I don't feel betrayed by Mr. Snowden. I feel relieved that someone, however imperfectly he may live his life, respected his fellow citizens enough to entrust them with information that our government has restricted us from knowing, and therefore, from challenging. 'Keeping us safe' could be a bumper sticker that could apply to any dictatorship or totalitarian state; keeping us safe while preserving our civil liberties is a governing philosophy that is essentially American, and our leaders shouldn't need a 29-year-old who never finished college to remind them of that.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
N.Y. Times commenter jac2jess:
Sunday, April 28, 2013
“In the vestibule the doorbell began to tinkle: it tinkled sporadically; silence spoke between the two jolts of tinkling; like a memory—a memory of something forgotten, familiar.”
Friday, March 8, 2013
Richard Jefferies, from The Dewy Morn (1900):
All of you with little children, and who have no need to count expense, or even if you have such need, take them somehow into the country among green grass and yellow wheat—among trees—by hills and streams, if you wish their highest education, that of the heart and the soul, to be completed.
Therein shall they find a Secret—a knowledge not to be written, not to be found in books. They shall know the sun and the wind, the running water, and the breast of the broad earth. Under the green spray, among the hazel boughs where the nightingale sings, they shall find a Secret, a feeling, a sense that fills the heart with an emotion never to be forgotten. They will forget their books—they will never forget the grassy fields.
If you wish your children to think deep things—to know the holiest emotions—take them to the woods and hills, and give them the freedom of the meadows. It is of no use to palter with your conscience and say, ' They have everything; they have expensive toys, story-books without end; we never go anywhere without bringing them home something to amuse them; they have been to the seaside, and actually to Paris; it is absurd, they cannot want anything more.' But they do want something more, without which all this expensive spoiling is quite thrown away.
They want the unconscious teaching of the country, and without that they will never know the truths of this life. They need to feel—unconsciously—the influence of the air that blows, sun-sweetened, over fragrant hay; to feel the influence of deep shady woods, mile-deep in boughs—the stream—the high hills; they need to revel in long grass. Put away their books, and give them the freedom of the meadows. Do it at any cost or trouble to yourselves, if you wish them to become great men and noble women.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
William Godwin, from Political Justice:
There is no mistake more thoroughly to be deplored on this subject, than that of persons, sitting at their ease and surrounded with all the conveniences of life, who are apt to exclaim, 'We find things very well as they are;' and to inveigh bitterly against all projects of reform, as 'the romances of visionary men, and the declamations of those who are never to be satisfied.' Is it well, that so large a part of the community should be kept in abject penury, rendered stupid with ignorance and disgustful with vice, perpetuated in nakedness and hunger, goaded to the commission of crimes, and made victims to the merciless laws which the rich have instituted to oppress them? Is it sedition to enquire whether this state of things may not be exchanged for a better? Or can there be any thing more disgraceful to ourselves than to exclaim that 'All is well,' merely because we are at our ease, regardless of the misery, degradation and vice that may be occasioned in others?
Saturday, February 2, 2013
"THE rich love the nation through their possessions, otherwise they have no country. If they loved the country, they would care for the people. Their hearts are eaten up by property. . . . This flood of luxury is the body's drunkenness and the soul's death."
- George Meredith, from Beauchamp's Career.
Monday, January 21, 2013
"Where we perceive a chain of events, [the angel of history] sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage..."
His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
"For money that had been earned, painfully, slowly, and in little amounts, he had only pity and contempt."
William Dean Howells, from A Hazard of New Fortunes (1889):
His moral decay began with his perception of the opportunity of making money quickly and abundantly, which offered itself to him after he sold his farm. He awoke to it slowly, from a desolation in which he tasted the last bitter of homesickness, the utter misery of idleness and listlessness. When he broke down and cried for the hard-working, wholesome life he had lost, he was near the end of this season of despair, but he was also near the end of what was best in himself. He devolved upon a meaner ideal than that of conservative good citizenship, which had been his chief moral experience: the money he had already made without effort and without merit bred its unholy self-love in him; he began to honour money, especially money that had been won suddenly and in large sums; for money that had been earned, painfully, slowly, and in little amounts, he had only pity and contempt. The poison of that ambition to go somewhere and be somebody which the local speculators had instilled into him began to work in the vanity which had succeeded his somewhat scornful self-respect; he rejected Europe as the proper field for his expansion; he rejected Washington; be preferred New York, whither the men who have made money and do not yet know that money has made them, all instinctively turn. He came where he could watch his money breed more money, and bring greater increase of its kind in an hour of luck than the toil of hundreds of men could earn in a year. He called it speculation, stocks, the street; and his pride, his faith in himself, mounted with his luck. He expected, when he had sated his greed, to begin to spend, and he had formulated an intention to build a great house, to add another to the palaces of the country-bred millionaires who have come to adorn the great city.
Friday, January 4, 2013
“Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.”
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
"I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free."
One hundred and fifty years ago today, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the emancipation of all persons held as slaves:
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
Friday, December 14, 2012
N.Y.Times editorial, November 23rd, 2012:
Wary politicians, including Mr. Obama, will issue statements of mourning for the victims in mass shootings, which seem to happen ever more frequently. But they refuse to say much about 30,000 American lives that are lost each year because of shootings.