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pearls

when the swine overwhelm, retreat into the wisdom of these words

Friday, February 09, 2007

For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is slavery. ~Jonathan Swift

What is the great Amercican sin? Extravagance? Vice? Graft? No; it is a kind of half-humorous, good-natured indifference, a lack of "concentrated indignation" as my English friend calls it, which allows extravagance and vice to flourish. Trace most of our ills to their source, and it is found that they exist by virtue of an easy-going, fatalistic indifference which dislikes to have its comfort disturbed....The most shameless greed, the most sickening industrial atrocities, the most appalling public scandals are exposed, but a half-cynical and wholly indifferent public passes them by with hardly a shrug of the shoulders; and they are lost in the medley of events. This is the great American sin. ~Joseph Fort Newman, Atlantic Monthly, October 1922

Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of these corporations. ~Andrew Jackson, farewell address, 04 March 1837

Friday, December 01, 2006

In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America's leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem. ~President John F. Kennedy (Remarks prepared for delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas, November 22, 1963 - never delivered)

The promotion of the individual rights of the people of America necessarily involves resistance to war in any form, as war inevitably must destroy those rights and clamp additional governmental rule down upon the people... only those who resist war to the utmost, and with their last breath and last ounce of energy, can be considered as truly fighting to save this country for democracy. ~William James Sidis

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the 20th century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press.

A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.

It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes... we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions - especially selfish ones.

You can only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything he's no longer in your power-he's free again. ~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Only fools seek power, and the greatest fools seek it through force. ~Lao Tsu

Monday, October 09, 2006

The rich have the right to buy more homes than anyone else. They have the right to buy more cars than anyone else, more gizmos than anyone else, more clothes and vacations than anyone else. But they do not have the right to buy more democracy than anyone else. ~Bill Moyers

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.

Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.

Any poet, if he is to survive beyond his 25th year, must alter; he must seek new literary influences; he will have different emotions to express.

April is the cruellest month.

As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug's game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.

At twenty you have many desires which hide the truth, but beyond forty there are only real and fragile truths -your abilities and your failings.

Business today consists in persuading crowds.

Footfalls echo in the memory, down the passage which we did not take, towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden.

For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.

Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them.

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.

I am an Anglo-Catholic in religion, a classicist in literature and a royalist in politics.

I don't believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.

I had seen birth and death but had thought they were different.

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.

If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?

If you desire to drain to the dregs the fullest cup of scorn and hatred that a fellow human being can pour out for you, let a young mother hear you call dear baby "it."

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.

In my beginning is my end.

It is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.

It's strange that words are so inadequate. Yet, like the asthmatic struggling for breath, so the lover must struggle for words.

Let's not be narrow, nasty, and negative.

My greatest trouble is getting the curtain up and down.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

Our difficulties of the moment must always be dealt with somehow, but our permanent difficulties are difficulties of every moment.

Our high respect for a well read person is praise enough for literature.

People to whom nothing has ever happened cannot understand the unimportance of events.

Playwriting gets into your blood and you can't stop it. At least not until the producers or the public tell you to.

Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.

Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.

Poetry should help, not only to refine the language of the time, but to prevent it from changing too rapidly.

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.

Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.

The communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.

The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.

The last thing one discovers in composing a work is what to put first.

The most important thing for poets to do is to write as little as possible.

The Nobel is a ticket to one's own funeral. No one has ever done anything after he got it.

There is no method but to be very intelligent.

There is not a more repulsive spectacle than on old man who will not forsake the world, which has already forsaken him.

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.

This love is silent.

Twentieth-century art may start with nothing, but it flourishes by virtue of its belief in itself, in the possibility of control over what seems essentially uncontrollable, in the coherence of the inchoate, and in its ability to create its own values.

We know too much, and are convinced of too little. Our literature is a substitute for religion, and so is our religion.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.

Where is all the knowledge we lost with information?

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

You are the music while the music lasts.

~T. S. Eliot

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Do something. If it doesn't work, do something else. No idea is too crazy.

Even a little dog can piss on a big building.

Little ol' boy in the Panhandle told me the other day you can still make a small fortune in agriculture. Problem is, you got to start with a large one.

Politics isn't about left versus right; it's about top versus bottom.

The Bible declares that on the sixth day God created man. Right then and there, God should have demanded a damage deposit.

The middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos.

The only difference between a pigeon and the American farmer today is that a pigeon can still make a deposit on a John Deere.

When I entered politics, I took the only downward turn you could take from journalism.

~Jim Hightower

“If is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”

“Fascism is capitalism plus murder.”

“The private control of credit is the modern form of slavery”

“Consider Christmas—could Satan in his most malignant mood have devised a worse combination of graft plus bunkum than the system whereby several hundred million people get a billion or so gifts for which they have no use, and some thousands of shop clerks die of exhaustion while selling them, and every other child in the Western world is made ill from overeating—all in the name of the lowly Jesus?”

~Upton Sinclair

Monday, September 18, 2006

"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson." ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have
been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless." ~U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 (letter to Col. William F. Elkins)

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomas Jefferson

We’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy: a government by the wealthy.” ~Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General

Man is subject to innumerable pains and sorrows by the very condition of humanity, and yet, as if nature had not sown evils enough in life, we are continually adding grief to grief and aggravating the common calamity by our cruel treatment of one another, ~Joseph Addison

"We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the world - no longer a Government of free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men." ~Woodrow Wilson

"It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy. Power is enough. Only the weak rely on diplomacy ... The Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States." ~Boutros Boutros-Ghali

"Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions." ~Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, American prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, in his opening statement to the tribunal

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. ~James Madison, Federalist 47.

"Going to church no more makes you a Christian than sleeping in your garage
makes you a car." ~Garrison Keiler

"Some explanations of a crime are not explanations: they’re part of the crime." ~Olavo de Cavarlho

"In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection
it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to
serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the
press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the
Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of
government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can
effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the
responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the
government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to
die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell." ~Justice Black. NYT v. US. 403
US 713

Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better
that you fear the media, for they will steal your Honor. That awful power, the
public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant,
self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up
in journalism on their way to the poorhouse. ~Mark Twain

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Ability wins us the esteem of the true men; luck that of the people."

"Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example."

"If we resist our passions, it is more due to their weakness than our strength."

"No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does."

"Our virtues are most frequently but vices in disguise."

"Quarrels would not last long if the fault was only on one side."

"The desire to seem clever often keeps us from being so."

"The intellect is always fooled by the heart."

"We all have the strength to endure the misfortunes of others."

"We always get bored with those whom we bore."

"We get so much in the habit of wearing disguises before others that we finally appear disguised before ourselves."

"We would rather speak ill of ourselves than not talk about ourselves at all."

"Why can we remember the tiniest detail that has happened to us, and not remember how many times we have told it to the same person."

~François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. ~Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear -- kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor -- with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real." ~General Douglas MacArthur, 1957

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It's no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. ~Krishnamurti

Friday, August 25, 2006

Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out... and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.... And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for "the universal brotherhood of man" - with his mouth.

~Mark Twain

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.

Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution yet.

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.

When I'm good I'm very good, but when I'm bad I'm better.

Don't let a man put anything over on ya 'cept an umbrella.

~Mae West

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow. ~Dorothy Thompson

Friday, August 04, 2006

I recognize Israel's right to defend itself as I recognize the US's right to defend ourselves as I recognize Lebanon's and Iraq's right to defend themselves---but I do not, cannot, and will not recognize anyone's right to commit wholesale slaughter on babies and children. I refuse to recognize that right no matter who does it---terrorists or state-sanctioned wars of terror---I refuse to recognize the right to slaughter and, whether it makes a difference or not, I refuse to be silent about it.
It must stop: For my children, your children and their children. They are all our children.
~Cindy Sheehan

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friends and good manners will carry you where money won't go.

I want my careless song to strike no minor key; no fiend to stand between my body's Southern song - the fusion of the South, my body's song and me.

Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a bloody peace be written in the sky. Let a second generation full of courage issue forth; let a people loving freedom come to growth.

My grandmothers are full of memories, Smelling of soap and onions and wet clay, With veins rolling roughly over quick hands, They have many clean words to say, My grandmothers were strong.

Now when you hates you shrinks up inside and gets littler and you squeezes your heart tight and you stays so mad with peoples you feels sick all the time like you needs the doctor.

The poetry of a people comes from the deep recesses of the unconscious, the irrational and the collective body of our ancestral memories.

The Word of fire burns today On the lips of our prophets in an evil age.

When I was about eight, I decided that the most wonderful thing, next to a human being, was a book.

White folks needs what black folks got just as much as black folks needs what white folks got, and we's all got to stay here mongst each other and git along, that's what.

You is born lucky, and it's better to be born lucky than born rich, cause if you is lucky you can git rich, but if you is born rich and you ain't lucky you is liables to lose all you got.

~Margaret Walker

Monday, June 26, 2006

Because psychologists have been able to discover, exactly as in a slow-motion picture, the way the human creature acquires knowledge and habits, the normal child has been vastly helped by what the retarded have taught us.

Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.

Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.

Hunger makes a thief of any man.

I am mentally bifocal.

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.

I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in the kindness of human beings. I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and angels.

If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.

In a mood of faith and hope my work goes on. A ream of fresh paper lies on my desk waiting for the next book. I am a writer and I take up my pen to write.

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that is where I renew my springs that never dry up.

It may be that religion is dead, and if it is, we had better know it and set ourselves to try to discover other sources of moral strength before it is too late.

Love alone could waken love.

Love dies only when growth stops.

Man was lost if he went to a usurer, for the interest ran faster than a tiger upon him.

Men would rather be starving and free than fed in bonds.

None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.

Nothing and no one can destroy the Chinese people. They are relentless survivors.

One faces the future with one's past.

Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.

Praise out of season, or tactlessly bestowed, can freeze the heart as much as blame.

Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.

The bitterest creature under heaven is the wife who discovers that her husband's bravery is only bravado, that his strength is only a uniform, that his power is but a gun in the hands of a fool.

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.

The truth is always exciting. Speak it, then. Life is dull without it.

The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible - and achieve it, generation after generation.

To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.

To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.

We send missionaries to China so the Chinese can get to heaven, but we won't let them into our country.

We should so provide for old age that it may have no urgent wants of this world to absorb it from meditation on the next. It is awful to see the lean hands of dotage making a coffer of the grave.

What is a neglected child? He is a child not planned for, not wanted. Neglect begins, therefore, before he is born.

You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea.

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.

~Pearl S. Buck

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him.

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.

As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.

At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.

Big Brother is watching you.

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

But the thing that I saw in your face no power can disinherit: No bomb that ever burst shatters the crystal spirit.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.

Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.

For a creative writer possession of the "truth" is less important than emotional sincerity.

Happiness can exist only in acceptance.

He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him.

I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

If you have embraced a creed which appears to be free from the ordinary dirtiness of politics - a creed from which you yourself cannot expect to draw any material advantage - surely that proves that you are in the right?

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

In every one of those little stucco boxes there's some poor bastard who's never free except when he's fast asleep and dreaming that he's got the boss down the bottom of a well and is bunging lumps of coal at him.

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.

It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.

It is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals.

Many people genuinely do not want to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings.

Men are only as good as their technical development allows them to be.

Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.

Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.

Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.

No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer.

No one can look back on his schooldays and say with truth that they were altogether unhappy.

Not to expose your true feelings to an adult seems to be instinctive from the age of seven or eight onwards.

On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.

One can love a child, perhaps, more deeply than one can love another adult, but it is rash to assume that the child feels any love in return.

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.

One of the effects of a safe and civilized life is an immense oversensitiveness which makes all the primary emotions somewhat disgusting. Generosity is as painful as meanness, gratitude as hateful as ingratitude.

Part of the reason for the ugliness of adults, in a child's eyes, is that the child is usually looking upwards, and few faces are at their best when seen from below.

Patriotism is usually stronger than class hatred, and always stronger than internationalism.

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Political chaos is connected with the decay of language... one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.

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

Progress and reaction have both turned out to be swindles. Seemingly, there is nothing left but quietism - robbing reality of its terrors by simply submitting to it.

Prolonged, indiscriminate reviewing of books is a quite exceptionally thankless, irritating and exhausting job. It not only involves praising trash but constantly inventing reactions towards books about which one has no spontaneous feeling whatever.

Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent.

Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.

Society has always seemed to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice.

Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.

The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being, but to remind him that he is already degraded.

The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.

The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent.

The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor.

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.

The main motive for "nonattachment" is a desire to escape from the pain of living, and above all from love, which, sexual or non-sexual, is hard work.

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.

The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.

There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.

There is hardly such a thing as a war in which it makes no difference who wins. Nearly always one side stands more of less for progress, the other side more or less for reaction.

To a surprising extent the war-lords in shining armour, the apostles of martial virtues, tend not to die fighting when the time comes. History is full of ignominious getaways by the great and famous.

To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others.

To walk through the ruined cities of Germany is to feel an actual doubt about the continuity of civilization.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

War is a way of shattering to pieces... materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable and... too intelligent.

War is evil, but it is often the lesser evil.

War is war. The only good human being is a dead one.

We of the sinking middle class may sink without further struggles into the working class where we belong, and probably when we get there it will not be so dreadful as we feared, for, after all, we have nothing to lose.

What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?

Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.

When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.

~George Orwell

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs, is to be ruled by evil men." ~Plato

"Anyone who tells you that 'It Can't Happen Here' is whistling past the graveyard of history. There is no 'house rule' that bars tyranny coming to America. History is replete with republics whose people grew complacent and descended into imperial butchery and chaos." ~Mike Vanderboegh

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all." ~Thomas Jefferson

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"To educate a man is to unfit him to be a slave." ~Frederick Douglass

"A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins." ~Benjamin Franklin

"Freedom of the press, freedom of association, the inviolability of domicile, and all the rest of the rights of man are respected so long as no one tries to use them against the privileged class. On the day they are launched against the privileged they are overthrown." ~Prince Peter Kropotkin

"Thus corporations finally claimed the full rights enjoyed by individual citizens while being exempted from many of the responsibilities and liabilities of citizenship. Furthermore, in being guaranteed the same right to free speech as individual citizens, they achieved, in the words of Paul Hawken, 'precisely what the Bill of Rights was intended to prevent: domination of public thought and discourse.' The subsequent claim by corporations that they have the same right as any individual to influence the government in their own interest pits the individual citizen against the vast financial and communications resources of the corporation and mocks the constitutional intent that all citizens have an equal voice in the political debates surrounding important issues." ~David C. Korten

"I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden." ~Richard Rumbold

"A State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands -- even for beneficial purposes -- will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished." ~John Stuart Mill

"Most Americans aren't the sort of citizens the Founding Fathers expected; they are contented serfs. Far from being active critics of government, they assume that its might makes it right." ~Joseph Sobran

"Were the talents and virtues which heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambition of a few? Or, were not the noble gifts so equally dispensed with a divine purpose and law, that they should as nearly as possible be equally exerted, and the blessings of Providence be equally enjoyed by all? ~Samuel Adams

"Every evil, harm and suffering in this life comes from the love of riches." ~Catherine of Siena

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." ~Samuel Adams

"If the innocent honest Man must quietly quit all he has for Peace sake, to him who will lay violent hands upon it, I desire it may be considered what kind of Peace there will be in the World, which consists only in Violence and Rapine; and which is to be maintained only for the benefit of Robbers and Oppressors." ~John Locke

"Reason and Ignorance, the opposites of each other, influence the great bulk of mankind. If either of these can be rendered sufficiently extensive in a country, the machinery of Government goes easily on. Reason obeys itself; and Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it." ~Thomas Paine

"COWARDICE, n. A charge often levelled by all-American types against those who stand up for their beliefs by refusing to fight in wars they find unconscionable and who willingly go to prison or into exile in order to avoid violating their own consciences. These 'cowards' are to be contrasted with red-blooded, 'patriotic' youths who literally bend over, grab their ankles, submit to the government, fight in wars they do not understand (or disapprove of), and blindly obey orders to maim and to kill simply because they are ordered to do so—all to the howling approval of the all-American mob. This type of behavior is commonly termed 'courageous.'" ~Chaz Bufe

Men love their ideas more than their lives. And the more preposterous the idea, the more eager they are to die for it. And to kill for it. ~Edward Abbey

“If it's natural to kill, how come men have to go into training to learn how?” ~Joan Baez

The pioneers of a warless world are the youth that refuse military service. ~Albert Einstein

[I]n such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners. ~Albert Camus

They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason. ~Ernest Hemmingway

The aim of military training is not just to prepare men for battle, but to make them long for it. ~Louis Simpson

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. ~Mark Twain

I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom,

Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.

Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.

And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment. ~Kahlil Gibran

The sentiment of justice is so natural, and so universally acquired by all mankind, that it seems to be independent of all law, all party, all religion. ~Voltaire

Friday, June 23, 2006

"The more you succeed in loving, the more you'll be convinced at the existence of God and the immortality of your soul." ~Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1821-1881

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." ~Joseph Pulitzer

"Such as it is, the press has become the greatest power within the Western World, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and judiciary. One would like to ask: by whom has it been elected, and to whom is it responsible?" ~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. ~Shel Silverstein.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. What I want is so simple I almost can't say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed. That's about it..." Barbara Kingsolver

Friday, June 16, 2006

Our government ... teaches the whole people by its example.
If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. ~Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis

Monday, June 12, 2006

“The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone's neurosis.”

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted. You should live several lives while reading it.”

“Mysteriously and in ways that are totally remote from natural experience, the gray drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain.”

“In depression . . . faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come -- not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. . . . It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul.”

“Most books, like their authors, are born to die; of only a few books can it be said that death has no dominion over them; they live, and their influence lives forever.”

“The madness of depression is the antithesis of violence. It is a storm indeed, but a storm of murk. Soon evident are the slowed-down responses, near paralysis, psychic energy throttled back close to zero. Ultimately, the body is affected and feels sapped, drained.”

“Reading - the best state yet to keep absolute loneliness at bay.”

“The pain is unrelenting; one does not abandon, even briefly, one's bed of nails, but is attached to it wherever one goes.”

~William Styron

Monday, May 22, 2006

"I'm only one person and I can't do everything. But I can do something. I will not let the fact that I can't do everything prevent me from doing what I can." ~Helen Keller

Monday, May 15, 2006

Experience is what really happens to you in the long run; the truth that finally overtakes you.

Human life itself may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist is to take these handfuls of confusion and disparate things, things that seem to be irreconcilable, and put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning.

I have not much interest in anyone's personal history after the tenth year, not even my own. Whatever one was going to be was all prepared before that.

I was right not to be afraid of any thief but myself, who will end by leaving me nothing.

It's a man's world, and you men can have it.

Our being is subject to all the chances of life. There are so many things we are capable of, that we could be or do. The potentialities are so great that we never, any of us, are more than one-fourth fulfilled.

Physical infidelity is the signal, the notice given, that all fidelities are undermined.

They had both noticed that a life of dissipation sometimes gave to a face the look of gaunt suffering spirituality that a life of asceticism was supposed to give and quite often did not.

You can't write about people out of textbooks, and you can't use jargon. You have to speak clearly and simply and purely in a language that a six-year-old child can understand; and yet have the meanings and the overtones of language, and the implications, that appeal to the highest intelligence.

~Katherine Anne Porter

Friday, May 12, 2006

I have believed the best of every man. And find that to believe is enough to make a bad man show him at his best, or even a good man swings his lantern higher. ~William Butler Yeats

Thursday, May 11, 2006

“So, then, to every man his chance — to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining golden opportunity — to every man his right to live, to work, to be himself, to become whatever his manhood and his vision can combine to make him — this, seeker, is the promise of America.” ~Thomas Wolfe, “You Can’t Go Home Again”

Sunday, April 30, 2006

A bad book is the worse that it cannot repent. It has not been the devil's policy to keep the masses of mankind in ignorance; but finding that they will read, he is doing all in his power to poison their books.

A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions.

All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.

All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door.

Anyone who says he won't resign four times, will.

Economics is a subject profoundly conducive to cliche, resonant with boredom. On few topics is an American audience so practiced in turning off its ears and minds. And none can say that the response is ill advised.

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.

Few people at the beginning of the nineteenth century needed an adman to tell them what they wanted.

Humor is richly rewarding to the person who employs it. It has some value in gaining and holding attention, but it has no persuasive value at all.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.

If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.

In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.

In any great organization it is far, far safer to be wrong with the majority than to be right alone.

In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.

In economics, the majority is always wrong.

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.

It is not necessary to advertise food to hungry people, fuel to cold people, or houses to the homeless.

It would be foolish to suggest that government is a good custodian of aesthetic goals. But, there is no alternative to the state.

Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative.

Meetings are a great trap. Soon you find yourself trying to get agreement and then the people who disagree come to think they have a right to be persuaded. However, they are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.

Money differs from an automobile or mistress in being equally important to those who have it and those who do not.

Money is a singular thing. It ranks with love as man's greatest source of joy. And with death as his greatest source of anxiety. Over all history it has oppressed nearly all people in one of two ways: either it has been abundant and very unreliable, or reliable and very scarce.

More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.

Much literary criticism comes from people for whom extreme specialization is a cover for either grave cerebral inadequacy or terminal laziness, the latter being a much cherished aspect of academic freedom.

Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.

One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.

One of the little-celebrated powers of Presidents (and other high government officials) is to listen to their critics with just enough sympathy to ensure their silence.

People who are in a fortunate position always attribute virtue to what makes them so happy.

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

Power is not something that can be assumed or discarded at will like underwear.

Several times I concluded that there was too much detail; always I returned to continue and enjoy the book.

Talk of revolution is one of avoiding reality.

The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character building values of the privation of the poor.

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

The enemy of the conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of events.

The great dialectic in our time is not, as anciently and by some still supposed, between capital and labor; it is between economic enterprise and the state.

The man who is admired for the ingenuity of his larceny is almost always rediscovering some earlier form of fraud. The basic forms are all known, have all been practiced. The manners of capitalism improve. The morals may not.

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.

The salary of the chief executive of a large corporation is not a market award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself.

There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.

There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose.

There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting.

There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth.

There's a certain part of the contented majority who love anybody who is worth a billion dollars.

Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite.

War remains the decisive human failure.

We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had much.

We have escapist fiction, so why not escapist biography?

Wealth is not without its advantages and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive.

Wealth, in even the most improbable cases, manages to convey the aspect of intelligence.

You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too.

~John Kenneth Galbraith

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on his own dunghill.
Richard Aldington

It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.
Arthur C. Clarke

In some states militant nationalism has gone to the lengths of dictatorship, the cult of the absolute or totalitarian state and the glorification of war.
Arthur Henderson

The drive toward economic nationalism is only part of the general revival of nationalism.
Arthur Henderson

Corporate nationalism to me is a little bit like what would have happened if Hitler had won. It's scary stuff. It's totalitarianism in a different from, under a different flavour.
Lance Henriksen

I have been thinking about the notion of perfect love as being without fear, and what that means for us in a world that's becoming increasingly xenophobic, tortured by fundamentalism and nationalism. ~Bell Hooks

Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first. ~Charles de Gaulle

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. ~Albert Einstein

Our true nationality is mankind. ~H. G. Wells

There is a higher form of patriotism than nationalism, and that higher form is not limited by the boundaries of one's country; but by a duty to mankind to safeguard the trust of civilization. ~Oscar S. Strauss

Born in iniquity and conceived in sin, the spirit of nationalism has never ceased to bend human institutions to the service of dissension and distress. ~Thorstein Veblen

Friday, April 28, 2006

TRUTH

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. ~Aldous Huxley

It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. ~Thomas Jefferson

There is no god higher than truth. ~Mahatma Gandhi

When I tell any truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do. ~William Blake

Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch, nay, you may kick it all about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine

I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth - and truth rewarded me. ~Simone de Beauvoir

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. ~Alexander Solzhenitsyn

When a truth is not given complete freedom, freedom is not complete. ~Vaclav Havel

Liberalism

Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved. ~Aristotle

Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of the people, tempered by fear. ~William Gladstone

Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. People have the right to expect that these wants will be provided for by this wisdom. ~Jimmy Carter

Liberalism is the supreme form of generosity; it is the right by which the majority concedes to minorities and hence it is the noblest cry that has ever resounded on this planet. ~Jose Ortega y Gasset

A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future. ~Leonard Bernstein

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.

I cured with the power that came through me. Of course, it was not I who cured, it was the power from the Outer World, the visions and the ceremonies had only made me like a hole through which the power could come to the two-leggeds.

If I thought that I was doing it myself, the hole would close up and no power could come through. Then everything I could do would be foolish.


A long time ago my father told me what his father had told him, that there was once a Lakota holy man, called "Drinks Water", who dreamed what was to be... He dreamed that the four-leggeds were going back to the Earth, and that a strange race would weave a web all around the Lakotas. He said, "You shall live in square gray houses, in a barren land..." Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.

-------------

Earth Prayer:

Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice. You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer. All things belong to you -- the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings of the air,
and all green things that live.

You have set the powers of the four quarters of the earth to cross each other. You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy. Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things.

Hey! Lean to hear my feeble voice.
At the center of the sacred hoop
You have said that I should make the tree to bloom.

With tears running, O Great Spirit, my Grandfather,
With running eyes I must say
The tree has never bloomed

Here I stand, and the tree is withered.
Again, I recall the great vision you gave me.

It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives.
Nourish it then
That it may leaf
And bloom
And fill with singing birds!

Hear me, that the people may once again
Find the good road
And the shielding tree.

----------

The Sunset:

Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.

And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy...

But anywhere is the center of the world.


~Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, 1863-1950

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation.

When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.

A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.

Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices - just recognize them.

If we were to do the Second Coming of Christ in color for a full hour, there would be a considerable number of stations which would decline to carry it on the grounds that a Western or a quiz show would be more profitable.

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.

Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit.

No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.

Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.

People say conversation is a lost art; how often I have wished it were.

The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.

The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.

The politician in my country seeks votes, affection and respect, in that order. With few notable exceptions, they are simply men who want to be loved.

The politician is trained in the art of inexactitude. His words tend to be blunt or rounded, because if they have a cutting edge they may later return to wound him.

The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.

To be persuasive we must be belivable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.

We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.

~Edward R. Murrow

Friday, April 21, 2006

Patriotism means advocating plunder in the interests of the privileged class of your particular country. The time will soon come when calling someone a patriot will be the deepest insult. ~Ernest. B. Bax

This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism on command, senseless violence and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism. ~Albert Einstein

A patriot sets himself apart in his own country under his own flag, sneers at other nations and keeps an army of uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people's countries and keep them from grabbing slices of his. In the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for 'the universal brotherhood of man' - with his mouth. ~Mark Twain, The Lowest Animal

Patriotism is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a web of lies and falsehoods, robbing us of our dignity and increasing our arrogance and conceit. ~Emma Goldman

Blind patriotism has been kept intact by rewriting history to provide people with moral consolation and a psychological basis for denial. ~William H. Boyer

Seas of blood have been shed for the sake of patriotism. One would expect the harm and irrationality of patriotism to be self-evident to everyone. But the surprising fact is that cultured and learned people not only do not notice the harm and stupidity of patriotism, they resist every unveiling of it with the greatest obstinacy and passion (with no rational grounds), and continue to praise it as beneficent and elevating. ~Leo Tolstoy

Politically speaking, tribal nationalism [patriotism] always insists that its own people are surrounded by 'a world of enemies' - 'one against all' - and that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man. ~Hannah Arendt

Perhaps the most obvious political effect of controlled news is the advantage it gives powerful people in getting their issues on the political agenda and defining those issues in ways likely to influence their resolution. ~W. Lance Bennett

Make men wise, and by that very operation you make them free. Civil liberty follows as a consequence of this; no usurped power can stand against the artillery of opinion. ~William Godwin

The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and his fellow men. ~Robert G. Ingersoll

What is the great Amercican sin? Extravagance? Vice? Graft? No; it is a kind of half-humorous, good-natured indifference, a lack of "concentrated indignation" as my English friend calls it, which allows extravagance and vice to flourish. Trace most of our ills to their source, and it is found that they exist by virtue of an easy-going, fatalistic indifference which dislikes to have its comfort disturbed....The most shameless greed, the most sickening industrial atrocities, the most appalling public scandals are exposed, but a half-cynical and wholly indifferent public passes them by with hardly a shrug of the shoulders; and they are lost in the medley of events. This is the great American sin. ~Joseph Fort Newman, Atlantic Monthly, October 1922

Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of these corporations. ~Andrew Jackson, farewell address, 04 March 1837

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Removed

Thursday, April 13, 2006

President Bush rightly spoke of an `axis of evil.' But it is not Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Here is a more likely trio calling for herculean efforts to defeat: environmental degradation, pandemic poverty and a world awash with weapons.
(Speaking June 1, 2002 at the installation of John Bryson Chane as the new Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C.)

Human beings who blind themselves to human need make themselves less human.


There are two ways, my friend, that you can be rich in life. One is to make a lot of money and the other is to have few needs.

I'm not OK, you're not OK, and that's OK.

Remember, young people, even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

In our time all it takes for evil to flourish is for a few good men to be a little wrong and have a great deal of power, and for the vast majority of their fellow citizens to remain indifferent. (Yale Alumni magazine in 1967)

The U.S. government should have vowed "...to see justice done, but by the force of law only, never by the law of force." (After September 11, 2001)

We yearned for a revolution of imagination and compassion that would oppose the very aggressiveness and antagonism that characterized the actions of both Nixon and the Weathermen. We were convinced nonviolence was more revolutionary than violence. (Referring to the organizers of the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam)

Without love violence will change the world; it will change it into a more violent one. (June 1968)

Every nation makes decisions based on self-interest and defends them on the basis of morality. (To the Yale Class of 1968 35th reunion, May 2003)

We can never really love anybody with whom we never laugh.

Love is in the giver, not the gift.

He told me that once he forgot himself and opened up like a door with a loose latch and everything fell out and he tried for days to put it all back in the proper order, but he finally gave up and left if there in a pile and loved everything equally.

The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love.

In life you can either follow your fears or be led by your values, by your passions.

The cause of violence is not ignorance. It is self-interest. Only reverance can restrain violence - reverance for human life and the environment.

Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible.

Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without.

Christians have to listen to the world as well as to the Word -- to science, to history, to what reason and our own experience tell us. We do not honor the higher truth we find in Christ by ignoring truths found elsewhere.

All of life is the exercise of risk.

When a man is drowning, it may be better for him to try to swim than to thrash around waiting for divine intervention.

So don't let money tell you who you are. Don't let power tell you who your are. Don't let enemies and -- for God's sake -- don't let your sins tell you who you are. Don't prove yourself. That's taken care of. All we have to do is express ourselves. It's difficult, but we're a lot more alive in pain than in complacency.

There is no smaller package in the world that that of a person all wrapped up in himself.

A spiritual person tries less to be godly than to be deeply human.

God's love doesn't seek value; it creates it. It's not because we have value that we are loved, but because we're loved that we have value. So you don't have to prove yourself -- ever. That's taken care of.

God knows it is emotionally satisfying to be righteous with that righteousness that nourishes itself on the blood of sinners. But God also knows that what is emotionally satisfying can be spiritually devastating.

There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover's quarrel with their country, a reflection of God's lover's quarrel with all the world.

When we live at each other's mercy, we had better learn to be merciful.

If your heart is full of fear, you won't seek truth; you'll seek security. If a heart is full of love, it will have a limbering effect on the mind.

The goal of the Christian life is not to save your soul but to transcend yourself, to vindicate the human struggle of which all of us are a part, to keep hope advancing.

The woman most in need of liberation is the woman in every man and the man in every woman.

The temptation to moralize is strong; it is emotionally satisfying to have enemies rather than problems, to seek out culprits rather than the flaws in the system.

~William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A church is a place in which gentlemen who have never been to heaven brag about it to persons who will never get there.

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.

A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.

A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.

A man may be a fool and not know it, but not if he is married.

A metaphysician is one who, when you remark that twice two makes four, demands to know what you mean by twice, what by two, what by makes, and what by four. For asking such questions metaphysicians are supported in oriental luxury in the universities, and respected as educated and intelligent men.

A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.

A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.

A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.

A society made up of individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable.

A Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.

All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.

Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends.

Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking.

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

Democracy is only a dream: it should be put in the same category as Arcadia, Santa Claus, and Heaven.

Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

Don't overestimate the decency of the human race.

Each party steals so many articles of faith from the other, and the candidates spend so much time making each other's speeches, that by the time election day is past there is nothing much to do save turn the sitting rascals out and let a new gang in.

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.

Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.

He slept more than any other President, whether by day or by night. Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored.

Hygiene is the corruption of medicine by morality. It is impossible to find a hygienist who does not debase his theory of the healthful with a theory of the virtuous. The true aim of medicine is not to make men virtuous; it is to safeguard and rescue them from the consequences of their vices.

I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.

I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.

I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.

I believe that it should be perfectly lawful to print even things that outrage the pruderies and prejudices of the general, so long as any honest minority, however small, wants to read them. The remedy of the majority is not prohibition, but avoidance.

I give you Chicago. It is not London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from snout to tail.

I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense.

I never lecture, not because I am shy or a bad speaker, but simply because I detest the sort of people who go to lectures and don't want to meet them.

I write in order to attain that feeling of tension relieved and function achieved which a cow enjoys on giving milk.

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.

If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.

Imagine the Creator as a stand up commedian - and at once the world becomes explicable.

Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.

Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.

It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause.

It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.

It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf.

It is impossible to imagine the universe run by a wise, just and omnipotent God, but it is quite easy to imagine it run by a board of gods.

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

It is not materialism that is the chief curse of the world, as pastors teach, but idealism. Men get into trouble by taking their visions and hallucinations too seriously.

It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.

Legend: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.

Let's not burn the universities yet. After all, the damage they do might be worse.

Life is a dead-end street.

Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.

Man is a beautiful machine that works very badly.

Man is always looking for someone to boast to; woman is always looking for a shoulder to put her head on.

Man weeps to think that he will die so soon; woman, that she was born so long ago.

Most people want security in this world, not liberty.

Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered; there is only error to be exposed.

No man ever quite believes in any other man. One may believe in an idea absolutely, but not in a man.

No matter how happily a woman may be married, it always pleases her to discover that there is a nice man who wishes that she were not.

No matter how long he lives, no man ever becomes as wise as the average woman of forty-eight.

No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

Not by accident, you may be sure, do the Christian Scriptures make the father of knowledge a serpent-slimy, sneaking and abominable.

Nothing is so abject and pathetic as a politician who has lost his job, save only a retired stud-horse.

One may no more live in the world without picking up the moral prejudices of the world than one will be able to go to hell without perspiring.

Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.

Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.

Self-respect: the secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.

Strike an average between what a woman thinks of her husband a month before she marries him and what she thinks of him a year afterward, and you will have the truth about him.

Temptation is a woman's weapon and man's excuse.

The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line.

The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal.

The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.

The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor.

The cynics are right nine times out of ten.

The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.

The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out... without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.

The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.

The public, with its mob yearning to be instructed, edified and pulled by the nose, demands certainties; it must be told definitely and a bit raucously that this is true and that is false. But there are no certainties.

The sort of man who likes to spend his time watching a cage of monkeys chase one another, or a lion gnaw its tail, or a lizard catch flies, is precisely the sort of man whose mental weakness should be combatted at the public expense, and not fostered.

The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God's children, but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the Devil.

The typical American of today has lost all the love of liberty, that his forefathers had, and all their disgust of emotion, and pride in self- reliance. He is led no longer by Davy Crocketts; he is led by cheer leaders, press agents, word mongers, uplifters.

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

The worst government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.

To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!

To sum up: 1. The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. 2. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. 3. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride.

Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule -and both commonly succeed, and are right.

War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebrums and smaller adrenal glands.

We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.

We must be willing to pay a price for freedom.

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

What men value in this world is not rights but privileges.

When women kiss it always reminds one of prize fighters shaking hands.

Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country, it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.

~H. L. Mencken

Sunday, April 02, 2006

War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace. ~Thomas Mann

Friday, March 31, 2006

And though tyranny, because it needs no consent, may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people. ~Hannah Arendt

Where liberty is, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. ~Henry D. Thoreau

A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. ~Mark Twain

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