If you're trying to take a roomful of people by surprise, it's a lot easier to hit your targets if you don't yell going through the door.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to nurture it in solitude and to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.
We've all been blessed with God-given talents. Mine just happens to be beating people up.
Sugar Ray Leonard
De gustibus non disputandum est. [To each, their own tastes.]
Taxes are Theft!
Kruger's Law: A taxpayer is someone who doesn't have to take a civil-service exam to work for the government.
Pay your taxes: help fill the bottomless hole.
I don't think the press has done a very good job dealing with government spending. The Defense Department with the $9,500 toilet seat, that' s not the problem anymore. Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security are the problem. That's us. That's our generation. There the press never says a word.
We certainly never require politicians to ever address those issues except really briefly sometimes during the New Hampshire primary, and then everybody falls asleep.
Most of the presidential candidates' economic packages involve "tax breaks," which is when the government, amid great fanfare, generously decides not to take quite so much of your income. In other words, these candidates are trying to buy your votes with your own money.
See, when the GOVERNMENT spends money, it creates jobs; whereas when the money is left in the hands of TAXPAYERS, God only knows what they do with it. Bake it into pies, probably. Anything to avoid creating jobs.
What can we, as citizens, do to reform our tax system? As you know, under our three-branch system of government, the tax laws are created by: Satan. But he works through the Congress, so that's where we must focus our efforts.
Here's my proposal, which is based on the TV show Survivor: We put the entire Congress on an island. All the food on this island is locked inside a vault, which can be opened only by an ordinary American taxpayer named Bob. Every day, the congresspersons are given a section of the Tax Code, which they must rewrite so that Bob can understand it. If he can, he lets them eat that day; if he can't, he doesn't.
Or, he can give them food either way. It doesn't matter. The main thing is, we never let them off the island.
Why can't Americans do their own taxes? Because the federal Tax Code is out of control, that's why. It's gigantic and insanely complex, and it gets worse all the time. Nobody has ever read the whole thing. IRS workers are afraid to go into the same ROOM with it. They keep it locked in the basement, and once a day, they open the door, heave in a live taxpayer — some poor slob who failed to adopt EGTRRA in time to comply with GUST (and various other amendments) — then slam the door shut, before the screams start.
The control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself.
Houseless (adj): Having paid all taxes on household goods.
The fundamental class division in any society is not between rich and poor, or between farmers and city dwellers, but between taxpayers and tax consumers.
The Congress will push me to raise taxes, and I'll say no. And they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push me again. And I'll say to them: "Read my lips. No new taxes."
George H.W. Bush
We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
Winston S. Churchill
If taxes are what we pay for a civilized society, I want to see the warranty.
The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.
The present assault upon capital is but the beginning. It will be but the stepping-stone to others, larger and more sweeping till our political contests will become a war of the poor against the rich; a war constantly growing in intensity and bitterness.
Justice Stephen J. Field
I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible.
Raise taxes by enough to eliminate the existing deficit and spending will go up to restore the tolerable deficit. Tax cuts may initially raise the deficit above the politically tolerable deficit, but their longer term effect will be to restrain spending.
Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.
Robert A. Heinlein
To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.
The more prohibitions there are, the poorer the people become; the greater the number of statutes, the greater the number of brigands and thieves.
If the "rich" were swarming into poor neighborhoods and beating the poor until they coughed up the dimes they swallowed for safekeeping, yes, this would be a transfer of income from the poor to the rich. But allowing taxpayers to keep more of their money does not qualify as taking it from the poor — unless you believe that the poor have a moral claim to the money other people earn.
You can certainly believe that; millions do.
Here's a rough definition of economic progress: at 40, you should pay in taxes what you grossed at 30. Think of it this way, and somehow the weeping is less severe.
The Democrats' analysis never seems to include the tax revenue generated by the stimulating effect of tax cuts. They assume that the "rich" won't invest, buy things, hire people, put a few bucks in the bank. No, the rich will light cigars with rolled-up $100 bills, or buy gold shillelaghs for the Prosperity Leprechauns who woke them up one night and showed them where the pots of gold were hidden. We will revert to a Hobbesian state where gouty, dour aristocrats ride carriages over the crackling bones of the destitute.
No man should be discouraged from entering business through fear of taxation.
The power to tax is the power to destroy.
Chief Justice John Marshall
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
A recent national accounting firm study revealed that businesses and individuals spend over five billion hours on federal tax compliance activities in a single year. That is the equivalent of hiring 2.7 million people working full time on tax compliance!
James L. Payne
"Sacrifice" is the new liberal code word for higher taxes. It used to be "investment". Pretty soon it will be "ritual scarification".
Tax-Cut Illusion Theory: Never make plans on government-announced tax-cuts. All tax cuts are illusions! There is no such thing as a tax-cut; there is only a change in the manner in which the money is extracted from the taxpayers.
Robert J. Ringer
The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has. Even when you make a tax form out on the level, you don't know when it's through if you are a crook or a martyr.
Did you ever figure it out, taxes is all there is to politics.
A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.
George Bernard Shaw
There is no art which one government learns sooner of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.
To lay with on hand the power of the government on property of the citizen and with the other to bestow it upon favored individuals to aid private enterprises and build up private fortunes is none the less a robbery because it is done under the forms of law and is called taxation.
US Supreme Court
The art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens and giving it to another.
Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire
Sharing is to taxation as sex is to rape.
The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds.
Teamwork is essential: it allows you to blame someone else.
Team Player: The type of cooperative, self-effacing employee beloved by corporations that promote egotists to the top positions.
Three helping one another will do as much as six men singly.
It's so hard to work in groups when you're omnipotent.
I had a[n] experience with a "writer" whose work was criticized by everyone from Engineering to the janitorial staff. There was a running joke that you could feed your dog a bowl of Alpha-bits cereal and he could crap a better sentence than this guy could write. It was brutal. They even began calling him Johnny-no-stars. Defined as: A young man of substandard intelligence, the typical adolescent who works in a burger restaurant. The "no-stars" comes from the badges displaying stars that staff at fast-food restaurants often wear to show their level of training.
It would be my guess that the writers of the manual barely knew what a torpedo was. Technical writers for manuals in the service are normally picked for their inability to explain their topic. It is a very large competition, I am told.
Actually, I don't mind the job all that much. It actually gives me a strange sense of satisfaction in knowing that MILLIONS of people will have "12:00" flashing on their VCRs in perpetuity because of this classic line that I wrote in 1985:
"For you to be setting very much yes the time for your setting VCR, please very much kindly placing to be all fingers of one hand on marked buttons with clock, and then going to yesterday to press arrow button for time of yesterday's ancestors . . ."
I could share more, but I would have charge everyone royalties.
By three methods we may learn technical writing: First by education, which is noblest; second by methodology, which is easiest; and third by planting your butt in a chair and pecking out the damn document, which is the bitterest. (Significant paraphrase of Confucius' quote on Wisdom.)
In closing, I might recommend that besides getting a Technical Writing certificate, any bright hopeful might also enroll in a few mind reading classes or have work experience with "The Psychic Friends Hotline". With qualifications like that, you'll go far.
The laws of physics, as we understand them, are statistical laws. They have a lot to do with the natural tendency of things to go over into disorder.
In science, theory guides practice. . .that is, improves technology. In the arts, theory comes after the fact of original creation and, far from improving future work, usually spoils it. . .
[The Concorde] is engineering's answer to the mosquito, nose drooping as though ready to stick a taxpayer. The taxpayers paid, it's reported, well over a billion 1960's pounds to develop it. The full cost is as secret as only something really embarrassing to governments can be.
We *are* technology.
As for Orrin Hatch and his remarks about blowing up the computers of people who download pirated files: I'll just say that I think he's made mostly of molded plastic, there's a pullstring in his back, and the RIAA fingerprints are all over the big white ring. I won't listen to any of these guys blather about computers or the Internet until they have demonstrated on film that they can install some RAM, burn a CD ("shiny side down, you say?"), tell me what HTTP and URL stand for, prove they know how to get the source code for a webpage, and know better than to click "Yes" when asked if the computer should always trust data from Gator Corporation.
His remarks about remotely destroying computers that download copyrighted material is just grampa blather. The computers are stealing music! The cars are frightening the horses! The Kaiser took my dog! It would be amusing if these people didn't have the power to pass thick stupid laws crafted by aides, lobbyists and other gnomes hauling up heavy buckets from the deep sooty mines of legalese.
Certification does not, necessarily, weed out the morons. If anything, it gives morons a false sense of accomplishment as well as one more thing to obsess to madness over. I know numerous MCSE and A+ certified people who are stark raving twits when it comes to technology.
I think we're coming down off a high, here. The tech sector spiked with an excess of young men and women driving it. Now we have all woke up the next morning to the shocking reality that just being young, wired, and driving a Jetta does not make you a genius.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a personality, and an obnoxious one at that.
As Homer Simpson once said of alcohol, technology is the cause of, and solution to, all our problems.
Body Piercing: Self-mutilation as a fashion statement among nonconforming young people who crave peer acceptance. A practice generally frowned upon by concerned parents who used to gain their own peer acceptance by taking hallucinogenic drugs and plotting to blow up the Pentagon.
Every few years, there's a new political schema for the rising generation. The kids born after [alarmingly recent year] are coming into their own, and it turns out that unlike [Generation TK], they're reacting against the [right or left] dogmas and [neglectful/stern/too attentive] parenting attitudes that shaped their elders. It's the unexpected return of [a certain value system] that just a few years ago seemed to be dead and gone.
And as it happens, that's my value system too!
It always makes a good story. And [. . .] it's all a bunch of horse puckey.
A fascination with things Dark ends up being a self-regarding melancholic pose, a way of signaling to your fellow adolescents that you possess a deep, deep nature. You're wrong, of course. It's no insight to think that Life Sucks. The insight comes when you understand that it doesn't have to, and that its nature is up to you.
Just as city-bred people find themselves surprised and alarmed by the intensity of natural darkness in the countryside, so many young people now feel uneasy, almost to the point of agitation, when confronted with silence. Without an incessant background din of music, radio, or television, they cannot (or say they cannot) concentrate. It is as if their own unaided thoughts alarmed them, and they suffered an addiction to distraction.
For a nation that puts such a high premium on elegance, Japanese girls walk incredibly badly. They slouch and yaw on foot-high platforms, dye their hair a sort of gingery blonde and look as sullen as 4ft-high Japanese teenagers can, which isn't very. Their parents despair of this generation, calling them bean-sprout children because they lack the backbone and single-mindedness that forged Japan's economic ascendance. They're giving up on the exam-passing, company-cog work ethic and exchanging it for a western girl-band fanzine mindlessness. This teenage rebellion isn't political or social or even sexual, it's a plastic copy. It's not even active, it's passive and pouting and decorative. These kids are turning themselves into the living embodiment of the manga comic victims: pigeon-toed, mini-kilted, white-socked sex dolls. They are a generation of social anorexics who want to remain provocatively prepubescent.
If I could go back and give my thirteen year old self some advice, the main thing I'd tell him would be to stick his head up and look around. I didn't really grasp it at the time, but the whole world we lived in was as fake as a twinkie. Not just school, but the entire town. Why do people move to suburbia? To have kids! So no wonder it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of breeding children.
[S]chools [are] just holding pens within this fake world. Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids all locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults can get things done. And I have no problem with this: in a specialized industrial society, it would be a disaster to have kids running around loose.
What bothers me is not that the kids are kept in prisons, but that (a) they aren't told about it, and (b) the prisons are run mostly by the inmates. Kids are sent off to spend six years memorizing meaningless facts in a world ruled by a caste of giants who run after an oblong brown ball, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. And if they balk at this surreal cocktail, they're called misfits.
Slinking around the mall were small sweaty packs of teen guys radiating waves of dorkness and desperation, and it reminded me of the central cruelty of a teen boy's experience: the girls are always about 19 months ahead of you in every way. They may be 15 or 16, but to your eyes they are indistinguishable from the women in the Victoria's Secret store posters — they have the hair, the proportions, the attitude, the bazooms. And there you are with your zits and stupid shoes and band T-shirt and slack gut and your inability to say anything, let alone the right thing. In my day it was bad enough, but now these guys have to compete with gigantic wall-sized picture of buff nekkid torsos in the Abercrombie & Fitch stores.
When I was in high school, that sort of brazen hussyness was an arrow to the heart, because you knew it was all being wasted on a football player two grades ahead. Now it looks amusing. The Li'l Slut style is not as sophisticated as its practitioners believe. But they'll figure it out eventually.
Teen summers suck. For most. Well, for many. The fictions of TV and movies make you feel compelled to have the Best Summer Ever, complete with star-bless'd romance and great adventures. I had a few of those, including the obligatory weekend at a friend's cabin. (Why, of course there will be adults present, Mater and Pater; we will be chaperoned at all time, and we will play croquet while wearing straw boaters. Translation: lots of throwing up at the end of the dock, desperate groping, the mortification of being spurned, cold cereal for breakfast and burned wieners for supper.) If you're one of the beautiful elite, summer is a fizzy whirl of suitors and intrigues and liaisons. For everyone else, though, it's an interminable stretch of frustration and envy and boredom — with a few nights here and there that change everything for an hour or two. Those are the nights you remember; those are the nights that nail down a summer in one succinct set of events. June may have been empty and lonely; August may have been miserable; July may have been Four Bogus Weeks Working at King Leo's Drive-Thru, but if you had some mad happy spasm at the end of the month with the top town doxy in Trollwood Park, 1975 was the SUMMER OF LOVE.
Romeo and Juliet *died*. I always liked that in a teen romance story.
James D. Nicoll
Anything that makes your mother cry is fun.
The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant — and let the air out of the tires.
Like its politicians and its war, society has the teenagers it deserves.
"Gen Y" is the absolute least creative thing your grandparents, The Baby Boomers, could have thought up for you. What is Gen Y? It's what comes after "Gen X."
That's it. That's all.
You've been defined collectively as "Simply what came after Gen X . . . Gen X being the kids who we saw fit to judge as slackers despite the fact that it was we who decided the TV would suffice as parents while we were too self-absorbed to even manage to keep the generations-long two parent family structure together."
Baby Boomers promise they'll start dying off soon, but they're really dragging their feet, despite all the diabetes.
I've decided I'm calling the Boomers "Exit Slackers."
It is perhaps strange that while the age of puberty sinks, the age at which we approve of sexual relations rises. I suppose it is that "children" in the past grew up in other ways a lot earlier — if you went to work at 12 full time, it is probable that you would be more responsible than if you stay at school, dependent on your parents, until 16 or 18. Now children are simultaneously commercialized and infantilized, with a disturbing trend to sexualize the result — mini-Kylies. At the same time we deny that children are sexual and demonise any who respond to the lip-glossed, flirting and flouncing pre-teen.
Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are.
Charles J. Sykes
Telephone (n): An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.
I spent the day waiting for an important phone call, which is my version of torture. There is nothing so loud as the sound of a phone not ringing.
I was behind a black Neon whose occupant appeared to be drunk, desperate to get to a hospital to deliver a month-overdue baby, fleeing an army of invisible goblins, struck with Sudden Spasmodic Driver's Arm Syndrome, or all of the above. She drifted left, shot right, tailgated in the slow lane. Everyone drew back; everyone had instantly voted her Most Likely to Be a Twisted Heap. You have two choices: pass the car, risking a paint-swapping broadside, or stay behind, risking a pile-up when she clips a Yukon and cartwheels through the air. (The third option — targeting the vehicle with a side-mounted surface-to-moron missile — wasn't morally defensible, alas.) I passed. Snuck a look. Young woman talking on the phone. Oblivious. Seventy m.p.h. Oblivious.
It is my heart-warm and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us--the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage--may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss--except the inventor of the telephone.
I still don't have a cell phone, camera-enabled or otherwise. I don't want to be that reachable. I like to just show up unannounced and upset people. You cell phone people secretly think that's what non-cell phone people are up to, and I'm here to tell you that you're right. You look so cute when you get all flustered. Listen, not everything in life can be push-button convenient, and we think it's healthy that you don't forget that, so you won't be all surprised when you suddenly go blind from your brain tumor.
"Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again." [Marin County newspaper's TV listing for The Wizard of Oz]
"Life-affirming", "heart-warming" and "a sideways look at" must be three of the most depressing descriptions of TV programmes ever invented.
Talk Show: An opportunity for people to confess to millions of viewers what they would be ashamed to admit to their next-door neighbors.
The BBC is pathologically hostile to the government and official opposition, most British institutions, American policy in almost every field, Israel, moderation in Ireland, all Western religions, and most manifestations of the free market economy.
There's so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?
[My] experience from doing medical house calls convinces me that a television switched on is not necessarily a television watched. It flickers in the background, competing for fragments of divided attention with a radio and perhaps a domestic quarrel or two. And even when it is watched, there is no guarantee that anything gets much further than the optic nerves: I have many times asked patients whom I have visited at home while they were sitting in front of a television to describe what they were watching, only to be met with the blank silence of inability or incomprehension. One might as well have asked an habitué of an opium den for the contents of his consciousness as ask modern viewers of television for theirs.
Nature programs used to be the domain of the telephoto lens and the solemn narrator, of prolonged sequences of industrious bark gnawing, the reverential voice-over falling silent for minutes at a time to permit viewers to take in the ambient soundscape. Nowadays, it's all about which khaki-clad yokel can come closest to having his nuts chomped off by an ornery reptile. Had he been on television today, Marlon Perkins would have been forced to narrate Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom while standing knee-deep in the Everglades, his octogenarian rump encased in a stylish, suggestive loincloth, his mind strategically pondering the potential ratings windfall of sacrificing his loyal assistant Jim to a famished puma.
Shakespeare [. . .] was the hack writer of his day. His plays are just like the basic plots of any twitcom or docudrama. If he were alive today he would be eating microwave sushi with the TV execs and pitching pilots about large breasted women saving the world in bikinis not the next installment of Babylon 5. Throughout history the masses have enjoyed mindless crap, and we haven't evolved all that much in this time. As long as that's what gets them to watch, that's what will be shown because the goal is not to stimulate or even re-program, it's to get 4 or 5 hours of your day spent in front of the tube too numb to get up during the commercials, after all, it the commercials they want us to see, not the programs.
I don't like anime. It's the noses: little tiny triangles set in the middle of flat faces. It's the eyes, for heaven's sake: They take up 60 percent of the character's facial area. It's the creepy prepubescent look of the females. It's the reliance on giant combat robots as a plot device. I hate to break it to anime fans, but the great post-apocalyptic battles will not be fought with highly mechanized six-story armored suits. They will be fought with bricks and old chrome fenders scavenged from the junkyards. OK, fanboys? OK.
I regard the Simpsons as one of the finest products of our culture, but a "genuinely pure, liberal program?"
Let's look at its premises: Men are stupid lazy child-choking drunks; married women are docile house-slaves; boys need Ritalin; nuclear power is inherantly unsafe and run by ancient malevolent plutocrats; schools are full of tired, burned-out cynical teachers who couldn't care less about their charges, and whose cafeteria serves up a steady diet of cow hearts and testicles; the police are incompetent buffoons; the mayor is a corrupt bimbo-chasing fool with a note-perfect JFK accent; rural folk are shoeless criminals who interbreed and have huge families; kiddie-show hosts hate children, and the three immigrants in town consist of a janitor, a convenience store owner, and a quack doctor. The only Hispanic guy in town runs around in a bee costume shouting Ay ay ay! and the sole gay character is a helpless gerontophile. The preacher is a disinterested bore; the most devout man in town is an id-diddily-idiot.
I've kept track of the [Iraq] war via the radio and the web. Radio gives you the news of the moment; the web gives you detail and commentary. TV is useful for pictures — I get the feeling sometimes this should be called Operation Stock Footage — and it's useful for seeing retired military people draw lines on maps. I am heartened by the maps that show where our troops are located — if the pictures are indeed drawn to scale, we have three soldiers on the ground, and each is about 135 miles tall; they have at their disposal four tanks, each of which is the size of Rhode Island.
The American Association for Singling Out Bad Parents Like You has just released a new study: Kids watch too much TV. Raise your hand if you agree; noted. Raise your hand if your parents told you this; noted. Raise your hand if you're 70-plus, and your mom told you to turn that radio off and go outside. But Ma, it's hailing! I don't care. It'll beat some sense into you. Of course, when Ma was young, her parents complained that she spent too much time rotting her brain with stereoscopes and magic-lantern pictures. Neanderthal children were probably slapped for staring at the fire too long. You leave cave! Go outside! Start fire of your own!
There's also the interesting matter of contextual testicle punching. By which I mean: on America's Funniest Home Videos, getting punched in the testicles is the cue for universal glee. Show the audience a tape of some guy getting his orbs liquefied by a fastball, or some schlump getting whacked in the ovoid duo by a small child, and the audience howls. In boxing, if one fighter drives a fist into the groinal region of the other, there are boos and serious consequences. Yet in both cases, money is at stake.
What's sad is that the purse for America's Funniest Home Videos is generally larger than most boxing matches.
I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book.
In general, the CBC is a pretty serious waste of the taxpayer's dollar. It would be interesting to know why the BBC, on which the CBC was initially patterned, still manages to produce some fine work after all these years, and to actually appear to be a reasonable support of the arts by government, while the CBC has become a demonstration of why government should stay out of the arts. If anyone can explain to me the structural differences that make this so, I would be interested. I do think that there is a small place for government support of the arts, but the CBC regularly tries to convince me that smaller, headed toward none, is better.
I'm getting the impression Sesame Street is the methadone of TV. It isn't really good for you, but heck, at least it isn't heroin.
James D. Nicoll
Television, by contrast (to books), is an open-admission technology to which there are no physical, economic, cognitive, or imaginative restraints. The six-year-old and the sixty-year-old are equally qualified to experience what television has to offer.
["Reality TV" and modern talk shows] act constantly to lower the bar by showing us carefully-selected specimens of failed humanity — or in some instances hiring actors to portray them — in an effort to convince us all that human beings are animals, unfit to live their own lives, and that everyone must be watched by the government, nurtured, and kept from hurting ourselves and each other.
L. Neil Smith
[Yesterday's TV programs have been replaced by] police state "reality" shows in which "heroic" police officers pursue despicable badguys, smash their cars up, smash their doors down, and smash their teeth in — and a neat if mendacious disclaimer at the end of the program assures us that nobody's rights were violated in the process of enforcing unconstitutional laws. I've always believed that the real purpose of such shows is to desensitize the American public and get them accustomed to living under a vile, violent, and absolute despotism.
L. Neil Smith
CBC news was like BBC: sober fellows talking about interest rates and foreign policy. But Eyewitness News was another world, beginning with Irv [Weinstein]'s plaid jackets, which were garish even when the station was still in black and white. As the title suggests, the idea was to be on the scene as the story broke out, or at any rate before the cops showed up. Their staple was fires, and, fortunately for them, Buffalo was the most combustible city on the planet. To this day when I hear the names of the holy trinity of Buffalo suburbs — Lackawanna, Tonawanda and Cheektowaga — in my mind's eye they're always ablaze, as they blazed so reliably night after night through the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and beyond, while Irv recounted the valiant efforts of the local fire department — or, as he called them, "Buffalo blazebusters" — to subdue them. A fruitless task, as the following night Cheektowaga would be ablaze all over again.
Oh, great altar of passive entertainment, bestow upon me thy discordant images at such speed as to render linear thought impossible!
Temptation is an irresistable force at work on a moveable body.
The Diameter of the Bomb
The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters, with four dead and eleven wounded. And around these, in a larger circle of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered and one graveyard. But the young woman who was buried in the city she came from, at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers, enlarges the circle considerably, and the solitary man mourning her death at the distant shores of a country far across the sea includes the entire world in the circle. And I won't even mention the crying of orphans that reaches up to the throne of God and beyond, making a circle with no end and no God.
Patrick Cook uses a simple tactic to determine a person's understanding of terrorism. He merely asks: "Do you believe we are at war?" An affirmative answer indicates that conversation may proceed at an adult level. A negative reply requires Cook to excise large words, and to explain any difficult concepts using puppetry and mime.
A five-year-old child has the sense to know that slaughtering innocent civilians is wrong. To convince yourself otherwise, you have to spend years hanging around a university.
Even if al-Qaida is crushed, it doesn't mean the war on terrorism is over. Demolish the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Brotherhood of Muslims takes it place. Smash The Army of God, and say hello to God's Army. Moroccan officials speculate that the Casablanca bombings might have been the work of Salafia Jihadia, a group that sounds like it took its name from rejected automobile brands. There are dozens and dozens of these groups. As long as those pesky Jews refuse to load their pockets with bricks and hop in the ocean, there will be terrorists. As long as the West refuses to close down the cathedrals and put the crescent over all the parliament houses, we'll have to deal with these guys.
When the news tells me that 20 are dead, and they add "including the bombers," I want to throw a coffee cup through the TV screen. The proper way to say it is "Eighteen murdered by two suicide bombers." Keep the victims and the killers on opposite ends of the sentence, please.
We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you.
If it's your job to hunt Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, then it's your job to know that they don't hang out with Jewish lesbians in San Francisco.
Serious gunmen favour the rocket-propelled grenade, or RPG, which is something like a bazooka. It's inaccurate and tremendously noisy, a perfect Lebanese weapon.
The interesting thing about staring down a gun barrel is how small the hole is where the bullet comes out, yet what a big difference it would make in your social schedule.
Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have. It is a weapon that we as Americans do have. Let that be understood by those who practice terrorism and prey upon their neighbors.
An article in Wired News argues that cyberterrorism is a distinctly overrated threat.
Yeah, most computer-related stuff doesn't work well enough for terrorism to register anyway. Kind of like threatening to cause traffic jams in L.A.
There is loose in the world a cancer, a cult of death and destruction, a force that loves nothing but destruction and pain and revenge for slights real and imagined. We face people whose hatred and rage sends them into fits of ecstasy at the thought of their own children being blown to bloody shreds so long as they can kill as many innocents as possible. And the higher we build the more fervent and hardened their desire to bring us down.
It is a sickness, it is a disease — it is, in fact, the last animal howling of rage and impotence at a new idea of humanity that is, at a long, bloody and terrible price, fighting and winning a war against racism, sexism, religious extremism, tribalism, conformity and slavery.
Big media's attitude toward the Net has gone through several distinct stages. First there was dismissal, then curiosity, then awe when briefly coupled with the belief that dot-coms would somehow deliver billions more to the bottom line, then disappointment when that didn't happen. Now the latest, and perhaps final, stage appears: out and out hatred.
At no point has actual understanding of the new medium entered the picture.
Kleptomanaic (n): A rich thief.
Abscond (v): To "move in a mysterious way", commonly with the property of another.
"Spring beckons! All things to the call respond, The trees are leaving, and cashiers abscond.
Plunder (v): To take the property of another without observing the decent and customary reticences of theft. To effect a change of ownership with the candid concomitance of a brass band. To wrest the wealth of A from B and leave C lamenting a vanished opportunity.
Hand (n): A singular instrument worn at the end of a human arm and commonly thrust into somebody's pocket.
[T]here are two competing meanings of the word theory: The first goes something along the lines of "that's an interesting theory you've got there, Geoff, but you realize that it has no relevance to the world any of the rest of us are living in, right?" The second goes along the lines of "Aha! So that's how that works. Now I can make the same thing happen in a different situation because I understand how and why it works in this situation, and where it's likely to stop working."
How can you think and hit at the same time?
Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness.
Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once.
Why is it that time softens some people and hardens others.
If you want to kill time, why not try working it to death?
It's later than you think.
Monday is a hard way to spend one seventh of your life.
Millennium (n): The period of a thousand years when the lid is to be screwed down, with all reformers on the under side.
Monday (n): In Christian countries, the day after the baseball game.
Occasional (adj): Afflicting us with greater or less frequency. That, however, is not the sense in which the word is used in the phrase "occasional verses," which are verses written for an "occasion," such as an anniversary, a celebration or other event. True, they afflict us a little worse than other sorts of verse, but their name has no reference to irregular recurrence.
Once (adv): Enough.
Present (n): That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope.
Past (n): That part of Eternity with some small fraction of which we have a slight and regrettable acquaintance. A moving line called the Present parts it from an imaginary period known as the Future. These two grand divisions of Eternity, of which the one is continually effacing the other, are entirely unlike. The one is dark with sorrow and disappointment, the other bright with prosperity and joy. The Past is the region of sobs, the Future is the realm of song. In one crouches Memory, clad in sackcloth and ashes, mumbling penitential prayer; in the sunshine of the other Hope flies with a free wing, beckoning to temples of success and bowers of ease. Yet the Past is the Future of yesterday, the Future is the Past of tomorrow. They are one the knowledge and the dream.
Day (n): A period of 24 hours, mostly misspent. This period is divided into two parts, the day proper and the night, or day improper the former devoted to the sins of business, the latter consecrated to the other sort.
November (n): The eleventh twelfth of a weariness.
The past always looks better than it was; it's only pleasant because it isn't here.
Finley Peter Dunne
It's very hard to stand and wait when those we go to meet are late.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring The Winter Garment of Repentance fling: The Bird of Time has but a little way To fly — and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it
The longer you live, the shorter everything is. Someone explained this to me once this way: as you age, a year becomes an ever-shortened percentage of your life. When you're five, a year is 20 percent of your life. When you're 20, a year is 1/ 20th. And so on: repeat until dead. That's why you feel time accelerating; that's why the measured trot of the months turns into a pounding gallop of years. The days have the same stately pace, the weeks feel a bit shorter, the months smaller, the seasons quicker. It's all perception.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.
I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works ye mighty and despair!" Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Time is the longest distance between two places.
Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
I would not like to do any injustice. The Muslim world has always treated the Jews with considerable tolerance. . . The Jews should never forget that.
I live in an old house. "Old" is a shorthand way of saying, "leaking, stained, rotting, and maybe there's something dead inside a wall." I employ a continuous stream of skilled craftsmen to repair my house because it's not safe for me to do any manual labor that involves sharp edges, splinters, or heavy things. I feel that I'm in mortal danger when removing lint from my dryer. So, obviously, using circular saws or climbing on the roof is pretty much out of the question. I won't even fluff a pillow if I suspect it's filled with pointy feathers.
The Law of Even Numbers: You will always have an even number of a tool you need — zero being an even number.
Rev. Bob "Bob" Crispen
X-acto® blades are never sharp enough. . .until you poke yourself with one.
Dan L. Merkel
I have followed dozens of tips and tricks to make my soldering look even remotely like what they say it should look like. I just can't make it work. "Tin the work first", they say, so I tin it . . . except that when they show a photo of a tinned piece, it looks as if it's just got a microscopically thin coating of really, really shiny solder on it. When I "tin" something, it looks more like I took a tin can and wrapped it around the work piece. All gnarled and grey-black and totally not like the photo. Not to mention being twice the size of the "un-tinned" original piece.
So careful application of heat is the key, they say. I carefully apply heat to a freshly cleaned piece of rail. About a second after I get the iron in contact with the metal, the ties go all Salvador Dali and I'm breathing in really fascinating fumes.
Okay, maybe I'm using too large a soldering iron. I switch to a much smaller iron. Now, when I touch the rail, nothing happens for like 30 seconds or so. The solder at the tip of the iron briefly turns shiny, then jumps off the tip of the iron and lands on the plastic tie instead of the rail.
Flux, they say, flux is the key. Okay, I get myself some flux. Now, I don't get a huge blob of solder. Now I get a huge sheet of solder stretching far beyond the area I'm trying to work on. Flux works too well, if you ask me! Instead of making the solder joint easier to make, it converts the melted metal into a science fiction amoeba-like creature, trying to escape. . .
And don't even get me started about how many bloody hands are necessary to hold a soldering iron, solder, wire, flux applicator, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, emergency beer glass, other emergency beer glass, etc. I'm certain that the authors actually have this all done by Industrial Light and Magic with a 50-person FX team filming against a blue screen, because I sure can't reproduce what they show as just a simple task!
I wear glasses, which would normally be sufficient protection, but whenever I roll out the "Tomahawk Rail Cruise Nipper Missiles", I wish I had a full set of body armour including a full-enclosure helmet. Those things are absolutely amazing! I'm sure that I'll find small bits of Code 83 rail embedded in the concrete blocks at the far end of the basement! They should come with the kind of consumer warning labels normally reserved for stepladders and chainsaws.
If you cannot think of at least three ways of abusing a tool, you do not understand how to use it.
Gerald M. Weinberg
I levelled the city and its houses from the foundations to the top; I destroyed them and consumed them with fire. I tore down and removed the outer and inner walls, the temples and the ziggurats made of brick, and dumped the rubble in the Arathu canal. And after I destroyed Babylon, smashed its gods and massacred its population, I tore up its soil and threw it into the Euphrates so that it was carried by the river down to the sea.
Sennacherib of Assyria
I've never known a country to be starved into democracy.
George D. Aiken
It has been said that 1984 fails as a prophecy because it succeeded as a warning. Well, that kind of self-congratulation is, to say the least, premature. 1984 may not arrive on time, but there's always 1985.
They who clamour loudest for freedom are often the ones least likely to be happy in a free society. The frustrated, oppressed by their shortcomings, blame their failure on existing restraints. Actually, their innermost desire is for an end to the "free for all". They want to eliminate free competition and the ruthless testing to which the individual is continually subjected in a free society.
Dying and killing seem easy when they are part of a ritual, ceremonial, dramatic performance or game. There is need for some kind of make-believe in order to face death unflinchingly. To our real, naked selves, there is not a thing on earth or in heaven worth dying for. It is only when we see ourselves as actors in a staged (and therefore unreal) performance that death loses its frightfulness and finality and becomes an act of make-believe and a theatrical gesture. It is one of the main tasks of a real leader to mask the grim reality of dying and killing by evoking in his followers the illusion that they are participating in a grandiose spectacle, a solemn or light-hearted dramatic performance.
The essential problem is not Hitler, but the institutional framework that allows a Hitler to grasp a monopoly on power. Without the state to back him up and an election to give him legitimized power, Hitler would have been, at most, the leader of some ragged thugs who mugged people in back alleys. Voting for or against Hitler would only strengthen the institutional framework that produced him — a framework that would produce another of his ilk in two seconds.
In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say goodbye to his family? Or if, during periods of massarrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling in terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand.The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst; the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!
A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
Had the white settlers in North America called the natives "Americans" instead of "Indians", the early Americans could not have said that "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" and could not have deprived them so easily of their lands and lives. Robbing people of their proper names is often the first step in robbing them of their property, liberty and life.
There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it.
George Bernard Shaw
In training, I am a great believer in running before you can walk because, by finding out how difficult it is to run, men take a greater interest in the problem of learning to walk. All training must be done through the brain; the bored man absorbs nothing.
At the time, 20 years ago, that the Clarke Institute up in Toronto really got going on Preventing Them, no one paid much attention, except the unfortunate Canadian gender-variant kids and adults who fell into its clutches and were subjected to "cures" by any "therapy" that came to mind. Bailey has some long, sweet passages warmly praising the institute's "therapists." He notes, without suggesting he would disagree, that many people, including his students (he asked them: it was part of his scientific study), declare "autogynephiles" inappropriate for gender change. Stop 'em.
The Clarke Institute cannot bear the thought of adult gender changers like me succeeding as just . . . women: Episcopalian church ladies and female college profs. So if you come to the institute old, they get you to believe you are an "autogynephile," and can't really hope to be anything else. The institute makes you go out full-time in drag with no hormones or facial surgery to make it possible to pass for an entire year. This would be suicidal in many American towns; I guess Canada is less violent. If you show up with nail polish or, worse, evidence of having started hormones on your own, you are punished, and your clock is turned back to zero, Bailey reports. The result is "men" (Bailey's term, remember) who can stand to run around as guys in gowns forever, thus assuring that Blanchard's theory will hold, at least for this "sample." Men are men; it's hopeless, guys; you will never be women.
Contrary to Bailey and his friends, the real science says that formerly heterosexual gender crossers are not sex-crazed lovers of self. Formerly homosexual gender crossers are not "just" homosexual men (with the emphasis on just and on sex: Bailey never refers to gay people as loving; love, it seems, is something he's a little weak on; in Bailey's mind it's all about sex, sex, sex). And regular, four-square, iron-pumping Ulysses-King David-Socrates-Rock Hudson-type homosexuals are not, as Bailey wants us to believe, "just" feminine guys. Real gender science, to repeat, says that who you are — being "feminine" or wanting to be — is not the same thing as whom you love. That's not too hard to understand. I love my dog. But that doesn't mean I want to become a dog.
To be sure, the connection between socialism and transvestism may not at first be obvious. But many (even relatively conventional) people are inclined to ascribe their purely private woes to social causes in order to distance themselves from their own unhappiness, and to persuade themselves that the fault lies not within them but out in the world, and that therefore happiness is but a social reform or two away. The transvestites argued that it was not their sexual conduct in itself that made them unhappy but society's reaction to it; change society, and all would be well. Since the society in which they were unhappy, or at any rate dissatisfied, was a capitalist one, it followed that its opposite, a socialist one, would agree with them more.
The transvestite writers were angry: they believed themselves ill-used by an intolerant society. They believed that it was the transvestite content of their poetry that alone precluded its publication by the anti-transvestite mainline publishers (there is no one as paranoid as an unpublished poet). Anger is the handmaiden of self-righteousness, of course, and self-righteousness the mother of much declamation.
Now if there's a disaster, fire, earthquake, big disaster, Superman flies about and saves people. I can't do that. The best I could do is clump around like this and hope people would say "Look, a bloke in a dress!" [. . .] and it might take their minds off the pain.
[Transvestites are like super heroes because] both need to change their clothes before helping people . . . except transvestites don't really help people. But otherwise they're uncannily similar.
A road map always tells you everything except how to refold it.
The beauty of auto travel is that it gives your family a chance to spend "quality time" together in a confined space, hour after quality hour, until you want to yank out all your DNA strands individually by the roots and hurl them out the window.
Passport (n): A document treacherously inflicted upon a citizen going abroad, exposing him as an alien and pointing him out for special reprobation and outrage.
I amuse myself by studying people as I travel . . . it is fun to study the world while passing through it.
I believe that when you're an American in a British McDonald's and the patron before begins his order with "May I please have . . ." maybe you should do that too, instead of your usual "Yeah — gimme one Big Mac meal . . . ." I mean, you're already disgusting everyone merely by virtue of being an American in McDonald's. You can't do anything about that part. Don't even try pointing out that the much-maligned franchise is full to capacity of natives of the land you're visiting — they'll all have excuses for being there. Poor excuses, but they'll have them, trust me. Whereas you — you are just being a typical American. Can't you try the local food while you're there? Do you have to seek out the same food you can eat (cheaper, usually) at home?
In vain might you argue that, in fact, you did try the local fare the first few days of your stay, but you soon tired of eating breakfast specials like "Eggs in Grease Sauce" and "Tough-as-Jerky Bacon Platter with Limestone Biscuits," and you thought you had better seek out something more home-like before your teeth began to "go native".
So I think, when we're wondering why other countries hate us, we have to keep in mind the very real possibility that it's because, actually, we're kinda hateable.
Then, we can go right back to not caring a fig if we are.
I don't know what it is about me, but I swear I could be in line between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and 30 seconds later I'd be the one standing off to the side in the crucifixion pose while one security guy walks me through the Hokey Pokey and waves the metal detection wand with the sensitivity level set so high it registers the iron in my blood, and his partner lubes his arm up to the elbow in preparation for the body cavity search.
Not newly renovated
Evokes another era:
Little English spoken
An hour from where you want to be
Long walk down to beach
The window opens.
The longest journey begins with but a single step.
There are three things a traveller should never speak of: his destination, his money, and his faith. Each of these things has enemies.
I tend to sleep in the nude. Which isn't a bad thing except for maybe on those long flights.
One nice thing about the Third World, you don't have to fasten your seat belt. (Or stop smoking. Or cut down on saturated fats.) It takes a lot off your mind when average life expectancy is forty-five minutes.
[The] two key rules of Third World travel:
Never run out of whiskey.
Never run out of whiskey.
What would be a road hazard anywhere else, in the Third World is probably the road.
Air security is about ritual and choreography — encapsulated in the synchronized swimming motions by which the stewardesses point out the emergency exits.
Like many passengers, I was shocked when I heard that Air Canada's flight attendants were threatening to strike and deprive airline customers of cabin service. They've got cabin service on Air Canada? Since when?
If you look like your passport photo, in all probability you need the journey.
One troll, *one* troll in all of recorded history mind you, takes up residence under a bridge, and people stereotype the whole damn species.
A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner.
Long ago I had learned that in conversation with an irate senior, a junior should confine himself to the three remarks, "Yes, Sir", "No, Sir", and "Sorry, Sir". Repeated in the proper sequence, they will get him through the most difficult interview with the minimum of discomfort.
Field Marshal William Slim
Fidelity (n): A virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed.
Trust everybody, but always cut the cards.
Distrust all men in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.
Help fight truth decay.
Tell the truth and you won't have so much to remember.
As scarce as the truth is, the supply is much greater than the demand.
Truthful (n): Dumb and illiterate.
There are those who so dislike the nude that they find something indecent in the naked truth.
Francis H. Bradley
It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.
Truth: the most deadly weapon ever discovered by humanity. Capable of destroying entire perceptual sets, cultures, and realities. Outlawed by all governments everywhere. Possession is normally punishable by death.
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
Winston S. Churchill
Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It isself-sustained.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody will see it.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
It is as hard to tell the truth as to hide it.
The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility. And vice versa.
Robert A. Heinlein
For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
It is always the best policy to tell the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.
Jerome K. Jerome
The one who keeps the Tao is not affected by praise or blame. Knowing the truth, one is not afraid no matter what happens
The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.
It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of the truth — that error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.
The man who boasts that he habitually tells the truth is simply a man with no respect for it. It is not a thing to be thrown about loosely, like small change; it is something to be cherished and hoarded and disbursed only when absolutely necessary. The smallest atom of truth represents some man's bitter toil and agony; for every ponderable chunk of it there is a brave truth-seeker's grave upon some lonely ash-dump and a soul roasting in Hell.
Truth: Something somehow discreditable to someone.
[O]nly through diversity of opinion is there, in the existing state of human intellect, a chance of fair play to all sides of the truth.
John Stuart Mill
God grant me the company of those who seek the truth, and God deliver me from those who have found it.
Sir Isaac Newton
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
I was not lying. I said things that later on seemed to be untrue.
Richard Milhous Nixon
Tiffany was on the whole quite a truthful person, but it seemed to her that there were times when things didn't divide easily into "true" and "false", but instead could be "things that people needed to know at the moment" and "things that they didn't need to know at the moment".
Speak the truth, but leave immediately after.
The rhetoricians of race are not content with repudiating the oppression of the Negro, but claim that "black is beautiful"; the rhetoricians of drugs are not content with rejecting false claims about the harmfulness of certain drugs, but assert that toxic chemicals "expand the mind"; the rhetoricians of madness are not content with opposing psychiatric fraud and force, but claim that schizophrenia is "not a breakdown, but a breakthrough". In short, ours is an age in which partial truths are tirelessly transformed into total falsehoods and then acclaimed as revolutionary revelations.
Most writers regard truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.
When in doubt, tell the truth.
Often, the surest way to convey misinformation is to tell the strict truth.
Most writers regard truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.
The truth is rarely pure, and never simple.
If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our country men.
Every wanton and careless restraint of the will of the subject whether practised by a monarch, a nobility, or a popular assembly, is a degree of tyranny.
Sir William Blackstone
It's said that "power corrupts", but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. When they do act, they think of it as service, which has limits. The tyrant, though, seeks mastery, for which he is insatiable, implacable.
Your nation and mine, in the past, have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. Long-standing ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold. As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found.
George W. Bush
The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of the tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.
We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans . . . that we are unable to think about reality.
William Jefferson Clinton
The maintenance of despotism depended upon this universal vocation for untruth, because without the fiction that the despotism was necessary, that it conduced to the happiness and well-being of all, and that any alternative would be disastrous, the subject population would cease to be controllable. The inability to speak even the most evident truth perverted all human relationships and institutions. And of course the lie came to be the foundation of all twentieth-century totalitarian regimes, without which they could not survive.
The powerful influence of custom is in no respect more compelling than in this, namely, habituation to subjection.
Etienne de la Boetie
Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy.
Experience suggests that the most dangerous moment for an evil government is usually when it begins to reform itself.
Alexis de Tocqueville
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression . . . It is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air--however slight--lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
[On Stalin's deliberate starvation of Russians in the early 1930's:] What are a few million dead Russians in a situation like this? Quite unimportant. This is just an incident in the sweeping historical changes here. I think the entire matter is exaggerated.
European visionaries have had a long history of dreaming up and seeking to implement nationalist or socialist utopias — schemes, doomed to fail, that have trampled individuals under the heavy boot of the state as the price of creating a "new man" and a perfect world, bringing history to fulfillment. The murderous fraternity of the French Revolution, nineteenth-century Bonapartism, Marxism and modern communism, Francoism, Italian fascism, Nazism — all these coercive programs for remaking the world sprang from what seems an ineradicable Continental impulse.
Victor Davis Hanson
If these advocates of totalitarian tribalism succeed in imposing legal and social censorship in the arena of ideas--if they succeed in their attempt to establish the legitimacy of such perverse Orwellian categories as speech-crimes and thought-crimes--we will have made a major retreat to the closed society.
Friedrich A. Hayek
Whenever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.
Will the oppressor let go the oppressed? Was there ever an instance? Can the annals of mankind exhibit one single example where rulers overcharged with power willingly let go the oppressed, though solicited and requested most earnestly? . . . Sometimes, the oppressed have got loose by one of those bloody struggles that desolate a country; but a willing relinquishment of power is one of those things which human nature never was, nor ever will be, capable of.
It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of his nation; that the position of the individual ego is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole . . . that above all the unity of a nation's spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will of an individual . . . This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community, is really the first premise for every truly human culture . . . The basic attitude from which such activity arises, we call--to distinguish it from egoism and selfishness--idealism. By this we understand only the individual's capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men.
The people about us are unaware of what is really happening to them. They gaze fascinated at one or two familiar superficialities, such as possession and rank and other outworn conceptions. As long as these are kept intact, they are quite satisfied. But in the meantime they have entered a new relation; a powerful social force has caught them up. They themselves are changed. What are ownership and income to that? Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories? We socialize human beings.
The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it.
An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.
The mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.
It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also . . .
After we won back our freedom at the end of the cold war, there was a proposal to bring back Czechs who had escaped to Western countries and make up a new government of those people who had been living in free countries. Those who had lived the tragic communist experience said no the idea of foreigners organizing our transition back to freedom. We said we had to do this ourselves without outside influence dictating what we should do.
"Fascism," [. . .] is used so often as a term of general opprobrium that it has been gutted of all serious content in popular usage. More's the pity, since fascism is back, big-time, and it would be worthwhile to try to understand it in order to drive it back under the slimy rocks where it was hidden for much of the last half-century.
The same people who accuse America of coddling dictators are sputtering with bilious fury because we actually deposed one.
There's a quick way to see if your nation's leader is worse than Hitler. Criticize him loudly in the news media. Using one's index finger, probe back of head for bullet hole. Nothing? You might want to rethink your rhetoric.
If you want to have a large population and to provide it with arms so as to establish a great empire, you will have made your population such that you cannot handle it as you please.
There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.
Aside from the roads, the lower crime rate, the uniform system of weights and measures, etc., what have the Romans ever done for us?
When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church — and there was nobody left to be concerned.
They came first for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. And then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.
It is the beauty of well-designed fascism that it gives every piss-ant an ant hill to piss from.
The great age of democracy and of national-self determination was the age of the musket and the rifle. [. . .] Ages in which the the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, thecommon people have a chance.
Today's "flat-worlders" are those who believe that information can be controlled. Historically, information always equaled power. Rulers and civilizations viewed knowledge as a commodity to be guarded, a thing finite in its dimensions and lost when shared. Religious institutions viewed knowledge as inflammatory and damnable, a thing to be handled carefully and to advantage, the nuclear energy of yesteryear. The parallel to the world public's view of wealth is almost exact—an instinctive conviction that information is a thing to be gotten and hoarded, and that its possession by a foreign actor means it has been, by vague and devious means, robbed from oneself and one's kind. But just as wealth generates wealth, so knowledge begets knowledge. Without a dynamic and welcoming relationship with information as content and process, no society can compete in the post-industrial age.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
An intellectual commits treason against humanity when he or she propagandizes for ideas which lend themselves to the use of tyrants and terrorists.
Eric S. Raymond
[R]evolutionary relativism [is] the position that there are no moral claims or universal values that can trump the particularisms of particular ethnicities, political movements, or religions. In particular, relativists maintain that that the ideas of reason and human rights that emerged from the Enlightenment have no stronger claim on us than tribal prejudices.
Eric S. Raymond
[T]he myth of man the killer [. . .] encourages obedience and legitimizes social control of the individual. The man who [. . .] sees every one of his neighbors as a potential murderer, will surrender nearly anything to be protected from them. He will call for a strong hand from above; he will become a willing instrument in the oppression of his fellows. He may even allow himself to be turned into a killer in fact. Society will be atomized into millions of fearful fragments, each reacting to the fear of fantasied individual violence by sponsoring the political conditions for real violence on a large scale.
Eric S. Raymond
I disagree with [conscription] and I'll tell you why: I believe Lenin . . . on that. Lenin said that he would force the capitalist nations to maintain military conscription until the uniform became a symbol of servitude rather than patriotism.
A Chinese proverb says that a man with a clear conscience does not tremble at a midnight knock on his gate. But in modern society, he probably should!
Most Americans have been conditioned to accept the view that "freedom" is a condition defined by the state; that as long as one is obedient to governmental authority, they will stay out of trouble. By this definition, "freedom" has always existed everywhere: one was "free," in 1938, to stand on a street corner in Germany and praise Hitler, or to laud Stalin on the streets of Moscow.
One thing about a police state, you can always find the police.
L. Neil Smith
People who object to weapons aren't abolishing violence, they're begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically "right." Guns ended that, and social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work.
L. Neil Smith
In every village there were people who in one way or another had personally gotten in the way of the local activists. This was the perfect time to settle accounts with them of jealousy, envy, insult. A new word was needed for all these new victims as a class — and it was born. By this time it had no 'social' or 'economic' content whatsoever, but it had a marvelous sound: podkulachnik — 'a person aiding the kulaks.' In other words, I consider you an accomplice of the enemy. And that finishes you!
[B]eing a totalitarian dictator is like being in showbiz: if you're not working, you're effectively dead. And right now Saddam and the Ba'ath Party, like Osama and al-Qa'eda, are not working. It doesn't matter if he's holed up on the North-West Frontier at the back of the cave with Mullah Omar, or in the honeymoon suite at the Damascus Holiday Inn, or living on welfare in Ontario: if he's not dictator of Iraq, he's dead.
A tyrant is nothing but a slave turned inside out.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
There are three kinds of despots. There is the despot who tyrannises over the body. There is the despot who tyrannises over the soul. There is the despot tyrannises over the body and soul alike. The first is called the Prince. The second is called the Pope. The third is called the People . . . All despots bribe. The People bribe and brutalise.
When making public-policy decisions for the government, I think one should ask oneself which technologies would best strengthen the hand of a police state. Then, do not allow the government to deploy those technologies.