The Constitution

“The American Constitution…is written in a style that is not very attractive to the average reader.  The key phrases come a long way after the beginning and the citizen gets bored before he catches up with them.  For years, now, Congress has taken no notice of the powers it has been invested with by this document.  Now and then some crank from Nebraska or Dakota raises an uncouth voice to demand a little of the liberty proclaimed by the Fathers of the Republic, but the roar of the rotary presses soon drowns such rustic vociferations.”

-AMERICA AND THE SECOND WORLD WAR, 1944

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Democracy

“It is so much waste of time to talk of this or that ‘democracy.’  The real government was, and is, to be found behind the scenes.  The system works as follows.  Two or more parties appear before the public.  As a matter of form, and to reassure the simpletons, some honest men are allowed to do a little clean work as long as they don’t touch the big rackets.  The biggest rackets are those of finance and monopolization, including the monopolization of money itself, both within the nation and in combination with the various foreign currencies.”

-AMERICA AND THE SECOND WORLD WAR, 1944

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What Do You Want?

“If you want certain results, you must as a scientist examine a great many phenomena.  If you won’t admit what you are driving at, even to yourself, you remain in penumbra.  Adams did not keep himself in penumbra, he believed in a responsible class.  He wanted safeguards and precautions and thereby attained unpopularity.

“‘You and I ought not to die before we have explained ourselves to each other.’ (Adams to Jefferson, July 15, 1813).  Did Rousseau or Montaigne ever write anything to equal that sentence, given the context (1760 to 1813)?”

-THE JEFFERSON-ADAMS LETTERS AS A SHRINE AND A MONUMENT, 1937

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And All of This Costs the Khan Nothing

And of Kublai:
"I have told you of that emperor's city in detail
And will tell you of the coining in Cambaluc
       that hyght the secret of alchemy:
They take bast of the mulberry-tree,
That is a skin between the wood and the bark,
And of this they make paper, and mark it
Half a tornesel, a tornesel, or a half-groat of silver,
Or two groats, or five groats, or ten groats,
Or, for a great sheet, a gold bezant, 3 bezants, 
                 ten bezants;
And they are written on by officials,
And smeared with the great khan's seal in vermillion;
And the forgers are punished with death.
And all this costs the Khan nothing,
And so he is rich in this world."

- Canto XVIII

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PULL DOWN THY VANITY

The ant's a centaur in his dragon world.
Pull down thy vanity, it is not man
Made courage, or made order, or made grace,
     Pull down thy vanity, I say pull down.
Learn of the green world what can be thy place
In scaled invention or true artistry,
Pull down thy vanity,
                  Paquin pull down!
The green casque has outdone your elegance.

- Canto LXXXI

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False Beliefs

“Once, it was proclaimed and accepted that above man there was no supreme being, but instead that man was the crowning glory of the universe and the measure of all things, and that man’s needs, desires, and indeed his weaknesses were taken to be the supreme imperatives of the universe.  Consequently, the only good in the world–the only thing that needed to be done–was that which satisfied our feelings.”

-Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West

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Johnny Cash Reads the New Testament

“Listen to the words long written down…”

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January 16, 2013 · 11:30 pm