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.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
The Delusions of War
The very idea of a "just war" strikes me as oxymoronic. I'll conceed that wars are occassionaly fought out of absolute necessity. However, I remain unconvinced that necessity equals justice. The truth is: If you truly believe that all people are born equal, than you can never refer to a war as "just". Amongst the American public, I've identified roughly three different view points on war. These three views are not intended to be a label to pidgeon hole to others. They are extremes which reside within all of us to varying extents.
The Extremists are the most militaristic of views. They see war as a way to bring out the best qualities of men: courage, comradeship, and sacrifice. They are nationalistic; they place their country or faction beyond good and evil. To them, the declared enemy of their country becomes sub-human. They often refer to an entire nationality or race as a whole, rather than a plurality. They say things like, "You know, the Muslims hate America..." In America, this group tends to use the defeat of Fascism in WWII as grounds for their belief that "America always fights for freedom".
The Extremists show a remarkable ability for ignoring the "unpleasant" parts of our history. They look back on WWII and see the cheering French school girls throwing flowers at the American G.I.s; but they ignore the images of burned Japanese school children suffering from radiation sickness after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The images of hundreds of thousands of charred bodies from the fire-bombings of Tokyo and Dresden are not acknowledged by them. To them, anyone who mentions the atrocities of the United States is an enemy, un-American, or "trying to hamper the war effort".
The Majority of Americans fall into the second group which I'll labelthe moderates. The moderates love to weigh wars as either "just" or "unjust". They do not blindly support any war that is made in the name of their country. Unlike the Extremists, the majority of Moderates will judge Vietnam to be an "unjust" war. Typically, the moderates will gauge a war's justness using systems of morality which are rooted in organized religion. Indeed, the Vatican was worked out a rather detailed set of doctrines to judge the morality of a war. However, today the moderates tend to judge the Iraqi war by strict party lines.
The third group, I will call the Pacifists, but I will not use the word in the ordinary sense. These pacifists are typically found among the radical-leftist, anarchists and the extreme-environmentalists.
These pacifists suffer from almost comical delusions. They believe that if we disbanded our military, that all of the world would magically join hands and sing We are the World. They will speak of America as though it were a group of sadists who were hell bent on bombing civilians for pure pleasure. They think France opposes us out of a desire to "save the childern". Similar to pro-lifers, they love to shoving pictures of dead corpses as a way of "waking people up".
All in all, a quick discussion with this group will reveal that they are totally ignorant of history, international politics, or current events(beyond the current events that share their political slants and interests). In the end, one gets the sense that they are not interested in the coherence, truth, or practicality of their views. Rather, it would seem that their views are formulated out of a self-centered desire to appear righteous.
I disagree with all three groups. War is a hellish tragedy which could never be ethically justified. However, the world is a dangerous place, and until we solve problems as large as national, economic, ethnic, and religious rivalries, we can expect much more war.
"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.