Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Quotes of the Day

"I get a flood of e-mail. And quite a lot of it, many letters a day, comes from very sincere, honest people saying, "Tell me what I can do." These e-mails are almost always from wealthy, privileged sectors. Not the super-wealthy, but from people who are privileged enough to sit down in the evening and write a letter to someone. In a third world country, people don't say, "Tell me what to do," they tell you what they're doing. But in a place where people have a very high level of freedom by comparative standards, people always ask, "What can I do?"

Noam Chomsky from What We Say Goes: Conversations On U.S. Power In A Changing World. Interviews with David Barsamian (Metropolitan Books, 2007), 39

"Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war. The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. 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 in a speech to a Socialist Party convention on June 16, 1918. Text from The Memory Hole, via a wonderful blog, wood s lot

" banners are invariably idiots..."

Pat Conroy, in a letter to The Charleston Gazette, October 24, 2007.



Anonymous said...

Old Euripides said, "Young men fight the wars that old men make."

Perfumeshrine said...

Terrific entry today! Thank you so much.

And let's not forger that there is so often an ideological platform provided for the masses to fight other people's wars: the recovery of the Holy Land in the Crusades, the "liberation" of people in third-world countries etc. etc.

Lovely that people still use Euripides in quotes. I am overjoyed! :-))

BitterGrace said...

Yeah, we seem to "liberate" people very selectively. I'm ready for a little liberation here in the US.