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.
Friday, September 24, 2004
The Phantom of the Free Market.
"Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery." - William Shakespeare
Whenever an American politician acknowledges economic inequity, he will either be accused of engaging in "class warfare" ;or he will be labeled a "radical leftists" (whatever that means). Both Bush I in '88, and Bush II in 2000 accused their opponents of instigating class antagonism for political gains. Not surprisingly, both Gore and Dukakis responded by toning down the rhetoric. In American politics , talking about class inequities is considered rude and off-limits.
This shouldn't be surprising; our national history is one of division by class, race, and national origin. Our history books are full of fierce domestic conflicts; and yes - dare I say it - they were class conflicts. However, we are taught a conception of history that pushes those conflicts into the margins. We are an "indivisible" nation - out of many comes one. Better for Americans to be unaware that the preamble of our constitution, "we the people", was written by wealthy slave-owners in secret.
In Federalist Paper No. 10, Madison wrote that the new constitution had to be ratified in order to prevent the masses from rebelling against "various and unequal distribution of property." Or, as he put it more bluntly, "A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal distribution of property, or for any other improper or wicked project." Had Madison lived today, he would have simply said, "We must protect our free-markets."
However, I remain unconvinced that a mystical "free market" exists. I do not see much evidence of this legendery being who is alleged to reward people for hard work and perseverance. In contrast, for all the teary-eyed rhetoric regarding free-market principles, I see quite a bit of hypocrisy. Our government is always willing to intervene when it favors those who already controls wealth.
After congress passed the fugitive slave act, a conservative slave who was a rugged-individualist might ask:
Why make the slave-owner dependent on the government? If he wants his me back, he should do it himself. Doesn't the "initiative" that I showed by escaping show a great deal "self-reliance" and "pursuit of my own best interests"?
However, the government of the time would have answered was "no"; the law is a matter of property and money, not morality or basic respect for fellow man.
Our government is generally Laissez-fair when it comes to helping those who are sick, hungry, or homeless. This is undoubtedly related to the myth of "rugged Individualism." I recall historian Charles Beard, who wryly noted that industrial and financial leaders were not rugged enough to make their own way in the world. Indeed, its quite legitimate for big business to be subsidized, nursed, and protected by government intervention.
Furthermore, we have been quite liberal about using our military to intervene with the affairs of sovereign and democratic nations when they threaten the well-being of our corporations. In 1954, the CIA master-minded the overthrow of the elected president of Guatemala, simply to insure the security of the United Fruit Company's property. In 1973 the U.S. government worked with the IT&T Corporation to overthrow the elected socialist leader of Chile, Salvador Allende. Indeed, Allende did give the foreign corporations -- who had long exploited Chile's people and wealth -- a tepid welcome. So we intervened. However, someone looses a job because of economic fluctuations, and they are told to be a "rugged invididualist".
Free market rhetoric, strikes me (perhaps wrongly) as nothing more than rationalizations for injustice. People don't endure the inner-city because they are lazy and immoral; rather, they are caught in a perpetual cycle of destruction. If someone is born into poverty, than they will go to impoverished schools that don't prepare them for college. The cycle goes round and round, while those who are protecting their wealth recommend that they show a bit of "rugged individualism".
Yes, I favor redistributing wealth through progressive taxations. Wealth is both the means to gain additional wealth, and a token which allows people to survive. It's not a "token of worth". If it was, it would mean that Darryl Strawberry was "worth" more than Van Gogh, Mozart, Einstein, and Nelson Mandela combined. I do not think that wealth should be redistributed because I'm selfish and want money that isn't mine. My reasons are parrall to what Einstein once explained:
If one were to take that goal out of out of its religious form and look merely at its purely human side, one might state it perhaps thus: free and responsible development of the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the service of all mankind. I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves - such an ethical basis I call more proper for a herd of swine. The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
It is a lofty goal, but at least it strikes me as something worth striving for. That is why I'm a progressive: it might be idealistic, but at least its an attempt to attain something better than what we have now.
"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.