Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Words, perhaps to live by

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. But I know also that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816.

The dictatorship of the proletariat which has risen to power as the leader of the democratic revolution is inevitably and, very quickly confronted with tasks, the fulfillment of which is bound up with deep inroads into the rights of bourgeois property. The democratic revolution grows over directly into the socialist revolution and thereby becomes a permanent revolution... The completion of the socialist revolution within national limits is unthinkable. - Leon Trotsky, Permanent Revolution, 1931.

He that hath not one and the self-same general end always as long as he liveth, cannot possibly be one and the self-same man always. But this will not suffice except thou add also what ought to be this general end. For as the general conceit and apprehension of all those things which upon no certain ground are by the greater part of men deemed good, cannot be uniform and agreeable, but that only which is limited and restrained by some certain proprieties and conditions, as of community: that nothing be conceived good, which is not commonly and publicly good: so must the end also that we propose unto ourselves, be common and sociable. For he that doth direct all his own private motionsand purposes to that end, all his actions will be agreeable and uniform; and by that means will be still the same man.- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, XI, xix.

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. - Frederick Douglass, speech on the 24th anniversary of Emancipation, January 1887.

Thankfully, perseverance is a good substitute for talent. - Steve Martin.



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