node created 2019/09/29
You know my old saying, "Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors."

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don't want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.
I have no problem with leaning in. Really I don't. If you are going to puke on someone's shoes, you had best lean in a little, lest the spatter hit your own glorious footwear. [..] But if it's real, substantive change we're after, then we'd best be talking about organizing and collective action.
This kind of "meritocracy" is more like if we held an arm-wrestling tournament, declared the victor to be our new feudal lord, the next 6 runners up to be knights, and everyone else to be peasants. Our position in this new society was based on "merit", but that can't necessarily justify the difference between nobles and serfs.

We could even re-run the tournament every year. We could make sure no child gets extra time in the weight-room because of her noble parents. We could decide that arm-wrestling is stupid and brutish and so, in a glorious revolution, switch to speed chess. None of it would address the question of justice.
Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and when they can pick it up. Armed uprising by itself has never yet led to revolution.
I'm sick of reading internet arguments about polymorphism and browser monoculture and borrow checking and static linking. Someone please tell me where I can go on the internet to read biologists arguing about their favorite animals.
Languages have great reserves of life. They can absorb masses of hysteria, illiteracy and cheapness [..] But there comes a breaking point. Use a language to conceive, organize, and justify Belsen; use it to make out specifications for gas ovens; use it to dehumanize man during twelve years of calculated bestiality. Something will happen to it. [..] Something will happen to the words. Something of the lies and sadism will settle in the marrow of the language. Imperceptibly at first, like the poisons of radiation sifting silently into the bone. But the cancer will begin, and the deep-set destruction. The language will no longer grow and freshen. It will no longer perform, quite as well as it used to, its two principal functions: the conveyance of humane order which we call law, and the communication of the quick of the human spirit which we call grace.
"Language and Silence"
[The method of infallible prediction] is foolproof only after the movements have seized power. Then all debate about the truth or falsity of a totalitarian dictator’s prediction is as weird as arguing with a potential murderer about whether his future victim is dead or alive – since by killing the person in question the murderer can promptly provide proof of the correctness of his statement. The only valid argument under such conditions is promptly to rescue the person whose death is predicted. Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it. The assertion that the Moscow subway is the only one in the world is a lie only so long as the Bolsheviks have not the power to destroy all the others. In other words, the method of infallible prediction, more than any other totalitarian propaganda device, betrays its ultimate goal of world conquest, since only in a world completely under his control could the totalitarian ruler possibly realize all his lies and make true all his prophecies.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
Pleasure is a by-product of doing something that is worth doing. Therefore, do not seek pleasure as such. Pleasure comes of seeking something else, and comes by the way.
By 'nationalism' I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled 'good' or 'bad'.* But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By 'patriotism' I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, NOT for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.
"Notes on Nationalism"
Historically, the most terrible things - war, genocide, and slavery - have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.

What Do I Care

What do I care, in the dreams and the languor of spring,
That my songs do not show me at all?
For they are a fragrance, and I am a flint and a fire,
I am an answer, they are only a call.

But what do I care, for love will be over so soon,
Let my heart have its say and my mind stand idly by,
For my mind is proud and strong enough to be silent, 
It is my heart that makes my songs, not I.
A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.
On May 27, the New York Times published one of the most incredible sentences I’ve ever seen. They ran an article about the Nixon-Kissinger interchanges. Kissinger fought very hard through the courts to try to prevent it, but the courts permitted it. You read through it, and you see the following statement embedded in it. Nixon at one point informs Kissinger, his right-hand Eichmann, that he wanted bombing of Cambodia. And Kissinger loyally transmits the order to the Pentagon to carry out "a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. Anything that flies on anything that moves."

That is the most explicit call for what we call genocide when other people do it that I’ve ever seen in the historical record. Right at this moment there is a prosecution of Milošević going on in the international tribunal, and the prosecutors are kind of hampered because they can’t find direct orders, or a direct connection even, linking Milošević to any atrocities on the ground. Suppose they found a statement like this. Suppose a document came out from Milošević saying, "Reduce Kosovo to rubble. Anything that flies on anything that moves." They would be overjoyed. The trial would be over. He would be sent away for multiple life sentences - if it was a U.S. trial, immediately the electric chair.
Nothing perhaps illustrates the general disintegration of political life better than this vague, pervasive hatred of everybody and everything, without a focus for its passionate attention, with nobody to make responsible for the state of affairs — neither the government nor the bourgeoisie nor an outside power. It consequently turned in all directions, haphazardly and unpredictably, incapable of assuming an air of healthy indifference toward anything under the sun.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.
We are humans, living in a human society, with human values and purposes, and the associated processes and conflicts, at every point of social scale. Furthermore, we are a process, with a past and an unguessable future, at every point of social scale.

It is patently an act of incredible destruction to increasingly, globally and inescapably “control” important domains of human lives, relationships and society with extremely superficial centralized mathematical models of what humanity is.

There will be unintended consequences. They will be horrifying, and we may not even grasp what we've lost.
Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
The salvation of the world depends only on the individual whose world it is. At least, every individual must act as if the whole future of the world, of humanity itself, depends on him. Anything less is a shirking of responsibility and is itself a dehumanizing force, for anything less encourages the individual to look upon himself as a mere actor in a drama written by anonymous agents, as less than a whole person, and that is the beginning of passivity and aimlessness.
No, no. It's ok to do that to the lower classes, because this keeps costs down, which lets the upper classes get more. This increase in wealth will eventually trickle down to the lower classes in the form of more shitty, underpaid jobs. Because, you know, companies just hire people out of the goodness of their hearts when they have more money. It has nothing to do with the level of demand at all.
A child can't understand Hamlet, but can understand Cat In The Hat. Yet, it's Shakespeare, not Dr. Seuss, who is the centerpiece of our culture's literature.

As we grow up, our minds develop and our bodies develop. A tool for adults should take full advantage of the adult capabilities of both mind and body. Tools that are dumbed down for children's minds or children's bodies are called "toys".

Channeling all interaction through a single finger is like restricting all literature to Dr Seuss's vocabulary. Yes, it's much more accessible, both to children and to a small set of disabled adults. But a fully-functioning adult human being deserves so much more.
Charity is the drowning of rights in the shithole of mercy.
We don't hate; we're just indifferent. Same result, less effort.
Ah, yeah. We're gonna go to Mars. And then of course we're gonna colonize deep space. With our microwave hot dogs and plastic vomit, fake dog shit and cinnamon dental floss, lemon-scented toilet paper and sneakers with lights in the heels. And all these other impressive things we've done down here. But let me ask you this: what are we gonna tell the intergalactic council of ministers the first time one of our teenage mothers throws their newborn baby into a dumpster? How are we gonna explain that to the space people? How are we gonna let them know that our ambassador was only late for the meeting because his breakfast was cold and he had to spend half an hour punching his wife around the kitchen? And what are they gonna think when they find out, its just a local custom, that over 80 million women in the Third world have had their clitorises forcibly removed in order to reduce their sexual pleasure so they won't cheat on their husbands? Can't you just sense how eager the rest of the universe is for us to show up?
"Complaints and Grievances"
In this great big universe, we have all those stars. Who cares? Well, somebody cares. Somebody cares about you a lot. As long as we care about each other, that’s where we go from here.
All violence consists of some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.
The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
Freedom is the right to say two plus two make four. If granted, all else follows.
From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’
All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable.
"The Living City" (1958)