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.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Notes On Polemicists
If someone accuses me of being a "neo-Marxist" or "left-wing fascist", my interest in their argument will fall to zero. The accuser has revealed that they are a polemicist: they are not interested in truth.
In order for a discussion to be constructive, the audience and writer must accept these rights and obligations:
1. to remain unconvinced
2.to perceive a contradiction
3. to require more information
4. to emphasize different ideas
5. to point out faulty logic
The polemicist goes much farther than merely violating those rights. The polemicist gladly enters intellectual debates; but he will have reached his conclusion before hearing the first argument. The polemicist does not see those who challenge his assumptions as partners in the search of truth; he sees them as enemies whose very existence is a threat.
The polemicist always relies on a legitimacy that his challengers are denied by definition. He will never agree to question whether his own philosophy is ideal, legitimate, or even possible. If the polemicist identifies himself with Marxism, than he will respond to criticisms of his philosophy by accusing his critics of being a part of the "petty bourgeoisies".
Once the polemicist makes up his mind on an issue, he will persuade himself that his opinion is -- by definition -- the most righteous and correct. In the case of Marxists and Fundamentalists, you will often find unshakable beliefs, even when the facts (and indeed, the majority of people) are overwhelmingly in opposition. The polemicist seems to be fully unaware this sort of dishonesty.
The polemicist loves to use vague or meaningless nomenclature to label his opponents. Rush Limbaugh has single handedly hijacked the word "liberal", which has dozens of meanings ranging from the capitalist of the 1830's, to the libertarian views of Thomas Jefferson, to porky-pig New Deal big government spenders. Yet, Rush, and most of his listeners, are content with the conclusion that Mr.X is "liberal" and therefore "bad".
A great deal of polemicists would see grossly obvious facts, if it were not for the emotions that are involved. But the loyalty of a polemicist to their own reality makes the facts intolerable. He will construct elaborate false theories to aid in the denial of opposing viewpoints. For example, Mussolini and Marx's "theories of history" boiled down to the future being already set in stone.
Everyone is a polemicist in some respects, and it takes a moral effort to overcome it. One can begin by recognizing that some causes are objectively better than others, regardless of the past means that have been used to advance them. One must reflect upon the source of their beliefs, and than make allowances for the inevitable bias. Once you recognize the existence of polemics, you can begin to overcome its power. As Clarence Darrow once remarked, "Chase after the truth like hell, even though you'll never catch it by the coat tails."
"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.