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State Violence


As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men.  I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems.  I have tried to offer them  my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action.  But they asked—and rightly so—what about Vietnam?  They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted.  Their questions hit home, and I  knew that I could never again raise my voice  against the violence of  the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today—my own government.  For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,

Speaking at Riverside Church, New York City,

April 4, 1967




Fear and

the Falsity of Material Wealth


...So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.  In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves, which is essential to victory.  I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties.  They concern, thank God, only material things.  Values have shrunken to fantastic levels.  Taxes have risen.  Our ability to pay has fallen.  Government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income.  The means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade.  The withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side.  Farmers find no markets for their produce.  The savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.  More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return.  Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment…

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money.  It lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.  The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits.  These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.

Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit.  And there must be an end to conduct in banking and in business, which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing.  Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance.  Without them it cannot live...

Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

Inauguration Speech

January 1933



Great Ideals


Life is growth, life is progress, and progress depends on new ideas.  Without the advent of new ideas, we should still be riding in stagecoaches and reading by the light of tallow candles.

Great ideals are the glory of man alone.  No other creature can have them.  Only man can get a vision and an inspiration that will lift him above the level of himself and send him forth against all opposition or any discouragement to do and to dare and to accomplish wonderful and great things for the world and for humanity.

To no other of God’s creatures is given this power but man alone, and the man that has set before him no great and uplifting ideal and never received a vision of the glory of service has never known the joy of real achievement.  There can be no conquest to the man who dwells in the narrow and small environment of a groveling life, and there can be no vision to the man the horizon of whose vision is limited by the bounds of self.

But the great things of the world, the great accomplishments of the world, have been achieved by men who had high ideals and who have received great visions.  The path is not easy, the climbing is rugged and hard, but the glory of the vision at the end is worthwhile.

Matthew Henson,

African American polar explorer and aide to

Com. Robert Peary, c. 1910




On Resistance


Write on my gravestone: "Infidel, Traitor." --infidel to every church that compromises with wrong; traitor to every government that oppresses the people.

Wendell Phillips

Attorney, Abolitionist, Orator




Updated  August 16, 2005

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