This page is dedicated to insightful thoughts pertinent to our times, perhaps more so than we care to acknowledge. We will post additional quotes every so often.
A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.
All we are saying is: give peace a chance.
The essence of so-called war prosperity; it enriches some by what it takes from others. It is not rising wealth but a shifting of wealth and income.
Ludwig von Mises
Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought!
War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
Gen. Smedley Butler
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk
Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.
Our country is now geared to an arms economy bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and an incessant propaganda of fear.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.
Patrick J. Buchanan
An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.
Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood.
We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Before the war is ended, the war party assumes the divine right to denounce and silence all opposition to war as unpatriotic and cowardly.
Sen. Robert M. La Follette
War is the business of barbarians.
If a baseball player slides into home plate and, right before the umpire rules if he is safe or out, the player says to the umpire--'Here is $1,000.' What would we call that? We would call that a bribe. If a lawyer was arguing a case before a judge and said, 'Your Honor before you decide on the guilt or innocence of my client, here is $1,000.' What would we call that? We would call that a bribe. But if an industry lobbyist walks into the office of a key legislator and hands her or him a check for a $1,000, we call that a campaign contribution. We should call it a bribe.
Janice Fine, Dollars and Sense Magazine
Private gain from public life at the national level is legal and not uncommon in the United States, and those in or around government officialdom in Washington would be shocked if anyone had the temerity to refer to it as 'corruption'. It's rather just 'business' and 'how things work'... There is no no shortage of evidence that, despite the annual applause for all of the anti-corruption mechanisms in place in these United States, so-called legal corruption abounds. What is perhaps more interesting is the lack of candor in public discourse today--indeed, the palpable denial, the false conceit--about the state of corruption in America. Our politicians perpetually lie to us and we so badly want to believe them.
from: "A Climate of Legal Corruption", by Charles Lewis, former Executive Director of The Center for Public Integrity. www.publicintegrity.org
In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censure the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.
Justice Black, NYT v. U.S. 403 US 713.
Peace and Justice
It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.
I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.
At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism, and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.
Edward R. Murrow
Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.
The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group or any controlling private power.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
A slave is he who cannot speak his thoughts.
Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom...
I certainly understand the need to balance the federal budget, but people need to remember that to balance the federal budget off the backs of the poorest people in the country is simply unacceptable. You don't pull feeding tubes from people. You don't pull the wheelchair out from under the child with muscular dystrophy.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, on a bipartisan lobbying effort by governors to stave off federal cuts in Medicaid.
Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the STATE has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied.
Arthur Miller, Playwright
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.
The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.
The Roots of Violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principles.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was 'legal' and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was 'illegal.'
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.
Harry S. Truman
Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.
We're not a democracy. It's a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality we're a plutocracy: a government by the wealthy.
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General
The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these.
Lord Hoffman, Britain's Highest Court, who ruled against indefinite detention of terror suspects.
On one's Conduct toward others
...to do injustice is a greater evil, and to suffer it a lesser one. With what then, shall a man provide himself to secure this double advantage: insurance from doing wrong and from suffering it ? Is it power that he needs, or will-power ? What I mean is this: can a man escape from being wronged merely by willing to escape it, or may he escape it by acquiring power to prevent it ?
Plato, from Gorgias; Socrates in discourse with Callicles
(section 510), W.C. Helmbold translation, 1952
In discourse with the philosopher Socrates, the Greek citizen Thrasymachus posits the view that 'might makes right', that the ruler imposes his 'rights' by sheer force, that in a society-- justice or right, is that which is defined by the stronger, by those in power. Socrates disagrees in this way:
...the art of medicine does not study its own interest, but the needs of the body, just as a groom shows his skill by caring for horses, not for the art of grooming. And so every art seeks, not its own advantage--for it has no deficiencies--but the interest of the subject on which it is exercised...no art ever studies or enjoins the interest of the superior or stronger party, but always that of the weaker over which it has authority... and so with government of any kind: no ruler, in so far as he is acting as ruler, will study or enjoin what is for his own interest. All that he says and does will be said and done with a view to what is good and proper for the subject for whom he practices his art.
Plato, from the Republic; Socrates in discourse with Thrasymachus
Part I (Book I, Ch. 3), Francis Cornford's translation 1941
Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life. Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far-off goals. Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength. Deliver us from fretfullness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world. Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them. Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of a world made new.
Eleanor Roosevelt's nightly prayer
(from Elliott Roosevelt and James Brough, Mother R., New York, Putnam's Sons 1977, p. 151)
The Idiocy of War
...every expression of life must serve only the preservation of existence, and is absolutely focused on that. All else is banished... in the quiet hours when the puzzling reflection of former days like a blurred mirror, projects beyond me the figure of my present existence, I often sit over against myself, as before a stranger, and wonder how the unnamable active principle that calls itself to life has adapted itself even to this form... life is simply one continual watch against the menace of death;--it has transformed us into unthinking animals in order to give us the weapon of instinct--it has reinforced us with dullness, so that we do not go to pieces before the horror, which would overwhelm us if we had clear, conscious thought... we are little flames poorly sheltered by frail walls against the storm of dissolution and madness, in which we flicker and sometimes almost go out. Then the muffled roar of the battle becomes a ring that encircles us, we creep in upon ourselves, and with big eyes stare into the night.
...if we go back we will be weary, broken, burnt out, rootless and without hope. We will not be able to find our way any more. And men will not understand us--for the generation that grew up before us, though it has passed these years with us already had a home and a calling; now it will return to its old occupations, and the war will be forgotten--and the generations that grew up after us will be strange to us and push us aside. We will be superfluous even to ourselves...
Excerpts from the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
If we are to preserve our democracy, these are not times to retreat, but to advance the cause of civil rights.
The USA v. NJ (1981) Judge H. Lee Sarokin
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and will never be.
It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting.
Tom Stoppard, Dramatist
If the people of this country can be reached with the truth, their judgment will be in favor of the many, as against the privileged few.
Man's capacity for evil, makes democracy necessary, and man's capacity for good makes democracy possible.
Reinhold Niebuhr, Theologian
The world stands in more need of justice than charity, and indeed it is the want of justice, that renders charity everywhere so necessary.
Benjamin Rush, U.S. Surgeon General/1778
Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
John Milton, Writer
Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
George Orwell, Novelist
Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains.
Jean J. Rousseau, Philosopher
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Such men feel in conscience bound to ask of this nation three things: 1. The right to vote; 2. Civic equality; and 3. The education of youth according to ability... I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. Across the color-line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas... I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn or condescension. So wed with truth, I dwell above the Veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America ? Is this the life you long to change into the dull red hideousness of Georgia ? Are you so afraid lest peering from this Pisgah, between Philistine and Amalekite, we sight the Promised Land ?
W.E.B. DuBois, from The Souls of Black Folk
ON THE BIRTH OF TYRANNY
We stand for the maintenance of private property... We shall protect free enterprise as the most expedient, or rather the sole possible economic order.
Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.
The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence in the long run, too intelligent... a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another... And at the same time the consequence of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival...
George Orwell, excerpts from the novel: 1984, published in 1949
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph... I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
Thomas Paine, from: The American Crisis/1776
I think we are blind, blind but seeing, blind people who can see, but do not see.
Jose Saramago, Nobel Laureate/Literature, from the novel Blindness
When the trumpets had sounded and all was in readiness on the face of the Earth, Jehovah divided his universe: Anaconda, Ford Motors, Coca-Cola Inc., and similar entities: the most succulent item of all, the United Fruit Company Incorporated reserved for itself: the heartland and coasts of my country, the delectable waist of America. They rechristened their properties: the "Banana Republics"-- and over the languishing dead, the uneasy repose of the heroes who harried that greatness, their flags and their freedoms, they established an opera bouffe: they ravished all enterprise, awarded the laurels like Caesars, unleashed all the covetous, and contrived the tyrannical Reign of the Flies-- Trujillo the fly, and Tacho the fly, the flies called Carias, Martinez, Ubico -- all of them flies, flies dank with the blood of their marmalade vassalage, flies buzzing drunkenly on the populous middens: the fly-circus fly and the scholarly kind, case-hardened in tyranny...
Pablo Neruda, Poet, excerpt from the prose poem: The United Fruit Company
Last updated March 04, 2011
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