Monthly Archives: October 2009

Liberty over Power <- Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin 100 Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.

Ben Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack


Posted by on October 26, 2009 in Politics


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Democracy Produces Evil

Elbridge GerryThe evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots.

Elbridge Gerry, Constitutional Convention, Monday, May 31, 1787

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Posted by on October 13, 2009 in Politics


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Defense against Civil Rulers

Tench CoxeWhereas civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.

Tench Coxe, “Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution,” under the pseudonym “A Pennsylvanian” in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789.

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Posted by on October 13, 2009 in Politics, society


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Humor is the Best Defense <- Horace

Quintus Horatius FlaccusWhat stops a man who can laugh from speaking the truth?

Horace, cited in P.J. O’Rourke’s book Parliament of Whores

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Posted by on October 10, 2009 in Humor, Politics, sentience


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Disarm the Innocent <- William Burroughs

surrender-elien-brighterAfter a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.

I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.

William S. Burroughs, Grand Street, no. 37 (1992). The War Universe


Posted by on October 10, 2009 in Politics, society


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Free Will and Responsibility <- P.J. O'Rourke

P.J. O'Rourke, replete with cigar and obnoxiously confident grinOne of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on.

And when you do find somebody, it’s remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver’s license.

P. J. O’Rourke, Rolling Stone Magazine, November 1989

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Posted by on October 8, 2009 in Humor, Politics, sentience


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War: Enemy of Liberty <- James Madison

War Promotes the three enemies of liberty: Armies, debt, and governmental power. Eventually, we'll get around to making more army/money graphics.Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.

The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both.

No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

James Madison, Political Observations, 1795

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Posted by on October 7, 2009 in economic, Foreign Policy, Politics


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Government Waste Robs Life

Uncle GreedyI favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people.

The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager.

Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.
Calvin Coolidge, 1924 Inaugural Address

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Posted by on October 6, 2009 in economic, Politics


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Politicians: Useless for Prosperity

Atlas, Supporting Taxes and RegulationsRoaming the world as a foreign correspondent for more than a decade, I was able to observe how a variety of vastly different nations organized themselves economically.

The inescapable conclusion was that no politician anywhere on the planet has ever actually created a rupee’s worth of prosperity.

Louis Rukeyser, “Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street” newsletter, Nov 96

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Posted by on October 5, 2009 in Foreign Policy, Politics


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Art vs. Government

Oscar Wilde and canePeople sometimes inquire what form of government is most suitable for an artist to live under. To this question there is only one answer. The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all.

Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism


Posted by on October 4, 2009 in Humor, Politics


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Rules for Writers <- William Safire

Fare well, one of our favorite wordsmiths

Fare well, one of our favorite wordsmiths

  • Remember to never split an infinitive.
  • The passive voice should never be used.
  • Do not put statements in the negative form.
  • Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
  • Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
  • If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
  • A writer must not shift your point of view.
  • And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
  • Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
  • Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  • Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  • If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  • Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  • Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  • Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  • Always pick on the correct idiom.
  • The adverb always follows the verb.
  • Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

William Safire (December 17, 1929 – September 27, 2009), Rules for Writers, from On Language

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Posted by on October 3, 2009 in education, Humor


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Liberty, or Atrophy

Thomas Babington MacaulayMany politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom.

The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learnt to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait for ever.

Thomas Babington Macaulay, Essays Contributed to the ‘Edinburgh Review’ vol. 1 ‘Milton’ (1843)

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Posted by on October 2, 2009 in Politics, sentience


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Great Men are Bad Men <- Lord Acton

henryVIII-24bI cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did not wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility.

All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.

Lord John Dalberg Acton, Letter to Mandell Creighton (1887)

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Posted by on October 1, 2009 in Politics


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