node created 2019/09/29
The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.
The real struggle is not between East and West, or capitalism and communism, but between education and propaganda.
You aren’t going to get rid of me that easily, and I’m not going to stop expressing myself because someone can’t behave. If I want to show you my “I Love Joe McCray” sharpie tattoo on stage, I’m going to do it. If I want to say something silly on Twitter that could be construed as sexual I’m going to say it. The last thing I’m going to do is stop being myself because of this. Then he wins. And he didn’t win. People have offered to beat him up for me. I already did that. I’m not asking anybody to do anything for me, I’m asking you to do something for the next girl. This guy is dangerous. I was lucky. She might not be.
The Obama Administration is dedicated to increasing terrorism. In fact it is doing it all over the world. Obama is running the biggest terrorist operation that exists maybe in history. The drone assassination campaign, special forces operations, all of these operations are terror operations.
Courage is indispensible because in politics not life but the world is at stake.
"Between Past and Future"
I can understand the hesitation of my generation, indeed it is no longer mere hesitation; it is the thousandth forgetting of a dream dreamt a thousand times and forgotten a thousand times; and who can damn us merely for forgetting for the thousandth time?
"Investigations of a Dog"
Under the guise of freedom of speech nowadays falsehoods, and even more critically just plain noise is pervasive; the freedom to shout nonsense is inhibiting the freedom to hear a reasonable and diverse set of opinions and facts. Most (loud and repeated) messages are by corporations and other groups too; because that channel simply has more resources - and that's unfortunate not because corporations are intrinsically evil (which they aren't), but because people are intrinsically social and groups of people often quite the reverse; so that corporate "speech" in the form of campaign finance typically is plainly corruption - albeit legal, even if most of its constituent individuals are reasonably moral people. In short; we know the evils of censorship and have robust traditions to at least oppose that; but we do not have similar traditions vs. overload and deception, and indeed our (entirely reasonable) protections against censorship make us more vulnerable to these rising problems. Is there a solution? Who knows; but any solution certainly is not on the public radar yet let alone nearby.
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.
It really is the central view of, certainly, American and British media stars, that when, especially people with medals on their chests, who are called generals, but also high-ranking officials in the government, make claims, that those claims are presumptively treated as true without evidence, and that it's almost immoral to call them into question, or to question their veracity.
Here’s the real reason libertarians hate the idea. The welfare state is a check against servility towards the rich. A strong welfare state would give us the power to say Fuck You to our bosses — this is the power to say “I’m gonna work odd jobs for twenty hours a week while I work on my driftwood sculptures and play keyboards in my chillwave band. And I’ll still be able to go to the doctor and make rent.”
The strength of Woke ideology is its lack of scripture. Much like during the French Revolution, orthodoxy is in flux, tending toward increasing radicalization. There is a constant tension where the adherents know their membership is purely contingent on the mob's consensus.
It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.
What ultimately lies behind the appeal of bureaucracy is fear of play.
"The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy"
The web is straight up wack today. It has gone from anti-authoritarian to authoritarian and a permanent record.
Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power's disappearance.
"Crises of the Republic: Lying in Politics; Civil Disobedience; On Violence; Thoughts on Politics and Revolution"
The fact that there is nothing but a spiritual world deprives us of hope and gives us certainty.
"Reflections on Sin, Suffering, Hope, and the True Way", #62
Suppose that, say, China established military bases in Colombia to carry out chemical warfare in Kentucky and North Carolina to destroy this lethal crop [tobacco] that is killing huge numbers of Chinese.

In An Instant

In a slight stroke of your hands,
it is the whole world that I comprehend.
In the mere thought of you,
it is the entirety of eternity that I attend:
flowing, nude, content.

I stream, I shine, I rain.
I am the heavens;
I am all the stars;
I am this Earth.
I am also that golden thicket of wheat,
expecting the clusters of scented seed,
in the green lake of  its joyous dance.

I traverse you,
like a lightening crossing the night.
I blaze.
And I then melt.
"In An Instant"
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
Unanimity of opinion is a very ominous phenomenon, and one characteristic of our modern mass age. It destroys social and personal life, which is based on the fact that we are different by nature and by conviction. To hold different opinions and to be aware that other people think differently on the same issue shields us from Godlike certainty which stops all discussion and reduces social relationships to those of an ant heap. A unanimous public opinion tends to eliminate bodily those who differ, for mass unanimity is not the result of agreement, but an expression of fanaticism and hysteria. In contrast to agreement, unanimity does not stop at certain well-defined objects, but spreads like an infection into every related issue.
Harrington has Shewn that Power always follows Property. This I believe to be as infallible a Maxim, in Politicks, as, that Action and Re-action are equal, is in Mechanicks. Nay I believe We may advance one Step farther and affirm that the Ballance of Power in a Society, accompanies the Ballance of Property in Land. The only possible Way then of preserving the Ballance of Power on the side of equal Liberty and public Virtue, is to make the Acquisition of Land easy to every Member of Society: to make a Division of the Land into Small Quantities, So that the Multitude may be possessed of landed Estates. If the Multitude is possessed of the Ballance of real Estate, the Multitude will have the Ballance of Power, and in that Case the Multitude will take Care of the Liberty, Virtue, and Interest of the Multitude in all Acts of Government.
Momo listened to everyone and everything - even to the rain and the wind and the pine trees - and all of them spoke to her after their own fashion.
What has come to light is neither nihilism nor cynicism, as one might have expected, but a quite extraordinary confusion over elementary questions of morality — as if an instinct in such matters were truly the last thing to be taken for granted in our time.
"Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil"
No one would take me just as I was, no one loved me; I shall love myself enough, I thought, to make up for this abandonment by everyone. Formerly, I had been quite satisfied with myself, but I had taken very little trouble to increase my self-knowledge; from now on, I would stand outside myself, watch over and observe myself; in my diary I had long conversations with myself. I was entering a world whose newness stunned me. I learned to distinguish between distress and melancholy, lack of emotion and serenity; I learned to recognize the hesitations of the heart, and its ecstasies, the splendor of great renunciations, and the subterranean murmurings of hope. I entered into exalted trances, as on those evenings when I used to gaze upon the sky full of moving clouds behind the distant blue of the hills; I was both the landscape and its beholder: I existed only through myself, and for myself… My path was clearly marked: I had to perfect, enrich and express myself in a work of art that would help others to live.
You cannot strengthen one by weakening another; and you cannot add to the stature of a dwarf by cutting off the leg of a giant.
These aliens, these made-up worlds
of ours, are ways of making
mysteries mundane.
We see beauty and think
it truth.
Man's measure grips the world,
chokes meaning from it.

But you can't escape cages by studying their bars.
Laws prison licence
in slow spaces, snagged time.
So the best of science or of crafty fictive lies
presses us into true darkness,
away from the lamppost.
Beware of the snaky swoop of integrals.
Math's mad arabesques can conceal far
more than they reveal.
It's strangeness we must seek, not
more urns so Greek,
with their Pythagorean certainties.
We must live in the jagged outlands,
knowing truth may not fit snugly,
can be ugly,
and all our own.
"Bleak Velocities"
I have 50 pink unicorns in this box. I can't show you because it would compromise their safety. I have them working on a cigarette that stops lung cancer.
not to become tired
but to hold out your hand
to the miracle
gently, as though to a bird
[..] once you have prevented a murder, it’s easy to justify that you should be able to use the ubiquitous wiretapping to also prevent, say, rape and aggravated assault. No policymaker will protest that.

Once you are preventing serious violent crimes, it’s easy to justify that the NSA and the Police should use the ubiquitous wiretapping to prevent all violent crimes. People who protest that in the name of civil liberties will be shot down; “it’s a fundamental civil liberty to not be a victim of a violent crime”. And so, surveillance will be Newspeaked into civil liberties in televised debates by Big Brother hawks.

Once the wiretapping is preventing all violent crime, it will be repurposed to prevent all prison-time crime (described as “serious crime”), and from there, to prevent all crime. And those who speak up against this will be accused of “siding with criminals”.
Being a victim of oppression in the United States is not enough to make you revolutionary, just as dropping out of your mother's womb is not enough to make you human. People who are full of hate and anger against their oppressors or who only see Us versus Them can make a rebellion but not a revolution. The oppressed internalize the values of the oppressor. Therefore, any group that achieve power, no matter how oppressed, is not going to act differently from their oppressors as long as they have not confronted the values that they have internalized and consciously adopted different values.