Empire of Dunces



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 Memento mori – "remember that you, too, are mortal."

“The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."
Thomas Jefferson

"Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who don’t."
Thomas Jefferson

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)

Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1714-1778) of the University of Edinburgh, "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship."

As Thomas Jefferson said, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

commented The Times of London, 
"the result might fairly have been quoted as illustrating the advantages of Democracy, but when Republicans put empire above liberty, and restored political oppression and  war rather than suffer any abatement of national power, it was clear that nature at Washington was precisely the same as nature at St. Petersburg…Democracy broke down not when the Union ceased to be agreeable to all its constituent States, but when it was upheld, like any other Empire, by force of arms."

"For us, murder is once for all forbidden….  It makes no difference whether one take away the life once born, or destroy it as it comes to birth.  He is a man, who is to be a man; the  fruit is always present in the seed." –Tertullian (c. 160-230)

"An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or Practical Reason is idiocy. If a man’s mind is open on these things, let his mouth at least be shut." –C.S. Lewis

Unless we change course, and soon, our destination is either moral anarchy and social chaos, or the surrender of all our freedoms to Big Brother in exchange for his promise to protect us from ourselves." –Linda Bowles

"What does global tax reporting have to do with slavery? Think about it. When people cannot vote with their feet without being taxed by the U.N. and having chunks of their income remitted to their country of origin, they do not own themselves. They are the property of their country of origin and country of residence. The deterioration of political discourse in the United States and Europe has dulled the concept of slavery. A slave, like a serf, is a person who does not work for himself. He works for others, just as you and I do when we pay income tax. A sales or excise tax is consistent with freedom because it establishes no claim to a person’s labor. If a purchase tax becomes too onerous, black markets will emerge to curtail government’s greed. Few slave masters punished a shirking slave as severely as the IRS punishes a shirking taxpayer. An under-performing slave might receive a whipping or short rations for a while, but a taxpayer is robbed not only of his income but also of several years of his life spent in prison for income-tax evasion. Slave masters understood that human labor was too valuable to lock away in a dungeon, but the IRS regards shirking as slave rebellion and puts it down mercilessly. So will the OECD and the U.N. Indeed, global reporting will permit parties in power to pursue political opponents across national boundaries and to dispossess groups, ethnic or otherwise, that lose political struggles. Global tax reporting means the demise of individuals, dissent and freedom, and the rebirth of gold coins in the mattress as a favored financial institution." –Paul Craig Roberts

"Some there are who presume so far on their wits that they think themselves capable of measuring the whole nature of things by their intellect, in that they esteem all things true which they see, and false which they see not.  Accordingly, in order that man’s mind might be freed from this presumption, and seek the truth humbly, it was necessary that certain things far surpassing his intellect should be proposed to man by God." –Thomas Aquinas

"Government is instituted to protect property of every sort…. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own." –James Madison

To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with public debt…. We must make our choice between economy and liberty or confusion and servitude…. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed … in our necessities and comforts, in our labor and in our amusements…. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy." –Thomas Jefferson

"A republic is the highest form of government devised by man, but it also requires the greatest amount of human care and maintenance. If neglected, it can deteriorate into a variety of lesser forms, including a democracy (a government run by a small council or a group of elite individuals): or dictatorship (a government run by a single individual)

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." –Benjamin Franklin

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
–Patrick Henry

Those humanistic, ‘can’t we all get along,’ ‘profiling potential terrorists is racism,’ ‘we’re all God’s children,’ Kumbaya, ‘all we are saying is give peace a chance’ moral equivalency equivocators
Cal Thomas

"Lex mala, lex nulla."  (An evil law, is no law). –Thomas Aquinas

"Those who doubt most, and yet strive to overcome their doubts, turn out to be some of Christ’s strongest disciples." — Selwyn Hughes

"We are in bondage to the law so that we may be free." –Cicero

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. … Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." –Thomas Jefferson

"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms [and] may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." –Samuel Adams

"Almighty God…give me liberty or give me death!" — Patrick Henry

"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." –John Stuart Mill

"Human beings will generally exercise power when they can get it, and they will exercise it most undoubtedly in popular governments under pretense of public safety."  –Daniel Webster

"When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith." –Abraham Kuyper

"America is free because it protects dissent. Dissent doesn’t create freedom, but it is an essential by-product of freedom." –Debra Saunders

"Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped." –Alexander Hamilton

"Where liberty dwells, there is my country." –Benjamin Franklin

"Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must first be overcome." –Samuel Johnson

"A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner." — English proverb

"Character, not circumstances, makes the man." –Booker T. Washington

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (1st Corinthians 13:11)

"Resolved, never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life." –Jonathan Edwards

"The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms."  –William O. Douglas

It was Mark Twain who pointed out: "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."

"What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?" –Thomas Jefferson

"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." –Ronald Reagan

"…[T]here can be no truly moral choice unless that choice is made in freedom; similarly, there can be no really firmly grounded and consistent defense of freedom unless that defense is rooted in moral principle. In concentrating on the ends of choice, the conservative, by neglecting the conditions of choice, loses that very morality of conduct with which he is so concerned. And the libertarian, byconcentrating only on the means, or conditions, of choice and ignoring the ends, throws away an essential moral defense of his own position."
–Murray N. Rothbard

"I think," he wrote, "that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything the world has ever seen."
In Empires and Kingdoms, Tocqueville noted, the power of the authorities is absolute, often capricious, and dangerous. But king’s armies cannot be everywhere. And his agents tend to be thin on the ground. Most people living under these forms of government had very limited contact with the authorities. Taxes were low. Regulations were few. And the regulators themselves often lived in fear of being strung up by a mob. The King’s grip was awful, but his reach was short.
Democracy is different. It invites people into the governing class…and thus turns them into unpaid agents of the government, and ultimately their own oppressors.
"After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will," Tocqueville predicted, "the supreme power [of democracy] then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent and guided…men are seldom forced to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting…Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it down not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people…"
"Thus their spirit is gradually broken…" he continues. "gradually losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves…"
People then console themselves at the loss of their liberties, says Tocqueville, "by the reflection that
they have chosen their own guardians."
– Tocqueville

"A just fear of an imminent danger, though there be no blow given, is a lawful cause of war." –Sir Francis Bacon

"True religion is the life we lead, not the creed we profess." –Louis Nizer

"Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones." –Phillips Brooks

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.  It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.  They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult.  To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.  But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better,’ is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image." –C.S. Lewis

Samuel Adams: "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide."
James Madison: ". . . Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.
Thomas Babbington Macauly: "I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both."
Governor Seymour, when governor of New York in the 1880s: "The merit of our Constitution was, not that it promotes democracy, but checks it."
Archibald E. Stevenson: "But a majority will never be permitted to exercise such ‘unlimited tyranny’ so long as we cling to the American ideals of republican liberty and turn a deaf ear to the siren voices now calling us to democracy."
Fisher Ames: "As to liberty we are to have none — democracy will kindle its own hell and consume in it."

"Some people cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go."
"If one always tells the truth one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out."
"Work is the enemy of the drinking class."
"I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying."
"I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability."
"Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success."
"To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose both looks like carelessness."
"I can resist everything except temptation."
"It is only the shallow people who do not judge by appearances."
Like most writers, Wilde was not averse to appropriating witticisms from others, but to his credit, his revised versions were better than the originals. Upon hearing a clever remark at a social gathering, Wilde whispered to his companion: "I wish I had said that." To which his friend replied: "You will, Oscar, you will."
"The book of life begins with a man and a woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations."
"A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction."
"A woman begins by resisting a man’s advances and ends by blocking his retreat."
"Women are to be loved, not understood."
"Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same."
"The proper basis for marriage is a mutual misunderstanding."
"The only difference between a caprice and a lifelong passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer."
In 1882, Oscar Wilde made an extended lecture tour of America. Upon arrival in New York, he gave this famous response to a customs officer’s question: "I have nothing to declare except my genius."
"We have really everything in common with America, except, of course, language."
"America was discovered several times before Columbus but it had always been hushed up."
"It is an error to suppose that America was discovered. It was merely detected."
During his tour of America, Wilde was taken to see Niagara Falls. Unimpressed, he remarked; "This must be the second biggest disappointment for a new bride."
"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
"In America, the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever."
(A brief digression. Among the people Oscar Wilde expressed an interest in meeting while in America was former Confederate president Jefferson Davis. During his tour of the Southern states, Wilde was an overnight guest of Jefferson Davis at Beauvoir. In the discussions between the two men, Wilde was struck by the similarity between the Southern Confederacy and Ireland: both had fought to attain self-rule and both had lost. This prompted him to say; "The principles for which Jefferson Davis and the South went to war cannot suffer defeat.")
"The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all."
"If there was less sympathy in the world, there would be less trouble in the world."
I cannot read Wilde’s comments on history and historians without thinking of some of today’s revisionists.
"To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is the proper occupation of the historian."
"History never repeats itself. The historians repeat each other."
"Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much."
"To win back my youth there is nothing I wouldn’t do except take exercise, get up early, or be a useful member of the community."
"Young men want to be faithful and are not, old men want to be faithless and cannot."
"It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it."
In his final years, Oscar Wilde experienced social and financial decline. But he did not lose his sense of humor. As he lay on his deathbed, his last wish was to taste again an expensive brand of champagne he had once enjoyed but could no longer afford. As Wilde watched the costly wine being poured into a glass, his last words were reported to be: "I might have known. I am dying beyond my means."
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
Oscar Wilde

George Washington is said to have put it: "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."

Teddy Roosevelt noted, "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

"It is vain for bishops and pious bigwigs to discuss what dreadful things will happen if wild skepticism runs its course.  It has run its course.  It is vain for eloquent atheists to talk of the great truths that will be revealed if once we see free thought
begin.   We have seen it end. It has no more questions to ask;
it has questioned itself.  You cannot call up any wilder vision than a city in which men ask themselves if they have any selves. You cannot fancy a more skeptical world than that, in which men doubt whether there is a world.  It might certainly have reached its bankruptcy more quickly and cleanly if it had not been feebly hampered by the application of indefensible laws of blasphemy or by the absurd pretense that modern England is Christian.  But it would have reached the bankruptcy anyhow." –G. K. Chesterton

C. S. Lewis wrote, "What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument."

As the philosopher Michael Oakeshott warns, “The conjunction of ruling and dreaming generates tyranny

Ambrose Bierce wrote that "an election is nothing more than an advance auction of stolen goods."

Anonymous “if voting could change the system, it wouldn’t be legal”

The Ten Nolo Contenderes
I. There is no Lord, often referred to as God, so false gods are fine, especially Political Figures and Supreme Court justices. For all practical purposes, Government is god. Get used to it. All religious zealots who criticize this section are absolute evil, terrorists, and the enemy, and thou shalt turn them all in.
II. Speaking of Political Figures, thou shalt not speak ill of them, ever – thou squalid vermin.
III. Thou shalt keep holy all government holidays. They are designed for your education, to enshrine moral depravity and political power-lust. Thou shalt revere our National Civic Religion. Hail Lincoln! Hail JFK! Hail MLK! Hail Warbucks! Furthermore, our Government having only one eternal flame, thou shalt have none other.
IV. Thou mayest honor thy parent and his/her domestic partner, in matters of little consequence, but above all thou must love, honor, and obey the Child Protection Service and thy Government School Teachers (GST’s), especially when they deride, disdain, and overrule thy parents and their partners.
V. Thou shalt not kill any already born, healthy, pro-Government human being whose physical and mental makeup meet all applicable Government standards, without Government permission (obtainable in special circumstances after the fact) or when you are wearing a Government uniform or carrying a Government I.D.
VI. Thou shalt neither bore nor burden others with advocacy of thy personal morality. Congress shall pass no law limiting the infinite possibilities of sexual expression, but, like everything else, it may make them mandatory.
VII. Thou shalt not steal, unless the Supreme Court says it’s ok. (Hint: Have the government do it for you, dolt! That’s what we’re here for!!)
VIII. Thou shalt not bear false witness, unless thou art a Politician, art running for office, or dost work for the Government. Under no circumstances shalt thou mention MLK’s plagiarism, JFK’s treachery, Clinton’s rapes, Teddy’s dry driver’s license, Bush’s Warbucks crowd … does thou get the drift?
IX. Thou shalt not covet any Government worker’s spouse or partner; all others are fair game. (Politicians need not heed this section).
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods, unless thou dost work for Government, and dost covet and expropriate them for the purposes of Government’s benevolent power, on which, may I remind you, there is no limit (see Commandment One).

By Christopher Manion

"Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
– Hermann Goering, at the Nuremberg trials

"Good morning. This is God. I will be handling all of your problems today.- I will not need your help, so relax and have a great day."

Stonewall Jackson put it this way: "Duty is mine, consequences are God’s."

"It is better to tolerate that rare instance of a parent’s refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings by a forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of his father."
~ Thomas Jefferson

As McCabe observes, it’s a fundamental Christian truth that "Holiness is not first of all about being good; it is first of all about truth. If we can admit the truth about ourselves and our world then goodness can take care of itself."


Written by gloege

March 26, 2006 at 20:36

Posted in Miscellaneous

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