Fellowship of Punditry

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Cul Heath

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The Fellowship is accepting new members. Inquire within.

The Sages

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  • Into the Blogosphere
  • George Orwell

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    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.

    Mark Twain

    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.

    Winston Churchill

    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.

    Voltaire

    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.

    Karl Marx

    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.

    Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    It's not just about US: American foreign policy has real consequences for the rest of the world

    By donald

    Could there have been anything more pathetic than George W. Bush standing before a totally skeptical, alienated United Nations demanding that the rest of the world offer support for the War in Iraq? Only this president would think that an utterly chilly reception at the U.N. would make for a perfect campaign photo op.

    Kerry is finally hitting Bush hard on his handling of the Iraq war. This election should never have been a referendum on Kerry's voting to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq on the presumption of WMD. As Kerry's noted in recent days, this is Bush's war and Bush is wholly responsible for explaining his actions to the American people. Which is the only way that Kerry will ever chip away at the public's support for Bush's handling of the war on terror.
    Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe war on terror. The Bush administration coined the term and now we're all stuck with it. This "war on a strategy" has been misrepresented from the beginning. As conservative pundit Pat Buchanan has rightly stated, Al Qaeda didn't attack the U.S. because they hate our freedoms, or any other lame explanation Bush has offered. They attacked because of a decades long policy of economic and military intrusion in the affairs of the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden has long resented what he sees as growing American influence in his country, along with U.S. support of the Saudi regime, and he's made no bones about the fact that he wants America to pay dearly for it.


    We have to understand that 9/11 was not some isolated event by a bunch of mad terrorists resentful of American freedom, but rather a calculated response to what bin Laden and others have interpreted as the destruction of their culture by western infidels.

    For too long Americans have ceded foreign policy to a closed circle of policy wonks and, more recently, neoconservatives eager to flex American power and muscle in far off corners of the world. It might help Americans to feel better about themselves to believe that the U.S. is marching off to war against madmen, but the hard cold facts are that American foreign policy, whatever it happens to be, has real consequences, both positive and negative.

    Americans have to begin to look at the rest of the world with their eyes wide open, and to accept the often unpleasant reality that much of the rest of the world resents American power and influence. This is not to say that a particular foreign policy should not be pursued because of potential risks. It is to say that we, as citizens, have to demand to be brought into the decision making process in a much more transparent way, and to be briefed, just as senior members of government are often briefed, on the relative pluses and minuses of a particular course of action in other, often hostile, parts of the world.

    It may very well be that a majority of the American people would be willing to accept a certain amount of risk, say a terrorist attack, in the application of American power in Saudi Arabia. Or not. But we have to stop acting like passive subjects and more like concerned, educated citizens. If our government has a penchant for making important foreign policy decisions in private, and then turning around and feeding the rest of us a pack of lies and pablum, well, we really only have ourselves to blame. In a democracy, by definition, who else can we point the finger at but ourselves?

    It's time we stopped pretending that America has never done, and could never do, wrong, that the motives of our government are pristine, and that America's actions have been nothing short of altruistic anywhere in the world. Let's stop turning a deaf ear to the legitimate complaints of emerging nations. Let's stop thinking we have all the answers, and nobody can or should tell us what to do.

    This is the real folly of the Bush doctrine, to simplify the world into spheres of good and evil, and to treat the nations of the world as America's footstool. The rest of the world demands better from America, and we as American citizens should demand better from our own leaders.

    It's probably too much to expect a real dialogue on the meaning of 9/11 in the middle of a heated presidential election campaign. But if we're ever going to survive the Bush doctrine, we're going to have to have a national political debate about the roots of terrorism against America that go well beyond simplistic jingoism like, "They hate us for our freedom." We haven't started that dialogue yet. Right now many of us are busy trying to make sense of Bush's increasing escape from reality. However it's imperative that we start soon. Because the real threat to our freedom doesn't come from Al Qaeda. It comes from our own fears and paranoia, and our willingness to suspend the Bill of Rights for a little perceived security, whether such actions really make us more secure or not.

    In the meantime, the gap between the Orwellian fantasy George W. Bush concocts of a world becoming ever safer, ever freer and the reality of increasing violence and terrorism that his actions have helped to spawn will only grow wider. Even as he tries ever harder to confuse Iraq with Al Qaeda and Saddam with Osama. To the detriment of us all.

    posted by donald at 9/22/2004 07:21:00 PM |

    Comments: Post a Comment

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