As a blogger interested in history, I find it illuminating to look back over old newspapers and find just what was thought important at the times we consider worth remembering.
From the Sydney Morning Herald, 11/11/1915, remembering the news was always late to the antipodes and that Remembrance Day had not yet been invented.
Hmmm. War was still a glorious enterprise. Rewards for the Officers and profound statements from the politicians.
So, had we learned anything by 1941, with Remembrance Day a part of the calendar?
Again from the Sydney Morning Herald, 11/11/1941
Armistice Day, as Remembrance Day was originally known, is well down the list of events although that event was highly significant.
In other news, while we still acknowledge the bravery and sacrifice of those who go to war, it is becoming more acceptable to question the need for war. Why should the young be sacrificed for the ambitions of the old?
Are we all Isaac, without the provision of a lamb?
Tim Minchin (not to be confused with noted Climate Denier and all-round arsehole, Senator Nick Minchin) has the sort of rant I have to my mirror the morning after.
I am one with Calvin who once told Hobbes, “Well, remember what you said, because in a day or two, I’ll have a witty and blistering retort! You’ll be devastated THEN!”
This is that response!
Thank you, Trucie @NorwichRocks
And thank you also to whoever mentioned this on Twitter.
Go Christopher Hitchens.
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If liberty and equality, as is thought by some are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), Politics
Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they’ve told you what you think it is you want to hear. Alan Corenk
The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. Art Spander
Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking. Clement Atlee
Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time. E. B. White (1899 – 1985), New Yorker, July 3, 1944
Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950), Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists”
The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois. Gustave Flaubert (1821 – 1880)
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)
Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right. H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)
Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame. Laurence J. Peter (1919 – 1988)
Democracy is the name we give the people whenever we need them. Marquis de Flers Robert and Arman de Caillavet
In democracy it’s your vote that counts; In feudalism it’s your count that votes.
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965), Hansard, November 11, 1947
I had a bit of a travel today and visited some foresty places.
One of them, Serpentine Falls, has falling water. A bit of a rarity in Western Australia’s flat landscape.
It also has rocks. Not old weathered rocks nearing the end of their life like the ones in the desert I have left behind. Solid, hard old rocks which will still be older and harder and even more solid when the sun finally goes nova.
Then a walk through the surrounding forest led me to think of the forests of my ancestors in ancient Europe. Thinking of the Gods which lived in rocks and trees and water. Who inhabited the quiet places. Whose voices are heard in the susurrus of the wind in the leaves, in the chuckling of the little streams and the splash of water landing on water. In the voices from unknown sources which we hope are unknown birds.
Then I saw a sight which made me wonder.
Is this a hamadryad? Do those ancient demi-urges still exist in the old, quiet places where mankind has not yet imposed his careless dominance?
It is in justice that the ordering of society is centred.
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)
Justice is a contract of expediency, entered upon to prevent men harming or being harmed.
Epicurus (341 BC – 270 BC)
Liberty, equality – bad principles! The only true principle for humanity is justice; and justice to the feeble is protection and kindness.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968), Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.
Groucho Marx (1890 – 1977)
Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but in finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919)
It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.
Earl Warren (1891 – 1974)
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), (attributed)
Stupid is forever, ignorance can be fixed.
The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of New Yorkers, common sense snuck in at number 79.
Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001), “Mostly Harmless”
Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946)
[Common sense] is the best sense I know of.
Lord Chesterfield (1694 – 1773)
The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.
Matthew Arnold (1822 – 1888), ‘God and the Bible,’ 1875
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891
Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882), ‘Art,’ 1841
If an idea’s worth having once, it’s worth having twice.
Tom Stoppard (1937 – )
How helpless we are, like netted birds, when we are caught by desire! Belva Plain
I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes. Charles Lindbergh (1902 – 1974), Interview shortly before his death, 1974
Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees. David Letterman (1947 – )
I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven. Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)
The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing. Eric Berne (1910 – 1970)
Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. Henry Van Dyke
God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages. Jacques Deval, Afin de vivre bel et bien
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them? Rose Kennedy (1890 – 1995)
No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings. William Blake (1757 – 1827)
A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. Chinese Proverb
Why is this well loved song even more important to me at the moment?
Because next Friday, for nearly two weeks, I leave the desert for Perth. There I will meet up with Buff and on Sunday (Valentine’s Day) we board a heavier than air flying machine to travel to our nation’s capital, Canberra.
There, on the Monday and Tuesday we will be walking around the Australian National Gallery where we will be able to study many of the originals of the images above.
Along with over 140 other original works by legendary French Impressionists.
I promise to attempt to avoid boring you all with my visit to some very old Gallic gentlemen.
“The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive… but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born.” — Mark Twain, A Biography.
“The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist ?” — Epicures, 300 BC.