Saturday, May 28, 2022

Day trading...........................

 Going to the protest of the day, performing acts of slacktivism, hopping from urgency to emergency–this is how people who day trade in our culture are whipsawed. But the people who are consistently and actively changing the culture are not easily distracted. One more small action, one more conversation, one more standard established.

-Seth Godin, from here


 The highest form a civilization can reach is a seamless web of deserved trust.

-Charlie Munger, as quoted here


 more fun here


      America, which survived a gory civil war among political and geographical factions, has become so far one of history's few exceptions.  The ultimate rationale of America's unique Constitution led Americans eventually to define themselves by their shared values, not by their inconsequential appearances.  Eventually, most who were willing to give up their prior identities and assume a new American persona were accepted as Americans.  The United States has always cherished its universally applicable melting-pot ethos of e pluribus unum—of blending diverse peoples into one through assimilation, integration, and inter-marriage in the manner that diverse colonies united to become one nation.

-Victor Davis Hanson:  The Dying Citizen

Monday, May 23, 2022


 Fred Siegel pointed out how the longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer some seventy years ago could see the future contours of a working class regulated, controlled, and yet ridiculed by a new intellectual and bureaucratic elite.

      "The masses are on the way out," he wrote.  "The [elites] are finally catching up with us.  We can hear the swish of leather as the saddles are heaved on our backs.  The intellectuals, and the young, booted and spurred, feel themselves born to ride us."  Hoffer foresaw the New Class that would try to govern the working people much as the colonial officials governed the natives.  "They are," he wrote, "an army of scribes clamoring for a society in which planning, regulation, and supervision are paramount and the prerogative of the educated.

-Victor Davis Hanson, The Dying Citizen:  How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America

Checking in............................

..................................Eric Hoffer:

 It's disconcerting to realize that businessmen, generals, soldiers, men of action are less corrupted by power than intellectuals... You take a conventional man of action, and he's satisfied if you obey. But not the intellectual. He doesn't want you just to obey. He wants you to get down on your knees and praise the one who makes you love what you hate and hate what you love. In other words, whenever the intellectuals are in power, there's soul-raping going on.

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.

Our frustration is greater when we have much and want more than when we have nothing and want some. We are less dissatisfied when we lack many things than when we seem to lack but one thing.

In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.

Unless a man has talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden.

Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity.

We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand. A doctrine that is understood is shorn of its strength.

The uncompromising attitude is more indicative of an inner uncertainty than of deep conviction. The implacable stand is directed more against the doubt within than the assailant without.


 So let’s stop the hyperventilation and get back to democracy. Persuade people, if you can. Get them out to vote. Stop demonizing those you disagree with and compromise with them in office, however difficult that may be. What Roe did was kickstart the extreme cultural polarization that has defined and blighted the last few decades of American politics. Maybe the end of Roe can mark the beginning of a return to living together, and negotiating a way to make that bearable.

The center, in other words, is now wide open. Will anyone — anyone — occupy it?

-Andrew Sullivan, from here

Fifty years ago........................

Life Magazine's   April 14, 1972 isssue

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Still true seventy years later.........

 To frame a philosophy capable of coping with men intoxicated with the prospect of almost unlimited power and also with the apathy of the powerless is the most pressing task of our time.

-Bertrand Russell

Fifty years ago....................................

J.J. Cale.....................................Call Me The Breeze



      So wars: what does it mean to win, what does it mean to lose?  And the wars, of course, against yourself.  I certainly am always at war one way or another with myself, and some of them are wars I must fight to try to slay the demons, to kill the dragon, to lay the ghost to rest.  But there are other wars you fight with yourself to be more, to do more that you have it in you really to do or to be.  I think of that wonderful line from one of the poems of my  beloved Gerard Manley Hopkins whare he says, "My own heart let me more have pity on."  My own heart let me more have pity on.  That's a lovely phrase.  Be merciful to yourself, stop fighting yourself quite so much.  Maybe what you are asking of yourself, what you're driving yourself to do or to be, what you put a gun to your own back to make yourself do, is something at this point you needn't have to think about doing.  So, think back at the end of the day to the wars you're involved in.  How are they going?

Frederick Buechner,  The Remarkable Ordinary

hereafter kind...................

My own heart let me more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
I cast for comfort I can no more get
By groping round my comfortless, than blind
Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
Thirst's all-in-all in all a world of wet.

Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
's not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather — as skies
Betweenpie mountains — lights a lovely mile.

An early disbelief in democracy..........

      The word "aristocracy" tends to be used rather loosely.  In the modern world, it is calculated by multiplying wealth by snobbery.  During the early republic, on the other hand, it reflected the division of society into distinct ranks.  Until the Revolution, wrote historian Bernard Bailyn, Americans had assumed "that a healthy society was a hierarchical society in which it was natural for some to be rich and some poor, some honored and some obscure, some powerful and some weak."  Perhaps most important, "it was believed that superiority was unitary, that the attributes of the favored—wealth, wisdom, power—had a natural affinity to each other, and hence that political leadership would naturally rest in the hands of social leaders."  In New York in particular, these natural leaders came from a closed set of families distinguished by an inherited prestige. . . .

     Property requirements for suffrage under New York's constitution of 1777 hardened the culture of rank into law.  Two distinct levels of wealth were required to vote: one for the state assembly, and a second and higher level for the state senators and governor—establishing a "three-tiered scaffolding of society," as Bruegel writes.  In 1790, four of ten adult white men could not cast a ballot of any kind, in some places only one out of four could vote for the assembly, and one out of five for governor.

-T. J. Stiles, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt