node created 2012/06/17
last changed 2013/02/04
[..] the nation-state cannot exist once its principle of equality before the law has broken down. Without this legal equality, which originally was destined to replace the older laws and orders of the feudal society, the nation dissolves into an anarchic mess of over- und underprivileged individuals. Laws that are not equal for all revert to rights and privileges, something contradictory to the very nature of nation-states. The clearer the proof of their inability to treat stateless people as legal persons and the greater the extension of abritrary rule by police decree, the more difficult it is for states to resist the temptation to deprive all citizens of legal status and rule them with an omnipotent police.
"Origins of Totalitarianism"
Of course it's extremely easy to say, the heck with it. I'm just going to adapt myself to the structures of power and authority and do the best I can within them. Sure, you can do that. But that's not acting like a decent person. You can walk down the street and be hungry. You see a kid eating an ice cream cone and you notice there's no cop around and you can take the ice cream cone from him because you're bigger and walk away. You can do that. Probably there are people who do. We call them "pathological". On the other hand, if they do it within existing social structures we call them "normal". But it's just as pathological. It's just the pathology of the general society.
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
Nowadays, all you do is hear the media's description of what the candidate is saying, and one of the strange things about it is that politics is now presented in terms of politicians and not politics. I don't think the media is interested in politics, they're interested in politicians, which is a wholly different subject... who's doing this, about their private life, about their background, about what they must be thinking, might be thinking when they said something, why did they say it; but what they say is very, very hard to hear. And I think this is, in a sense, indeed quite deliberately, destroying the genuine democratic base on which people are elected.
Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.
It is no accident that modern education doesn't teach the distinction between symbol and thing — if it did, education as we know it would fall apart. After that, after education reshaped itself to provide actual knowledge instead of the symbolic representation of knowledge, the society around us would be transformed.

But in the meantime, most "educated" people cannot tell the difference between a fact and an idea, the most common confusion of symbol and thing. Most believe if they collect enough facts, this will compensate for their inability to grasp the ideas behind those facts.
Nobody can save you but yourself - and you’re worth saving. It’s a war not easily won but if anything is worth winning - this is it.
"Yes, so anyway," he resumed, "the idea was that into the first ship, the 'A' ship, would go all the brilliant leaders, the scientists, the great artists, you know, all the achievers; and into the third, or 'C' ship, would go all the people who did the actual work, who made things and did things, and then into the `B' ship - that's us - would go everyone else, the middlemen you see."

He smiled happily at them.

"And we were sent off first," he concluded, and hummed a little bathing tune.

The little bathing tune, which had been composed for him by one of his world's most exciting and prolific jingle writer (who was currently asleep in hold thirty-six some nine hundred yards behind them) covered what would otherwise have been an awkward moment of silence. Ford and Arthur shuffled their feet and furiously avoided each other's eyes.

"Er ..." said Arthur after a moment, "what exactly was it that was wrong with your planet then?"

"Oh, it was doomed, as I said," said the Captain, "Apparently it was going to crash into the sun or something. Or maybe it was that the moon was going to crash into us. Something of the kind. Absolutely terrifying prospect whatever it was."
"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
The forest would be pretty quiet if only the best birds sang.
If only we try to live sincerely, it will go well with us, even though we are certain to experience real sorrow, and great disappointments, and also will probably commit great faults and do wrong things, but it certainly is true, that it is better to be high-spirited, even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent. It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love, is well done.
He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.
Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love the greater the jealousy.
The web is for everyone, whatever technology stack they use. The reason we have standards is to enable people to make their own choices about what they do in the privacy of their own servers. We don’t have to use the same libraries, so long as we implement the same standards. It doesn’t matter if you programme with Ruby or PHP or C# or Scala or XQuery, you can build a web application because we have the standards of HTTP, HTML, CSS, Javascript and so on.

Just as in wider society, we need to find compromises that balance the needs and desires of different constituencies. We need to balance the rights that everyone has to code as they wish against the rights that everyone has to have a web that works. We need to make sure that the quiet voices are heard, and support the equal rights of those who tread the less worn paths.
We will arrive at a moment of sufficient self-alienation where we can contemplate our own destruction [as a species] as in a static spectacle.
What can one say about a country where a museum of science in a great city can feature an exhibit in which people fire machine guns from a helicopter at Vietnamese huts, with a light flashing when a hit is scored? What can one say about a country where such an idea can even be considered? You have to weep for this country.
"American Power and the New Mandarins" (1969)
The only remedy for a barren heart is prayer, however poor and inadequate. As I did that night at Blumberg, I'll keep on repeating it for us both: We must pray, and pray for each other, and if you were here, I'd fold hands with you, because we're poor, weak, sinful children. Oh, Fritz, if I can't write anything else just now, it's only because there's a terrible absurdity about a drowning man who, instead of calling for help, launches into a scientific, philosophical, or theological dissertation while the sinister tentacles of the creatures on the seabed are encircling his arms and legs, and the waves are breaking over him. It's only because I'm filled with fear, that and nothing else, and feel an undivided yearning for him who can relieve me of it.
[The U.S. still names] military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache. And Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy, I suppose people would notice.
"Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations With Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian" (2001)
Keep your heart clear and transparent 
And you will never be bound. 
A single disturbed thought, though, 
Creates ten thousand distractions. 
Let myriad things captivate you 
And you'll go further and further astray. 
How painful to see people 
All wrapped up in themselves.
Hold your hat and hang on to your soul
Something's coming to eat the world whole
If we fight it we've still got a chance

But whatever they offer you
Though they're slopping the trough for you
Please whatever they offer you

Don't feed the plants
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
You always hear from assholes on TV or in books/magazines that relationships are the best when you have mutual interests, things you like, etc. Fuck that. They are best when you both can't fucking stand the same things. You can trust someone who hates the same things you do.
If it isn’t illegal, it isn’t strong enough. If the government doesn’t denounce it, it isn’t good enough.
It's reasonable to some degree to expect that you keep your password secret. It's a different thing altogether to take information that is unavoidably known to lots of parties, or in many cases even outright essentially public info (like, stuff you can just buy as a database) as proof of identity, and then insist that you are legally responsible for a contract or whatever they made with someone who knew your date of birth or something.

It's really not much different than just throwing darts at a phone book, and then pretending that the fact they hit your name proves that you now have a contract with them ... no, it doesn't, and it's your fucking problem if you think it does.
Wisdom is glorious, and never fadeth away: yea, she is easily seen of them that love her, and found of such as seek her.
Book of Wisdom, 6:12
I never joined the army because at ease was never that easy to me. Seemed rather uptight still. I don't relax by parting my legs slightly and putting my hands behind my back. That does not equal ease. At ease was not being in the military. I am at ease, bro, because I am not in the military.
The dominant propaganda systems have appropriated the term "globalization" to refer to the specific version of international economic integration that they favor, which privileges the rights of investors and lenders, those of people being incidental. In accord with this usage, those who favor a different form of international integration, which privileges the rights of human beings, become "anti-globalist." This is simply vulgar propaganda, like the term "anti-Soviet" used by the most disgusting commissars to refer to dissidents.

It is not only vulgar, but idiotic. Take the World Social Forum, called "anti-globalization" in the propaganda system -- which happens to include the media, the educated classes, etc., with rare exceptions. The WSF is a paradigm example of globalization. It is a gathering of huge numbers of people from all over the world, from just about every corner of life one can think of, apart from the extremely narrow highly privileged elites who meet at the competing World Economic Forum, and are called "pro-globalization" by the propaganda system.

An observer watching this farce from Mars would collapse in hysterical laughter at the antics of the educated classes.
Why can't we state what we mean, what we think, what we're uncertain about, what questions we'd like to discuss in order to foster discussion instead of provoking it. Playing devil's advocate is fine when it's understood what's going on and why you're playing devil's advocate, but when there's ambiguity you play this game of "yes I said that I didn't mean it though" which ends up sounding weak as it does in those case. Devil's advocate is a great cognitive strategy for exploring an issue together, but it's a very poor conversational strategy.
Internet users won't know what they've got till it's gone.
The writing of history is largely a process of diversion. Most historical accounts distract attention from their secret influences behind great events. The few histories that escape this restrictive process vanish into obscurity through obvious processes. Destruction of as many copies as possible, burying the too revealing accounts in ridicule, ignoring them in the centers of education, insuring that they are not quoted elsewhere.
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"
As someone libertarian-leaning, what I find disturbing about all this - we all told ourselves that companies in various totalitarian regimes went along with the regime's line because they'd be "disappeared" if they didn't. Here in our country, it seems that murder, jail time, and mysterious "disappearances" are not required. Most companies will happily go along with any regime's censorship plans just to make a few more bucks, not risk losing their market position, or not be a target of a twitter outrage mob.

How are we going to maintain a free society if nobody is willing to make any effort at it?