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


"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


"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

Thursday, May 28, 2015


"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 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


"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


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

Saturday, May 23, 2015


 "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."
--Dwight D. Eisenhower

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mourn II

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
--George S. Patton


"A man does what he must --
in spite of personal consequences,
in spite of obstacles and dangers --
and this is the basis of all human morality."
--John F. Kennedy

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Object II

"A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object. But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object."
--Albert Camus

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


"All executive power--from the reign of ancient kings to the rule of modern dictators--has the outward appearance of efficiency."
--William O. Douglas, Concurring Opinion, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


"We should stop going around babbling about how we're the greatest democracy on earth, when we're not even a democracy. We are a sort of militarised republic. The founding fathers hated two things, one was monarchy and the other was democracy, they gave us a constitution that saw to it we will have neither. I don't know how wise they were."
--Gore Vidal, "Gore Vidal and the Mind of the Terrorist", interview by Ramona Koval, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio National (November 2001)

Monday, May 18, 2015


One of the main purposes of laws in a democratic society is to put burdens upon intelligence and reduce it to impotence. Ostensibly, their aim is to penalize anti-social acts; actually their aim is to penalize heretical opinions. At least ninety-five Americans out of every 100 believe that this process is honest and even laudable; it is practically impossible to convince them that there is anything evil in it. In other words, they cannot grasp the concept of liberty. Always they condition it with the doctrine that the state, i.e., the majority, has a sort of right of eminent domain in acts, and even in ideas — that it is perfectly free, whenever it is so disposed, to forbid a man to say what he honestly believes. Whenever his notions show signs of becoming "dangerous," ie, of being heard and attended to, it exercises that prerogative. And the overwhelming majority of citizens believe in supporting it in the outrage. Including especially the Liberals, who pretend--and often quite honestly believe--that they are hot for liberty. They never really are. Deep down in their hearts they know, as good democrats, that liberty would be fatal to democracy--that a government based upon shifting and irrational opinion must keep it within bounds or run a constant risk of disaster. They themselves, as a practical matter, advocate only certain narrow kinds of liberty--liberty, that is, for the persons they happen to favor. The rights of other persons do not seem to interest them. If a law were passed tomorrow taking away the property of a large group of presumably well-to-do persons--say, bondholders of the railroads-- without compensation and without even colorable reason, they would not oppose it; they would be in favor of it. The liberty to have and hold property is not one they recognize. They believe only in the liberty to envy, hate and loot the man who has it.

--H.L. Mencken, "Liberty and Democracy" in the Baltimore Evening Sun (13 April 1925), also in A Second Mencken Chrestomathy : New Selections from the Writings of America's Legendary Editor, Critic, and Wit (1994) edited by Terry Teachout, p. 35

Saturday, May 16, 2015


I say farewell to the blazing, blackening place where I was
Here is my breast! Aim your gun at it, brother, shoot!
I offer my body, the body our mother bore and nurtured.
Destroy it if you will,
Destroy it in the name of your dream,
That dream in whose name you kill...

Destroy me if you will
And build from my carrion whatever it is you are dreaming of.

Who will be left to celebrate a victory made of blood and fire?

--Thich Nhat Hanh, "Our Green Garden"


One day when the Sultan was in his palace at Damascus a beautiful youth who was his favourite rushed into his presence, crying out in great agitation that he must fly at once to Baghdad, and imploring leave to borrow his Majesty's swiftest horse.

The Sultan asked why he was in such haste to go to Baghdad.

"Because," the youth answered, "as I passed through the garden of the Palace just now, Death was standing there, and when he saw me he stretched out his arms as if to threaten me, and I must lose no time in escaping from him."

The young man was given leave to take the Sultan's horse and fly; and when he was gone the Sultan went down indignantly into the garden, and found Death still there." How dare you make threatening gestures at my favourite?" he cried; but Death, astonished, answered: "I assure your Majesty I did not threaten him. I only threw up my arms in surprise at seeing him here, because I have a tryst with him tonight in Baghdad."

--Edith Wharton, "A Backward Glance"

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sheep III

"Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you."
--Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) 

Thursday, May 14, 2015


"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."
--Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
American author, poet, philosopher, polymath, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and transcendentalist
Source: Walden (1854)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


"At the moment you are prophesying in the desert, the fine pollen of an oak is falling to the ground and, in a century, will grow up into a forest."
--Jean Paul Richter

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Reality IV

"Reality can destroy the dream; why shouldn't the dream destroy reality?"
--George Moore

Monday, May 11, 2015


"In this Revolution no plans have been written for retreat."
--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, May 09, 2015


"Counting The Small-Boned Bodies"
by Robert Bly

Let’s count the bodies over again.

If we could only make the bodies smaller,
The size of skulls,
We could make a whole plain white with
skulls in the moonlight!

If we could only make the bodies smaller,
Maybe we could get
A whole year’s kill in front of us on a desk!

If we could only make the bodies smaller,
We could fit
A body into a finger-ring, for a keepsake forever.


"The world is a thing of utter inordinate complexity and richness and strangeness that is absolutely awesome. I mean the idea that such complexity can arise not only out of such simplicity, but probably absolutely out of nothing, is the most fabulous extraordinary idea. And once you get some kind of inkling of how that might have happened, it's just wonderful. And...the opportunity to spend 70 or 80 years of your life in such a universe is time well spent as far as I am concerned."

--Douglas Adams, response to the question "What is it about science that really gets your blood running?", as quoted in Richard Dawkins in his eulogy for Adams (September 17, 2001)

Friday, May 08, 2015


"If government half a century ago had provided us with all our dinners and breakfasts, it would be the practice of our orators today to assume the impossibility of our providing for ourselves."
--Auberon Herbert (1838-1906) English author
Source: "State Education: A Help or Hindrance", Fornightly Review, July 1880; reproduced in The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, and Other Essays by Auberon Herbert (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1978), p. 77

Thursday, May 07, 2015


"Where rights secured by the Federal Constitution are involved, there can be no rule-making or legislation which would abrogate them."
--Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966)

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Wise III

"No society wants you to become wise: it is against the investment of all societies. If people are wise they cannot be exploited. If they are intelligent they cannot be subjugated, they cannot be forced into a mechanical life, to live like robots. They will assert themselves - they will assert their individuality. They will have the fragrance of rebellion around them; they will want to live in freedom.,,In fact, a wise man is afire, alive, aflame. He would like rather to die than to be enslaved."

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


"Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view."
--William F. Buckley, Jr.

Monday, May 04, 2015


"I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: "The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair." In these words he epitomized the history of the human race."
--Bertrand Russell, "Education and the Social Order"

Sunday, May 03, 2015


"Sometimes, to uncover that which is hidden, we must first be made to look."
--The Outer Limits, episode "A Special Edition"

Friday, May 01, 2015


"Science is the art of creating suitable illusions which the fool believes or argues against, but the wise man enjoys for their beauty or their ingenuity, without being blind to the fact that they are human veils and curtains concealing the abysmal darkness of the unknowable."
--Carl Jung


"The real threat of crime is what it does to ourselves and our communities. No nation hiding behind locked doors is free, for it is imprisoned by its own fears. No nation whose citizens fear to walk their own streets is healthy, for in isolation lies the poisoning of public participation. A nation which surrenders to crime- whether by indifference or by heavy-handed repression- is a society which resigned itself to failure. Yet, disturbingly, many Americans seem to regard crime as a pervasive enemy that cannot be defeated."
--Robert F. Kennedy