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Category Archives: Philosophy

Your Right to Not Support Evil <— Thomas Jefferson


to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical"  — Thomas Jefferson, writing in a sister document to the First Amendment, expressing a principle that applies to Hobby Lobby's refusal to provide employees with services they consider immoral.

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical

Thomas Jefferson, The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)
…writing in the First Amendment’s sister document, expressing a principle that applies to the modern refusal to provide employees with services they consider immoral

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Philosophy, Politics, Religion

 

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Many Laws = Corrupt Government <— Tacitus


When laws are carried out not only for the public good, but also to target and punish, it dos society great harm.

The more numerous the laws,
the more corrupt the government.

Publius Tacitus, Annals (117 AD)
(Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges)

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Philosophy, Politics

 

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Another’s Happiness, Equal to Your Own <— Heinlein


In the later novel, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, a character refers to the earlier book’s comment: “Dr. Harshaw says that ‘the word ‘love’ designates a subjective condition in which the welfare and happiness of another person are essential to one’s own happiness.”

Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

Robert Anson Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in People, Philosophy, society

 

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An Unjust Law is No Law at All <– St. Augustine <– MLK Jr.


“To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”

One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws.

One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all”.

— Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Philosophy, Politics

 

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Mandating Your Health is Tyranny <– Heinlein


“What I fear most are affirmative actions of sober and well-intentioned men, granting to government powers to do something that appears to need doing.”

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

— Robert Anson HeinleinThe Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1965)

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in economic, Health, Philosophy, Politics

 

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Conservatism is Libertarian <– Ronald Reagan


Reagan appointee Ron Paul, sitting with The Gipper, himself

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.

I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories.

The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

— Ronald Reagan, interview with Reason Magazine (1975)

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Liberty, Philosophy, Politics

 

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I’ll Defend, to the Death, Your Right <– Evelyn Beatrice Hall


Evelyn Beatrice Hall was paraphrasing Voltaire's mindset, not quoting him. The closest he ever came was "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too", in Essay on Tolerance

What a fuss about an omelette!‘ he had exclaimed when he heard of the burning. How abominably unjust to persecute a man for such an airy trifle as that!

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,’ was his attitude now.

— Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in The Friends of Voltaire, summarizing Voltaire’s defense of a censored book (1906)

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Freedom of Expression, Philosophy, Politics

 

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Honest Cynicism <– Lillian Hellman


Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth.

— Lillian Hellman, The Little Foxes (1939)

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in education, Humor, Philosophy

 

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Punishing the Industrious <– J.S. Mill


"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant."

Both in England and on the Continent a graduated property tax (l’impôt progressif [progressive tax]) has been advocated, on the avowed ground that the state should use the instrument of taxation as a means of mitigating the inequalities of wealth.

I am as desirous as any one that means should be taken to diminish those inequalities, but not so as to relieve the prodigal at the expense of the prudent.

To tax the larger incomes at a higher percentage than the smaller is to lay a tax on industry and economy; to impose a penalty on people for having worked harder and saved more than their neighbours.

It is not the fortunes which are earned, but those which are unearned, that it is for the public good to place under limitation.

— John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy (1848)

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in economic, Philosophy, Politics

 

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Freedom vs the Chains of Security <– Ron Paul


"We need a strong president, strong enough to resist the temptation of taking power the President shouldn’t have."

Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference.

Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives.

Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.

Ron Paul, Security and Liberty (2007)

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Philosophy, Politics

 

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Liberty, not Hypocrisy <– Noam Chomsky


Censorship, like all other oppression, is always imposed with the excuse that its victims are obviously wrong, bad, unhealthy, or foolish

 

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.

Noam Chomsky, Guardian (UK), November 23, 1992


 

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The Individual as the Higher Power <– Thoreau


I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.

Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man?

There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience (1849)

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Philosophy, Politics

 

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Dissent is Patriotic <– Mark Twain


It doesn't matter which party is in control, or whether they are "authorities"; if they are wrong, it would be treason not to openly oppose them

The citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth’s political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal, he is a traitor.

That he may be the only one who thinks he sees this decay, does not excuse him: it is his duty to agitate anyway, and it is the duty of others to vote him down if they do not see the matter as he does.

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)

 
 

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It is the Interventionists Who Are Isolationists <- Ron Paul


Each of the last five American presidents, treating the evil Egyptian dictator like a friend, thereby helping isolate America in the eyes of the world

 

It is not we non-interventionists who are isolationsists.

The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe because they disagree with the internal and foreign policies of their leaders.

The real isolationists are those who choose to use force overseas to promote democracy, rather than seek change through diplomacy, engagement, and by setting a positive example.

Ron Paul, I advocate the same foreign policy the Founding Fathers would, Union Leader (2007)

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Foreign Policy, Philosophy, Politics

 

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Exploiting Tragedy <- Rahm Emanuel


The Arizona shooting is just the latest in an endless series of efforts by corrupt political thugs to exploit crisis and tragedy

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

— Rahm EmanuelInterview to the Wall Street Journal, (2008)

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Philosophy, Politics, society

 

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Free Men Support Others’ Choices <- Ludwig von Mises



A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper.

He must free himself from the habit, just as soon as something does not please him, of calling for the police.

— Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism, the Limits of Government Activity

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2011 in Philosophy, Politics

 

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Life Is What You Make of It <- Fosdick


Fosdick is one of our favorite quote-makers.

Life consists not simply in what heredity and environment do to us but in what we make out of what they do to us.

— Harry Emerson Fosdick, On Being a Real Person (1943)

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2011 in Philosophy, sentience

 

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The Right to Offend <- Orwell


If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

The common people still vaguely subscribe to that doctrine and act on it. In our country — it is not the same in all countries: it was not so in republican France, and it is not so in the USA today — it is the liberals who fear liberty and the intellectuals who want to do dirt on the intellect

— George Orwell, Freedom of the Press (1948)

(This was to be the foreword of Animal Farm. It is perfect irony, that the publisher decided to censor it.)
 
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Posted by on January 10, 2011 in Philosophy, Politics, society

 

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Liberty, or Hypocrisy <- Paine


Defend your opponents' rights, or lose your own

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

— Thomas Paine, First Principles of Government (1795)

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2011 in Philosophy, Politics, society

 

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Thomas Jefferson, on God


Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Peter Carr (1787)

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2010 in Philosophy, sentience

 

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Democracy is Not Freedom


Democracy is not freedom.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch.

Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote.

— James Bovard,  “Individual Rights“, Sacramento Bee (1994)

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2010 in Humor, Philosophy, Politics

 

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Be Ashamed of Achievement <- Nietzsche


Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive.

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All too Human

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2010 in Humor, Philosophy, sentience

 

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It’s Still Lying


Even if what you say is technically true, if you knowingly leave a false impression, you are a liar

Veracity does not consist in saying, but in the intention of communicating truth.

— Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2010 in Philosophy, Politics

 

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Words are SUPPOSED to Hurt


Words are supposed to hurt. That’s considered a legitimate way of fighting things out.

And what did it replace in the historical scene? It replaced actual violence.

Words are supposed to be free so we CAN actually fight things out, in the battleplace of ideas, so we don’t end up fighting them out in civil wars.

If we try to legitimately ban anything can hurt someone’s feelings, everyone is reduced to silence.

— Greg Lukianoff, head of FIRE, speaking on Stossel (2009)

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Philosophy, Politics

 

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The Founders Protected Persons, not Citizens


The founders intended the Constitution to apply to Americans, aliens, citizens, non-citizens, lawful combatants, enemy combatants, innocents, the guilty, those who wish us well, and those who wish us ill.

The Constitution applies to persons, not just citizens.

If you read the Constitution, its protections are not limited to Americans.

And that was written intentionally, because at the time it was written, they didn’t know what Native Americans would be.

When the post civil war amendments were added, they didn’t know how blacks would be considered, because they had a decision of the Supreme Court called Dred Scott, that said blacks are not persons.

So in order to make sure the Constitution protected every human being:

  • American, alien;
  • citizen, non-citizen;
  • lawful combatant, enemy combatant;
  • innocent, guilty;
  • those who wish us well, those who wish us ill…

…they use the broadest possible language,
to make it clear:

Wherever the government goes,
the Constitution goes,
and wherever the Constitution goes,
the protections that it guarantees restrain the government
and requires it to protect those rights.

— Judge Andrew Napolitano

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2010 in Foreign Policy, Philosophy, Politics

 

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Resist Unjust Authority


Any time someone tells you that even an unfair law needs to be obeyed, ask him if he thinks Schindler was doing the wrong thing

You assist an unjust administration most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil administration never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.

A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul.

Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Non-Violent Resistance

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2010 in Foreign Policy, Philosophy, Politics

 

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