Monday, June 29, 2015

Engaged

"If I had engaged in politics, I should have perished long ago and done no good to either you or to myself. ...for the truth is that no man who goes to war with you or any other multitude, honestly struggling against the commission of unrighteouosness and wrong in the State, will save his life; he who will really fight for right, if he would live even for a little while, must have a private station and not a public one."

--Socrates, from Plato's account of the trial of Socrates


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pretensions

"I do not like the pretensions of Government -- the grounds on which it demands my obedience -- to be pitched too high. I don't like the medicine-man's magical pretensions nor the Bourbon's Divine Right.  This is not solely because I disbelieve in magic and in Bossuet's Politique. I believe in God, but I detest theocracy. For every Government consists of mere men and is, strictly viewed, a makeshift; if it adds to its commands 'Thus saith the Lord', it lies, and lies dangerously.

On just the same ground I dread government in the name of science. That is how tyrannies come in. In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They 'cash in'. It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science. Perhaps the real scientists may not think much of the tyrants' 'science'-- they didn't think much of Hitler's racial theories or Stalin's biology. But they can be muzzled."

--C. S. Lewis
(1898-1963), British novelist
Source: Willing Slaves of the Welfare State, first published in The Observer on July 20, 1958

Friday, June 26, 2015

Seldom

"It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once."
--David Hume

Degenerate

"Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few."
--John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
Source: An Essay on Man’s Lust for Power, August 29, 1763

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Abhorrent

"No matter what the legislature may say, a man has the right to make his speech, print his handbill, compose his newspaper, and deliver his sermon without asking anyone's permission. The contrary suggestion is abhorrent to our traditions."
--William O. Douglas, Dissenting, Poulos v. New Hampshire, 345 U.S. 395 (1953).

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Parent

"I think you should leave it up to the parent, because not all parents want to keep their children totally ignorant."
--Frank Zappa

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Stories

Don't let them tell us stories. Don't let them say of the man sentenced to death "He is going to pay his debt to society," but: "They are going to cut off his head." It looks like nothing. But it does make a little difference. And then there are people who prefer to look their fate in the eye.
--Albert Camus

Monday, June 22, 2015

Normal VI

"The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. "Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does." They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted."
--Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World Revisited"

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Champion

"The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. ...This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector."
--Plato

Sloth II

"Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great."
--William F. Buckley

Friday, June 19, 2015

Quacks

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family Anatidae on our hands."
--Douglas Adams
"Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" (1987)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Unspeakable

"Apparently, 'conspiracy stuff' is now shorthand for unspeakable truth."
--Gore Vidal, "The Enemy Within,"
The Observer (October 27, 2002)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pure II

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
--George Orwell

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Seemingly

"Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization."
--George Bernard Shaw

Monday, June 15, 2015

Flying II

"Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness."
--Alejandro Jodorowsky

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Flow

The Beliefs of a Witoto shaman and the beliefs of a Princeton phenomenologist have an equal chance of being correct, and there are no arbiters of who is right. Here is something we have not assimilated. We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom, but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where all the contradictions flow together.
--Terence McKenna, "The Archaic Revival" (1991)

Absorbed

"When one has once accepted and absorbed Evil, it no longer demands to be believed."
--Franz Kafka

Friday, June 12, 2015

Perpetual IV

"Revolution is not something fixed in ideology,
nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade.
It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit."
--Abbie Hoffman
(1936-1989) Activist

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chaos III

"The best thing you could do is master the chaos in you. You are not thrown into the fire, you are the fire."
--Mama Indigo

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Penetrate

"It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men. "
--H. L. Mencken
(1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer, and Critic
1926

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Humble

We should not go to the people and say, "Here we are. We come to give you the charity of our presence, to teach you our science, to show you your errors, your lack of culture, your ignorance of elementary things." We should go instead with an inquiring mind and a humble spirit to learn at that great source of wisdom that is the people.
--Che Guevara
"On Revolutionary Medicine" (1960)

Monday, June 08, 2015

Generation

"Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world"
--Vladimir Lenin

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Arts II

"I sometimes wondered what the use of any of the arts was. The best thing I could come up with was what I call the canary in the coal mine theory of the arts. This theory says that artists are useful to society because they are so sensitive. They are super-sensitive. They keel over like canaries in poison coal mines long before more robust types realize that there is any danger whatsoever."
--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.,
"Physicist, Purge Thyself" in the Chicago Tribune Magazine (June 22, 1969)

Archetype

 "As Erik Erikson tells us, the archetype of human progress is in the story of Moses, who brought his people within sight of the promised land and then died, leaving to Joshua the leadership in achieving goals that both completely shared."

--Robert F. Kennedy, November 20, 1925 - June 6, 1968
"To Seek A Newer World"

Friday, June 05, 2015

Phrases

All the phrases that have meant so much to Americans--peace and progress, justice and compassion, leadership and idealism--often sound not like stirring reminders of our nation, but call forth the cynical laughter or hostility of our young and many of our adults.  Not because they do not believe them, but because they do not think our leaders believe them...

This is not simply the result of bad policies and lack of skill.  It flows from the fact that for almost the first time the national leadership is calling upon the darker impulses of the American spirit--not, perhaps, deliberately, but through its action and the example it sets an example where integrity, truth, honor, and all the rest seem like words to fill out speeches rather than guiding beliefs.  Thus we are turned inward.  People wish to protect what they have.  There is a failing of generosity and compassion.  There is an unwillingness to sacrifice or take risks.  All of this is contrary to the deepest and most dominant impulses of the American character--all that which has characterized two centuries of history.

--Robert F. Kennedy, March 24, 1968

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Joy

"Well, what joy is there in day that follows day, some swift, some slow, with death the only goal?" [Sophocles]  Really, that's what many of our fellow citizens feel--whether they're in Appalachia or whether they're in Harlem or whether they're the white children who live in some of those other areas where they've no future.

--Robert F. Kennedy, October 5, 1964

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Visitor

Think how our world would look to a visitor from another planet as he crossed the continents.  He would find great cities and knowledge able to create enormous abundance from the materials of nature.  He would witness exploration into understanding of the entire physical universe, from the particles of the atom to the secrets of life.  He would see billions of people, separated by only a few hours of flight, communicating with the speed of light, sharing a common dependence on a thin layer of soil and a covering of air.  He would also observe that most of mankind was living in misery and hunger, that some of the inhabitants of this tiny, crowded globe were killing others, that a few patches of land were pointing huge instruments of death and war at others.  Since what he was seeing proved our intelligence, he would only wonder at our sanity. 

It is this monstrous absurdity--that in the midst of such possibility, men should hate and kill and oppress one another--that must be target of the modern American revolution.

--Robert F. Kennedy, October 11, 1966

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

City

We must consider that we shall be as a city, set upon a hill, and the eyes of all people will be upon us. [John Winthrop]

The Puritans were in the middle of the Atlantic when they shared that vision of the city upon the hill. We are still in the middle of our journey. As long as millions of Americans suffer indignity, and punishment, and deprivation because of their color, their poverty, and our inaction, we know that we are only halfway to our goal--only halfway to a city upon a hill, a city in which we can all take pride, a city and a country in which the promises of our Constitution are at last fulfilled for all Americans.

--Robert F. Kennedy, April 28, 1965

Monday, June 01, 2015

Inheritaance

The inheritance of the New Deal is fulfilled. There is not a problem for which there is not a program. There is not a problem for which money is not being spent.  There is not a problem or a program on which dozens or hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats are not earnestly at work.

But does this represent a solution to our problems?

Manifestly it does not.

--Robert F. Kennedy

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Easier II

"History is full of peoples who have discovered it is easier to fight than think, easier to have enemies and friends selected by authority than to make their own painful choices, easier to follow blindly than to lead, even if that leadership must be the private choice of a single man alone with a free and skeptical mind. But in the final telling it is that leadership, the impregnable skepticism of the free spirit, untouchable by guns or police, which feeds the whirlwind of change and hope and progress in every land and time."
--Robert F. Kennedy, June 8, 1966

Friday, May 29, 2015

Short

"Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution. But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can. Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again."
--Robert F. Kennedy, April 5, 1968

Shoulders

"We, today, stand on the shoulders of our predecessors who have gone before us. We, as their successors, must catch the torch of freedom and liberty passed on to us by our ancestors. We cannot lose this battle."
--Benjamin E. Mays
(1895-1984)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Universities

"Of course there's a lot of knowledge in universities: the freshmen bring a little in; the seniors don't take much away, so knowledge sort of accumulates."
--Abbott Lawrence Lowell
American Lawyer and University President of Harvard

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Together

Together we can make this a nation where young people do not seek the false peace of drugs. Together, we can make this a nation where old people are not shunted off; where, regardless of the colour of his skin or the place of birth of his father, every citizen will have an equal chance at dignity and decency. Together, Americans are the most decent, generous, and compassionate people in the world.

Divided, they are collections of islands. Islands of blacks afraid of islands of whites. Islands of Northerners bitterly opposed to islands of Southerners. Islands of workers warring with islands of businessmen.

--Robert F. Kennedy, March 24, 1968

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Flourish

"Liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of central government."
--Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World Revisited"

Monday, May 25, 2015

Daily

 "Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily."
--Napoleon Bonaparte