Thursday, January 7, 2021

The cancel culture has been with us for a very long while..........

      So, in denouncing totalitarianism, and in advocating a multicultural Algeria where both communities would enjoy the same rights, Camus antagonized both the right and the left.  At the time of his death [1960] he was very much isolated and subject to attacks from all sides designed to destroy the man and the artist so that his ideas would have no impact.

-Albert Camus, The First Man, as culled from the Editor's Note

Makes me think he's not a history major...........

 Regardless of how things play out from here, yesterday was one of the most embarrassing days in our country’s history.

-Ben Carlson, from this read-worthy post 

Not everyone will admire this skill set..............

      All the talking, all the horse-trading came down to sniffing out what the many players needed to come to terms, a process that was Baker at his strongest.  He was at heart a canny pol who knew Congress well, knew who could deliver, knew how to play them off each other just enough to get them to give a little, knew he needed to give enough himself so that everyone could come out of the negotiation feeling they had won.  Baker had a talent for connection.  He could be whatever he needed to be at the moment it was necessary.  The young man who slid back and forth from Texas to Princeton, from the Ivy Club in the spring to the wildcatter's rig in the summer, now applied the same skills on Capitol Hill.

-Peter Baker and Susan Glasser,  The Man Who Ran Washington:  The Life and Times of James A. Baker III

Three good questions.......................

 Where does commitment end and obstinance begin?  Doesn't government—and life—require compromise?  Aren't there times when we have to pick the lesser of two evils?

-Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, The Lives Of The Stoics:  The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius, from the chapter on Cato

Monday, January 4, 2021

in collaboration and tension................

 Pushing beyond Chrysippus's "no shoving" rule, he believed every human being was quite literally on the same team.  We are all tied together in cosmic sympathy, Posidonius believed, and none of us are entirely self-sufficient or autonomous.  Each of us has been given a role to play in this large body—one of us is a finger, another a skin cell, another a liver—and we exist in collaboration and tension with each other.  It was God, he thought, that ran through this organism as pneuma—a kind of soul of the universe.

-Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman,  Lives Of The Stoics:  The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius

You can google pneuma here

Today's (recent) American history lesson.....

      With Simpson ruled out, the finalists included both Bob and Elizabeth Dole; Jack Kemp; Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico; and a little-known junior senator from Indiana named Dan Quayle, talked up by conservatives as a fresh face at age forty-one.  Quayle would be a reassuringly hard-line presence on a ticket with Bush, who had never really overcome their doubts despite eight years as Reagan's loyal sidekick.  (Donald Trump, the media-hungry developer who had groused about Baker's economic policies sent word through Lee Atwater that he would be willing to serve as vice-president, an offer that Bush dismissed as "strange and unbelievable.")

-Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, The Man Who Ran Washington:  The Life and Times of James A. Baker III

Sunday, January 3, 2021

And yet.........................................

 We do not perceive the present as it is and in its totality, nor do we infer the future from the present with any high degree of dependability, nor yet do we accurately know the consequences of our own actions.

-Frank H. Knight, from his 1921 classic, Risk, Uncertainty And Profit

What if.......................................?



      [10]  Well, what does Zeus say?  'Epictetus, if it were possible I would have made your little body and possessions both free and unrestricted.  [11]  As it is, though, make no mistake; this body does not belong to you, it is only cunningly constructed clay.  [12]  And since I could not make the body yours, I have given you a portion of myself instead, the power of positive and negative impulse, of desire and aversion - the power, in other words, of making good use of impressions.  If you take care of it and identify with it, you will never be blocked or frustrated; you won't have to complain, and never will need to blame or flatter anyone. [13]  Is that enough to satisfy you?'

     'It's more than enough.  Thank you.'

-Epictetus, Discourses, from Book 1, Chapter 1.