You got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.
If you can't explain it to an 8-year-old, you don't understand it.
There is only one pleasure greater than that of being appreciated by intelligent people, and that is the pleasure of not being understood by blunderheads, who are only capable of expressing in a kind of jargon what serves them in the place of thought.
True greatness consists in the use of a powerful understanding to enlighten oneself and others.
Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire
What does it say about my industry that the worst paper in the English language is our official newspaper, the Guild Reporter? It manages to sum up everything about unions that gripes me — the joylessness, the complaining, the looming doom, the whining about how the world is set up entirely for the wishes of small cartoon men in striped pants and top hats who own everything from Baltic Avenue to Boardwalk. It always has the flavor of the smart but unfashionable kids with no social skills sitting around the high school cafeteria bitching about the jocks, with one exception: top union management would be the only subculture that could become hipper by getting into Dungeons and Dragons. At least it would give them a new set of descriptive terms for their foes. I'd love to pick up the union paper and read "Management takes cue from Mordor, hires scab-Orks" — it would suggest they have a sense of humor.
The notion that the UN is some sort of dispassionate body that, "does right" and just pursues everybody's best interests is a fantasy. Each individual nation will be pursuing their best interests. That's the normal behavior of nation-states. It shouldn't surprise us, but neither should we go to them for permission to do what's in our national interests.
The assumption, in many minds, seems to be that whereas individual powers act on the world stage according to the brutal rules of realpolitik, the U.N. represents legitimacy and projects an aura of idealism. In fact, more than half a century of experience shows that the U.N. is a theater of hypocrisy, a sink of corruption, a street market of sordid bargains and a seminary of cynicism. It is a place where mass-murdering heads of state can stand tall and sell their votes to the highest bidder and where crimes against humanity are rewarded. For many people the true nature of the U.N. was epitomized by the news that Libya, a blood-soaked military dictatorship of the crudest kind, is to chair the U.N. Commissionon Human Rights. It's people like Muammar Qaddafi who benefit from the U.N., who are legitimized by its spurious respectability.
[T]he U.N. [is] a profoundly corrupt marketplace — a bazaar where all-hat-and-no-cattle, old-Europe types strut about, making deals with third-world dictators to appease terrorists, humble "the hyperpower," and reap lavish profits from the world's misfortunes. [Americans] thought that the U.N. had something to do with justice, that Kofi Annan was a humanitarian, that the French and the Belgians were our friends, and that we needed the U.N.'s blessing to give our actions moral legitimacy.
The observers had a logbook recording the assaults, bombings, and artillery attacks on the area. Each page was ruled in vertical columns: DATE, TIME, LOCATION, DAMAGE, CASUALTIES. The columns headed ACTION TAKEN BY THE UN were completely empty.
The [UN] is a dump. The UN headquarters complex was completed in 1952 in the Hanna-Barbera Jetsons style of modern, which is now back in vogue — but with light, with color, with irony. At the UN it's with linoleum.
[N]o matter how disgustingly [the United Nations] behave a substantial chunk of the American electorate and big majorities in every other western nation hear the words "United Nations" and automatically associate it with benign multilateralism. They've got some old Polaroid of Audrey Hepburn surrounded by multiethnic UNICEF moppets lodged in the back of their heads, and it never fades. So I'm in favour of the serious powers allowing the UN to decay into an irrelevant talking-shop for Third World dictators and their European apologists. Lots of offices linger on long after they've outlived their usefulness: in England, there's still a Sheriff of Nottingham, but he doesn't chase Robin Hood and guys in green tights through Sherwood Forest any more; it's just an empty ceremonial office. That's what the UN should be.
There is no great issue facing the world today that can't be made worse by having a UN conference on it.
The UN doesn't solve problems, it manages them in perpetuity: it turns them into Les MisÚrables; come back two decades later and it's still running. Even without the corruption and drugs and child-sex rings, it's not an impressive record. Any German contemplating Palestine's "refugee" "camps", now celebrating their golden jubilee, ought to be grateful his country enjoyed the straightforward benefits of victors' justice.
[. . .] in addition to a lot of regular guys who just happened to have brains the size of Maytag washers, it also attracted some warped 200-IQ Poindexters who went through life making their students and colleagues suffer the reflected pain of their own richly deserved childhood wedgies.
I guess I shouldn't be so critical of the professors. Even the stupid ones were brilliant, and some were genuinely nice people. But more than a few combined the social skills of Boo Radley with the grooming savvy of bag ladies. Nonetheless, some of the weirdest had egos almost as grand as their astounding B.O. I remember one of them tooled around in an old white VW with a bumper sticker that said "Back Off, I'm a Physicist!" Well, let me point out two things.
Most people back off from physicists INSTINCTIVELY.
"Back Off, I'm a Physicist!" makes about as much sense as "Don't Hit Me Or I Will Give You My Lunch Money."
[T]his also has the effect of allowing the rest of academia to ignore any actual scholarship that goes on in a Women's Studies program, because any academic discipline born of a grievance is bound to be regarded as an intellectual petting zoo.
The particular strain of Leftism that so often makes its home in universities is impervious to fact or argument. I know. I've experienced it firsthand. I've watched the reactionary glint in some wild-eyed co-ed with a megaphone who responded to any kind of questioning in her activities with incensed shouting. I've seen the hateful contemptuous rage that courses through a crowd as they hiss, boo and shout down some speaker with whom they disagree. I've noticed the arrogant, fervent belief that says even though you're a ignorant kid barely out of your teenage years, you've decided conclusively that we need to wipe away all of society up to this point because you conclusively judged it flawed according your particular wacky utopian dream.
In case you don't know about Usenet, I'll give you my shaky understanding of it. A long time ago, if a teenage boy with no girlfriend wanted to see a naked woman, he had to shoplift a Playboy or borrow one from the bottom of his dad's closet. Then someone — probably Al Gore — found a way to post naked pictures on the Internet. And the naked pictures were arranged by topic, and you could download them to your computer and print out crappy copies on your 50-dpi inkjet and hide them from your mother in the bottom of your sock drawer.
So I hear.
The categories were called "groups," and although they were mainly driven by porn, their creators euphemistically called them "newsgroups," because a small percentage of people actually used the groups to exchange messages. A lot of the more-interesting ones have titles starting with "alt," such as "alt.talk," "alt.politics," and "alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.bestiality.hamster.ducttape."
I know you think I'm making that last one up. You should know by now that I'm not that talented.