I've heard those who say we have a colorblind society. They use their color blind the way duck hunters use a duck blind — they hide behind it and hope the ducks won't notice.
"Racial prejudice is a terrible thing, Yossarian. It really is. It's a terrible thing to treat a decent, loyal Indian like a nigger, kike, wop, or spic."
People want to say there isn't racial profiling at the airport, but let's be honest. If your first name is Mohammed, and your last name isn't Ali, arrive at the airport extra early.
You know the type. They like to blame it all on the Jews or the Blacks, 'cause if they couldn't, they'd have to wake up to the fact that life's one big, scary, glorious, complex and ultimately unfathomable crapshoot — and the only reason THEY can't seem to keep up is they're a bunch of misfits and losers.
You only need reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.
Charles A. Beard
Discontent: the sign of a Serious Person. If you're Deep and Real and Concerned with the way things are, you're pissed off. Unless you're angry about taxes, race-based government policies and the inefficiencies of the public education system, in which case you are an Angry White Male who has to pick gravel out of your knuckles every night. Remember: the Right is full of people who are Resentful and Angry, but the Left is Pissed and Discontented, which is ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.
It looks like the TiVo radios might be on the market soon, though. Every day I hear something that makes me wish I had rewind button. Sunday it was a top-of-the-hour national news broadcast in which the news reader was struck by the most astonishing case of gas I've ever heard. It was as swift and sudden as an assassin in silk slippers — he's merrily reading along, and then BORYURPH. A stunned pause followed; the fellow said "Excuse me," continued on, and was struck once more: GORYURGMORGH. It sounded like frogs were having an orgy in his stomach.
Note to people who feel compelled to begin talk-radio conversations with "long-time listener, first-time caller" — no one cares. Least of all the host. Nor should you say "as I told your screener . . ." because A) it eats up time and B) reminds everyone of the process that weeds out long-winded dullards, and C) how this process has failed.
[The Michael Savage Show is] radio for people who have given up. Radio for people who mistake their anger for conviction. Listening to the show is like bobbing for dog turds in a chum bucket.
Don't expect anything of her as a person. Don't expect help. Don't expect understanding. Don't expect sympathy. Don't even expect sanity. Say, "Thank you," and let go.
"FOR YEERS YOU HAVE ASKED YURSELVES WHO IS THAT AWSUM DOOD BIFF? WELL GESS WUT DOODZ???? THIS IS BIFF SPEAKING!!!!" — Atlas Shrugged adapted for USENET
"I'm John Galt. Who the hell are you?" — Atlas Shrugged adapted for an episode of "The Simpsons"
[He] appears to be a follower of Ayn Rand, the controversial Russian-born writer who famously promoted The Virtue of Selfishness. Rand had seen the horrors of Communism's mystic demands for self-sacrifice up close, and did a brilliant job of exposing the anti-human forces that lay beneath it. Unfortunately, this drove her to the opposite ideological extreme, proposing hyper-rational selfishness and effective repression of what Adam Smith called natural "fellow feeling." This was because she believed that any trace of altruism was the first step on the slippery slope to collectivism.
Last night, I finally finished Atlas Shrugged, which I started weeks ago. The first thousand pages take a week. The next seventy or so take about a day per page.
At the end of the book — I don't think this will spoil it for you — Ayn Rand inserts a hideous 90-page speech containing such pearls of wisdom as "A is A" (knock me over with a feather, Ayn) and "Socialism sucks." It gets really, really boring. I don't know if you've ever had dinner with a bitter old self-pitying alcoholic who likes to get tanked and pretend to be erudite, but if you have, you can imagine what reading this speech is like. It's not that she's wrong. She's about 95% right. It's that she is unbelievably tedious and repetitious.
I am going to publish a revised version of the book. On page 1000, where the speech begins, I will insert the following footnote: "Editor's note: Miss Rand was a loon. Skip to page 1070."
I've read some Ayn Rand, and so I'm aware that I should have the absolute right to be a giant industrialist, or a non-conformist architect. I'm not either of those, so she'd probably have no use for me.
I have yet to meet an Objectivist with a sense of humor.
Robert Anton Wilson
People who have inhibitions are tied up in nots.
What are the facts? Again and again and again — What are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars foretell," avoid opinion, care not what the neighbours think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" — What are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
Robert A. Heinlein
Insanity is contagious: you get it from your kids.
I'm Crazy / You're Sane Theory: The surest way to begin doubting your own logic and reasoning ability is to engage in ongoing communication with an irrational person.
Robert J. Ringer
"Is's" Versus "Ought To's" Theory: The degree of complications in an individual's life corresponds to his insistence on dwelling on the way he thinks the world ought to be rather than the way it actually is.
Robert J. Ringer
Volcanic Ash Theory: A rational man bases his moves on fact, not emotion. Paradise Island often turns out to be volcanic as on closer inspection.
Robert J. Ringer
Rational-Action Theory: Rational actions are based on reason, not custom and tradition.
Robert J. Ringer
There are people who read too much: the bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.
People claim that they want kids to read. Maybe they do, and they're just dumb. As a kid, I found adults would almost never shut up and leave me in peace long enough to get any reading done.
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence . . .
It's not so important to be serious as it is to be serious about the important.
Reality is a crutch for those people who can't handle drugs.
It's not reality that's important, but how you perceive things.
The fact that something is desirable doesn't mean it is feasible.
Steven Den Beste
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
Philip K. Dick
Sometimes you have to look reality right in the eye . . . and deny it!
When a thing is done, it's done. Don't look back. Look forward to your next objective.
The past exists only in our memories, The future only in our plans. The present is our only reality.
A quart cannot become a gallon.
Reality Theory: Reality isn't the way you wish things to be, nor the way they appear to be, but the way they actually are. Either you acknowledge reality and use it to your benefit, or it will automatically work against you.
Robert J. Ringer
I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities.
You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.
If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do. Whenver you find yourself getting angry about a difference of opinion, be on your guard; you will probably find, on examination, that your belief is going beyond what the evidence warrants.
Remorse — Regret that one waited so long to do it.
Imagine a rat in a cage. You give it a food pellet when it pushes a lever. It learns to push the lever when it wants a pellet. The rest of the time, it lies on its ass. Now imagine that you give it a food pellet at random intervals. Sometimes it pushes twice and gets two pellets in a row. Sometimes it pushes a thousand times and gets nothing. The rat will push the lever all day, and it will keep pushing it long after you go home, even when the food stops coming.
That's what The Rules are all about. Sometimes you reward a man by showing him affection. Sometimes you withhold it. You ignore his calls. You limit your availability. Without realizing it, just like the rat, he finds himself trying to get affection from you. He calls. He sends presents. And you, stupid bitch that you are if you play these games, you think he loves you. No, he's just brainwashed. And after you finally hook him and think it's safe to quit playing games, he gradually realizes what a piece of crap he married, and then you're trapped together, clawing at each other's throats, until one of you calls a divorce lawyer or locates a blunt object.
You may be familiar with [the Rules]. It's the name of a horrid book by a couple of manipulative New York girls. The basic idea goes like this: be completely dishonest with men and abuse them emotionally until they are willing to do anything to win your approval. Then marry them. And then later, when they see what you're really like, they kill you and run you through a wood chipper.
The single common element in all your failed relationships (projects, jobs, etc.) is YOU.
It is fashionable nowadays to assert, in the manner of Kant, that if one person "uses" another, the true humanity of both is violated; and hence that, in a morally proper relationship, a person should not use another. This is idealistic humbug. People always use each other. Human relationships are good and bad, moral or immoral, depending not on whether people use each other, but on how they do so.
The masses are the opium of religion.
Imposition (n): The act of blessing or consecrating by the laying on of hands a ceremony common to many ecclesiastical systems, but performed with the frankest sincerity by the sect known as Thieves.
Infidel (n): In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does. A kind of scoundrel imperfectly reverent of, and niggardly contributory to, divines, ecclesiastics, popes, parsons, canons, monks, mullahs, voodoos, presbyters, hierophants, prelates, obeah-men, abbs, nuns, missionaries, exhorters, deacons, friars, hadjis, high-priests, muezzins, brahmins, medicine-men, confessors, eminences, elders, primates, prebendaries, pilgrims, prophets, imams, beneficiaries, clerks, bishops, vicars-choral, archbishops, abbots, priors, preachers, padres, abbotesses, caloyers, palmers, curates, patriarchs, bonezs, santons, beadsmen, canonesses, residentiaries, diocesans, deans, subdeans, rural deans, abdals, charm-sellers, archdeacons, hierarchs, gurus, precentors, beadles, fakirs, sextons, reverences, class-leaders, incumbents, capitulars, sheiks, talapoins, postulants, scribes, revivalists, cenobites, perpetual curates, chaplains, mudjoes, readers, novices, vicars, pastors, rabbis, ulemas, lamas, sacristans, vergers, dervises, lectors, church wardens, cardinals, prioresses, suffragans, acolytes, rectors, curs, sufis, muftis and pumpums.
Infralapsarian (n): One who ventures to believe that Adam need not have sinned unless he had a mind to in opposition to the Supralapsarians, who hold that that luckless person's fall was decreed from the beginning. Infralapsarians are sometimes called Sublapsarians without material effect upon the importance and lucidity of their views about Adam.
Joss Sticks (n): Small sticks burned by the Chinese in their pagan tomfoolery, in imitation of certain sacred rites of our holy religion.
Martyr (n): One who moves along the line of least reluctance to a desired death.
Orthodox (n): An ox wearing the popular religious yoke.
Religion (n): A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.
Retribution (n): A rain of fire-and-brimstone that falls alike on the just and such of the unjust as have not procured shelter by evicting them.
Impiety (n): Your irreverence toward my deity.
Sabbath (n): A weekly festival having its origin in the fact that God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh. Among the Jews observance of the day was enforced by a Commandment of which this is the Christian version: "Remember the seventh day to make thy neighbour keep it wholly."
Pity (n.): A failing sense of exemption, inspired by contrast.
Sacrament (n): A solemn religious ceremony to which several degrees of significance are attached. Rome has seven sacraments, but the Protestant churches, being less prosperous, feel that they can afford only two, and these of inferior sanctity. Some of the smaller sects have no sacraments at all — for which economy they will indubitably be damned.
Rite (n): A religious or semi-religious ceremony fixed by law, precept, or custom, with the essential oil of sincerity carefully squeezed out of it.
Houri (n): A comely female inhabiting the Mohammedan Paradise to make things cheery for the good Musselman, whose belief in her existence marks a noble discontent with his earthly spouse, whom he denies a soul. By that good lady the Houris are said to be held in deficient esteem.
Impenitence (n): A state of mind intermediate in point of time between sin and punishment.
Halo (n): Properly, a luminous ring encircling an astronomical body, but not infrequently confounded with "aureola," or "nimbus," a somewhat similar phenomenon worn as a head-dress by divinities and saints. The halo is a purely optical illusion, produced by moisture in the air, in the manner of a rainbow; but the aureola is conferred as a sign of superior sanctity, in the same way as a bishop's mitre, or the Pope's tiara. In the painting of the Nativity, by Szedgkin, a pious artist of Pesth, not only do the Virgin and the Child wear the nimbus, but an ass nibbling hay from the sacred manger is similarly decorated, and, to his lasting honour be it said, appears to bear his unaccustomed dignity with a truly saintly grace.
Feast (n): A festival. A religious celebration usually signalized by gluttony and drunkenness, frequently in honour of some holy person distinguished for abstemiousness. In the Roman Catholic Church feasts are "movable" and "immovable," but the celebrants are uniformly immovable until they are full. In their earliest development these entertainments took the form of feasts for the dead; such were held by the Greeks under the name of Nemeseia, by the Aztecs and Peruvians, as in modern times they are popular with the Chinese; though it is believed that the ancient dead, like the modern, were light eaters.
Pray (v): To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.
The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.
Sir Richard F. Burton
It's time to stop worshipping gods, and aim at becoming gods.
"You don't like the Goths?" "No! Not with the persecution we have to put up with!" "Persecution?" "Religious persecution. We won't stand for it forever." "I thought the Goths let everybody worship as they pleased." "That's just it! We Orthodox are forced to stand around and watch Arians and Monophysites and Nestorians and Jews going about their business unmolested, as if they owned the country. If that isn't persecution, I'd like to know what is!"
L. Sprague de Camp
If there's anything that scares religious orthodoxy, it's decentralized enthusiasm for something new. What devotees of Lashkar-e-Taiba or James Dobson share is an unquenched desire for order. Now, anyone who thinks of themselves as religious recognize this impulse, and one should never underestimate the power of faith to provide comfort in times of uncertainty. However, fundamentalist groups have an exaggerated fear of uncertainty, and any phenomenon beyond their control represents a threat to their world. Harry Potter may be harmless, but the books are beyond their control. They inject new and unwanted ideas into the heads of young children. God forbid that Muslim girls should read about a strong female character like Hermione Granger, or that young Christian children read stories that suggest not all authority figues are omniscient or pure of heart.
When a religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and, when it cannot support itself, and God does not take care to support, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
One's own religion is after all a matter between oneself and one's Maker and no one else's.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
Religion is a matter of the heart. No physical inconvenience can warrant abandonment of one's own religion.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true, by the philosophers as equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful.
Religion is one of the reasons Japan is so socially crippled. In the beginning they had Shinto. Now, if religions were cars, Shinto would be a wheelbarrow. It's your basic animism: ancestor worship, goblins and ghosts, tree and rock spirits. It lacks the most rudimentary theology. It made the emperor into a god descended from the sun. Onto that was grafted Buddhism — the wrong sort. Not the happy Dalai Lama stuff, but Zen Buddhism via China. Zen is so desiccatedly aesthetic that nobody knows what it means. On top of all that, the Japanese chose to add Confucianism.
Now, it has been said there's no such thing as bad philosophy and that below a certain level it simply stops being philosophy at all. Confucianism is the exception that proves the rule. It's unpleasant and lowbrow. Confucius and Taoism were the excuse-all, get-out-of-work-and-responsibility for the samurai. Modern Japanese people get born Shinto, married Christian, buried Buddhist and work Mazda. Consequently they believe everything and nothing. There is no solace in Japanese religion, no salvation or redemption, hope, encouragement, and, most importantly, no concept of individuality, which is why you always see them mob-handed. A Japanese man on his own doesn't think he exists. It's just a static, miserable round of corporate responsibility and filial duty. I've never come across a place whose spiritual options were so barren. This pick-and-mix theology has stunted Japan like a tonsured, root-bound pine tree.
Religion: Ethics with a carrot, a stick, . . . and a trumpet.
Robert A. Heinlein
Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proven innocent.
Robert A. Heinlein
There is no conclusive evidence of life after death. But there is no evidence of any sort against it. Soon enough you will know. So why fret about it?
Robert A. Heinlein
The shamans are forever yakking about their snake-oil "miracles". I prefer the real McCoy — a pregnant woman.
Robert A. Heinlein
History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend considerable time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.
Robert A. Heinlein
My religious faith is a private matter between me and my God. What my inner beliefs are you will have to judge be my actions . . . for you are not invited to question me about them. I decline to explain them nor to justify them to you. Nor to anyone . . .
Robert A. Heinlein
I believe very strongly in freedom of religion — but I think that that freedom is best expressed as the freedom to keep quiet.
Robert A. Heinlein
[N]o belief that attracts a significant number of followers can be entirely wrong, as it clearly appeals to and fills some need that is being otherwise unfulfilled in those people.
Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals — That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions - That the legitimate Power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor.
It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose.
Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.
Theology: An effort to explain the unknowable by putting it into the terms of the not worth knowing.
Sunday: A day given over by Americans to wishing that they themselves were dead and in Heaven, and that their neighbours were dead and in Hell.
Clergyman: A ticket speculator outside the gates of Heaven.
Pastor: One employed by the wicked to prove to them by his example that virtue doesn't pay.
Men always try to make virtues out of their weaknesses. Fear of death and fear of life both become piety.
To sum up:
The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute.
Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it.
Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him that ride.
The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop houses and disturbing the peace.
We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
In every unbeliever's heart there is an uneasy feeling that, after all, he may awake after death and find himself immortal. This is his punishment for his unbelief. This is the agnostic's Hell.
[C]onverts tend to dis their old religions (for roughly the same reasons that divorced people dis their exes, as far as I can tell . . . To reinforce that they Are Not Going Back, Really, Things Are Different Now).
I've always figured that if God wanted us to go to church a lot He'd have given us bigger behinds to sit on and smaller heads to think with.
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
Religion feeds a fundamental human appetite for meaning and security, and it can lead to powerful social unity and psychological assurance that trumps science. Untempered, it leads to xenophobia, backwardness, savagery, and economic failure. The more intense a religion is, the more powerful are its autarchic tendencies. But it is impossible to withdraw from today's world.
Where there is more than one religious option, no religion can afford to underperform.
The figures looked more or less human. And they were engaged in religion. You could tell by the knives (it's not murder if you do it for a god).
It's also possible that today's science-fiction films compete with religion on another level. In the old days, religious pageantry — sometimes enhanced with psychoactive substances of different kinds, or with hypnotic music — was the most exciting thing people were likely to run across in their everyday life. Special costumes, masks, ceremonies, big fancy buildings, and so on all tended to create a sense of separation between the sacred and the ordinary, and to make religious ceremonies stick in people's minds.
Now movies provide many of the same characteristics, in a more intense form. The synthetic experience of attending a film, with its arresting special effects, meticulously-planned shots and narrative, and music carefully designed to drive viewers' emotions into the desired state, may have a similar effect, imprinting the message of the film into people's minds at a level below consciousness, just as religious ceremonies have done for millennia. Movie people have joked about this for years. As Peter O'Toole's character said in The Stunt Man, "If God could do the things we can do, he'd be a happy man." (Maybe this is why theocracies — from the Taliban to the mullahs in Iran to the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia — fear movies: they're afraid of the competition.)
I believe all public institutions should be shielded from the potential evils of believing in God. That's why I support the Star Wars defense system, we need a big umbrella in space to cover the country in one big anti-God shield.
A Jesuit friend of mine once remarked with respect to communion wafers that he never had any trouble believing that the bread became the body of Christ; the problem was believing that it was bread to start with.
The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish.
Half the lies they tell about me aren't true.
I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true.
Great jurists are made by sacrificing plaintiffs to the Constitution; great physicians, by sacrificing patients to Research. The moral: if you value your freedom and health, don't be a test case in the court or the clinic.
How men hate waiting, for a few hours, while their wives shop for clothes and trinkets; how women hate waiting, often for much of their lives, while their husbands shop for fame and glory.
Don't worry about what other people think; they don't do it often enough to concern yourself about it.
Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I'll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things.
Reconsider (vt): To seek justification for a decision already made.
Accountability (n): The mother of caution.
Many have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A great nation cannot abandon its responsibilities. Responsibilities abandoned today return as more acute crises tomorrow.
Any government will work if authority and responsibility are equal and coordinate. This does not ensure "good" government, it simply ensures that it will work. But such governments are rare most people want to run things but want no part of the blame. This used to be called the "back-seat driver syndrome."
Robert A. Heinlein
When the ship lifts, all bills are paid. No regrets.
Robert A. Heinlein
When the need arises — and it does — you must be able to shoot your own dog. Don't farm it out — that doesn't make it nicer, it makes it worse.
Robert A. Heinlein
If we only act for ourselves, to neglect the study of history is not prudent; if we are entrusted with the care of others it is not just.
I seldom if ever regret doing anything, even although I may be convinced that it was wrong. Once it is accomplished, I dismiss it from my mind.
The cult of victimhood, a plague on the least-successful elements in our own society, retards the development of entire continents. When individuals or cultures cannot accept responsibility for their own failures, they will repeat the behaviors that led to failure. Accepting responsibility for failure is difficult, and correspondingly rare.
One place where you're sure to find the perfect driver is in the back seat.
. . .every single one of them wanted to be involved in the decision-making process without necessarily going through the intelligence-using process first.
Them as can do, has to do for them as can't. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.
Actions Have Consequences Theory: The most elementary law of nature, the principle that best explains how the world works, is: actions have consequences. A consequence will be as profitable or as detrimental as the action behind it.
Robert J. Ringer
The idea that a person is responsible for his criminal act regardless of who ordered him to break the law is now widely accepted in relation to political crimes, but not in relation to domestic crimes. But why should we treat deceiving Congress differently than destroying one's wife or husband? Declared the prosecutor in the trial of Oliver North: When an individual is asked a question by Congress, there are only two legitimate responses: the individual may decline to answer the question, or answer it honestly. He cannot with impunity . . . answer with a falsehood . . . [North's] alleged motivation for lying is irrelevant to the charges against him.
Mutatis mutandis, I maintain that a person who believes he should kill someone has only two choices: he must control himself and not do so, or he must kill himself. The defendant's alleged motivation for the murder — say, the claim that God commanded him to kill — should be irrelevant to the charge against him.
It is self-evident that the so-called mentally ill criminal has committed a crime. What psychiatrists contend, and what most people now accept, is not that "insane criminals" do not commit crimes, but only that they do so from psychotic motives, exemplified by the phrase, "I heard God's voice and he told me to kill my child." But "Crimes," asserted Sir Hartley Shawcross at the Nuremberg trials of the Nazi war criminals, "do not cease to be criminal because they have a political motive." By the same token, I maintain that crimes do not cease to be criminal because they have a "psychotic" motive.
Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.
As my wife says, I think instant gratification takes too long.
And when God, who created the universe with all of its glories, decides to deliver a message to humanity, he WILL NOT use, as his messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.
Meekness (n): Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worthwhile.
Mind you, if I were the fellow she made fun of, I'd be thinking thoughts of stretch-wrap, and butane torches, or perhaps cheese graters. Not, of course, that one should act on such impulses, but the desire to see a taunter socially humilated, their friendships destroyed, their families impoverished, their cultures undermined, their continent despoiled and their homeworld baked clean of all life, is only natural.
James D. Nicoll
Pinspotter Theory: Life is like a giant pinspotter in a goliath's bowling alley, with billions of humans relegated to the status of bowling pins. The "Pinspotter" is the ultimate revenge and retribution machine. In the final analysis, it shakes us down into our proper slots and sees to it that each of us ends up exactly where we belong.
Robert J. Ringer
The leaders of the French Revolution excited the poor against the rich; this made the rich poor, but it never made the poor rich.
9mm Ballot: A coup d'etat triggered by intense diplomatic and military pressure.
Insurrection (n): An unsuccessful revolution. Disaffection's failure to substitute misrule for bad government.
Revolution (n): In politics, an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment.
Riot (n): A popular entertainment given to the military by innocent bystanders.
[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, [. . .] evinces a design to reduce (the people) under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
John F. Kennedy
Petty orthodoxies spin inward, not outward. I always smile when I see the T-shirt that reads "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." Rosa Luxembourg, I think. Well, Ms. L, you won't have a choice in the matter. Even if you get exactly the revolution you want, it will soon give way to the Anti-Dance Brigade, who themselves will harbor a secret delight in humming. And they will be purged by those who insist that Humming wastes time that could be spent building the future. And so on, and so on, until all the interesting people are in the gulag and the brutes & morons are running the show.
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.
Workers of the world, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!
After a revolution, of course, the successful revolutionists always try to convince doubters that they have achieved great things, and usually they hang any man who denies it.
The great class struggle of the 21st century will be for access to data, and it will occur in totalitarian and religious-regime states. The internet may prove to be the most revolutionary tool since the movable-type printing press. History laughs at us all — the one economic analyst who would understand immediately what is happening in the world today would be a resurrected German "content provider" named Marx.
The assumption that there was a direct relationship between blood and freedom — indeed . . . between blood and bread — is usually thought of as the standard language of punitive Jacobinism, of the Terror. But it was the invention of 1789, not 1793. The Terror was merely 1789 with a higher body-count. From the first year it was apparent that violence was not just an unfortunate side effect from which enlightened Patriots could selectively avert their eyes; it was the Revolution's source of collective energy. It was what made the Revolution revolutionary.
Treason never prospers: what's the reason? For if it doth prosper, none dare call it treason!
[F]ar more, and far more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
Hurrah for revolution and more cannon-shot A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot. Hurray for revolution and cannon come again! The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.
William Butler Yeats
These rights, then, which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights, such as life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are; neither do tehy receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal laws to be inviolate. On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner shall himself commit some act that amounts to a forfeiture.
Sir William Blackstone
[T]he idea is quite unfounded that on entering into society we give up any natural right.
A right delayed is a right denied.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
What men value most in this world is not rights but privileges.
The precautionary principle [says] that you have to prove ahead of time that what you're going to do doesn't involve any significant risk, or else you're not permitted to do it. You have to prove that you've evaluated all possible consequences of your proposed action and either have a plan in place to deal with them or have altered your plan to prevent them. Inaction is the default, and any change or action is presumed guilty until proven innocent, with the burden of proof falling on the one advocating the change.
Steven Den Beste
Never contend with a person that has nothing to lose.
Take risks. A ship in port is safe. Sail out to sea and do new things. If you have a good idea. . .do it. The big rewards go to those who take big risks.
Admiral Grace Hopper
It seems to be a truth, inflexible and inexorable, that he who will not risk, cannot win.
John Paul Jones
Falling hurts least those who fly low.
Because the water is still, you must not think there is no crocodile there.
Desperation Theory (aka Scared-Money Theory): Beware the man who operates from a desperate position, for he wields the most lethal weapon of all: the latitude to try anything, because he has nothing to lose.
Robert J. Ringer
Better Deal Theory: If you're always worried that there may be a better deal down the road, you'll never close any deal. If your analysis of a deal is sound, and the indications positive, have the courage of your convictions and move forward with it.
Robert J. Ringer
Everything is sweetened by risk.
If you don't invest very much, then defeat doesn't hurt very much and winning is not very exciting.
If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on the fence and watch the birds.
Nitwit ideas are for emergencies. The rest of the time you go by the Book, which is mostly a collection of nitwit ideas that worked.
Jerry E. Pournelle
Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own set of laws.
More people are run down by gossip than by automobiles.
According to a reputable source, "glasnost" translated from Russian really means "lesser grade of barbed wire".
If the czar is all-powerful, he is of course responsible for everything: therefore nothing untoward can happen in the country without the imputation of the czar's ill will. But in that case, how is the imputation of omnipotence to be reconciled with that of perfect benevolence? If something terrible happens to innocent people, either the czar must not be omnipotent or must not be benevolent. The only way to square the circle is to lie oneself and be deceived when others lie in similar fashion: to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil, even when evil abounds.
Shortly after his arrival in Russia, Custine went to the annual festival at the palace of Peterhof, a festival of such magnificence that it took 1,800 servants to light 250,000 lamps for it. Visitors reached the palace by boat from Saint Petersburg, and one boat had sunk in a storm on the way to the festival with the loss of all its passengers and crew. But because "any mishap [in Russia] is treated as an affair of State" in Russia, and because "to lie is to protect the social order, to speak the truth is to destroy the State," there followed "a silence more terrifying than the disaster itself." In Russia, people of the highest social class — as were the boat's passengers — could disappear not only without a trace but without comment. Who in such a country could ever feel safe?
Unlike so many gullible intellectuals of the twentieth century who visited communist countries in the spirit of religious pilgrims, Custine understood only too well both the techniques and the meaning of the attempts to deceive him. "Russian hospitality, bristling with formalities . . . is a polite pretext for hampering the movements of the traveller and limiting his license to observe," he concluded. "Thanks to this fastidious politeness, the observer cannot visit a place or look at anything without a guide; never being alone he has trouble judging for himself, which is what they want. To enter Russia, you must deposit your free will as well as your passport at the frontier. . . . Would you like to see . . . a hospital? The doctor in charge will escort you. A fortress? The governor will show it to you, or rather, politely conceal it from you. A school, any kind of public establishment? The director, the inspector, will be forewarned of your visit. . . . A building? The architect will take you over all its parts and will, himself, explain everything you have not asked in order to avoid instructing you on the things you are interested in learning." No wonder, he added, that "the most highly esteemed travellers are those who, the most meekly and for the longest time, allow themselves to be taken in." No visitor to a communist country could fail to recognize the description.
Russian is essentially a language invented by Poles who couldn't spell.
Sure, when I say they're a Western nation, it goes with the instant qualification that, if the first world has a short bus, Russia would certainly have a reserved safety seat on that sucker.