Friday, November 24, 2006

More Quotable Quotes

As I seem to do every year, I have ingested too much tryptophan and as a result, I am unable to come up with a presentable post for today. So, here are some quick quotes for you to ponder, until I am better able to present something worthwhile:

Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. - Ayn Rand

Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms. - Aristotle

Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate. -St. Thomas Aquinas

We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace. - Jeane Kirkpatrick

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it. - Lou Holtz

Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a moron. - George Carlin


Anonim said...

Good food for thought. Thanks.

Although I am not too pessimistic about "democracy," George Bernard Shaw's characterization is the one I like the best:

"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve."

And I appreciate Churchill's realism:

"[...] democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time".

(Ref: The Quotations Page)

P.S. Yes, I do/did participate in Thanksgiving, and eat/ate a piece of the bird.

LASunsett said...

Hi Anonim,

//Although I am not too pessimistic about "democracy,"//

I think what Aristotle meant was the "historical" definition of democracy and not necessarily the definition it has evolved into, today. In Ari's day, democracy meant literally "rule by the people".

He was able to see the flaws of direct democracy as it existed, first hand. It wasn't exactly perfect.

A republic featuring a "democratically elected" representative government (which is what we really have)is far preferable than having the people vote on each and every issue. In this day and age, there just too many issues, to do that. There is no way we could vote on each and every little thing.

Now, I will go a step further and say that it is the republic's government and the rule of laws that they create on our behalf, that protects us from ourselves. What I mean by that is (and quite possibly what Ari meant too): to have direct democracy is to have mob rule. To allow the majority to rule and reign on every issue, is not always wise, because it can and often does lead to discrimination of the minority.

Keep in mind that this theory is only a theory. Because in no way do I believe that this bunch we have in our government, now, knows a damned thing about how this nation was first set up and what the founding fathers had in mind, when they did it.

In my view, it has evolved into a circus of the nth degree and instead of representing the people that elect them, they serve themselves and try to buy votes.

Anonim said...

I guess, when I commented, I didn't think much about Aristotle's context, his time and the feasibility of direct rule by the people back then.

I agree with you. Specifically, modern-day democracy doesn't and shouldn't simply mean majority rule. I don't believe, it is a system on its own right that guarantees minority rights or protections, either. One can imagine a just monarchic or even theocratic system that protects minorities and treats them well. I tend to think, the magic of democracy is, it empowers people; it gives them a voice to influence, if not exactly determine, their destiny. You have a right to speak your interests and demand to be heard. You don't have to merely hope for good graces (or fear the wrath) of an out-of-this-world authority figure. Apart from that, it is a competition between interests and making compromises.

Well, to be honest, I don't quite see how we came here. I didn't mean to suggest direct democracy for our day and time. I hear and sympathize with your complaint regarding the present political condition. I hope, though, you are not simplifying the theoretical concepts of republic and democracy, and their respective importance or value, down to a Republican and Democratic partisan divide. I sort of look at my own country's history and experience. There are so many things there that bring me to G.B. Shaw's thinking of democracy as an upper limit: you're not gonna get any better than you deserve.

Did you hear about the group of Islamo-nationalists gathering in Hagia Sophia and chanting against the Pope threats. Some 40 of them, promptly arrested by the police, ... still it is depressing.

Here I may be coming full circle and back to the topic that brought me to your blog. Although I think Pope will return to Rome from Turkey in one piece, I fear reactionary votes bringing to power parties and people with a now-overtly Islamic agenda. Ironically, if people were consulted and voted on every little issue, instead of being told grand stories designed to provoke emotions and get their votes, there would perhaps be less to fear here. According to a recent survey, while religiosity is on the rise in Turkey, the majority of the population that prefers secular system is also on the rise. (A report on this survey)

A.C. McCloud said...

I would disagree with Carlin's comment in one area--motorcycles. When they pass and zigzag going 90 mph on busy urban interstates I usually think of them as idiots.

But then again, if someone is out there on a motorcycle going 45 they are real idiots. So I guess it works.

LASunsett said...


//I hope, though, you are not simplifying the theoretical concepts of republic and democracy, and their respective importance or value, down to a Republican and Democratic partisan divide.//

Only in this context:

Historically in Europe and the US, labor parties have tended to lean more towards mob rule, than by rule of law. Not all mind you, but many have (and still do).

In the U.S> historically (and even today) the labor party is more closely aligned with the Dems.

//Here I may be coming full circle and back to the topic that brought me to your blog.//

And you have been a most welcome and valuable resource since you started coming here, your input has been much appreciated. You are a smart person and it has been a pleasure having these discussions.

You should get your own blog and educate people on Turkey. I believe that if the radical form of Islam is to ever be quieted and peace is ever to have a real chance, Turkey can and must play an integral role. Leading by example is the best form of leadership. They are by far, in the best position to do this.

LASunsett said...


//When they pass and zigzag going 90 mph on busy urban interstates I usually think of them as idiots.//

And here I thought those guys were imbeciles.

(Scratching head)


Mark said...

Jeane Kirkpatrick nails a simple reality that the "peace activists" are incapable of comprehending.

LASunsett said...


Ms. Kirkpatrick is one intelligent lady.