Tag: 2019 November Quote of the Day

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November was another full month of Quote of the Day posts, with many making the Main Feed. Finish this year right by sharing your favorite quote on the Quote of the Day December Sign Up Sheet. We make it easy to “Start a Conversation” by including tips for finding great quotes. December is a busy […]

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Quote of the Day: Islands


It is a trope that during the holiday season loneliness, anxiety, and depression grip a certain portion of the populace. Psychologists and sociologists warn us about epidemic levels of loneliness, especially in regard to increasing suicide rates, particularly among adolescents. Blame it on godlessness, the opportunities technology provides for narcissism, or what have you, our increasing isolation (literal and figurative) turns us into islands. So, John Donne:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

QotD: What Is and Is Not a Conspiracy Theory


To count as a conspiracy, a plan involving two or more parties must be covert. Not even Alex Jones would talk of a Democratic Party conspiracy to field a candidate who can beat Trump. The term “conspiracy theory” is to be used and understood accordingly. Had Lee Harvey Oswald spoken just before his death of a second gunman on the grassy knoll, one would not be a conspiracy theorist for taking him seriously. The information could still be wrong, but someone disagreeing with it would have to engage in actual refutation. The same goes for all who seek to dismiss talk of the ROK government’s confederation drive as a conspiracy theory.—Brian Reynolds Myers

B. R. Myers was speaking of conspiracy theories in responding to another writer and in relation to perceptions of the South Korean President. Yet his point is more widely applicable. It’s not a conspiracy theory if the people involved are coming right out and saying, “Yes, we did this, and here is why.” As a perfect example of this, we have several people testifying before Congress while admitting to crimes because Orange Man Bad. Those crimes need to be prosecuted.

QOTD: Camera vs. Sandwich


The late Sam Kinison, an incomparably loud and invariably offensive comedian, once delivered a comedy routine about famine. He remarked that whenever he sees heart-rending scenes of famine victims he wonders, “How come the film crew didn’t just give the kid a sandwich? How come you never see that? What are they afraid of”that it would spoil the shot?”

His famine routine was really very funny. In a twisted way it was also trenchant. The “Camera or Sandwich” problem is a good starting point for examining any human problem. Is it better to try to collect lots of insights about many issues than to get bogged down in particular problems involving particular people?

Quote of the Day: The Gettysburg Address


Image result for the gettysburg address image“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” — President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 19, 1863

Since Lincoln’s delivery 156 years ago, the Gettysburg Address has been parsed and analyzed for its meaning and importance.* I don’t intend to offer my own analysis, but rather to commemorate Lincoln’s eloquence on that day. This post’s title is referring to recent Ricochet posts with the title “Fewer Words” because I think Lincoln’s speech is one of the best examples of how brevity can improve communication.

On this aspect of the Gettysburg Address, I offer the following bonus quote:

The Evolution of Useful Things


“Indeed, an engineer designing a structure is not unlike an artist painting one. Both start with nothing but talent, experience, and inspiration. The fresh piece of paper on the drawing board is as blank as the newly stretched piece of canvas.” — Henry Petroski

Henry Petroski has written many books on Engineering, starting with To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design. His fourth book, The Evolution of Useful Things (1992), follows a similar formula to the brilliant James Burke’s 1978 BBC/PBS series “Connections.” Burke had the advantage of better financing and the ability to hold the fickle TV audience for 50 minutes with twists and turns of his (eccentric) British viewpoint, similar to Kenneth Clark’s 1969 “Civilisation” TV Series.

Yet Petroski’s book holds up well, with the examples of eating forks, clothes fasteners (pins, buttons, zippers), and other important insights from a History of Engineering professor. One of Dr. Petroski’s hypotheses is that devices evolve because the user is not satisfied on how the current system works. Or, to use the author’s words, “form follows failure.”

Quote of the Day: One Nation, One Flag, No Hyphens


“The immigrant who comes here in good faith, becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American. If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn’t doing his part as an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality… We have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people.”
Theodore Roosevelt, address to the Knights of Columbus at Carnegie Hall in New York (12 October 1915)

We’ve heard conflicting arguments over what America is and who should be welcomed. I think Teddy Roosevelt’s statement makes a compelling case. America is a land of awesome wonders that millions have died for. It is not founded on a single ethnic or religious group, but a founding set of documents. If you swear to be an American, and to uphold the constitution, you are welcome here, no matter where you are from.

Quote of the Day: Down with the Individual, Down with Private Property


Socialism seems to attract many of our millennials. So let’s go through some Khmer Rouge slogans and sayings to get a sense of what real socialism is. And no, real socialism is not Norway or Sweden, but Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime. A regime that was ruled by the right people: the highly educated, the intellectual elites.

All slogans and sayings are taken from Henri Locard’s book Pol Pot’s Little Red Book: The Sayings of Angkar, which I talked about in one of my previous posts.

Quote of the Day: Say What?


Scales of Justice and Boots of Truth “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. ” — Proverbs 18:17, English Standard Version

“A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” — not Mark Twain

The first quote was likely first written 3,000 years ago, one of the proverbs of King Solomon. It assumes a fair hearing. It assumes that the listener or listeners are open to hearing contradictory testimony or adversarial questioning of the first speaker.

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It isn’t what it is. It’s never what it is. It’s what it can be made to look like. — movie Edge of Darkness starring Mel Gibson, 2010 ********************I was watching the above-named movie (which wasn’t about politics) when this line struck me as relevant to all that has been and is being revealed recently. […]

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Quote of the Day: Lies


“But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt” — Francis Bacon, “Of Truth”

Which are the lies that pass through the mind and which are those that sink in? In the latter category, I’d put:

Quote of the Day: Loose Ends


I’m a big fan of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch crime series. Ever since my wife suggested I try his books, I’ve read them all and always wish they were longer; I tend to rip through them in a day or two. We also binge-watch each installment of the “Bosch” series on Amazon Prime.

The books are good reading for many reasons: the characters, the plotlines, and Harry’s never-ending quest to ensure “everybody matters or nobody matters” as he relentlessly pursues the lawbreakers. But in each book, Connelly also seems to have a line that jumps out at me so much that I have to remember it. In his latest, The Night Fire, he offers this one when Harry is told his case has too many loose ends:

Quote of the Day: Youth and Politics


“All people are good at making distinctions about the things they are acquainted with, and each is a good judge of those things. Therefore, good judgment goes along with the way each one is educated, and the one who has been educated about everything has it in an unqualified way. For this reason, it is not appropriate for a young person to be a student of politics, since the young are inexperienced in the actions of life, while these are the things about which politics speaks and from which it reasons. Also, since the young are apt to follow their impulses, they would hear such discourses without purpose or benefit, since their end is not knowing but action. And it makes no difference whether one is young in age or immature in character, for the deficiency doesn’t come from the time, but from living in accord with feeling and following every impulse. For knowledge comes to such people without profit, as it does to those who lack self-restraint; but to those who keep their desires in proportion and act in that way, knowing about these things would be of great benefit.”

This quote comes from one of the first three chapters in Book One of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, with which Aristotle intends to set as a prelude to his discourse regarding how it ought to be received as well as what the task is that “we have set before ourselves.”

Quote of the Day: A Good Death


“During these last months the King walked with death as if death were a companion, an acquaintance whom he recognized and did not fear. In the end death came as a friend, and after a happy day of sunshine and sport, and after “good night” to those who loved him best, he fell asleep as every man or woman who strives to fear God and nothing else in the world may hope to do.” — Winston Churchill, February 7, 1952, on the death of King George VI

I think many people hope that this sort of death awaits them, but I doubt it’s an entirely true account of the King’s experience. It’s lovely rhetoric that honors and elevates a respected man and emphasizes his fearlessness.