Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.
Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.
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.
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.
At fifty everyone has the face he deserves.
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.
John Stuart Mill
Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.
The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.
The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.
Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.
A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
Don't let schooling interfere with your education.
All generalizations are false, including this one.
A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
The Public is merely a multiplied "me."
Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we."
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.
Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.
Otto Von Bismarck
When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.
I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.
Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.
Be polite; write diplomatically ;even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.
A witty saying proves nothing.
If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.
When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, that is metaphysics.
I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.
To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.
Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.
All I know is I'm not a Marxist.
The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
The Second Superpower
There is an emerging second superpower, but it is not a nation. Instead, it is a new form of international player,constituted by the “will of the people” in a globalsocial movement. The beautiful but deeply agitated face of this second superpower is the worldwide peace campaign, but the body of the movement is made up of millions of people concerned with a broad agenda that includes social development, environmentalism, health, and human rights. This movement has a surprisingly agile and muscular body of citizen activists who identify their interests with world society as a whole—and who recognize that at a fundamental level we are all one. -The Second Superpower rears its beatuiful head. By James Moore
One of today's posts at Omnium reminded us of the potential and the delicacy of our free blogosphere:
The inherent power of that capacity has to be terrifying to govts everywhere--it may be the biggest single threat to their power that they've ever faced. It is almost inevitable that they will try to control it to their own advantage when that threat becomes more than a mere annoyance.
...It is the planetary voice of the people, nothing less, and it must be guarded and protected as the precious resource it is. We have not even begun to see what this thing can do; the possibilities are endless--international coalitions, international co-ordinated movements, international online meetings, preparations, and discussion.
This is the voice we've never had before in history, the tool we've never had that will allow us to come together. We can't risk losing it.
Yet despite the winds of change stimulated by fresh and unfettered flows of information, the new communications technologies do not necessarily usher in new, more enlightened political orders. Authoritarian governments from China to Saudi Arabia have imposed new systems of control over the Internet. It is unclear, over the long term, just how powerful Internet-based communications will be in reshaping the exercise of power.
What is clear is that the emerging communications infrastructure— the Internet, satellite television, cellular telephony, and more—is the exoskeleton of a new sort of global politics and culture. Growing evidence suggests that by changing how people communicate, think, and interact, the new electronic technologies are forging new cultural values, identities, and loyalties. In their influence on politics, economics, and culture, the new media channels represent something of a slowmotion, geopolitical tsunami.
The new communications systems are not simply conduits of information; they constitute a wholly new sort of global nervous system. They enable new sorts of virtual social communities to arise and flourish and facilitate unmediated flows of transnational communication. They are
changing art and culture, affecting the moral credibility of societal institutions, and reconfiguring political power, including those of national governments, the military, and other hierarchical organizations.
Some legal scholars warn that the fragmantation of info and views in the blogosophere could cause the collapse of democracy. Cass Sunstein, warned in his book Republic.com of the "egocentric custimization of infromation", or "the daily me". Sunstein Asserts that, "democracy depends on shared experiences and requires citizens to be exposed to topics and ideas that they would not have chosen in advance."
That opinion was seconded by Monroe Price:
"Communal symbols reinforce cohesion, affect the duration and nature of any particular hegemony, and, therefore, have a central place in the idea of the state," writes Monroe Price, director of the Howard M. Squadron Program in Media, Law, and Society at the Cardozo School of Law,Yeshiva University."The structure and capacity of communications and the fate of governments," he writes, "are inextricably intertwined."
Both the views of Price, and Sunstein struck me as arrogant, totalitarian, and utterly devoid of historical knowledge. Sunstein's argument seems to imply that citizens are sheep, who must have a sheperd. I'd ask Sustein:
a. Who choses the topics which citzens should be exposed to?
b. Are you implying that commercial media is noble, patriotic, and a public service? In American media, advertisers already act as the de-facto censors. I've found my fellow bloggers (from all continents and all ideological spectrums) more honest than anything I've seen on TV.
However, compare the arguments of Sunstein and Price with Mussolini:
In the Fascist State the individual is not suppressed, but rather multiplied, just as in a regiment a soldier is not weakened but multiplied by the number of his comrades. The Fascist State organizes the nation, but it leaves sufficient scope to individuals; it has limited useless or harmful liberties and has preserved those that are essential. It cannot be the individual who decides in this matter, but only the State
Who will decide the communal symbols, or views to which they should be exposed? Without answering that question, bear in mind Mussolini's answer: "It cannot be the individual who decides in this matter, but only the State." Our blogging friends in South Korea are no doubt aware of this. While the only clear conclusion is that we face an uncertain future, I think David Bollier's conclusion gives us a place to start:
Although nation-states and the mass media remain the dominant players in international politics, the exercise of their power has become more problematic and complex. The new media have empowered a wide array of “bottom-up” newcomers to participate directly in politics and culture. For the most part, clashes between the newcomers and established powers have been episodic and inconclusive, so it is premature to identify patterns that will govern future engagements. Yet it is clear enough that the Internet and other digital technologies are greatly intensifying tensions—between hierarchical organizations and networks; between hard power and soft power; and between legal systems and social norms.
Successful future strategies in international relations are likely to revolve around these antinomies. It remains an open question, however, who will be the first to understand these deep structural tensions and orchestrate an effective rapprochement. A great deal rides on meeting this
"Netpolitik is a new style of diplomacy that seeks to exploit the powerful capabilities of the Internet to shape politics, culture, values, and personal identity. But unlike Realpolitik — which seeks to advance a nation’s political interests through amoral coercion — Netpolitik traffics in “softer” issues such as moral legitimacy, culturalidentity, societal values, and public perception." - The Rise of Netpolitik
PUN-DIT (n) : A learned man; a teacher; a source of opinion; a critic: a political pundit.