Past as Prelude

First Posted on December 5, 2013

Some things never change. Unfortunately. Today’s mixed up political mess both here at home and elsewhere is . . . well, familiar. Predictable even. Written. Recorded. See below.

“For in every city these two opposite parties [people vs aristocracy] are to be found, arising from the desire of the populace to avoid oppression of the great, and the desire of the great to command and oppress the people. . . . For when the nobility see that they are unable to resist the people, they unite in exalting one of their number and creating him prince, so as to be able to carry out their own designs under the shadow of his authority.”
–Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) in The Prince, ch. IX

“The ultimate aim of government is not to rule, or restrain, by fear, nor to exact obedience, but contrariwise, to free every man from fear, that he may live in all possible security. In other words, to strengthen his natural right to exist and work – without injury to himself or others.”
–Spinoza (17th Century)

“Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life, itself, whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it?
–Daniel Webster, Speech in the House of Representatives (January 14, 1814)

“Find out just what people will quietly submit to, and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
–Frederick Douglass (1818-1894); African-American slave and abolitionist

“The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.”
–Eugene V. Debs, Speech in Canton Ohio (June 16, 1918)

“Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of a private power to a 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 by any other controlling private power.”
–Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his Message to Congress proposing the monopoly investigation

“The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”
–Edward Dowling (1941)

“They [fascists] claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”
–Henry Wallace, US Vice President
as quoted in the New York Times (April 9, 1944)

“If ever we put any other value above liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both.”
–Dwight D. Eisenhower (1960)

“[T]here is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment . . .”
–John F. Kennedy (February 12, 1960)

“Our way of life is under attack.”
–John F. Kennedy  (April 27, 1961)

“The biggest threat to American democracy is corporate power.”
–John F. Kennedy

“A revolution is coming – a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough – but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character, we cannot alter its inevitability.”
–John F. Kennedy

“But suppose God is black? What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?”
–Robert F. Kennedy

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.
–Robert F. Kennedy, speaking in Cape Town, South Africa (1966)

“Meaningful democracy cannot survive without the free flow of information,
even when that information threatens the privileged and the powerful.”
–Senator Paul Wellstone, D-MN (1944-2002)

“I believe humans are hard-wired to compete, consume and ultimately
destroy the planet.”
–Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in Mother Earth News (Oct-Nov, 2004)

“When people are coaxed into a state of continual suspicion and fear, their desire for liberty subsides because freedom is presumed to be more theoretical. Politicians now tell us that we live in different times calling for different measures to protect us. Whenever they say something like that, rest assured that your liberty, property, or money will disappear down the rat-hole of Congress. To the herd, liberty is a vague set of statements issued long ago by strange men in powdered wigs.”
–Dario McDarby (February 2, 2006)

“The legacy of the Bush regime will be a loaded Supreme Court, a kudzu of surveillance and muckraking against Americans . . . and, of course, a manipulated foreign policy which exploits the resources of the defenseless around the world for the benefit of a minority of industry leeches.   The continuing danger of this regressive regime is . . . the shackling of countless generations of Americans to a corporate agenda of U.S. world domination, supported by the perpetual sacrifice of the lives and blood of generations of our sons and daughters in continuous world war. Regaining control of Congress from the republican enablers will be the first step in coaxing the tentacles of their fascism from their grip on the institutions of our democracy.”
–Ron Fullwood (May 7, 2006)

“In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk, poet, peace activist, and author

Fortunately for all of us, the Republican (read: Saligiacan) Party has a solution. It is, of course, as much “unity”-based as it is predictably simple stupid:

“One sign of our unity is our English language. For newcomers, it has always been the fastest route to prosperity in America. English empowers. We support English as the official language in our nation . . . thereby fostering a commitment to our national motto, E Pluribus Unum.”
From the Republican (Saligiacan) Platform (2008)

Yes. Rid ourselves of allathat foreign language nonsense and all will be well. That should work. Or better yet, maybe evangelist Benny Hinn, head of a worldwide organization of miracle crusades has the better way/idea?

“Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun. I’d blow your head off.”

Yeah, well, ok. Sure. Sounds . . . ummm . . . Yeah, well, ok. Sure. YEE HAW!!

Oops, wait one, a fresh P.S. just now popped up — a final word from JFK:

“What kind of peace do I mean, and what kind of a peace do we seek?  Not a ‘pax Americana’ enforced on the world by American weapons of war; not the peace of the grave or the security of a slave; not merely peace for Americans, but peace for all men and women; not merely peace in our time, but peace for all time.”
–John F Kennedy (June 10, 1963)

Some might say, ‘there’s that language that definitely ain’t Amurkan again! What’s up with THAT?’

Ergo this reminder:

George Santayana in The Life of Reason




About frugalchariot

How Frugal is the Chariot That bears the Human soul. (Emily Dickinson)
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