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pearls

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

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

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