@RBrookhiser GW & Lincoln both touched on balance between liberty and authority.
"And by teaching the people...to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority;....The people should know how "to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of
licentiousness, cherishing the first, avoiding the last, and uniting a speedy, but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws."
"Must a government of necessity, be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain
its own existence?”
I wonder if either had read Burke?
"Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as their soundness
From the first paragraph of Moby Dick, following "Call me Ishmael."
"Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a
little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before
coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off -
"Certain it is, however, that this grat power of blackness in him derives its force from its appeals to that Calvinistic sense of Innate Depravity and Original Sin, from whose visitations, in some shape or other, no deeply thinking mind is
is always and wholly free. For, in certain moods, no man can weigh this world, without throwing in something, somehow like Original Sin, to strike the uneven balance. At all events, perhaps no writer has ever wielded this terrific thought with greater terror than this same
harmless Hawthorne. Still more: this black conceit pervades him, through and through. You may be witched by his sunlight,--transported by the bright gildings in the skies he builds over you;--but there is the blackness of darkness beyond; and even his bright
"The only problem I have with computers and television is that when all cultures on earth reach the stage we are at it will lead to a kind of homogenization.
Interest in and patience with long, complex books and poems have alarmingly diminished not only among
college students but college faculty in the US. It is difficult to imagine American students today, even at elite universities, gathering impromptu at midnight for a passionate discussion of big, challenging literary works like Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov -
a scene I witnessed in a recreation room strewn with rock albums at my college dormitory in upstate New York in 1965.
['The Grand Inquisitor' chapter in 'The Brothers Karamazov' is nothing short of an intellectual symposium worthy of Plato.]
The critic as demolition expert. H. L. Mencken's review of 'Comrades' by Thomas Dixon (photo below), which appeared in the April, 1909 issue of The Smart Set:
"The first chapters of this intolerably amateurish and stupid quasi-novel well-nigh staggered me, and it was only by
tremendous effort that I got through them at all. After that, I must confess, the task became less onerous, and toward the end the very badness of the book began to exercise a nefarious fascination. I was exploring new worlds of banality, of vapidity, of melodrama, of
tortured wit. I felt the thrill of the astronomer with his eye glued upon some new and inconceivable star - of the pathologist face to face with some novel and horrible coccus. It will lie embalmed in my memory as a composition unearthly and unique - a novel without a single
Serious payback. In the assault on Berlin Zhukov lined up 9,000 guns and rockets along an 18.5 mile front on the Seelow Heights 35 miles from Berlin. That's one artillery piece every 11 feet. In the wee hours of April 16, 1945 as many as 500,000 shells were fired in the first 30
minutes. For comparison, the massive Allied assault on the Gustav line in Italy in 1944 featured “only” 2,000 guns firing 174,000 shells over 24 hours. The British bombardment at the Battle of the Somme in World War I boasted 1,537 guns which fired 1.5 million shells over 4 days.
The Soviet crews at the Seelow Heights could have hit that total in about 90 minutes.
Result - Soviet victory
Suicide of Adolf Hitler and deaths of other high-ranking Nazi officials. Unconditional surrender of the Berlin city garrison on 2 May. Capitulation of German forces
Schopenhauer on the Philistine. From what I see around me, especially from the media, there is no shortage of Philistines about.
"From the fundamental nature of the Philistine, it follows that, in regard to others, as he has no intellectual but only physical needs, he will seek
those who are capable of satisfying the latter not the former. And so of all the demands he makes of others the very smallest will be that of any outstanding intellectual abilities. On the contrary, when he comes across these they will excite his antipathy and even hatred.
For here he has a hateful feeling of inferiority and also a dull secret envy which he most carefully attempts to conceal even from himself; but in this way it grows sometimes into a feeling of secret rage and rancour. Therefore it will never occur to him to assess his own esteem
Schopenhauer on boredom. What an insight! Check out the reference to inner wealth.
"The result of this mental dullness is that inner vacuity and emptiness that is stamped on innumerable faces and also betrays itself in a constant and lively attention to all events in the external
world, even the most trivial. This vacuity is the real source of boredom and always craves for external excitement in order to set the mind and spirits in motion through something. Therefore in the choice thereof it is not fastidious, as is testified by the miserable and
wretched pastimes to which people have recourse. … The principal result of this inner vacuity is the craze for society, diversion, amusement, and luxury of every kind which lead many to extravagance and so to misery. Nothing protects us so surely from this wrong turning as inner