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Thursday, September 24, 2009

WISDOM ACROSS THE AGES










I will return to commentary on current events soon, but in the meantime, here are some more eternal truths to ponder...


"...in 1851 [the] New York Herald Tribune...employed, as its London correspondent, an obscure journalist by the name of Karl Marx. We are told that foreign correspondent Marx, stone cold broke, and with a family ill and undernourished, constantly appealed...for an increase in his salary...but when all his financial appeals were refused, Marx looked around for some other means of livelihood and fame...devoting his talents full time to the cause that would bequeath to the world the seeds of Leninism, Stalinism, and revolution, and the Cold War. If only his capitalistic New York newspaper had treated him more kindly...history might have been different."
- John F. Kennedy -

"...intellectual and emotional inertia traps people in antiquated ways of thinking even though circumstances radically change."
- Matt Miller, in The Tyranny of Dead Ideas -

"Advancement - improvement in condition - is the order of things in a society of equals."
- Abraham Lincoln -

"Those who expect moments of change to be comfortable and free of conflict have not learned their history."
- Joan Wallach Scott -

"Where some people are very wealthy and others have nothing, the result will either be extreme democracy or absolute oligarchy, or despotism will come from either of these excesses."
- Aristotle -

"The role of the journalist in America is to harass money and power to no end, every day, day after day on behalf of the American taxpayer."
- Dylan Ratigan, MSNBC -

"An oligarchy of private capital cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society because under existing conditions, private capitalists control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information."
- Albert Einstein -

"When you're finished changing, you're finished."
- Benjamin Franklin -

"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win."
- Mahatma Gandhi -

"Poverty and War have no excuse."
- Vanna Bonta -

"If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States."
- Henry A. Wallace -

"Although it is true that about only 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the kindness of their hearts."
- Molly Ivins -

"The dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are cited to satisfy it...even today, there is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it." (Take THAT, Dick Cheney)!
- John F. Kennedy -

"The way to change...is to let go of fear."
- Roseanne Cash -

"In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as 'right to work.' It includes no 'right' and no 'works.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining...we demand this fraud be stopped."
- The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. -

"If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves."
- Lane Kirkland -

"The blind spots bred by complacency or arrogance or certitude of habit fill the obituaries of civilizations that didn't make it, businesses that didn't make it, even marriages that didn't make it."
- Matt Miller -

"Change happens on the inside first. Then you realize you're not the only one who needs it. The you DO SOMETHING. Then it becomes 'social change.'"
- Kimberly Bock -

"There is no America without labor, and to fleece one is to fleece the other."
- Abraham Lincoln -

"The good we ensure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life."
- Jane Addams -

14 comments:

SJ said...

@jack,
that quote from Einstein is so damn on target today.
As for JFK's story about Marx, it might be one of the saddest tales of "I'll show you" I've ever heard. Ugh.
The Ratigan quote is also spot on. I wish more journalists still subscribed to that ethos, it seems to blong to another time.
-SJ

Vigilante said...

An extremely apropos article for readers of this thread to read is a column, Where Tutu (and Gandhi) Went Wrong, by Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper.

Stimpson said...

The Molly Ivins quote is great. Anyone who says unions are no good simply doesn't understand what unions do and have done.

Max's Dad said...

I miss Molly Ivins. She told the story of some Texas legislator who proclaimed on the floor of the Texas statehouse "If English was good enough for our lord and savior Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me". Great quotes, Jack

Jack Jodell said...

Hey folks, the power was off part of today and that's why I couldn't respond earlier. I'll try to do each of you right now.
@SJ:
That JFK quote is a favorite of mine and, for me, illustrates the short-sightedness of many capitalists and corporatists. I, too, like the Ratigan, Maddow, and Olbermann spirit and approach.
------------
@Vigilante:
Thanks for that revealing link. It serves to show that nobody is always right, and that a non-violent, passive approach to Hitler would have been foolish. Yet I admire Gandhi's tenacity and I found this particular quote inspiring as well as revealing.
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@Stimpson:
That's so very true. And that's why I am a big proponent of the resurgence of strong labor unions in this country!
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@Max's Dad:
Molly Ivins was a great national treasure, the likes of which comes along only once or twice in a generation. She had a fabulous way of pointing out and blasting the sheer folly of the hardcore right. I'm glad you enjoy and appreciate her as much as I. Thanks, Max's Dad!

TomCat said...

"Change happens on the inside first. Then you realize you're not the only one who needs it. The you DO SOMETHING. Then it becomes 'social change.'"
- Kimberly Bock -

What a prescription for life!

Jack Jodell said...

I agree, TomCat. Wouldn't it be fabulous if all we progressives took to the streets in support of a public option the way those fanatical teabaggers came out against it? We'd dwarf them for sure! But alas, I think a lot of us burned out on Vietnam...

Marc McDonald said...

I guess it leads people to label me as a left-wing kook, but I admire Marx. The "conventional wisdom" on Marx is that his ideas have failed. But I don't think this is the case. Marx never laid out any blueprints for the later societies that claimed him as an inspiration. Instead, all he did was predict and explain why capitalism was doomed to eventually fail. And that's exactly what has happened to capitalism.
Anglo-American, dog-eat-dog, "free-market" capitalism bit the dust last year. All the king's horses and all the king's men can try all they want, but they'll never succeed in putting this beast back together again.

Jack Jodell said...

Marc,
I couldn't possibly agree with you more. Marx was entirely correct in his analysis of capitalism. I have always regarded him as a superb diagnostician. Unfortunately, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao were all less competent pharmacists, and so our economic patient remains very, very sick to the present day.

Like you, I have long admired Marx (not all of his doctrine, but much of it), and I wish the implementation of his theory had been less flawed and more palatable.

TomCat said...

Jack, I took to the streets here in Portland recently at a rally in support of the public option. Sadly there were only a couple hundred of us, but on a weekday, most folks were at work.

Jack Jodell said...

Hey, I'm super glad to hear several hundred showed up in support on a work day! Way to go, TomCat! We WILL get a public option!!!

TomCat said...

I'm listening to the debate in Finance now. I think Reid sold us out.

SJ said...

@Tomcat,
I'm afraid you might be right.
-SJ

TomCat said...

:-(