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, October 19, 2004
Treacherous insults, 4
First, a lift o' the beanie to Bill C. for the pointer. BTW, Bill, nobody really misses ddjangoWIrE, but the absence of thoughts on the eve would be broadly and sadly felt.
Anyway, Bill waves us over to an Alexander Cockburn piece in The New Left Review, "The Year of Surrendering Quietly." Excerpts which strongly support my arguments in this little series of posts:
Every four years, liberals unhitch the cart and put it in front of the horse, arguing that the only way to a better tomorrow is to vote for the Democratic nominee. But unless the nominee and Congress are pushed forward by social currents too strong for them to ignore or defy, nothing will alter the default path chosen by the country’s supreme commanders and their respective parties. In the American Empire of today, that path is never towards the good. Our task is not to dither in distraction over the lesser of two evil prospects, which will only turn out to be a detour along the same highway.
As now constituted, presidential contests, focused almost exclusively on the candidates of the two major parties, are worse than useless in furnishing any opportunity for national debate. Consider the number of issues on which there is tacit agreement between the Democratic and Republican parties, either as a matter of principle or with an expedient nod-and-wink that, beyond pro forma sloganeering, these are not matters suitable to be discussed in any public forum: the role of the Federal Reserve; trade policy; economic redistribution; the role and budget of the cia and other intelligence agencies (almost all military); nuclear disarmament; reduction of the military budget and the allocation of military procurement; roles and policies of the World Bank, imf, wto; crime, punishment and the prison explosion; the war on drugs; corporate welfare; energy policy; forest policy; the destruction of small farmers and ranchers; Israel; the corruption of the political system; the occupation of Iraq. The most significant outcome of the electoral process is usually imposed on prospective voters weeks or months ahead of polling day—namely, the consensus between the supposed adversaries as to what is off the agenda.
To be sure, there are the two parties who vituperate against each other in great style, but mostly this is only for show, for purposes of assuaging blocs of voters in the home district while honouring the mandate of those paying for the carousel. In the House, on issues like dumping the us Constitution in the trash can of the Patriot Act, there are perhaps thirty representatives from both sides of the aisle prepared to deviate from establishment policy. The low water mark came on September 14, 2002, when a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the president to ‘use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001’ drew only one No, from Barbara Lee, the Democratic congresswoman from Oakland. A stentorian July 2004 endorsement of Bush’s support for Sharon’s ‘peace plan’ by the House of Representatives elicited 407 ayes and 9 lonely noes.  . . .
With Jimmy Carter came the omens of neoliberalism, whose hectic growth was a prime feature of the Clinton years under the guiding hand of the Democratic Leadership Council. But in the mid-to-late 1970s Carter had to guard his left flank, whence he sustained eloquent attacks from Barry Commoner and his Citizens’ Party in 1976, and then in 1979–80 from Senator Edward Kennedy, who challenged Carter for the nomination under the battle standard of old-line New Deal liberalism. The fiercest political fighting of the 1980s saw Democratic party leaders and pundits ranged shoulder to shoulder against the last coherent left-populist campaign to be mounted within the framework of the Democratic Party: that of Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition . . .
The obsessive ‘Anyone but Bush’ posture across the liberal-progressive spectrum has ensured that Kerry has not had his feet held to the fire by any faction of the Democratic Party. This has been the year of surrendering quietly. Dean’s candidacy expired in Iowa, its prime consequence having been to lure a large chunk of the anti-war movement into the Democratic fold—which, as Dean imploded, then agreed that abb was the bleach of choice and committed to the support of a pro-war candidate. Looking for evidence of active protests against Kerry on the liberal-left in America in the late summer of 2004 was like trudging through the grey ash around Mount St. Helens, after the eruption. In thirty years I can recall nothing like it . . .
Always partial to monopolies, the Democrats think they should hold the exclusive concession on any electoral challenge to Bush and the Republicans. The Nader campaign prompts them to hysterical tirades. Republicans are more relaxed. Ross Perot and his Reform Party actually cost George Bush Sr his re-election in 1992, yet Perot never drew a tenth of the abuse for his presumption that Nader does now.  Of course the Democrats richly deserve the challenge. Through the Clinton years the party remained ‘united’ in fealty to corporate corruption and right-wing class viciousness; and so inevitably and appropriately, the Nader-centred independent challenge was born, modestly in 1996, strongly in 2000 and now again in 2004. The rationale for Nader’s challenge was as sound as it was for Henry Wallace half a century earlier.
The central political issue in America today is the decay of the political system itself, and of the two prime parties that share the spoils. Wherever one looks, at the gerrymandered districts, the balloting methods, the fundraising, corruption steams like vapours from a vast swamp. In the House of Representatives, only some 35 seats are in serious contention. The rest have been gerrymandered into permanent incumbencies. A key attribute for entry into America’s professional political caste is the ability, so well demonstrated by the Senator for Massachusetts, to cultivate the interests of a multi-millionaire donor base. Of course money has always played a decisive role in American politics, but these days the amounts required are truly vast. It was Rep. Tony Coelho of California who oriented the Democratic Party in the 1980s towards the mountains of cash available (given suitable pledges) from corporate treasuries, thus setting the compass for the Lincoln bedroom auctions of Clinton-time and Al Gore’s black-bag outing to the Buddhist temple . . .
The piece is rather long and dense, but so well reasoned and full of facts that it's worth the time.
"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.