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  • George Orwell

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    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.

    Mark Twain

    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."

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    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

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    Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

    Winston Churchill

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

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    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.

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    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.

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    To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.

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    Karl Marx

    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, October 15, 2004

    Treasonous insults, 2

    By total

    Given the rather prickly comments in response to this post, I think clarification and expansion are in order. It may take me more than one session. I do thank BC for picking up the banner.

    First, term definition. As those of you who followed me at ddjangoWIrE know, I'm very touchy about this subject and get testy when folks throw around appellations like "progressive" and "liberal" and "realist" indiscriminately. Liberals are not Progressives. Conservatives are not Neoconservatives.

    How about we start with Disinfopedia's say on the matter:

    Liberalism may be used to describe one of several ideologies that claims individual liberty to dissent from orthodox tenets or established authorities in political or religious matters, in contrast to conservatism and/or communitarianism.

    1. One usage of the term is for a tradition of thought that tries to circumscribe the limits of political power, and to define inalienable individual rights. This is the most common usage outside of the United States.
      See: classical liberalism or libertarianism.

    2. Another, less common usage, is to denote the tradition of various liberal parties. However, though said liberal parties were originally founded on the tradition above, they significantly diverged from it since they came to power in the 19th century, and liberal parties around the world are now based on a variety of unrelated ideologies, so the ideological content of the word depends on the geographical context.
      See: political liberalism.

    3. Another, common usage, denotes the ideology of social-democracy, as defended by the Liberal Party in Britain, particularly since Lloyd George's People's Budget. It is with this background that Keynes, though influenced by Fabianism, claimed to be liberal in the 1930s. The influence of Keynesianism on the New Deal has led liberalism to be identified with the welfare state in the United States.
      See: new liberalism.

    4. A limited usage is to denote the tradition shared by authors like John Locke or John Stuart Mill, up to the mid 19th century.

    5. Some commentators try to distinguish in the "liberal philosophy" (which meaning between 1, 3, or 4 remaining unspecified) a "political liberalism" from an "economic liberalism". These dichotomies perhaps reflect more about the ideology of those who make such a dichotomy, than about the ideology of anyone else.

    6. In addition to the political usages above, the term "liberal" is also used in theology to refer to people who hold to views which depart from their religion's orthodoxy.

    [In the United States] [t]he common meaning of terms evolve: whereas the word "liberal" was clearly associated to meaning 1 (classical liberalism) in the 19th century, it has come to commonly have meaning 3 (new liberalism) in the US after World War II, and particularly as McCarthyism made the word socialism difficult to bear, and left-wingers massively adopted the name "liberal". For this reason, US classical liberals adopted the name "libertarian". Recently, the word "liberal" has been so much used as a derogatory term by US conservatives that many US liberals (meaning 3) prefer to shun the word "liberal" and call themselves "progressive".
    That last sentence is a key one. And IMHO it is deceptive, dishonest, and perhaps even cowardly for Liberals to hide their true colors under a buzzword cloak. At least, I would say, the terms should not be used interchangeably, and Progressives who call themselves Liberals are selling themselves short.
    Moving on to Wikipedia's discussion:

    Liberalism is a political current embracing several historical and present-day ideologies that claim defense of individual liberty as the purpose of government. It typically favors the right to dissent from orthodox tenets or established authorities in political or religious matters. In this respect, it is held in contrast to conservatism.

    The word "liberal" derives from the Latin "liber" ("free") and liberals of all stripes tend to see themselves as friends of freedom, particularly freedom from the shackles of tradition. The origins of liberalism in the Enlightenment era contrasted this philosophy to feudalism and mercantilism. Later, as more radical philosophies articulated themselves in the course of the French Revolution and through the nineteenth century, liberalism equally defined itself in contrast to socialism and communism, although some adherents of liberalism sympathize with some of the aims and methods of social democracy.

    Classification in a consistent manner is made difficult by the tendency of the dominant strain of liberalism in a region to refer to itself simply as "liberalism" and reject that identification for other minority positions. Since the word "liberalism" ranges from being highly complimentary to a term of abuse, the connotations of the word in different languages can be starkly different . . .

    The original Enlightenment thinkers, such as John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu, were attempting to establish limits on existing political powers by asserting that there were natural rights and fundamental laws of governance that not even kings could overstep without becoming tyrants. This was wedded to the idea that commercial freedom would best benefit the whole of the political order, an idea that would later be called capitalism, drawn from the works of Adam Smith and David Ricardo. The next important piece of the triad of ideas of liberalism, was the idea of popular self-determination. Many liberals are in fact between these wings . . .

    The crucial question of liberalism is the question of whether people have positive rights as members of communities, that is, just expectations in excess of being protected from wrong doing by others. For some liberals, especially in the United States, but also in Europe, the modern liberal, the answer is "yes", individuals have rights based on being a member of a national, political or local unit, and have a just expectation to benefits accruing to them, and protections being afforded to them. Other, more classical liberals would answer "no", individuals have no such rights as members of communities, which they call socialism. If individuals have a right as a member of a community, they therefore have a right to expect that that community will regulate the economy, since rising and falling economic circumstances are not part of what an individual can control, if individuals have a right to participate in a public, they then have a right to expect education and social protections against discrimination as members of that public. And so on. Many liberals are in fact somewhere between these answers and differ about the amount of these rights. For example, education belongs everywhere to the liberal agenda . . .

    With the 1970s the pendulum had swung away from government action, and towards the use of the free market as the tool with which individuals were most able to protect their self-interest. With the growing skepticism in government, and in corporations, the ethos of self-reliance would find expression in internetworking and in internet discussions.

    At present liberalism and its descendants are the most prominent philosophical schools in the west and in the increasingly large sphere of economies and societies linked to them. The ideas of free markets, individual liberties, personal dignity, private property, universal human rights, transparency of government, limitations on state power, popular sovereignty, national self-determination, privacy, enlightened and rational policy, the rule of law, fundamental equality - all radical notions some 250 years ago, and not all completely codified into law until late in the 20th century, are almost universally admitted as the goals of policy in most nations, even if there is a wide gap between statements and reality . . .

    The swung away from government action in the 1970s lead also to the rise of the idea described as neo-liberalism, which refers back to the program of reducing trade barriers and internal market restrictions as a way of expanding trade and ultimately opportunity. It accepts a high degree of government involvement in the economy, particularly the acceptance of the need for a central bank and an economy capable national defense, but they seek to reduce government regulation, lower taxes, particularly income taxes. While neo-liberalism is sometimes described as overlapping with thatcherism, economists as diverse as Joseph Stiglitz and Milton Friedman have been described as "neo-liberal". As said before, this economic agenda is not necessarily combined with a liberal agenda outside politics: They often do not subscribe to individual liberty on ethical issues or in sexual mores. An extreme example was the Pinochet regime in Chile, but other examples are Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Gerhard Schröder . . .
    So, if you've followed this rather bumpy little path, you can see that, yes, Scoop Jackson, Henry Kissinger, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ted Kennedy, and a bunch of others are really all cut from the same whole cloth.

    I should admit perhaps to an error in using "liberal" when "neoliberal" might have fit my argument better. But I stay with my fundamental premise that neocons smell more like liberals than do conservatives.

    Stay tuned. More soon.
    . . . . . . . . . .
    Be at peace

    posted by total at 10/15/2004 02:27:00 PM |

    Comments: Post a Comment

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