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 18, 2004
Treacherous insults, 3
Judging from the comments on my last post, I think I've at least sufficiently clarified some definitions. And it is critical to do that for several reasons:
with a nod to Nick's obsession with George Orwell, it is obvious that right-wing extremists are masters of the political art of language manipulation. And we abet their propagandistic slights-of-hand by being imprecise;
to hold the linguistic upper hand is to wield the power to frame the debate, to define its terms, to set the rules. Another successful strategy employed by our opposition is to first create chaos, then "save us" from that chaos with repeated simple phrases. Again, we help them do this by being disorganized, ill-defined, and reactive;
whatever the landscape looks like on 11/3, the progressive program will still be in a shambles. If you really are a liberal (or, heaven forbid, a neoliberal), on that day you once again espouse assumptions and philosophies that are counter-progressive. I will have enjoyed joining with you in a coalition to bring down the Doubleduh-Cheney Gang. But then we're gonna lock horns over the poverty of liberalism;
if we use the terms "Progressive" and "Liberal" interchangeably, as many are doing, we Progressives run the risk of being tainted by the same tactics that have made the term "Liberal" so hard to wear. And we will be identified with the same affliction that still makes liberalism a non-starter in a world needing new ideas and new leadership. In fact, even for me the label of "Progressive", which I've worn happily for forty years, became distasteful and expendable when the likes of Ted Kennedy, Terry McAuliffe, and Nancy Pelosi decided to throw it like a magic cloak over their liberalism. If the label is co-opted, then so is the movement. We have, I'm afraid, lost a great deal by thinking that the establishment, neoliberal John Kerry is the lesser of two evils, when he is, in fact, the lesser of one evil.
Having said all that, let me throw the Wikipedia definition of "progressive" out here:
Progressive is a term used to describe certain beliefs on the political left or certain people who hold those beliefs. It might also be called a "label" (negative connotation, implies external application) or "identity" (neutral or positive connotation, implies internal or objective application) . . .
Basic Progressive Vision
The Basic progressive vision is of community—as family, a caring, responsible family. Progressives envision a community where people care about each other, not just themselves, and act responsibly with strength and effectiveness for each other.
What citizens and nations owe each other. If you work hard; play by the rules; and serve your family, community, and nation, then the nation should provide a decent standard of living, as well as freedom, security, and opportunity.
Do everything possible to guarantee political equality and avoid imbalances of political power.
Maximize citizen participation; minimize concentrations of political, corporate, and media power. Maximize journalistic standards. Establish publicly financed elections, Invest in public education. Bring corporations under stakeholder control, not just stockholder control.
Government for a Better Future
Government does what the future requires and what the private sector cannot do—or is not doing—effectively, ethically, or at all. it is the job of government to promote and, if possible, provide sufficient protection, greater democracy, more freedom, a better environment, broader prosperity, better health, greater fulfillment in life, less violence, and the building and maintaining of public infrastructure.
in the course of making money by providing products and services, businesses should not adversely affect the public good, as defined by the above values.
Values-based Foreign Policy
The same values governing domestic policy should apply to foreign policy whenever possible . . .
If you think Liberals buy into this agenda, you're going to be sadly disappointed. And you haven't been watching their voting records. And you haven't been examining their financial ties. Sure, you might know where their campaign contributions come from, but you probably know little of where their fortunes reside. We can blame Reagan, but it was Bill Clinton who presided over the metamorphosis of the welfare state into the corporate welfare state. Only President Bunnypants could make Clinton look progressive by comparison.
If you want examples of true Progressives, for the most part you have to look outside of the political establishment. Sure, there's Kucinich, Conyers, Waxman, and a few others. Maybe even Howard Dean (though I run the risk of violating my own rules here by confusing Populist and Progressive). Tell ya whut . . . you wanna see a true Progressive candidate? Check out Howie Hawkins.
I will, of course, continue this later. Meanwhile . . .
"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.