Tiae," Mari pointed out. "That is so," Alain agreed. "But as you told your elder, there is much that lies between total control and anarchy. The leaders of our Guilds and the rulers of the Empire would have us believe that only those two extremes exist, but I have been among the free cities and you have been in the confederation. Their governing systems are not perfect, but they work while still allowing their people freedom." "Freedom?" Mari turned to Alain, surprised. "I've never heard you use that word. Hardly anybody uses it." "I was taught that freedom is an illusion, only one more illusion which distracts from the path of wisdom." A flare of some deep emotion showed in Alain's eyes. "But I have felt freedom, Mari, as I walked the road beside you, and I know it is no illusion. The will of the Great Guilds, of the Emperor, those things are illusions, and their images will not endure.
Jack Campbell (The Hidden Masters of Marandur (The Pillars of Reality, #2))
We would all like to see a perfect moral state with no government being necessary at all. That is not reality. To the extent government is necessary, it is desirable, to keep us from each other’s throats, to keep the powerful from winning every dispute by virtue of their wealth. ‘Might makes right’ is not only no way to run a country, it is the opposite of a perfectly moral state. It is, in fact, what you claim to oppose: the decision-maker answerable to no one, who suffers no consequence for his errors. You say it is wrong for government not to feel the pain of loss when it makes mistakes. You say it is wrong for the private citizen to suffer the consequences. And yet you place that same power in the hands of the wealthy without complaint. Why?
Robert Peate
The toleration of those that differ from others in matters of religion is so agreeable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to the genuine reason of mankind, that it seems monstrous for men to be so blind as not to perceive the necessity and advantage of it in so clear a light. I will not here tax the pride and ambition of some, the passion and uncharitable zeal of others. These are faults from which human affairs can perhaps scarce ever be perfectly freed; but yet such as nobody will bear the plain imputation of, without covering them with some specious colour; and so pretend to commendation, whilst they are carried away by their own irregular passions. But, however, that some may not colour their spirit of persecution and unchristian cruelty with a pretence of care of the public weal and observation of the laws; and that others, under pretence of religion, may not seek impunity for their libertinism and licentiousness; in a word, that none may impose either upon himself or others, by the pretences of loyalty and obedience to the prince, or of tenderness and sincerity in the worship of God; I esteem it above all things necessary to distinguish exactly the business of civil government from that of religion and to settle the just bounds that lie between the one and the other. If this be not done, there can be no end put to the controversies that will be always arising between those that have, or at least pretend to have, on the one side, a concernment for the interest of men's souls, and, on the other side, a care of the commonwealth.
John Locke (A Letter Concerning Toleration)
Neither should we forget the mean, which at the present day is lost sight of in perverted forms of government; for many practices which appear to be democratical are the ruin of democracies, and many which appear to be oligarchical are the ruin of oligarchies. Those who think that all virtue is to be found in their own party principles push matters to extremes; they do not consider that disproportion destroys a state. A nose which varies from the ideal of straightness to a hook or snub may still be of good shape and agreeable to the eye; but if the excess be very great, all symmetry is lost, and the nose at last ceases to be a nose at all on account of some excess in one direction or defect in the other; and this is true of every other part of the human body. The same law of proportion equally holds in states. Oligarchy or democracy, although a departure from the most perfect form, may yet be a good enough government, but if any one attempts to push the principles of either to an extreme, he will begin by spoiling the government and end by having none at all. Wherefore the legislator and the statesman ought to know what democratical measures save and what destroy a democracy, and what oligarchical measures save or destroy an oligarchy. For neither the one nor the other can exist or continue to exist unless both rich and poor are included in it. If equality of property is introduced, the state must of necessity take another form; for when by laws carried to excess one or other element in the state is ruined, the constitution is ruined.
Aristotle (Politics)
By the time John F. Kennedy became involved in 1961, the situation was out of control. So Kennedy simply invaded the country. In 1962, he sent the U.S. Air Force to start bombing South Vietnam, using planes with South Vietnamese markings. Kennedy authorized the use of napalm, chemical warfare, to destroy the ground cover and crops. He started the process of driving the rural population into what were called 'strategic hamlets,' essentially concentration camps, where people were surrounded by barbed wire, supposedly to protect them from the guerillas who the U.S. government knew perfectly well they supported. This 'pacification' ultimately drove millions of people out of the countryside while destroying large parts of it. Kennedy also began operations against North Vietnam on a small scale. That was 1961.
Noam Chomsky (Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire)
to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly—that is what each of us is here for.* People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion—these are the two things that govern us.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
But the effects of the alleged discovery of the means to direct the more terrible force of vril were chiefly remarkable in their influence upon social polity. As these effects became familiarly known and skillfully administered, war between the vril-discoverers ceased, for they brought the art of destruction to such perfection as to annul all superiority in numbers, discipline, or military skill. The fire lodged in the hollow of a rod directed by the hand of a child could shatter the strongest fortress, or cleave its burning way from the van to the rear of an embattled host. If army met army, and both had command of this agency, it could be but to the annihilation of each. The age of war was therefore gone, but with the cessation of war other effects bearing upon the social state soon became apparent. Man was so completely at the mercy of man, each whom he encountered being able, if so willing, to slay him on the instant, that all notions of government by force gradually vanished from political systems and forms of law. It is only by force that vast communities, dispersed through great distances of space, can be kept together; but now there was no longer either the necessity of self-preservation or the pride of aggrandisement to make one state desire to preponderate in population over another. The Vril-discoverers thus, in the course of a few generations, peacefully split into communities of moderate size. The tribe amongst which I had fallen was limited to 12,000 families. Each tribe occupied a territory sufficient for all its wants, and at stated periods the surplus population departed to seek a realm of its own. There appeared no necessity for any arbitrary selection of these emigrants; there was always a sufficient number who volunteered to depart.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton (The Coming Race)
However, this court is constrained by law, and under the law, I can only conclude that the Government has not violated FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and so cannot be compelled by this court of law to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and the laws of the United States. The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules—a veritable Catch-22. I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.
Colleen McMahon
In the same movie, Emperor Joseph II offers Mozart some musical advice: "Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect." The emperor was put off by the surface complexity of Mozart's music. He didn't see that each note served a purpose-to make a promise or fulfill one, to complete a pattern or vary one. Similarly, at first encounter people are sometimes put off by the superficial complexity of fundamental physics. Too many gluons! But each of the eight color gluons is there for a purpose. Together, they fulfill complete symmetry among the color charges. Take one gluon away, or change its properties, and the structure would fall. Specifically, if you make such a change, then the theory formerly known as QCD begins to predict gibberish; some particles are produced with negative probabilities, and others with probability greater than 1. Such a perfectly rigid theory, one that doesn't allow consistent modification, is extremely vulnerable. If any of its predictions are wrong, there's nowhere to hide. No fudge factors or tweaks are available. On the other hand, a perfectly rigid theory, once it shows significant success, becomes very powerful indeed. Because if it's approximately right and can't be changed, then it must be exactly right! Salieri's criteria explain why symmetry is such an appealing principle for theory building. Systems with symmetry are well on the path to Salieri's perfection. The equations governing different objects and different situations must be strictly related, or the symmetry is diminished. With enough violations all pattern is lost, and the symmetry falls. Symmetry helps us make perfect theories. So the crux of the matter is not the number of notes or the number of particles or equations. It is the perfection of the designs they embody. If removing any one would spoil the design, then the number is exactly what it should be. Mozart's answer to the emperor was superb: "Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?
Frank Wilczek (The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces)
In order to grasp the meaning of this liberal program we need to imagine a world order in which liberalism is supreme. Either all the states in it are liberal, or enough are so that when united they are able to repulse an attack of militarist aggressors. In this liberal world, or liberal part of the world, there is private property in the means of production. The working of the market is not hampered by government interference. There are no trade barriers; men can live and work where they want. Frontiers are drawn on the maps but they do not hinder the migrations of men and shipping of commodities. Natives do not enjoy rights that are denied to aliens. Governments and their servants restrict their activities to the protection of life, health, and property against fraudulent or violent aggression. They do not discriminate against foreigners. The courts are independent and effectively protect everybody against the encroachments of officialdom. Everyone is permitted to say, to write, and to print what he likes. Education is not subject to government interference. Governments are like night-watchmen whom the citizens have entrusted with the task of handling the police power. The men in office are regarded as mortal men, not as superhuman beings or as paternal authorities who have the right and duty to hold the people in tutelage. Governments do not have the power to dictate to the citizens what language they must use in their daily speech or in what language they must bring up and educate their children. Administrative organs and tribunals are bound to use each man’s language in dealing with him, provided this language is spoken in the district by a reasonable number of residents. In such a world it makes no difference where the frontiers of a country are drawn. Nobody has a special material interest in enlarging the territory of the state in which he lives; nobody suffers loss if a part of this area is separated from the state. It is also immaterial whether all parts of the state’s territory are in direct geographical connection, or whether they are separated by a piece of land belonging to another state. It is of no economic importance whether the country has a frontage on the ocean or not. In such a world the people of every village or district could decide by plebiscite to which state they wanted to belong. There would be no more wars because there would be no incentive for aggression. War would not pay. Armies and navies would be superfluous. Policemen would suffice for the fight against crime. In such a world the state is not a metaphysical entity but simply the producer of security and peace. It is the night-watchman, as Lassalle contemptuously dubbed it. But it fulfills this task in a satisfactory way. The citizen’s sleep is not disturbed, bombs do not destroy his home, and if somebody knocks at his door late at night it is certainly neither the Gestapo nor the O.G.P.U. The reality in which we have to live differs very much from this perfect world of ideal liberalism. But this is due only to the fact that men have rejected liberalism for etatism.
Ludwig von Mises (Omnipotent Government)
July 14, 1861 Camp Clark, Washington My very dear Sarah: The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more… I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt… Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field. The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness… But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again…
Sullivan Ballou
The Arab world has done nothing to help the Palestinian refugees they created when they attacked Israel in 1948. It’s called the ‘Palestinian refugee problem.’ This is one of the best tricks that the Arabs have played on the world, and they have used it to their great advantage when fighting Israel in the forum of public opinion. This lie was pulled off masterfully, and everyone has been falling for it ever since. First you tell people to leave their homes and villages because you are going to come in and kick out the Jews the day after the UN grants Israel its nationhood. You fail in your military objective, the Jews are still alive and have more land now than before, and you have thousands of upset, displaced refugees living in your country because they believed in you. So you and the UN build refugee camps that are designed to last only five years and crowd the people in, instead of integrating them into your society and giving them citizenship. After a few years of overcrowding and deteriorating living conditions, you get the media to visit and publish a lot of pictures of these poor people living in the hopeless, wretched squalor you have left them in. In 1967 you get all your cronies together with their guns and tanks and planes and start beating the war drums. Again the same old story: you really are going to kill all the Jews this time or drive them into the sea, and everyone will be able to go back home, take over what the Jews have developed, and live in a Jew-free Middle East. Again you fail and now there are even more refugees living in your countries, and Israel is even larger, with Jerusalem as its capital. Time for more pictures of more camps and suffering children. What is to be done about these poor refugees (that not even the Arabs want)? Then start Middle Eastern student organizations on U.S. college campuses and find some young, idealistic American college kids who have no idea of what has been described here so far, and have them take up the cause. Now enter some power-hungry type like Yasser Arafat who begins to blackmail you and your Arab friends, who created the mess, for guns and bombs and money to fight the Israelis. Then Arafat creates hell for the world starting in the 1970s with his terrorism, and the “Palestinian refugee problem” becomes a worldwide issue and galvanizes all your citizens and the world against Israel. Along come the suicide bombers, so to keep the pot boiling you finance the show by paying every bomber’s family twenty-five thousand dollars. This encourages more crazies to go blow themselves up, killing civilians and children riding buses to school. Saudi Arabia held telethons to raise thousands of dollars to the families of suicide bombers. What a perfect way to turn years of military failure into a public-opinion-campaign success. The perpetuation of lies and uncritical thinking, combined with repetitious anti-Jewish and anti-American diatribes, has produced a generation of Arab youth incapable of thinking in a civilized manner. This government-nurtured rage toward the West and the infidels continues today, perpetuating their economic failure and deflecting frustration away from the dictators and regimes that oppress them. This refusal by the Arab regimes to take an honest look at themselves has created a culture of scapegoating that blames western civilization for misery and failure in every aspect of Arab life. So far it seems that Arab leaders don’t mind their people lagging behind, save for King Abdullah’s recent evidence of concern. (The depth of his sincerity remains to be seen.)
Brigitte Gabriel (Because They Hate)
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
The Prime Minister, who was in close contact with the Queen and Prince Charles, captured the feelings of loss and despair when he spoke to the nation earlier in the day from his Sedgefield constituency. Speaking without notes, his voice breaking with emotion, he described Diana as a ‘wonderful and warm human being.’ ‘She touched the lives of so many others in Britain and throughout the world with joy and with comfort. How difficult things were for her from time to time, I’m sure we can only guess at. But people everywhere, not just here in Britain, kept faith with Princess Diana. They liked her, they loved her, they regarded her as one of the people. She was the People’s Princess and that is how she will stay, how she will remain in all our hearts and memories for ever.’ While his was the first of many tributes which poured in from world figures, it perfectly captured the mood of the nation in a historic week which saw the British people, with sober intensity and angry dignity, place on trial the ancient regime, notably an elitist, exploitative and male-dominated mass media and an unresponsive monarchy. For a week Britain succumbed to flower power, the scent and sight of millions of bouquets a mute and telling testimony to the love people felt towards a woman who was scorned by the Establishment during her lifetime. So it was entirely appropriate when Buckingham Palace announced that her funeral would be ‘a unique service for a unique person’. The posies, the poems, the candles and the cards that were placed at Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace and elsewhere spoke volumes about the mood of the nation and the state of modern Britain. ‘The royal family never respected you, but the people did,’ said one message, as thousands of people, most of whom had never met her, made their way in quiet homage to Kensington Palace to express their grief, their sorrow, their guilt and their regret. Total strangers hugged and comforted each other, others waited patiently to lay their tributes, some prayed silently. When darkness fell, the gardens were bathed in an ethereal glow from the thousands of candles, becoming a place of dignified pilgrimage that Chaucer would have recognized. All were welcome and all came, a rainbow of coalition of young and old of every colour and nationality, East Enders and West Enders, refugees, the disabled, the lonely, the curious, and inevitably, droves of tourists. She was the one person in the land who could connect with those Britons who had been pushed to the edges of society as well as with those who governed it.
Andrew Morton (Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words)
Hey Pete. So why the leave from social media? You are an activist, right? It seems like this decision is counterproductive to your message and work." A: The short answer is I’m tired of the endless narcissism inherent to the medium. In the commercial society we have, coupled with the consequential sense of insecurity people feel, as they impulsively “package themselves” for public consumption, the expression most dominant in all of this - is vanity. And I find that disheartening, annoying and dangerous. It is a form of cultural violence in many respects. However, please note the difference - that I work to promote just that – a message/idea – not myself… and I honestly loath people who today just promote themselves for the sake of themselves. A sea of humans who have been conditioned into viewing who they are – as how they are seen online. Think about that for a moment. Social identity theory run amok. People have been conditioned to think “they are” how “others see them”. We live in an increasing fictional reality where people are now not only people – they are digital symbols. And those symbols become more important as a matter of “marketing” than people’s true personality. Now, one could argue that social perception has always had a communicative symbolism, even before the computer age. But nooooooothing like today. Social media has become a social prison and a strong means of social control, in fact. Beyond that, as most know, social media is literally designed like a drug. And it acts like it as people get more and more addicted to being seen and addicted to molding the way they want the world to view them – no matter how false the image (If there is any word that defines peoples’ behavior here – it is pretention). Dopamine fires upon recognition and, coupled with cell phone culture, we now have a sea of people in zombie like trances looking at their phones (literally) thousands of times a day, merging their direct, true interpersonal social reality with a virtual “social media” one. No one can read anymore... they just swipe a stream of 200 character headlines/posts/tweets. understanding the world as an aggregate of those fragmented sentences. Massive loss of comprehension happening, replaced by usually agreeable, "in-bubble" views - hence an actual loss of variety. So again, this isn’t to say non-commercial focused social media doesn’t have positive purposes, such as with activism at times. But, on the whole, it merely amplifies a general value system disorder of a “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM!” – rooted in systemic insecurity. People lying to themselves, drawing meaningless satisfaction from superficial responses from a sea of avatars. And it’s no surprise. Market economics demands people self promote shamelessly, coupled with the arbitrary constructs of beauty and success that have also resulted. People see status in certain things and, directly or pathologically, use those things for their own narcissistic advantage. Think of those endless status pics of people rock climbing, or hanging out on a stunning beach or showing off their new trophy girl-friend, etc. It goes on and on and worse the general public generally likes it, seeking to imitate those images/symbols to amplify their own false status. Hence the endless feedback loop of superficiality. And people wonder why youth suicides have risen… a young woman looking at a model of perfection set by her peers, without proper knowledge of the medium, can be made to feel inferior far more dramatically than the typical body image problems associated to traditional advertising. That is just one example of the cultural violence inherent. The entire industry of social media is BASED on narcissistic status promotion and narrow self-interest. That is the emotion/intent that creates the billions and billions in revenue these platforms experience, as they in turn sell off people’s personal data to advertisers and governments. You are the product, of course.
Peter Joseph
Our country, as well as the rest of the world, faces an enormous threat from ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorist organizations that aspire to achieve world domination. These were the same aspirations held by the followers of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. Our government must recognize the importance of directly and vigorously confronting these forces of evil. We must not make the mistake of avoiding necessary conflict; we did not get involved in World War I or World War II until we felt that American interests were directly threatened, and this proved to be the wrong choice, though we eventually were victorious. If a vicious enemy that is willing to decapitate people, burn people alive, and even crucify children is allowed to grow with only minor to moderate resistance, it will only become a more formidable adversary in the future. If during this period of tepid responses to terrorist expansion the radical Islamists manage to acquire nuclear weapons, providing for the common defense will take on an entirely new different meaning. The longer we wait to eliminate the threat, the more difficult that task will become and the more dangerous the world will be for our children and grandchildren. We must use all necessary resources to protect the lives of our people. Given the existence of enemies who have a stated goal of destroying our nation and our way of life, one way to provide for the common defense is to hide, which in our case would not be possible. A better option is to try to eliminate the threat, and the earlier the threat can be eliminated, the fewer lives will be lost in the conflict.
Ben Carson (A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties)
Finally, we the people exercise power by speaking our minds. Many of the early patriots in our nation had experienced tyranny that prevented them from expressing their opinions. They could not speak against the king or against the established church. They knew that America’s citizens would need to be free to express themselves if they were to rule. Thus they set in place the Constitution’s First Amendment, guaranteeing the freedom of speech and expression. We’ve preserved this freedom so that our government doesn’t usually try to prevent the people from speaking. Recognizing this achievement, many assert that there is no restriction of speech in the United States and that everyone is completely free to express themselves. Unfortunately, this is a naive claim. Today the political correctness (PC) police are the biggest threat to America’s freedom of speech, and they are doing their best to squelch the opinions of “we the People.” There is not an officially established PC police force, but its members exist in government, throughout the media, in educational institutions, etc. Members of the PC police are those who carefully monitor the speech and behavior of anyone they consider to be a threat to their leftist ideological domination. The PC police do not care that people disagree with them, as long as those people remain silent. But if someone openly disagrees with them, they demonize that person with ridicule and infantile name-calling. This kind of speech policing has created fear in a large portion of our populace, causing them to remain silent rather than face the repercussions of expressing themselves honestly.
Ben Carson (A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties)
We have evoked the curious presence, in the empty city, of the armed guards and of the two characters whose identity it is now time to reveal. Francesca Falk has drawn attention to the fact that the two figures standing near the cathedral are wearing the characteristic beaked mask of plague doctors. Horst Bredekamp had spotted the detail, but had not drawn any conclusions from it; Falk instead rightly stresses the political (or biopolitical) significance that the doctors acquired during an epidemic. Their presence in the emblem recalls 'the selection and the exclusion, and the connection between epidemic, health, and sovereignity'. Like the mass of plague victims, the unrepresentable multitude can be represented only through the guards who monitor its obedience and the doctors who treat it. It dwells in the city, but only as the object of the duties and concerns of those who exercise the sovereignity. This is what Hobbes clearly affirms in chapter 13 of De Cive, when, after having recalled that 'all the duties of those who rule are comprised in this single maxim,"the safety of the people is the supreme law"', he felt the need to specify that 'by people we do not understand here a civil person, nor the city itself that governs, but the multitude of citizens who are governed', and that by 'safety' we should understand not only 'the simple preservation of life, but (to the extent that is possible) that of a happy life'. While perfectly illustrating the paradoxical status of the Hobbesian multitude, the emblem of the frontispiece is also a courier that announces the biopolitical turn that sovereign power was preparing to make.
Giorgio Agamben (The Omnibus Homo Sacer)
He found it impossible to believe that a world so full of evil was the work of an Author combining infinite power with perfect goodness and righteousness. His intellect spurned the subtleties by which men attempt to blind themselves to this open contradiction. The Sabæan, or Manichæan theory of a Good and an Evil Principle, struggling against each other for the government of the universe, he would not have usually condemned; and I have heard him express surprise, that no one revived it in our time. He would have regarded it as a mere hypothesis; but he would have ascribed to it no depraving influence. As it was, his aversion to religion, in the sense usually attached to the term, was of same kind with that of Lucretius: he regarded it with the feelings due not to a mere mental delusion, but to a great moral evil. He looked upon it as the greatest enemy of morality: first, by setting up factitious excellencies,—belief in creeds, devotional feelings, and ceremonies, not connected with the good of human kind,—and causing these to be accepted as substitutes for genuine virtues: but above all, by radically vitiating the standard of morals; making it consist in doing the will of a being, on whom it lavishes indeed all the phrases of adulation, but whom in sober truth it depicts as eminently hateful. I have a hundred times heard him say, that all ages and nations have represented their gods as wicked, in a constantly increasing progression; that mankind have gone on adding trait after trait till they reached the most perfect conception of wickedness which the human mind could devise, and have called this God, and prostrated themselves before it.
Christopher Hitchens (The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever)
The founders feared that the central government, once it had united the states, would become too powerful and would impose its will upon the people—or the individual states—without regard to their wishes. This “government knows best” model was one that they were quite familiar with from their extensive studies of other governmental models as well as from their personal experience with the British monarchy. They felt that their best defense against a tyrannical government was to divide the power three ways, with each branch of government having the power to check the other two. They also listed the powers that the federal government would have, being sure to leave the balance of power in the hands of the states and the people. They wisely concluded that the states would not be eager to give additional power to the federal government and limited its power accordingly. Unfortunately, the founders did not realize that the time would come when the federal government would approve a federal taxation system that could control the states by giving or withholding financial resources. Such an arrangement significantly upsets the balance of power between the states and the federal government. As a result, today there are numerous social issues, such as the legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, and welfare reform, that could probably be more efficiently handled at the state level but with which the federal government keeps interfering. The states, instead of standing up for their rights, comply with the interference because they want federal funds. It will require noble leaders at the federal level and courageous leaders at the state level to restore the balance of power, but it is essential that such balance be restored for the sake of the people.
Ben Carson (A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties)
GCHQ has traveled a long and winding road. That road stretches from the wooden huts of Bletchley Park, past the domes and dishes of the Cold War, and on towards what some suggest will be the omniscient state of the Brave New World. As we look to the future, the docile and passive state described by Aldous Huxley in his Brave New World is perhaps more appropriate analogy than the strictly totalitarian predictions offered by George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Bizarrely, many British citizens are quite content in this new climate of hyper-surveillance, since its their own lifestyle choices that helped to create 'wired world' - or even wish for it, for as we have seen, the new torrents of data have been been a source of endless trouble for the overstretched secret agencies. As Ken Macdonald rightly points out, the real drives of our wired world have been private companies looking for growth, and private individuals in search of luxury and convenience at the click of a mouse. The sigint agencies have merely been handed the impossible task of making an interconnected society perfectly secure and risk-free, against the background of a globalized world that presents many unprecedented threats, and now has a few boundaries or borders to protect us. Who, then, is to blame for the rapid intensification of electronic surveillance? Instinctively, many might reply Osama bin Laden, or perhaps Pablo Escobar. Others might respond that governments have used these villains as a convenient excuse to extend state control. At first glance, the massive growth of security, which includes includes not only eavesdropping but also biometric monitoring, face recognition, universal fingerprinting and the gathering of DNA, looks like a sad response to new kinds of miscreants. However, the sad reality is that the Brave New World that looms ahead of us is ultimately a reflection of ourselves. It is driven by technologies such as text messaging and customer loyalty cards that are free to accept or reject as we choose. The public debate on surveillance is often cast in terms of a trade-off between security and privacy. The truth is that luxury and convenience have been pre-eminent themes in the last decade, and we have given them a much higher priority than either security or privacy. We have all been embraced the world of surveillance with remarkable eagerness, surfing the Internet in a global search for a better bargain, better friends, even a better partner. GCHQ vast new circular headquarters is sometimes represented as a 'ring of power', exercising unparalleled levels of surveillance over citizens at home and abroad, collecting every email, every telephone and every instance of internet acces. It has even been asserted that GCHQ is engaged in nothing short of 'algorithmic warfare' as part of a battle for control of global communications. By contrast, the occupants of 'Celtenham's Doughnut' claim that in reality they are increasingly weak, having been left behind by the unstoppable electronic communications that they cannot hope to listen to, still less analyse or make sense of. In fact, the frightening truth is that no one is in control. No person, no intelligence agency and no government is steering the accelerating electronic processes that may eventually enslave us. Most of the devices that cause us to leave a continual digital trail of everything we think or do were not devised by the state, but are merely symptoms of modernity. GCHQ is simply a vast mirror, and it reflects the spirit of the age.
Richard J. Aldrich (GCHQ)
The notion that property is the means to all other means was ruled out by the new radicals. The deep seated ressentiment towards private property, indeed towards anything private, blocked the conclusion that follows from any impartial examination of wealth-producing and freedom-favouring mechanisms: an effective world improvement would call for the most general possible propertization. Instead, the political metanoeticians enthused over general dispossession, akin to the founders of Christian orders who wanted to own everything communally and nothing individually. The most important insight into the dynamics of economic modernization remained inaccessible to them: money created by lending on property is the universal means of world improvement. They are all the blinder to the fact that for the meantime, only the modern tax state, the anonymous hyper-billionaire, can act as a general world-improver, naturally in alliance with the local meliorists - not only because of its traditional school power, but most of all thanks to its redistributive power, which took on unbelievable proportions in the course of the twentieth century. The current tax state, for its part, can only survive as long as it is based on a property economy whose actors put up no resistance when half of their total product is taken away, year after year, by the very visible hand of the national treasury for the sake of communal tasks. What the un-calm understands least of all is the simple fact that when government expenditures constitute almost 50 per cent of the gross national product, this fulfills the requirements of actually existing liberal-fiscal semi-socialism, regardless of what label is used to describe this situation - whether people call it the New Deal, 'social market economy' or 'neoliberalism'. What the system lacks for total perfection is a homogeneous worldwide tax sphere and the long-overdue propertization of the impoverished world.
Peter Sloterdijk (You Must Change Your Life)
When the time comes, & I hope it comes soon, to bury this era of moral rot & the defiling of our communal, social, & democratic norms, the perfect epitaph for the gravestone of this age of unreason should be Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley's already infamous quote: "I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing... as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” Grassley's vision of America, quite frankly, is one I do not recognize. I thought the heart of this great nation was not limited to the ranks of the plutocrats who are whisked through life in chauffeured cars & private jets, whose often inherited riches are passed along to children, many of whom no sacrifice or service is asked. I do not begrudge wealth, but it must come with a humility that money never is completely free of luck. And more importantly, wealth can never be a measure of worth. I have seen the waitress working the overnight shift at a diner to give her children a better life, & yes maybe even take them to a movie once in awhile - and in her, I see America. I have seen the public school teachers spending extra time with students who need help & who get no extra pay for their efforts, & in them I see America. I have seen parents sitting around kitchen tables with stacks of pressing bills & wondering if they can afford a Christmas gift for their children, & in them I see America. I have seen the young diplomat in a distant foreign capital & the young soldier in a battlefield foxhole, & in them I see America. I have seen the brilliant graduates of the best law schools who forgo the riches of a corporate firm for the often thankless slog of a district attorney or public defender's office, & in them I see America. I have seen the librarian reshelving books, the firefighter, police officer, & paramedic in service in trying times, the social worker helping the elderly & infirm, the youth sports coaches, the PTA presidents, & in them I see America. I have seen the immigrants working a cash register at a gas station or trimming hedges in the frost of an early fall morning, or driving a cab through rush hour traffic to make better lives for their families, & in them I see America. I have seen the science students unlocking the mysteries of life late at night in university laboratories for little or no pay, & in them I see America. I have seen the families struggling with a cancer diagnosis, or dementia in a parent or spouse. Amid the struggles of mortality & dignity, in them I see America. These, & so many other Americans, have every bit as much claim to a government working for them as the lobbyists & moneyed classes. And yet, the power brokers in Washington today seem deaf to these voices. It is a national disgrace of historic proportions. And finally, what is so wrong about those who must worry about the cost of a drink with friends, or a date, or a little entertainment, to rephrase Senator Grassley's demeaning phrasings? Those who can't afford not to worry about food, shelter, healthcare, education for their children, & all the other costs of modern life, surely they too deserve to be able to spend some of their “darn pennies” on the simple joys of life. Never mind that almost every reputable economist has called this tax bill a sham of handouts for the rich at the expense of the vast majority of Americans & the future economic health of this nation. Never mind that it is filled with loopholes written by lobbyists. Never mind that the wealthiest already speak with the loudest voices in Washington, & always have. Grassley’s comments open a window to the soul of the current national Republican Party & it it is not pretty. This is not a view of America that I think President Ronald Reagan let alone President Dwight Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt would have recognized. This is unadulterated cynicism & a version of top-down class warfare run amok. ~Facebook 12/4/17
Dan Rather
Turning and climbing, the double helix evolved to an operation which had always existed as a possibility for mankind, the eating of light. The appetite for light was ancient. Light had been eaten metaphorically in ritual transubstantiations. Poets had declared that to be is to be a variable of light, that this peach, and even this persimmon, is light. But the peach which mediated between light and the appetite for light interfered with the taste of light, and obscured the appetite it aroused. The appetite for actual light was at first appeased by symbols. But the simple instruction, promulgated during the Primordification, to taste the source of the food in the food, led to the ability to eat light. Out of the attempt to taste sources came the ability to detect unpleasant chemicals. These had to be omitted. Eaters learned to taste the animal in the meat, and the animal's food and drink, and to taste the waters and sugars in the melon. The discriminations grew finer - children learned to eat the qualities of the pear as they ate its flesh, and to taste its slow ripening in autumn sunlight. In the ripeness of the orange they recapitulated the history of the orange. Two results occurred. First, the children were quick to surpass the adults, and with their unspoiled tastes, and their desire for light, they learned the flavor of the soil in which the blueberry grew, and the salty sweetness of the plankton in the sea trout, but they also became attentive to the taste of sunlight. Soon there were attempts to keep fruit of certain vintages: the pears of a superbly comfortable autumn in Anjou, or the oranges of Seville from a year so seasonless that their modulations of bouquet were unsurpassed for decades. Fruit was eaten as a retrospective of light. Second, children of each new generation grew more clearly, until children were shaped as correctly as crystals. The laws governing the operations of growth shone through their perfect exemplification. Life became intellectually transparent. ("Desire")
William S. Wilson (Why I Don't Write Like Franz Kafka)
There are two fundamentally different ways for the strong to bend down to the weak, for the rich to help the poor, for the more perfect life to help the “less perfect.” This action can be motivated by a powerful feeling of security, strength, and inner salvation, of the invincible fullness of one’s own life and existence. All this unites into the clear awareness that one is rich enough to share one’s being and possessions. Love, sacrifice, help, the descent to the small and the weak, here spring from a spontaneous overflow of force, accompanied by bliss and deep inner calm. Compared to this natural readiness for love and sacrifice, all specific “egoism,” the concern for oneself and one’s interest, and even the instinct of “self-preservation” are signs of a blocked and weakened life. Life is essentially expansion, development, growth in plenitude, and not “self-preservation,” as a false doctrine has it. Development, expansion, and growth are not epiphenomena of mere preservative forces and cannot be reduced to the preservation of the “better adapted.” ... There is a form of sacrifice which is a free renunciation of one’s own vital abundance, a beautiful and natural overflow of one’s forces. Every living being has a natural instinct of sympathy for other living beings, which increases with their proximity and similarity to himself. Thus we sacrifice ourselves for beings with whom we feel united and solidary, in contrast to everything “dead.” This sacrificial impulse is by no means a later acquisition of life, derived from originally egoistic urges. It is an original component of life and precedes all those particular “aims” and “goals” which calculation, intelligence, and reflection impose upon it later. We have an urge to sacrifice before we ever know why, for what, and for whom! Jesus’ view of nature and life, which sometimes shines through his speeches and parables in fragments and hidden allusions, shows quite clearly that he understood this fact. When he tells us not to worry about eating and drinking, it is not because he is indifferent to life and its preservation, but because he sees also a vital weakness in all “worrying” about the next day, in all concentration on one’s own physical well-being. ... all voluntary concentration on one’s own bodily wellbeing, all worry and anxiety, hampers rather than furthers the creative force which instinctively and beneficently governs all life. ... This kind of indifference to the external means of life (food, clothing, etc.) is not a sign of indifference to life and its value, but rather of a profound and secret confidence in life’s own vigor and of an inner security from the mechanical accidents which may befall it. A gay, light, bold, knightly indifference to external circumstances, drawn from the depth of life itself—that is the feeling which inspires these words! Egoism and fear of death are signs of a declining, sick, and broken life. ... This attitude is completely different from that of recent modern realism in art and literature, the exposure of social misery, the description of little people, the wallowing in the morbid—a typical ressentiment phenomenon. Those people saw something bug-like in everything that lives, whereas Francis sees the holiness of “life” even in a bug.
Max Scheler (Ressentiment)