If a ruby falls in a puddle, it will not lose its luster.
Ugliness (n): A gift of the gods to certain women, entailing virtue without humility.
Vanity (n): The tribute of a fool to the worth of the nearest ass.
Isn't Tom Brokaw's plan to personally fellate every living WWII veteran thanks enough?
It has been my personal experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
Our bookshops precisely mirror this balkanization of literary endeavor, with their black writing sections, gay and lesbian writing sections, women's writing sections, and so forth. You do not read to broaden your outlook or your sympathies but to maintain your rage — to quote Gough Whitlam's advice to his supporters, after he had been dismissed as prime minister of Australia. For in an era of victimhood, when even the most privileged feel themselves hard done by, rage is automatically deemed a generous and justified emotion, no matter what the special pleading upon which it is founded.
Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which a man harms the person or property of another.
However much I may sympathise with and admire worthy motives, I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest of causes.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
The experiments described in Stanley Milgram's 1974 book The Perils of Obedience demonstrated how otherwise ethical people could be induced to actively torture another person by the presence of an authority figure commanding and legitimizing the violence. They remain among the most powerful and disturbing results in experimental psychology.
Human beings are not natural killers; very, very few ever learn to enjoy murder or torture. Human beings, however, are sufficiently docile that many can eventually be taught to kill, to support killing, or to consent to killing on the command of an alpha male, entirely dissociating themselves from responsibility for the act. Our original sin is not murderousness — it is obedience.
Eric S. Raymond
The instinctive fighting style of human beings seems to be rather carefully optimized to keep us from injuring one another. Films of street scuffles show that "instinctive" fighting consists largely of shoving and overhand blows to the head/shoulders/ribcage area.
It is remarkably difficult to seriously injure a human being this way; the preferred target areas are mostly bone, and the instinctive striking style delivers rather little force for given effort. It is enlightening to compare this fumbling behavior to the focussed soft-tissue strike of a martial artist, who (having learned to override instinct) can easily kill with one blow.
It is also a fact, well-known to military planners, that somewhere around 70% of troops in their first combat-fire situation find themselves frozen, unable to trigger lethal weapons at a live enemy.
Eric S. Raymond
In reality, Nature is a violent arena of intra- and inter-species competition in which murder for gain is an everyday event and ecological fluctuations commonly lead to mass death. Human societies, outside of wartime, are almost miraculously stable and nonviolent by contrast. But the unconscious prejudice of even educated Westerners today is likely to be that the opposite is true. The Hobbesian view of the "warre of all against all" has survived only as a description of human behavior, not of the wider state of nature. Pop ecology has replaced pop theology; the new myth is of man the killer ape.
Eric S. Raymond
Virtues (n. pl.): Certain abstentions.
[T]he boundless prurience of the British press concerning the private lives of public figures, especially politicians, has an ideological aim: to subvert the very concept and deny the possibility of virtue, and therefore of the necessity for restraint. If every person who tries to defend virtue is revealed to have feet of clay (as which of us does not?) or to have indulged at some time in his life in the vice that is the opposite of the virtue he calls for, then virtue itself is exposed as nothing but hypocrisy: and we may therefore all behave exactly as we choose.
It costs more to maintain ten vices than one virtue.
Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder.
Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.