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, September 28, 2004
Real democracy comes from waking up!
By Howard Zinn
The political culture of the United States is obsessed with and dominated by voting. Every election year is accompanied by the media's and the politicians' obsession with persuading Americans that voting for one candidate or another (and only if they are Democrat or Republican, of course) is the most important act of citizenship.
We get high on voting and forget that whether presidents have been Republican or Democrat, impotent or oversexed, they have followed the same basic policies. Whether crooks or Boy Scouts, handsome or homely, agile or clumsy, they have taxed the poor; subsidized the rich; squandered the nation's commonwealth (our minerals, airwaves, water and forests); wasted our taxes on bombers, missiles, ships and other corporate welfare; ignored the decay of the cities; and done so little for poor minority kids that for every Afro-American in college, five are now in prison, and for every Latino in college, three are in prison.
Harry Truman was blunt, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were wily. And Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were charming. But the first three spent billions and sent armies to Asia to defend dictators and massacre more than 2 million of the people we claimed to be helping, and the latter three again spent billions of our taxes to also arm and prop up dictators and oligarchies, and to subvert democratic movements against those governments in places like Indonesia, El Salvador and Guatemala, ending in murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. John F. Kennedy was witty; Carter was "caring"; George Bush, the elder, was firm; and Reagan said he was against big government. But all expanded our federal budgets enormously by spending hundreds of billions building up grotesquely huge nuclear weapons systems (we continue building B-2 bombers at $2 billion apiece) at the expense of providing a great public education system, health care for all Americans regardless of income, jobs that pay a living wage and mass transit for all of our cities.
Despite the decimation of the former Soviet Union, Al Gore and George W. Bush both want to continue this military spending madness, which year after year consumes more than 50 percent of our discretionary federal budget (the budget that the president and Congress determine). And Bush has the gall to claim he is against big government.
Nixon was corrupt and Gerald Ford straightforward, Reagan endearing and Clinton someone who claimed to feel the pain of the poor. But all coldly cut essential benefits for the poor and gave hundreds of billions of dollars of favors instead to rich corporations and billionaires.
This obsession with voting is made all the worse by corporate media's obsession with "fine distinctions." The more the media can keep us distracted by this tweedledum-tweedledee horse race, the more they (and therefore the major candidates themselves) can avoid dealing with the huge issues and solutions being purposely ignored by both major party candidates: Issues like who in fact owns and controls both houses, universal health care, full public funding of elections, seriously cutting the defense budget, decriminalizing drugs, returning to labor their rights to organize, and the frightening concentration of media ownership itself.
Why else did they both make sure Ralph Nader was kept out of the debates? The tragedy of all this is that this cult of voting and fine distinctions (and often "personality" as well) takes the energy of ordinary citizens, which, combined, can be a powerful force, and depletes it in the spectator sport of voting.
Today, sadly, our most cherished moment of democratic citizenship comes when we leave the house once in four years to choose between two mediocre Anglo-Saxon males who have been trundled out by big corporate and billionaire-run political caucuses, million-dollar primaries and managed conventions for the rigged presidential debate and multiple choice test we call a "democratic" election.
Presidents come and go, but the 200 top corporations keep increasing their almost complete control over our elections and the two major parties' candidates (with big corporations and billionaires funding 90 percent to 98 percent of both parties' budgets), over our work lives by weakening labor's rights, over our health care rights (43 million uninsured now compared to 32 million when Clinton took office), over our airwaves, and over our legal and court system, even determining how easily any of us can be sent to prison for victimless "crimes."
To further prove greed knows no boundaries, they now want to take over public education and social security. No president in this century has stopped the trend. Not even Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Only when mass movements have galvanized the country have presidents made important reforms, as when strikes and turmoil throughout the nation in the 1930s pushed FDR into his New Deal measures. Sure, Roosevelt was a sensitive man. But it took mass protests to sharpen that sensitivity and make it take action. Then and only then did he take huge steps to help the poor, establish the minimum wage and create Social Security (which had been the Socialist Party's most popular demand).
But that didn't change the basic nature of an unfettered capitalist system, whose highest priority has always been profits and power and to hell with the rest.
Voting Day 2000 has again come and gone. Sure, one of the presidential candidates is better than the other. But we will go a long way from spectator democracy to real democracy when we understand that the future of this country doesn't depend, mainly, on who is our next president. It depends on whether the American citizen, fed up with the buying off of our Congress and president by the billionaires; fed up with the murderous greed of our health care system and the pharmaceutical companies; fed up with the planetary self-destructive path of our energy, auto, lumber, agribusiness and chemical companies; will organize all over the country a clamor for change even greater than the labor uprisings of the '30s or the black rebellion of the '60s and shake this country out of old paths and falsehood into new paths and the truth.
Howard Zinn, emeritus professor of history at Boston University, is the author of "People's History of the United States" and "The Twentieth Century."
"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.