Partisan Quotes

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Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!
J.R.R. Tolkien
The tendency to claim God as an ally for our partisan value and ends is the source of all religious fanaticism.
Reinhold Niebuhr
A great nation is not saved by wars, it is saved by acts without external picturesqueness; by speaking, writing, voting reasonably; by smiting corruption swiftly; by good temper between parties; by the people knowing true men when they see them, and preferring them as leaders to rabid partisans and empty quacks.
William James
You'll have a good, secure life when being alive means more to you than security, love more than money, your freedom more than public or partisan opinion, when the mood of Beethoven's or Bach's music becomes the mood of your whole life … when your thinking is in harmony, and no longer in conflict, with your feelings … when you let yourself be guided by the thoughts of great sages and no longer by the crimes of great warriors … when you pay the men and women who teach your children better than the politicians; when truths inspire you and empty formulas repel you; when you communicate with your fellow workers in foreign countries directly, and no longer through diplomats...
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
Men who find themselves late are never sure. They are all the things the civics books tell us the good citizen should be: partisans but never zealots, respectors of the facts which attend each situation but never benders of those facts, uncomfortable in positions of leadership but rarely unable to turn down a responsibility once it has been offered . . . or thrust upon them. They make the best leaders in a democracy because they are unlikely to fall in love with power.
Stephen King (The Stand)
Prejudice wears a variety of hats, none of them becoming.
Kevin Ansbro
The partisan wants to change the law, the criminal break it; the anarch wants neither. He is not for or against the law. While not acknowledging the law, he does try to recognize it like the laws of nature, and he adjusts accordingly.
Ernst Jünger (Eumeswil)
I hate the indifferent. I believe that living means taking sides. Those who really live cannot help being a citizen and a partisan. Indifference and apathy are parasitism, perversion, not life. That is why I hate the indifferent. The indifference is the deadweight of history. The indifference operates with great power on history. The indifference operates passively, but it operates. It is fate, that which cannot be counted on. It twists programs and ruins the best-conceived plans. It is the raw material that ruins intelligence. That what happens, the evil that weighs upon all, happens because the human mass abdicates to their will; allows laws to be promulgated that only the revolt could nullify, and leaves men that only a mutiny will be able to overthrow to achieve the power. The mass ignores because it is careless and then it seems like it is the product of fate that runs over everything and everyone: the one who consents as well as the one who dissents; the one who knew as well as the one who didn’t know; the active as well as the indifferent. Some whimper piously, others curse obscenely, but nobody, or very few ask themselves: If I had tried to impose my will, would this have happened? I also hate the indifferent because of that: because their whimpering of eternally innocent ones annoys me. I make each one liable: how they have tackled with the task that life has given and gives them every day, what have they done, and especially, what they have not done. And I feel I have the right to be inexorable and not squander my compassion, of not sharing my tears with them. I am a partisan, I am alive, I feel the pulse of the activity of the future city that those on my side are building is alive in their conscience. And in it, the social chain does not rest on a few; nothing of what happens in it is a matter of luck, nor the product of fate, but the intelligent work of the citizens. Nobody in it is looking from the window of the sacrifice and the drain of a few. Alive, I am a partisan. That is why I hate the ones that don’t take sides, I hate the indifferent.
Antonio Gramsci
Racism towards Muslims is as evil as anti-Semitism, but try to express this simple truth on a partisan Palestinian or Israeli website.
Chris Hedges (Death of the Liberal Class)
If we must have an enemy at the head of government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible.
Alexander Hamilton (Alexander Hamilton)
One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts.
George Washington (George Washington's Farewell Address (Books of American Wisdom))
The Constitution and the rule of law are not partisan political tools. Lady Justice wears a blindfold. She is not supposed to peek out to see how her political master wishes her to weigh a matter.
James Comey (A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership)
I esteem myself happy to have as great an ally as you in my search for truth. I will read your work ... all the more willingly because I have for many years been a partisan of the Copernican view because it reveals to me the causes of many natural phenomena that are entirely incomprehensible in the light of the generally accepted hypothesis. To refute the latter I have collected many proofs, but I do not publish them, because I am deterred by the fate of our teacher Copernicus who, although he had won immortal fame with a few, was ridiculed and condemned by countless people (for very great is the number of the stupid). {Letter to fellow revolutionary astronomer Johannes Kepelr}
Galileo Galilei (Frammenti e lettere)
I believe that on such an issue as this no one is or can be completely truthful. It is difficult to be certain about anything except what you have seen with your own eyes, and consciously or unconsciously everyone writes as a partisan
George Orwell (Homage to Catalonia)
In the tired hand of a dying man, Theodore Senior had written: "The 'Machine politicians' have shown their colors... I feel sorry for the country however as it shows the power of partisan politicians who think of nothing higher than their own interests, and I feel for your future. We cannot stand so corrupt a government for any great length of time.
Edmund Morris (The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt)
Memo to extreme partisans: If you can't bring yourselves to love your enemies, can you at least learn to hate your friends?
Walter Kirn
Mystery readers were everywhere, voracious, highly partisan, and passionate. They were among the store’s best customers, and unfailingly polite. In private they embraced a bloodthirsty desire for vengeance and the use of arcane poisons and sneaky sleuthing, but in public they were charming and generous. Romance readers tended to be fun and have strong opinions. Nonfiction readers asked a lot of questions and were easily amused. It was the serious novel folks and poetry fans you had to watch out for.
Abbi Waxman (The Bookish Life of Nina Hill)
...but then the general trouble with ignorance is always that the ignorant person has no idea that that's what they are. You can be ignorant and stupid and go through your whole life without ever encountering any evidence against the hypothesis that you're a genius.
Louis de Bernières (A Partisan's Daughter)
Some people believe the alternative to bad religion is secularism, but that's wrong . . . . The answer to bad religion is better religion--prophetic rather than partisan, broad and deep instead of narrow, and based on values as opposed to ideology.
Jim Wallis (The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America)
Look, you're small-town. I've had over 50 jobs, maybe a hundred. I've never stayed anywhere long. What I am trying to say is, there is a certain game played in offices all over America. The people are bored, they don't know what to do, so they play the office-romance game. Most of the time it means nothing but the passing of time. Sometimes they do manage to work off a screw or two on the side. But even then, it is just an offhand pasttime, like bowling or t.v. or a New Year's Eve party. You've got to understand that it doesn't mean anything and then you won't get hurt. Do you understand what I mean?" I think that Mr. Partisan is sincere." You're going to get stuck with that pin, babe, don't forget what I told you. Watch those slicks. They are as phony as a lead dime.
Charles Bukowski (Post Office)
Humans may crave absolute certainty; they may aspire to it; they may pretend, as partisans of certain religions do, to have attained it. But the history of science — by far the most successful claim to knowledge accessible to humans — teaches that the most we can hope for is successive improvement in our understanding, learning from our mistakes, an asymptotic approach to the Universe, but with the proviso that absolute certainty will always elude us.
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
The problem is politics is made a sport, almost as much a sport as football or baseball. When it comes to politics, adults and politicians do more finger-pointing and play more games than children ever do. Too often are we rooting for the pride of a team rather than the good of the nation.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Some of us have to fight. There are great traditions of liberty to defend. I am no partisan man. Where I see the infamy I seek to erase it. Party names mean nothing. The tradition of liberty means all. The common people will let it go, oh yes. They will sell liberty for a quieter life. That is why they must be prodded, prodded-.
Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange)
the fundamental problem facing American democracy remains extreme partisan division—one fueled not just by policy differences but by deeper sources of resentment, including racial and religious differences. America’s great polarization preceded the Trump presidency, and it is very likely to endure beyond it.
Steven Levitsky (How Democracies Die)
it would explain why extreme partisans are so stubborn, closed-minded, and committed to beliefs that often seem bizarre or paranoid. Like rats that cannot stop pressing a button, partisans may be simply unable to stop believing weird things. The partisan brain has been reinforced so many times for performing mental contortions that free it from unwanted beliefs. Extreme partisanship may be literally addictive.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
I have always thought that all philosophical debates are ultimately between the partisans of structure and the partisans of "goo.
Alan W. Watts (The Essential Alan Watts)
Read as little as possible of literary criticism — such things are either partisan opinions, which have become petrified and meaningless, hardened and empty of life, or else they are just clever word-games, in which one view wins today, and tomorrow the opposite view.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
They accept us as martyrs: maybe afterwards they’ll put up monument in the ghettos, but as allies they won’t accept us,” Dov said (discussing the partisans and rebel groups who did not want to work with Jews)
Primo Levi (If Not Now, When?)
Some of the published news was distorted, but distortion is inherent in partisan journalism, the same as it is in political rallies.
E.B. White (E.B. White on Dogs)
The point of all of these changes was not to make government run better. The point was to make the government more partisan, the courts more pliable, more beholden to the party.
Anne Applebaum (Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism)
There are a whole lot of religious people in America, including the majority of Democrats. When we abandon the field of religious discourse—when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations toward one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome—others will fill the vacuum. And those who do are likely to be those with the most insular views of faith, or who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
I view each world religion, including Judeo-Christianity and Islam, as a complex symbol system, a metaphysical lens through which we can see the vastness and sublimity of the universe. Knowledge of the Bible, one of the West's foundational texts, is a dangerously waning among aspiring young artists and writers. When a society becomes all-consumed in the provincial minutiae of partisan politics, all perspective is lost.
Camille Paglia
Oskar knew people would catch that trolley anyhow. Doors closed, no stops, machine guns on walls—it wouldn’t matter. Humans were incurable that way. People would try to get off it, someone’s loyal Polish maid with a parcel of sausage. And people would try to get on, some fast-moving athletic young man like Leopold Pfefferberg with a pocketful of diamonds or Occupation złoty or a message in code for the partisans. People responded to any slim chance, even if it was an outside one, its doors locked shut, moving fast between mute walls.
Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s List)
Why do you think great leaders and great orations are coincident with wars, revolutions, and the founding or ending of governments and states? Common interests then are so clear that speeches are effortlessly drawn, but at present neither the facts nor the consequences are sufficiently clear to make oratory legitimate. This is the kind of war that will wind on and make fools of its partisans and opponents both.
Mark Helprin (A Soldier of the Great War)
There seems no reason why patriotism and narrowness should go together, or why intellectual fair mindedness should be confounded with political trimming, or why serviceable truth should keep cloistered because not partisan.
Herman Melville
US history is beset with partisan divides and corruption, but we have never been ruled by a man whose only loyalty beyond himself is to an authoritarian foreign power.
Sarah Kendzior (Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America)
Support individuals, not parties.
Abhijit Naskar (Mad About Humans: World Maker's Almanac)
And this, this, is their genius. Conservatives are not looking to make education more rigorous and informative, or science more empirical or verifiable, or voting more representative, or the government more efficient or effective. They just want all those things to reinforce their partisan, ideological, conservative viewpoint.
Jon Stewart (The Daily Show (The Audiobook): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests)
Non poteva più vivere senza sapere e, soprattutto, non poteva morire senza sapere, in un'epoca in cui i ragazzi come lui erano chiamati più a morire che a vivere. Avrebbe rinunciato a tutto per quella verità, tra quella verità e l'intelligenza del creato avrebbe optato per la prima.
Beppe Fenoglio (Una questione privata)
This isn’t a partisan thing—constitutionalists left and right have equal reason to worry over the lost constraint on the executive. Republicans and Democrats alike have options to vote people into Congress who are determined to stop with the chickenshittery and assert the legislature’s constitutional prerogatives on war and peace.
Rachel Maddow (Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power)
He [Vronsky] himself felt that, except that crazy fellow married to Kitty Shcherbatsky, who, quite irrelevantly had with rabid virulence told him a lot of pointless nonsense, every nobleman whose acquaintance he had made had become his partisan.
Leo Tolstoy
If you are looking for a hate book you have come to the wrong place here. This book may be full of fact and discussion and even argument but it is out of concern, a concern that is not subject to some group partisan issues. It has opinion as well and this is most certainly what many critics will call many things in this book to the point that there will be whole essays of review that are just diatribes of psychological issues on both sides.
Leviak B. Kelly (Religion: The Ultimate STD: Living a Spiritual Life without Dogmatics or Cultural Destruction)
I commissioned two political experts to advise me about what I could do to oppose the re-election of President Bush.
George Soros
Interstiality is a theme that is simultaneously genuinely interesting and potentially quite useful, and also a terrible cliché, so if you're going to use it, it helps to be at least respectfully skeptical about the wilder claims of its theoretical partisans, I think.
China Miéville (The City & the City)
Before the nineteen-seventies, most Republicans in Washington accepted the institutions of the welfare state, and most Democrats agreed with the logic of the Cold War. Despite the passions over various issues, government functioned pretty well. Legislators routinely crossed party lines when they voted, and when they drank; filibusters in the Senate were reserved for the biggest bills; think tanks produced independent research, not partisan talking points. The "D." or "R." after a politician's name did not tell you what he thought about everything, or everything you thought about him.
George Packer
Let us forget that we are Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Presbyterians, or Free-thinkers, and remember only that we are men and women. After all, man and woman are the highest possible titles. All other names belittle us, and show that we have, to a certain extent, given up our individuality, and have consented to wear the collar of authority—that we are followers. Throwing away these names, let us examine these questions not as partisans, but as human beings with hopes and fears in common.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
In fact, the figure in The Last Supper is not a woman: only the most partisan reading can place Mary Magdalene in the scene. Viewers in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries would have read the painting quite differently.
Ross King (Leonardo and the Last Supper)
When Christianity proscribed the public exercise of the ancient worships, the partisans of the latter were compelled to meet in secret for the celebration of their mysteries. Initiates presided over these assemblies and soon established a kind of orthodoxy among the varieties of persecuted worships, this being facilitated by the aid of magical truth and by the fact that proscription unites wills and forges bonds of brotherhood between men.
Éliphas Lévi (Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual)
The world order needs a major overhaul.
George Soros (The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror)
The Enemy's human partisans have all been plainly told by Him that suffering is an essential part of what He calls Redemption; so that a faith which is destroyed by a war or a pestilence cannot really have been worth the trouble of destroying.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
I had escaped from my prior partisan mind-set (reject first, ask rhetorical questions later) and began to think about liberal and conservative policies as manifestations of deeply conflicting but equally heartfelt visions of the good society.28
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The kingdom of God is neither blue nor red, tea nor coffee! The church must stand in prophetic tension with Constantinian political systems and never underwrite or accommodate itself to a partisan political world order, including American democracy.
Mike Slaughter (Hijacked: Responding to the Partisan Church Divide)
Some of us have to fight. There are great traditions of liberty to defend. I am no partisan man. Where I see the infamy I seek to erase it. Party names mean nothing. The tradition of liberty means all. The common people will let it go, oh yes. They will sell liberty for a quieter life. That is why they must be prodded, prodded-.
Anthony Burgess
Warfare is now an interlocking system of actions—political, economic, psychological, military—that aims at the overthrow of the established authority in a country and its replacement by another regime.
Roger Trinquier (Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency (PSI Classics of the Counterinsurgency Era))
Somebody betrayed us... The Germans learned the location of our partisan troop. They surrounded the forest from all sides. We were hiding in the deep woods, hiding in the swamps where the torturers did not go [...] A radio operator was with us. She gave birth recently. The baby was hungry... Wanting the breast... But the mother is starving, she has no milk, and the baby is crying. The Germans are nearby... With dogs... If the dogs hear the baby, we're all dead. All of us - thirty people... Do you understand? We make a decision... Nobody dares to tell her the commader's order, but the mother guesses it herself. She puts the bundle with the baby into the water and holds it there for a long time... The baby does not cry... Not a sound... And we cannot lift our eyes. We cannot look at the mother or at each other
Svetlana Alexievich (War's Unwomanly Face)
From my governor, to be neither of the green nor of the blue party at the games in the Circus, nor a partisan either of the Parmularius or the Scutarius at the gladiators' fights; from him too I learned endurance of labor, and to want little, and to work with my own hands, and not to meddle with other people's affairs, and not to be ready to listen to slander.
Marcus Aurelius (Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius)
The only beautiful things, as somebody once said, are the things that do not concern us. As long as a thing is useful or necessary to us, or affects us in any way, either for pain or for pleasure, or appeals strongly to our sympathies, or is a vital part of the environment in which we live, it is outside the proper sphere of art. To art's subjectmatter we should be more or less indifferent. We should, at any rate, have no preferences, no prejudices, no partisan feeling of any kind. It is exactly because Hecuba is nothing to us that her sorrows are such an admirable motive for a tragedy.
Oscar Wilde (The Decay Of Lying)
We live in a contradiction, a brutal state of affairs, profoundly inegalitarian – where all existence is evaluated in terms of money alone – is presented to us as ideal. To justify their conservatism, the partisans of the established order cannot really call it ideal or wonderful. So instead, they have decided to say that all the rest is horrible. Sure, they say, we may not live in a condition of perfect Goodness. But we’re lucky that we don’t live in a condition of Evil. Our democracy is not perfect. But it’s better than the bloody dictatorships. Capitalism is unjust. But it’s not criminal like Stalinism. We let millions of Africans die of AIDS, but we don’t make racist nationalist declarations like Milosevic. We kill Iraqis with our airplanes, but we don’t cut their throats with machetes like they do in Rwanda, etc..
Alain Badiou
I’m often asked how I take the criticism directed my way. I have three answers: First, if you choose to be in public life, remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice and grow skin as thick as a rhinoceros. Second, learn to take criticism seriously but not personally. Your critics can actually teach you lessons your friends can’t or won’t. I try to sort out the motivation for criticism, whether partisan, ideological, commercial, or sexist, analyze it to see what I might learn from it, and discard the rest. Third, there is a persistent double standard applied to women in politics - regarding clothes, body types, and of course hairstyles - that you can’t let derail you. Smile and keep going.
Hillary Rodham Clinton (Hard Choices)
The filter bubble tends to dramatically amplify confirmation bias—in a way, it’s designed to. Consuming information that conforms to our ideas of the world is easy and pleasurable; consuming information that challenges us to think in new ways or question our assumptions is frustrating and difficult. This is why partisans of one political stripe tend not to consume the media of another. As a result, an information environment built on click signals will favor content that supports our existing notions about the world over content that challenges them.
Eli Pariser (The Filter Bubble)
Since 1877 the driving force of American politics hasn’t primarily been a class struggle or tension between agrarian and commercial interests, or even between competing partisan ideologies, although each has played a role. Ultimately the determinative political struggle has been a clash between shifting coalitions of ethnoregional nations, one invariably headed by the Deep South, the other by Yankeedom.
Colin Woodard (American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America)
...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)
If I love freedom above all else, then any commitment becomes a metaphor, a symbol. This touches on the difference between the forest fleer and the partisan:this distinction is not qualitative but essential in nature. The anarch is closer to Being. The partisan moves within the social or national party structure, the anarch is outside of it. Of course, the anarch cannot elude the party structure, since he lives in society.
Ernst Jünger (Eumeswil)
Professor Mises has keenly pointed out the paradox of interventionists who insist that consumers are too ignorant or incompetent to buy products intelligently, while at the same time proclaiming the virtues of democracy, where the same people vote for or against politicians whom they do not know and on policies which they scarcely understand. To put it another way, the partisans of intervention assume that individuals are not competent to run their own affairs or to hire experts to advise them, but also assume that these same individuals are competent to vote for these experts at the ballot box. They are further assuming that the mass of supposedly incompetent consumers are competent to choose not only those who will rule over themselves, but also over the competent individuals in society. Yet such absurd and contradictory assumptions lie at the root of every program for “democratic” intervention in the affairs of the people.12
Murray N. Rothbard (Man, Economy, and State / Power and Market: Government and Economy)
This lukewarm temper arises partly from the fear of adversaries who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who will never admit the merit of anything new, until they have seen it proved by the event. The result, however, is that whenever the enemies of change make an attack, they do so with all the zeal of partisans, while the others defend themselves so feebly as to endanger both themselves and their cause.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
In a country ruled by laws, it seemed to me that nothing was more important than removing politics from the process of choosing judges. During previous administrations in California, governors had often handed out judgeships to friends and cronies like prizes at a company picnic. Not only had this produced a lot of inferior judges, it had placed a number of partisans on the bench who believed that putting on the black robes of a judge gave them a license to rewrite the laws. I wanted judges who would interpret the Constitution, not rewrite it.
Ronald Reagan (An American Life: The Autobiography)
Instead, the threat to democracy now in America and elsewhere comes from the working and middle classes—the people among whom I was born and raised—whose rage comes overwhelmingly from cultural insecurity, inflated expectations, tribal partisan alliances, obsessions about ethnicity and identity, blunted ambition, and a childlike understanding of the limits of government.
Thomas M. Nichols (Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault from Within on Modern Democracy)
The only road to freedom is self-education in art. Art is not a luxury for any advanced civilization; it is a necessity, without which creative intelligence will wither and die. Even in economically troubled times, support for the arts should be a national imperative. Dance, for example, requires funding not only to secure safe, roomy rehearsal space but to preserve the indispensible continuity of the teacher-student link. American culture has become unbalanced by its obsession with the blood sport of politics, a voracious vortex consuming everything in its path. History shows that, for both individuals and nations, political power is transient. America's true legacy is its ideal of liberty, which has inspired insurgencies around the world. Politicians and partisans of both the Right and the Left must recognize that art too is a voice of liberty, requiring nurture without intrusion. Art unites the spiritual and material realms. In an age of alluring, magical machines, the society that forgets art risks losing its soul.
Camille Paglia
Mainly, though, the Democratic Party has become the party of reaction. In reaction to a war that is ill conceived, we appear suspicious of all military action. In reaction to those who proclaim the market can cure all ills, we resist efforts to use market principles to tackle pressing problems. In reaction to religious overreach, we equate tolerance with secularism, and forfeit the moral language that would help infuse our policies with a larger meaning. We lose elections and hope for the courts to foil Republican plans. We lost the courts and wait for a White House scandal. And increasingly we feel the need to match the Republican right in stridency and hardball tactics. The accepted wisdom that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists these days goes like this: The Republican Party has been able to consistently win elections not by expanding its base but by vilifying Democrats, driving wedges into the electorate, energizing its right wing, and disciplining those who stray from the party line. If the Democrats ever want to get back into power, then they will have to take up the same approach. ...Ultimately, though, I believe any attempt by Democrats to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we're in. I am convinced that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose. For it's precisely the pursuit of ideological purity, the rigid orthodoxy and the sheer predictability of our current political debate, that keeps us from finding new ways to meet the challenges we face as a country. It's what keeps us locked in "either/or" thinking: the notion that we can have only big government or no government; the assumption that we must either tolerate forty-six million without health insurance or embrace "socialized medicine". It is such doctrinaire thinking and stark partisanship that have turned Americans off of politics.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
The primary purposes of the political pamphlets of the early 1700s were neither to enlighten nor educate the masses, but to incite partisan conversation and spread commensurate ideas . . . Facts were not permitted to fetter the views they espoused, and the restraints of objective journalistic credibility were discarded by pamphleteers bent on promoting subjective slant to an insatiable general public for whom political dissonance was an integral part of social interaction.
Gavin John Adams (Letters to John Law)
DON Luigi Giussani used to quote this example from Bruce Marshall’s novel To Every Man a Penny. The protagonist of the novel, the abbot Father Gaston, needs to hear the confession of a young German soldier whom the French partisans are about to sentence to death. The soldier confesses his love of women and the numerous amorous adventures he has had. The young priest explains that he has to repent to obtain forgiveness and absolution. The soldier answers, “How can I repent? It was something that I enjoyed, and if I had the chance I would do it again, even now. How can I repent?” Father Gaston, who wants to absolve the man who has been marked by destiny and who’s about to die, has a stroke of inspiration and asks, “But are you sorry that you are not sorry?” The young man answers impulsively, “Yes, I am sorry that I am not sorry.” In other words, he apologizes for not repenting. The door was opened just a crack, allowing absolution to come in….
Pope Francis (The Name of God Is Mercy)
Whichever he adopts, your main task will be the same. Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the ‘cause’, in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war-effort or of Pacifism.
C.S. Lewis (A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works)
If you must give me a label, then label me a human being. I have no pride in being a human, though, because I have nothing to do with my becoming one. But, whereas animals don't have a rational code of ethics, I like to think I do. Which is where I am partisan. Moral partisanship is the reason for my "anger." And if I don't protest what needed to be protested, I might just as well be an animal.
Paul Krassner
Besides, it is doubtful that incest was a real obstacle to the establishment of society, as the partisans of an exchangist conception claim...The real danger is elsewhere. If desire is repressed, it is because every position of desire...is capable of calling into question the established order of society...it is revolutionary in its essence...It is therefore of vital importance for a society to repress desire, and even to find something more efficient than repression, so that repression, hierarchy, exploitation, and servitude are themselves desired...that does not at all mean that desire is something other than sexuality, but that sexuality and love do not live in the bedroom of Oedipus, they dream instead of wide-open spaces, and...do not let themselves be stocked within an established order.
Gilles Deleuze (Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia)
The widespread willingness to rely on thermonuclear bombs as the ultimate weapon displays a cavalier attitude toward death that has always puzzled me. My impression is that...most of the defenders of these weapons are not suitably horrified at the possibility of a war in which hundreds of millions of people would be killed...I suspect that an important factor may be belief in an afterlife, and that the proporttion of those who think that death is not the end is much higher among the partisans of the bomb than among its opponents.
Thomas Nagel (The View From Nowhere)
In today’s world, you can find a power-mad city bus driver seizing power in Venezuela. A vapid man. A hollow man. A man offering handouts and promises of a better future, neither of which went to any but the few partisans closest to the president. In the blink of an eye, one man shreds every lovely piece of the fabric that held the country together for a hundred years and more. Reducing everyone to penury. Citizens dumbfounded and confounded, not understanding how this happened. The oil derricks that were symbols of prosperity sitting frozen in rust, pumping nothing. Not a wheel in the nation turning. Children, in some places, eating dirt to survive.
John M Vermillion (Packfire (Simon Pack, #9))
We have one collective hope: the Earth And yet, uncounted people remain hopeless, famine and calamity abound Sufferers hurl themselves into the arms of war; people kill and get killed in the name of someone else’s concept of God Do we admit that our thoughts & behaviors spring from a belief that the world revolves around us? Each fabricated conflict, self-murdering bomb, vanished airplane, every fictionalized dictator, biased or partisan, and wayward son, are part of the curtains of society’s racial, ethnic, religious, national, and cultural conflicts, and you find the human ego turning the knobs and pulling the levers When I track the orbits of asteroids, comets, and planets, each one a pirouetting dancer in a cosmic ballet, choreographed by the forces of gravity, I see beyond the plight of humans I see a universe ever-expanding, with its galaxies embedded within the ever-stretching four-dimensional fabric of space and time However big our world is, our hearts, our minds, our outsize atlases, the universe is even bigger There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on the world’s beaches, more stars in the universe than seconds of time that have passed since Earth formed, more stars than words & sounds ever uttered by all humans who have ever lived The day we cease the exploration of the cosmos is the day we threaten the continuing of our species In that bleak world, arms-bearing, resource-hungry people & nations would be prone to act on their low-contracted prejudices, and would have seen the last gasp of human enlightenment Until the rise of a visionary new culture that once again embraces the cosmic perspective; a perspective in which we are one, fitting neither above nor below, but within
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Any honest examination of the national life proves how far we are from the standard of human freedom with which we began. The recovery of this standard demands of everyone who loves this country a hard look at himself, for the greatest achievements must begin somewhere, and they always begin with the person. If we are not capable of this examination, we may yet become one of the most distinguished and monumental failures in the history of nations. --“Nobody Knows My Name,” in Partisan Review
James Baldwin (Memorable Quotations: James Baldwin)
the general trouble with ignorance is always that ignorant people have no idea that that’s what they are. You can be ignorant and stupid and go through your whole life without ever encountering any evidence against the hypothesis that you’re a genius. If you’re stupid you can always blame miscalculation on bad luck.
Louis de Bernières (A Partisan's Daughter)
the partisans, on one side were the backers of Caesar, with his popular political programme and clear leanings towards one-man rule. Cicero assumed that this was where the sympathies and interests of the poor naturally lay. On the other side were a motley group of those who, for various reasons, did not like what Caesar was up to or the powers he seemed to be seeking. A few were probably as highly principled as they were unrealistic; as Cicero once said of Cato, ‘he talks as if he were in the Republic of Plato, when in fact he is in the crap of Romulus’.
Mary Beard (SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome)
THE AMERICAN League Championship was so hotly contentious that year, I could barely stand to watch the games. The tension of being a Red Sox fan as they battled back from 0–3 made my stomach hurt, and my surroundings didn’t make it any easier. The running joke in the Camp was that half the population of the Bronx was residing in Danbury, and of course they were all ferocious Yankees fans. But the Red Sox had plenty of partisans too; a significant percentage of the white women were from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and the always-suspect border state of Connecticut. Daily life was usually racially peaceful in the Camp, but the very obvious racial divide between Yankees and Sox fans made me nervous. I remembered the riot at UMass in 1986 after the Mets defeated the Sox in the World Series, when black Mets fans were horribly beaten.
Piper Kerman (Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison)
From Hobbes’s theory of the sovereign ruling by authority to Max Weber 250 years later, defining the state in terms of a monopoly of force is a slow loss of civil sensitivity. The term “democracy” is strictly a constitutional belief about how authority is generated, but today it most commonly commends rather than names a government that serves some particular interest, such as that of “the people.” The drift of these and other confusions of our political talk has always been to transform the subtle and balanced features attributed to the state in the past into an enterprise that facilitates our political preferences. It would be hard to deny that political sophistication has given way to a kind of partisan brutishness, some elements of which Oakeshott thought had already been recognized by Tocqueville in 1848: “… the passions of man, from being political, have now become social.” And this means that men care now far more about “the satisfaction of substantive wants” and the power of government needed to supply them than about freedom and constitutionality.
Kenneth Minogue
We must conclude with a troubling caveat, however. The norms sustaining our political system rested, to a considerable degree, on racial exclusion. The stability of the period between the end of Reconstruction and the 1980s was rooted in an original sin: the Compromise of 1877 and its aftermath, which permitted the de-democratization of the South and the consolidation of Jim Crow. Racial exclusion contributed directly to the partisan civility and cooperation that came to characterize twentieth-century American politics. The “solid South” emerged as a powerful conservative force within the Democratic Party, simultaneously vetoing civil rights and serving as a bridge to Republicans. Southern Democrats’ ideological proximity to conservative Republicans reduced polarization and facilitated bipartisanship. But it did so at the great cost of keeping civil rights—and America’s full democratization—off the political agenda.
Steven Levitsky (How Democracies Die)
The tolerance which enlarged the range and content of freedom was always partisan - intolerant toward the protagonists of the repressive status quo. ... Can the indiscriminate guaranty of political rights and liberties be repressive? Can such tolerance serve to contain qualitative social change? ... When tolerance mainly serves the protection and preservation of a repressive society, when it serves to neutralize opposition and to render men immune against other and better forms of life, then tolerance has been perverted. ... Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.
Herbert Marcuse (Repressive Tolerance)
The key idea here is “negative partisanship”: partisan behavior driven not by positive feelings toward the party you support but negative feelings toward the party you oppose. If you’ve ever voted in an election feeling a bit bleh about the candidate you backed, but fearful of the troglodyte or socialist running against her, you’ve been a negative partisan. It turns out a lot of us have been negative partisans. A 2016 Pew poll found that self-described independents who tended to vote for one party or the other were driven more by negative motivations. Majorities of both Republican- and Democratic-leaning independents said a major reason for their lean was the other party’s policies were bad for the country; by contrast, only a third of each group said they were driven by support for the policies of the party they were voting for.
Ezra Klein (Why We're Polarized)
If we care about knowledge, freedom, and peace, then we need to stake a strong claim: anyone can believe anything, but liberal science—open-ended, depersonalized checking by an error-seeking social network—is the only legitimate validator of knowledge, at least in the reality-based community. Other communities, of course, can do all kinds of other things. But they cannot make social decisions about objective reality. That is a very bold, very broad, very tough claim, and it goes down very badly with lots of people and communities who feel ignored or oppressed by the Constitution of Knowledge: creationists, Christian Scientists, homeopaths, astrologists, flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, birthers, 9/11 truthers, postmodern professors, political partisans, QAnon followers, and adherents of any number of other belief systems and religions.
Jonathan Rauch (The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth)
an aristocracy come to power, convinced of its own disinterested quality, believing itself above both petty partisan interest and material greed. The suggestion that this also meant the holding and wielding of power was judged offensive by these same people, who preferred to view their role as service, though in fact this was typical of an era when many of the great rich families withdrew from the new restless grab for money of a modernizing America, and having already made their particular fortunes, turned to the public arena as a means of exercising power. They were viewed as reformers, though the reforms would be aimed more at the newer seekers of wealth than at those who already held it. (“First-generation millionaires,” Garry Wills wrote in Nixon Agonistes, “give us libraries, second-generation millionaires give us themselves.”)
David Halberstam (The Best and the Brightest)
J. R. R. Tolkien, undisputedly a most fluent speaker of this language, was criticized in his day for indulging his juvenile whim of writing fantasy, which was then considered—as it still is in many quarters— an inferior form of literature and disdained as mere “escapism.” “Of course it is escapist,” he cried. “That is its glory! When a soldier is a prisoner of war it is his duty to escape—and take as many with him as he can.” He went on to explain, “The moneylenders, the knownothings, the authoritarians have us all in prison; if we value the freedom of the mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as possible.
Stephen R. Lawhead (The Paradise War (The Song of Albion, #1))
The fundamental question pertaining to voting ethics which Christians must ask at this presidential election is this: "What are the binding principles established by God in the Bible for selecting a civil magistrate?" All other questions are secondary or irrelevant. Once this standard is determined it is our duty to wisely apply the principles and precepts to our American context and to obey. All attempts by Christians to obfuscate our duty to repair to "the standard" by sprinkling the debate with the theology of pragmatics and partisan politics is a loss to the Church because it means that we are more concerned with manipulating a political process then simply obeying the sovereign God
Douglas W. Phillips
However, Trump’s flaws must be weighed against the disturbing nature of the opposition arrayed against him—an army of corporate-funded left-wing activists who excused and encouraged violent riots across the country; technology oligarchs who made unprecedented efforts to normalize censorship; state and local officials who radically altered the way Americans vote in the middle of an election for partisan advantage; an ostensibly free press that credulously and willfully published fake news to damage the president; politicized federal law enforcement agencies that abused the federal government’s surveillance and investigative powers to smear Trump as a puppet of a foreign power; and an opposition party that coordinated all these smears and spent years trying to impeach and remove a duly elected president from office.
Mollie Ziegler Hemingway (Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections)
These ideas can be made more concrete with a parable, which I borrow from John Fowles’s wonderful novel, The Magus. Conchis, the principle character in the novel, finds himself Mayor of his home town in Greece when the Nazi occupation begins. One day, three Communist partisans who recently killed some German soldiers are caught. The Nazi commandant gives Conchis, as Mayor, a choice — either Conchis will execute the three partisans himself to set an example of loyalty to the new regime, or the Nazis will execute every male in the town. Should Conchis act as a collaborator with the Nazis and take on himself the direct guilt of killing three men? Or should he refuse and, by default, be responsible for the killing of over 300 men? I often use this moral riddle to determine the degree to which people are hypnotized by Ideology. The totally hypnotized, of course, have an answer at once; they know beyond doubt what is correct, because they have memorized the Rule Book. It doesn’t matter whose Rule Book they rely on — Ayn Rand’s or Joan Baez’s or the Pope’s or Lenin’s or Elephant Doody Comix — the hypnosis is indicated by lack of pause for thought, feeling and evaluation. The response is immediate because it is because mechanical. Those who are not totally hypnotized—those who have some awareness of concrete events of sensory space-time, outside their heads— find the problem terrible and terrifying and admit they don’t know any 'correct' answer. I don’t know the 'correct' answer either, and I doubt that there is one. The universe may not contain 'right' and 'wrong' answers to everything just because Ideologists want to have 'right' and 'wrong' answers in all cases, anymore than it provides hot and cold running water before humans start tinkering with it. I feel sure that, for those awakened from hypnosis, every hour of every day presents choices that are just as puzzling (although fortunately not as monstrous) as this parable. That is why it appears a terrible burden to be aware of who you are, where you are, and what is going on around you, and why most people would prefer to retreat into Ideology, abstraction, myth and self-hypnosis. To come out of our heads, then, also means to come to our senses, literally—to live with awareness of the bottle of beer on the table and the bleeding body in the street. Without polemic intent, I think this involves waking from hypnosis in a very literal sense. Only one individual can do it at a time, and nobody else can do it for you. You have to do it all alone.
Robert Anton Wilson (Natural Law: or Don't Put a Rubber on Your Willy)
The advantages of a hereditary Monarchy are self-evident. Without some such method of prescriptive, immediate and automatic succession, an interregnum intervenes, rival claimants arise, continuity is interrupted and the magic lost. Even when Parliament had secured control of taxation and therefore of government; even when the menace of dynastic conflicts had receded in to the coloured past; even when kingship had ceased to be transcendental and had become one of many alternative institutional forms; the principle of hereditary Monarchy continued to furnish the State with certain specific and inimitable advantages. Apart from the imponderable, but deeply important, sentiments and affections which congregate around an ancient and legitimate Royal Family, a hereditary Monarch acquires sovereignty by processes which are wholly different from those by which a dictator seizes, or a President is granted, the headship of the State. The King personifies both the past history and the present identity of the Nation as a whole. Consecrated as he is to the service of his peoples, he possesses a religious sanction and is regarded as someone set apart from ordinary mortals. In an epoch of change, he remains the symbol of continuity; in a phase of disintegration, the element of cohesion; in times of mutability, the emblem of permanence. Governments come and go, politicians rise and fall: the Crown is always there. A legitimate Monarch moreover has no need to justify his existence, since he is there by natural right. He is not impelled as usurpers and dictators are impelled, either to mesmerise his people by a succession of dramatic triumphs, or to secure their acquiescence by internal terrorism or by the invention of external dangers. The appeal of hereditary Monarchy is to stability rather than to change, to continuity rather than to experiment, to custom rather than to novelty, to safety rather than to adventure. The Monarch, above all, is neutral. Whatever may be his personal prejudices or affections, he is bound to remain detached from all political parties and to preserve in his own person the equilibrium of the realm. An elected President – whether, as under some constitutions, he be no more than a representative functionary, or whether, as under other constitutions, he be the chief executive – can never inspire the same sense of absolute neutrality. However impartial he may strive to become, he must always remain the prisoner of his own partisan past; he is accompanied by friends and supporters whom he may seek to reward, or faced by former antagonists who will regard him with distrust. He cannot, to an equal extent, serve as the fly-wheel of the State.
Harold Nicholson
Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering --every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain's senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them. Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain's hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer's art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling. Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?
Plato (The Republic)
What one should add here is that self-consciousness is itself unconscious: we are not aware of the point of our self-consciousness. If ever there was a critic of the fetishizing effect of fascinating and dazzling "leitmotifs", it is Adorno: in his devastating analysis of Wagner, he tries to demonstrate how Wagnerian leitmotifs serve as fetishized elements of easy recognition and thus constitute a kind of inner-structural commodification of his music. It is then a supreme irony that traces of this same fetishizing procedure can be found in Adorno's own writings. Many of his provocative one-liners do effectively capture a profound insight or at least touch on a crucial point (for example: "Nothing is more true in pscyhoanalysis than its exaggeration"); however, more often than his partisans are ready to admit, Adorno gets caught up in his own game, infatuated with his own ability to produce dazzlingly "effective" paradoxical aphorisms at the expense of theoretical substance (recall the famous line from Dialectic of Englightment on how Hollywood's ideological maniuplation of social reality realized Kant's idea of the transcendental constitution of reality). In such cases where the dazzling "effect" of the unexpected short-circuit (here between Hollywood cinema and Kantian ontology) effectively overshadows the theoretical line of argumentation, the brilliant paradox works precisely in the same manner as the Wagnerian leitmotif: instead of serving as a nodal point in the complex network of structural mediation, it generates idiotic pleasure by focusing attention on itself. This unintended self-reflexivity is something of which Adorno undoubtedly was not aware: his critique of the Wagnerian leitmotif was an allegorical critique of his own writing. Is this not an exemplary case of his unconscious reflexivity of thinking? When criticizing his opponent Wagner, Adorno effectively deploys a critical allegory of his own writing - in Hegelese, the truth of his relation to the Other is a self-relation.
Slavoj Žižek (Living in the End Times)
He had lived in an apartment with books touching the ceilings, and rugs thick enough to hide dice; then in a room and a half with dirt floors; on forest floors, under unconcerned stars; under the floorboards of a Christian who, half a world and three-quarters of a century away, would have a tree planted to commemorate his righteousness; in a hole for so many days his knees would never wholly unbend; among Gypsies and partisans and half-decent Poles; in transit, refugee, and displaced persons camps; on a boat with a bottle with a boat that an insomniac agnostic had miraculously constructed inside it; on the other side of an ocean he would never wholly cross; above half a dozen grocery stores he killed himself fixing up and selling for small profits; beside a woman who rechecked the locks until she broke them, and died of old age at forty-two without a syllable of praise in her throat but the cells of her murdered mother still dividing in her brain; and finally, for the last quarter century, in a snow-globe-quiet Silver Spring split-level: ten pounds of Roman Vishniac bleaching on the coffee table; Enemies, A Love Story demagnetizing in the world’s last functional VCR; egg salad becoming bird flu in a refrigerator mummified with photographs of gorgeous, genius, tumorless great-grandchildren.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Here I Am)
But where should he begin? - Well, then, the trouble with the English was their: Their: In a word, Gibreel solemnly pronounced, their weather. Gibreel Farishta floating on his cloud formed the opinion that the moral fuzziness of the English was meteorologically induced. 'When the day is not warmer than the night,' he reasoned, 'when the light is not brighter than the dark, when the land is not drier than the sea, then clearly a people will lose the power to make distinctions, and commence to see everything - from political parties to sexual partners to religious beliefs - as much-the-same, nothing-to-choose, give-or-take. What folly! For truth is extreme, it is so and not thus, it is him and not her; a partisan matter, not a spectator sport. It is, in brief, heated. City,' he cried, and his voice rolled over the metropolis like thunder, 'I am going to tropicalize you.' Gibreel enumerated the benefits of the proposed metamorphosis of London into a tropical city: increased moral definition, institution of a national siesta, development of vivid and expansive patterns of behaviour among the populace, higher-quality popular music, new birds in the trees (macaws, peacocks, cockatoos), new trees under the birds (coco-palms, tamarind, banyans with hanging beards). Improved street-life, outrageously coloured flowers (magenta, vermilion, neon-green), spider-monkeys in the oaks. A new mass market for domestic air-conditioning units, ceiling fans, anti-mosquito coils and sprays. A coir and copra industry. Increased appeal of London as a centre for conferences, etc.: better cricketeers; higher emphasis on ball-control among professional footballers, the traditional and soulless English commitment to 'high workrate' having been rendered obsolete by the heat. Religious fervour, political ferment, renewal of interest in the intellegentsia. No more British reserve; hot-water bottles to be banished forever, replaced in the foetid nights by the making of slow and odorous love. Emergence of new social values: friends to commence dropping in on one another without making appointments, closure of old-folks' homes, emphasis on the extended family. Spicier foods; the use of water as well as paper in English toilets; the joy of running fully dressed through the first rains of the monsoon. Disadvantages: cholera, typhoid, legionnaires' disease, cockroaches, dust, noise, a culture of excess. Standing upon the horizon, spreading his arms to fill the sky, Gibreel cried: 'Let it be.
Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses)
And I wonder, therefore, how James Atlas can have been so indulgent in his recent essay ‘The Changing World of New York Intellectuals.’ This rather shallow piece appeared in the New York Times magazine, and took us over the usual jumps. Gone are the days of Partisan Review, Delmore Schwartz, Dwight MacDonald etc etc. No longer the tempest of debate over Trotsky, The Waste Land, Orwell, blah, blah. Today the assimilation of the Jewish American, the rise of rents in midtown Manhattan, the erosion of Village life, yawn, yawn. The drift to the right, the rediscovery of patriotism, the gruesome maturity of the once iconoclastic Norman Podhoretz, okay, okay! I have one question which Atlas in his much-ballyhooed article did not even discuss. The old gang may have had regrettable flirtations. Their political compromises, endlessly reviewed, may have exhibited naivety or self-regard. But much of that record is still educative, and the argument did take place under real pressure from anti-semitic and authoritarian enemies. Today, the alleged ‘neo-conservative’ movement around Jeane Kirkpatrick, Commentary and the New Criterion can be found in unforced alliance with openly obscurantist, fundamentalist and above all anti-intellectual forces. In the old days, there would at least have been a debate on the proprieties of such a united front, with many fine distinctions made and brave attitudes struck. As I write, nearness to power seems the only excuse, and the subject is changed as soon it is raised. I wait for the agonised, self-justifying neo-conservative essay about necessary and contingent alliances. Do I linger in vain?
Christopher Hitchens (Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports)
Let us have it plain: my society is comprised of metal-worshipers. They pray to metal, are owned by metal, and metal uses them; it shoots them, it stabs them. I witness its sycophants, grave zombies, moved about humorlessly as its agents. My minions are spiritually rapt as the ages climaxes in gunpowder. One notes that, upon first being handed a rifle -- by Burton or Speke? -- a chieftain blithely shot one of his own lackeys, expressing radiant joy as the man tumbled dead. Do not stop there, happy Klansman, but watch with me early in the morning as I come in from work: across the street here in the clean "burbs" your white policeman goes reverently to his car with a deer rifle coddled in his right arm like a precocious, beautiful child. This man lives with a pistol on his hip all week, but that is not enough, no, he is devout and it is the Christmas season. His own cowardice, affirmed by the use of guns, would not occur to him any more than the cowardice of God. The gun lobby, oh my peaceful friends, you may hate, but first you had better understand that it is a religion, only secondarily connected to the Bill of Rights. The thick-headed, sometimes even close to tearful, gaze you get when chatting with one of its partisans emanates from the view that they're holding a piece of God. There is no persuading them otherwise, even by a genus, because a life without guns implies the end of the known world to them. Any connection they make to our " pioneer past" is also a fraud, a wistful apology. Folks love a gun for what it can do. A murderer always thinks it was an accident, he says, as if a religious episode had passed over him.
Barry Hannah (Bats Out of Hell)
Satan's masterpiece of counterfeiting is the doctrine that there are only two choices, and he will show us what they are. It is true that there are only two ways, but by pointing us the way he wants us to take and then showing us a fork in that road, he convinces us that we are making the vital choice, when actually we are choosing between branches in his road. Which one we take makes little difference to him, for both lead to destruction. This is the polarization we find in the world today. Thus we have the choice between Shiz and Coriantumr-- which all the Jaredites were obliged to make. We have the choice between the wicked Lamanites (and they were that) and the equally wicked (Mormon says "more wicked") Nephites. Or between the fleshpots of Egypt and the stews of Babylon, or between the land pirates and the sea pirates of World War I, or between white supremacy and black supremacy, or between Vietnam and Cambodia, or between Bushwhachers and Jayhawkers, or between China and Russia, or between Catholic and Protestant, or between fundamentalist and atheist, or between right and left-- all of which are true rivals who hate each other. A very clever move of Satan!-- a subtlety that escapes us most of the time. So I ask Latter-day Saints, "What is your position frankly (I'd lake to take a vote here) regarding the merits of cigarettes vs. cigars, wine vs. beer, or heroin vs. LSD?" It should be apparent that you take no sides. By its nature the issue does not concern you. It is simply meaningless as far as your life is concerned. "What, are you not willing to stand up and be counted?" No, I am not. The Saints took no sides in that most passionately partisan of wars, the Civil War, and they never regretted it.
Nibley, Hugh
It caused my opposition to any ideologies—Marxist, Fascist, National Socialist, what you will—because they were incompatible with science in the rational sense of critical analysis. I again refer back to Max Weber as the great thinker who brought that problem to my attention; and I still maintain today that nobody who is an ideologist can be a competent social scientist." It is extremely difficult to engage in a critical discussion of National Socialist ideas, as I found out when I gave my semester course on “Hitler and the Germans” in 1964 in Munich, because in National Socialist and related documents we are still further below the level on which rational argument is possible than in the case of Hegel and Marx. In order to deal with rhetoric of this type, one must first develop a philosophy of language, going into the problems of symbolization on the basis of the philosophers’ experience of humanity and of the perversion of such symbols on the vulgarian level by people who are utterly unable to read a philosopher’s work. A person on this level—which I characterize as the vulgarian and, so far as it becomes socially relevant, as the ochlocratic level—again, is not admissible to the position of a partner in discussion but can only be an object of scientific research. Because of this attitude I have been called every conceivable name by partisans of this or that ideology. I have in my files documents labeling me a Communist, a Fascist, a National Socialist, an old liberal, a new liberal, a Jew, a Catholic, a Protestant, a Platonist, a neo-Augustinian, a Thomist, and of course a Hegelian—not to forget that I was supposedly strongly influenced by Huey Long. This list I consider of some importance, because the various characterizations of course always name the pet bête noire of the respective critic and give, therefore, a very good picture of the intellectual destruction and corruption that characterize the contemporary academic world. Understandably, I have never answered such criticisms; critics of this type can become objects of inquiry, but they cannot be partners in a discussion. Anybody with an informed and reflective mind who lives in the twentieth century since the end of the First World War, as I did, finds himself hemmed in, if not oppressed, from all sides by a flood of ideological language—meaning thereby language symbols that pretend to be concepts but in fact are unanalyzed topoi or topics. Moreover, anybody who is exposed to this dominant climate of opinion has to cope with the problem that language is a social phenomenon. He cannot deal with the users of ideological language as partners in a discussion, but he has to make them the object of investigation. There is no community of language with the representatives of the dominant ideologies.
Eric Voegelin (Autobiographical Reflections (Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Volume 34))