This page is liable to frequent changes! I may well add links to my own commentaries on some of them, too.
The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. [Still true today, and for the foreseeable future.]
Alas, nuclear proponents have now found a new generation of the gullible.
There are some things in the world we can’t change – gravity, entropy, the speed of light, the first and second Laws of Thermodynamics,
and our biological nature that requires clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy and biodiversity for our health and well being. Protecting
the biosphere should be our highest priority or else we sicken and die.
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings.
Capitalism is the astonishing belief that the nastiest motives of the nastiest men somehow or other work for the best results in the best of all
The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by
Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall.
Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of
leaders...and millions have been killed because of this obedience...Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty
and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves... (and) the
grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.
Give people what they need: food, medicine, clean air, pure water, trees and grass, pleasant homes to live in, some hours of work, more hours of leisure. Don't ask who deserves it. Every human being deserves it.
Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because
it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding:
it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes
brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors
and brutality in the destroyers.
We are witnessing a transfer of wealth of unfathomable size. It is a transfer of wealth from the public hands, from the hands of government
collected from regular people in the form of taxes, into the hands of the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the world. Needless to say the
very individuals and corporations that created this crisis.
It’s odd how those who dismiss the peace movement as utopian, don’t hesitate to proffer the most absurdly dreamy reasons for going to
war: to stamp out terrorism, install democracy, eliminate fascism, and most entertainingly, to rid the world of evil-doers.
Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.
The phrase “standing on the shoulders of giants” is bothering me this morning. It’s normal folk like us all the way down.
That’s the point.
Or, as Mark Twain put it:
I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have
lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.
Attacking the rich is not envy, it is self-defence. The hoarding of wealth is the cause of poverty. The rich aren’t just indifferent
to poverty; they create it and maintain it.
There are but two types of men who desire war: those who haven’t the slightest intention of fighting it themselves, and those
who haven’t the slightest idea what it is.
The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He
doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends
on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile
doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician,
corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.
We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements – transportation, communications, and all other industries;
agriculture, medicine, education, entertainment, protecting the environment; and even the key democratic institution of voting – profoundly
depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for
disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later, this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our
Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of
force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against
stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict
one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed – in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are
irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly
self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with
a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reason, for it is senseless and dangerous.
I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as
freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.
Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out.
I would rather have questions that can’t be answered, than answers that can’t be questioned.
Jesus was a radical nonviolent revolutionary who hung around with lepers, hookers and crooks; wasn’t American and never spoke English; was
anti-wealth anti-death penalty anti-public prayer (M 6:5); but was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control, never called the poor
lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, never asked a leper for a copay; and was a long-haired
brown-skinned homeless community-organizing anti-slut-shaming Middle Eastern Jew. [to which I would add, “who loved the Samaritans, the
Jews’ despised neighbours at the time.”]
He alone is great and happy who requires neither to command nor to obey in order to secure his being of some importance in this world.
The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and
deformity... and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.
We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can
make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning
a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to
Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to
inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before
somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
And two Unfavourite quotes
I do not apologize for the takeover of the region by the Jews from the Palestinians in the same way I don’t apologize for the takeover of
America by the whites from the Red Indians or the takeover of Australia from the blacks. It is natural for a superior race to dominate an inferior
[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived
and were not using... What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive
existence, their “right” to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live
practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over