Tuesday, December 31, 2013


"How did it ever happen that, when the dregs of the world had collected in western Europe, when Goth and Frank and Norman and Lombard had mingled with the rot of old Rome to form a patchwork of hybrid races, all of them notable for ferocity, hatred, stupidity, craftiness, lust, and brutality--how did it happen that, from all of this, there should come Gregorian chant, monasteries and cathedrals, the poems of Prudentius, the commentaries and histories of Bede, the Moralia of Gregory the Great, St. Augustine's City of God, and his Trinity, the writings of Anselm, St. Bernard's sermons on the Canticles, the poetry of Caedmon and Cynewulf and Langland and Dante, St. Thomas' Summa, and the Oxoniense of Duns Scotus?

How does it happen that even today a couple of ordinary French stonemasons, or a carpenter and his apprentice, can put up a dovecote or a barn that has more architectural perfection than the piles of eclectic stupidity that grow up at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars on the campuses of American universities?"
--Thomas Merton (The Seven Storey Mountain)

Monday, December 30, 2013


"In the use of force, one simplifies the situation by assuming that the evil to be overcome is clear-cut, definite, and irreversible. Hence there remains but one thing: to eliminate it. Any dialogue with the sinner, any question of the irreversibility of his act, only means faltering and failure. Failure to eliminate evil is itself a defeat. Anything that even remotely risks such defeat is in itself capitulation to evil. The irreversibility of evil then reaches out to contaminate even the tolerant thought of the hesitant crusader who, momentarily, doubts the total evil of the enemy he is about to eliminate."
--Thomas Merton (Gandhi on Non-Violence)

Sunday, December 29, 2013


"We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest."
--Thomas Merton (The Seven Storey Mountain)

Saturday, December 28, 2013


"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child."
--William Shakespeare, "King Lear"

Friday, December 27, 2013


"Day after day I read Freud, thinking myself to be very enlightened and scientific when, as a matter of fact, I was about as scientific as an old woman secretly poring over books about occultism, trying to tell her own fortune, and learning how to dope out the future form the lines in the palm of her hand. I don't know if I ever got very close to needing a padded cell: but if I ever had gone crazy, I think psychoanalysis would have been the one thing chiefly responsible for it."
--Thomas Merton (The Seven Storey Mountain)

Thursday, December 26, 2013


"You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope."
--Thomas Merton

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


"Jesus lived and died in vain if He did not teach us to regulate the whole of life by the eternal law of love."
--Mahatma Gandhi,

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


"The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else's imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!"
--Thomas Merton (The Seven Storey Mountain)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Without II

"It is true that neither the ancient wisdoms nor the modern sciences are complete in themselves. They do not stand alone. They call for one another. Wisdom without science is unable to penetrate the full sapiential meaning of the created and the material cosmos. Science without wisdom leaves man enslaved to a world of unrelated objects in which there is no way of discovering (or creating) order and deep significance in man's own pointless existence.
--Thomas Merton (Gandhi on Non-Violence)

Sunday, December 22, 2013


"When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash - at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, all these provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance."
--Thomas Merton

Saturday, December 21, 2013


"Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything."
--Thomas Merton

Thursday, December 19, 2013


"Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event."
--Walter Lippmann
(1889-1974) American writer, journalist, and political commentator
Source: Public Opinion, 1922


"Pity the poor, wretched, timid soul, too faint hearted to resist his oppressors.
He sings the songs of the damned, 'I cannot resist, I have too much to lose,
they might take my property or confiscate my earnings,
what would my family do, how would they survive?'
He hides behind pretended family responsibility, failing to see that
the most glorious legacy that we can bequeath to our posterity is liberty!"
--W. Vaughn Ellsworth
American author, defended himself against IRS in 1977

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


"We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
--Hillary Clinton
(1947- ) Wife of President Bill Clinton, US Senator (NY-D)
Source: June 28, 2004 fundraiser for Senator Barbara Boxer in San Francisco

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets.
--John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) American industrialist

Sunday, December 15, 2013


"The art of politics, under democracy, is simply the art of ringing it. Two branches reveal themselves. There is the art of the demagogue, and there is the art of what may be called, by a shot-gun marriage of Latin and Greek, the demaslave. They are complementary, and both of them are degrading to their practitioners. The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots. The demaslave is one who listens to what these idiots have to say and then pretends that he believes it himself."
--H. L. Mencken
(1880-1956) American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer, and Critic
Source: "Notes On Democracy"


"The people of the various provinces are strictly forbidden to have in their possession any swords, bows, spears, firearms, or other types of arms. The possession of these elements makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues, and tends to permit uprising. Therefore, the heads of provinces, official agents, and deputies are ordered to collect all the weapons mentioned above and turn them over to the government."
--Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598)
Japanese Chancellor of the Realm, preeminent daimyo, warrior, general and politician of the Sengoku period

Saturday, December 14, 2013


"Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men."
--St. Augustine
[Augustine of Hippo (Latin: Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis)] (354-430) Bishop of Hippo Regius, philosopher and theologian

Friday, December 13, 2013


Habit is the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what ... saves the children of fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor .... It alone prevents the hardest and most repulsive [jobs] from being deserted. It holds the miner in his darkness. It keeps different social strata from mixing.

--William James, "Principles of Psychology" (1890)

Quoted in John Taylor Gatto, "Weapons Of Mass Instruction", p. 173

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Let all possible causes of a change of mind be removed from men's apprehension. Let them be kept ignorant, lest they should learn of some reason to think otherwise than they do. Let their passions be enlisted, so that they may regard ... unusual opinions with hatred and horror. Then, let all men who reject the established belief be terrified into silence .... Let a list of opinions be drawn up to which no man of the least independence of thought can assent, and let the faithful be required to accept all these propositions in order to segregate them as radically as possible from the influence of the rest of the world

--Charles Pierce, article, "The Fixation Of Belief"
Popular Science Monthly, November, 1877

Quoted in John Taylor Gatto, "Weapons Of Mass Instruction", p. 172

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Let the will of the state act, then, instead of that of the individual. Let an institution be created which shall have for its object to keep correct doctrines before the attention of the people, to reiterate them perpetually, and to teach them to the young, having at the same time power to prevent contrary doctrines from being taught, advocated, or expressed.

--Charles Pierce, article, "The Fixation Of Belief"
Popular Science Monthly, November, 1877

Quoted in John Taylor Gatto, "Weapons Of Mass Instruction", p. 172

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Tick off the conditions which cause a horse to go slightly crazy as you read and compare them to the familiar discipline of an average school:

"... Keep them predominantly idle, keep them apart from other horses, and you will create an animal that interacts with the world in ways clearly un-natural ... timid, crazy, undependable, bolting, bucking, avoidant, shying, etc. Keep a horse from accessing the wisdom of the herd and the wisdom of its own nature and you get a horse that doesn't know where it belongs in the world. Under such conditions wellbred horses with tremendous potentials end up living their lives as ... consumers instead of contributors."

--Equine Mental Health Association's Journal
Quoted in John Taylor Gatto, "Weapons Of Mass Instruction", p. 142

Monday, December 09, 2013


You can't win liberty by memorizing what you're told to memorize. "Nullius in verba" is the motto of the Royal Scientific Society, founded in 1620, which I translate as "Don't take anybody's word for the truth; think for yourself!" The watchword of school is "Let others think for you:'

--John Taylor Gatto, "Weapons Of Mass Instruction", p. 119

Sunday, December 08, 2013


By Darwin's day, among the powerful, Christianity had become merely ceremonial, a dangerous relic of the past to be kept under State control as it was in the Anglican order...

The revolutionary ability of the Christian message to stir up the masses and put them maddeningly out of reach of carrot/stick control machinery was regarded with horror by the British upper classes. When people build the meaning of their days out of relationships, love, piety, loyalty, and frugal self-sufficiency, the notion of happiness through an accumulation of stuff suffers. But what were the ramifications of that for a commercial civilization? On the other hand, when competition is seen as essential to a good life, when winning against one's neighbors is put at the heart of society, business thrives. To win, others have to lose: the more losers, the better winning feels

--John Taylor Gatto, "Weapons Of Mass Instruction", p. 116

Saturday, December 07, 2013


[J]anet and I were in a unique French village near Limoges called Oradour sur Glane, a town without a single inhabitant, all its buildings intact except the ruined church which had been burned to the ground on June 10, 1944, by retreating German military forces in WWII.  On that day every single citizen was murdered save one - an eight-year-old boy, Roger Godfrin, who disobeyed his schoolteachers when they obeyed German orders to bring their classes to the town square and church. "Hurry! Hurry!" Roger remembers them saying, "Don't keep them waiting!" Without his contempt for school, which led him to run away and hide instead, Roger would have burned to ashes with the rest.

--John Taylor Gatto, "Weapons Of Mass Instruction", p. 109-110

Friday, December 06, 2013


Obama had almost no experience besides two years in the Senate, where his voting record was a dismal capitulation to corporate power. But, once again, the electronic hallucinations that assault us rendered most voters incapable of thought and response. The superficial, the trivial, and the sensational mask our deep cultural, economic, political, and environmental disintegration as well as the newest political diversion approved by the corporate state. We remain hypnotized by flickering images we mistake for reality.

--Chris Hedges, "Death Of The Liberal Class", p. 199

Thursday, December 05, 2013


The election of Obama was one more triumph of illusion over substance. It was a skillful manipulation and betrayal of the public by a corporate power elite. We mistook style and ethnicity—an advertising tactic pioneered by Calvin Klein and Benetton—for progressive politics and genuine change. The goal of a branded Obama, as with all brands, was to make passive consumers mistake a brand for an experience. And this is why Obama was named Advertising Age's marketer of the year for 2008, beating out Apple and Zappos.

--Chris Hedges, "Death Of The Liberal Class", p. 199

Wednesday, December 04, 2013


The liberal class assumed that by working with corporate power it could mitigate the worst excesses of capitalism and environmental degradation. It did not grasp, perhaps because liberals do not read enough Marx, the revolutionary and self-destructive nature of unfettered capitalism. American society, although it continues to use traditional and sentimental iconography and language to describe itself, has in fact been so radically transformed by liberal gullibility and unchecked corporatism that it bears no resemblance to its self-image. Corporate forces, whether in Copenhagen or the U.S. Congress, ignore the needs and desires of citizens. Corporate interests have seized all mechanisms of power, from government to mass propaganda. They will not be defeated through elections or influenced through popular movements. The working class has been wiped out. The economy is in ruins. The imperial expansion is teetering on collapse. The ecosystem is undergoing terrifying changes unseen in recorded human history. The death spiral, which will wipe out whole sections of the human race, demands a return to a radical militancy that asks the uncomfortable question of whether it is time to break laws that, if followed, ensure our annihilation.

--Chris Hedges, "Death Of The Liberal Class", p. 194

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


The liberal class, which clings to the decaying ideologies used to justify globalism and imperialism, which has refused to defy the exploitation or galvanize behind militants to halt the destruction of the ecosystem, has become a useless appendage. The decimation of our manufacturing base, the rise of the corporate state, and the contamination of our environment could have been fought by militant movements and radicals, but with these voices banished, there were no real impediments to the self-destructive forces of corporate power.

--Chris Hedges, "Death Of The Liberal Class", p. 194

Monday, December 02, 2013


Our destitute working class now understands that the cloying feel-your-pain language of the liberal class is a lie. The liberal class is not attempting to prevent wages from sinking, unemployment from mounting, foreclosures from ripping apart communities, or jobs from being exported. The gap between a stark reality and the happy illusions peddled by smarmy television news personalities, fatuous academic and financial experts, oily bureaucrats and politicians, is becoming too wide to ignore. Those cast aside are often willing to listen to anyone, no matter how buffoonish or ignorant, who promises that the parasites and courtiers who serve the corporate state will disappear. Right-wing rage is becoming synonymous with right-wing populism.
--Chris Hedges, "Death Of The Liberal Class", p. 190

Sunday, December 01, 2013


"Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that cripple them, is a spiritually moribund religion in need of new blood."
--Martin Luther King, Jr., December 5, 1957 (second anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott), "Some Things We Must Do"