Thoughts & Quotes of

the letter and you will be brought to the beginning of the thoughts beginning with that letter.


¶ "We find a class of persons who labour under an obvious natural inaptitude for whatever they aspire to. Their manner of setting about it is a virtual disqualification. The simple affirmation, 'What this man has said, I will do,' is not always considered as the proper test of capacity. On the contrary, there are people whose bare pretensions are as good or better than the actual performance of others." (William Hazlitt, "On the Aristocracy of Letters.")
§ See blupete's commentary of -- March, 1999.
¶ "No Discourse whatsoever, can End in absolute Knowledge of Fact." (Thomas Hobbes)
§ "We must learn to endure what we cannot avoid." (Montaigne)
¶ "How much honour and honesty have been forfeited to be graced with a title or a ribbon; how much genius and worth have sunk to the grave without an escutcheon and without an epitaph!" (William Hazlitt, "On Patronage and Puffing.")
¶ "A Person, is the same that an Actor is, both on the Stage and in common Conversation." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ I quote Bruno Leoni:
"Professor Hayek agrees with Sir Carleton Kemp Allen in reproaching Dicey for a 'fundamental mistake' relating to the interpretation of the French droit administratif. Dicey, according to Sir Carleton and Professor Hayek, was wrong in believing that the French and generally the Continental droit administratif, at least in its mature stage, was a sort of arbitrary law because it was not administered by ordinary tribunals. According to Dicey, only ordinary courts, in England as well as in France, could really protect citizens by applying the ordinary law of the land. The fact that special jurisdictions, like that of the conseil d',tat in France, were given the power of judging in cases where private citizens litigated with officials employed in the service of the state, appeared in the eyes of Dicey as a proof that the equality of the law towards all citizens was not actually respected on the Continent. Officials, when litigating in their official capacity with ordinary citizens, were 'to some extend exempted from the ordinary law of the land.' Professor Hayek charges Dicey with having contributed a great deal to preventing or to delaying the growth of institutions capable of controlling, through independent courts, the new bureaucratic machinery in England because of a false idea that separate administrative tribunals would always constitute a denial of the ordinary law of the land and therefore a denial of 'the rule of law.' The fact is that the conseil d',tat provides ordinary citizens in France as well as in most countries of Western Europe with a fairly unbiased and efficient protection against what Shakespeare would have called 'the insolence of office.' ...
Dicey and Hayek apparently differ only slightly in their respective interpretations of equality as a characteristic of the rule of law. Both maintain that independent courts are essential in order to grant to the citizens equality before the law.
A minor difference between the two interpretations of the functions of the courts seems to be that while Dicey does not admit the existence of two different judiciary orders, one to settle disputes between ordinary citizens only and one to settle disputes between ordinary citizens, on the one hand, and state officials, on the other, Hayek thinks that the existence of two different judiciary orders is not objectionable in itself, provided that both orders are actually independent of the executive." [Freedom and the Law (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 3rd Ed., 1991) at pp. 63, 65-66.]
¶ Our Courts in our increasingly complex society need to be unplugged and the expense and time delay facing the aggrieved citizen needs to be lessened. It just makes good since in view of the multifarious cases which our overworked judges must face to introduce specialization into our court system, but not at the expense of sacrificing English justice as so well explained by Dicey. Sure, -- have specialized tribunals, but they must operate under fair rules which will yield up the truth, and they must be independent of the executive, and, importantly, any of these decisions of these specialized boards (with cost controls in place) must be reviewable by a "real" court of law.
A real danger in our administrative tribunals (as opposed to specialized tribunals) is that they take advantages which they give to themselves (legislation) which are not available to ordinary citizens when they attempt to force their rights. Leoni speaks of this:
"... officials are entitled, for instance, to enforce their orders without any prior control whatever on the part of a judge over the legitimacy of these orders, whereas such a control would be prescribed if a private citizen demanded anything of another private citizen." (Leoni, op. cit., p.66.)
In the name of efficiency we have any number of Canadian administrative tribunals who are not constrained as the rest of us are by law. Each of these boards in exercising their special privileges encroach and, indeed, break the Rule of Law. Examples abound and I have not the space to go into it at any length at this place: Income Tax officials and tribunals, Workman's Compensation Boards, Labour Tribunals, etc., etc.; with their power to confiscate private property with little or no review, something none of the rest can do.
[FN I make a distinction between administrative tribunals set up to do the government business, versus, specialized tribunals to which any one might apply. If proper specialized tribunals were to be set up with equal rules for all, then I see no need for administrative tribunals which by their nature give the upper hand to the government side in that they perform both executive and judicial functions, and, in so doing, contravene Montesquieu's doctrine of the necessity to keep the three powers (legislative, executive and judicial) separated.]
§ "Alonso of Aragon was wont to say in commendation of age, that age appears to be best in four things: old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read." (Francis Bacon)
§ "Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon." (Francis Bacon)
§ "My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone!" (Lord Byron)
William Pitt was to speak of it: "I am persuaded, and will affirm, that it is a most accursed, barbarous, cruel, unnatural, unjust, and diabolical war! It was conceived in injustice; it was nurtured and brought forth in folly; its footsteps were marked with blood, slaughter, persecution and devastation; in truth, every thing which went to constitute moral depravity and human turpitude were to be found in it. ... The nation [England] was drained of its best blood, and of its vital resource of men and money. The expense of it was enormous, much beyond any former experience; and yet, what had the British nation received in return? Nothing but a series of ineffective victories, or severe defeats."
¶ "Anger is the whetstone of courage." (David Hume)
¶ What identifies the human race, and which is an ugly smirch upon it, is that strange insensibility to the sufferings of animals.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- August, 1999.
¶ In referring to Burke who at times remained in his place in his parliamentary seat "tranquil and silent, with the silence of a wise man who has gained his point, and who leaves well alone."
In referring to Fox: "... he never was afraid of repeating himself, but that he took good care to hammer it into them ... Refusing to spend his time over minor or collateral issues he returned again and again to the central facts, and the vital aspects and considerations, with an insistence which would take no denial." (George Otto Trevelyan.)
§ See blupete's essay -- "On Argument."
¶ "My [Rembar's] feeling was that it was better -- for myself at least -- not to have an argument composed in advance. Judges have to sit still for long periods, and their attention tends to flag when they must be the audience for a speech, and tends to quicken when what they hear is merely conversation. Again, the ready-made argument often resembles the lawyer's brief; delivering an oral statement of what the judges have already read or will read accomplishes something, but not much. And it is well to adjust to the Court's interest -- indeed to the Court's moods -- as they are revealed in the course of the hearing. This is not so easily done when one has an investment in a composed presentation; it hurts to break up those carefully carpentered sentences and paragraphs. Finally, the hearing's greatest value, in my opinion, is the opportunity to answer the judge's questions. Extemporaneous talk is more likely to provide questions than a set speech."
Rembar continues to wonder whether his approach is necessarily the right approach, especially when he see lawyers on the other side with all their carefully crafted notes before them. "I had a vivid image of a lawyer standing before the court with nothing to say and no notes to turn to. A question crossed my mind: had there ever been a case, in the history of the Court, in which a lawyer had risen to address the bench, stood mute for a long moment, and then, without a word, collapsed." As for myself, I would adopt Rember's approach; but on the lectern, or near by, to have a set of staccato notes turned up, ready to turn to, if necessary. [Charles Rembar, The End of Obscenity (London: Deutsch, 1969), pp. 450-1.]
¶ "Stuck o'er with titles, and, hung round with string That thou may'st be by kings, or whores of kings, Boast the pure blood of an illustrious race." (Alexander Pope.)
¶ "The rise of industrial wealth in countless forms has brought in a competitor which has generally more mind, and which would be supreme were it not for awkwardness and intellectual gĂȘne. Every day our companies, our railways, our debentures, and our shares, tend more and more to multiply these surroundings of the aristocracy, and in time they will hide it. And while this undergrowth has come up, the aristocracy have come down. They have less means of standing out than they used to have. Their power is in their theatrical exhibition, in their state. But society is every day becoming less stately. ... They [aristocracy] suffer from the tendency of all modern society to raise the average, and to lower -- comparatively, and perhaps absolutely, to lower -- the summit." (Bagehot.)
¶ "The aristocrat holds that political selection by birth is the sanest alternative to selection by money or theology or violence. Aristocracy withdraws a few men from the exhausting and coarsening strife of economic competition, and trains them from birth, through example, surroundings, and minor office, for the tasks of government; these tasks require a special preparation that no ordinary family or background can provide. Aristocracy is not only a nursery of statesmanship, it is also a repository and vehicle of culture, manners, standards, and tastes, and serves thereby as a stabilizing barrier to social fads, artistic crazes, or neurotically rapid changes in the moral code." (Durant.)
George Macaulay Trevelyan
"The fact is that the Eaton and Harrow education of that time [c.1780] was well directed towards a definite if insufficient end. It may have ill served some of the larger purposes of the community, but at least it forwarded the success in later life of the most important boys, those namely who were born to the purple of a seat in either House of Parliament, or who seemed likely by their talents to become recipients of a well-bestowed interest in a rotten borough.
'[Eaton and Harrow] aimed at training statesmen, at a time when statesmanship consisted largely in winning and retaining the confidence of an assembly of some six hundred gentlemen. Special attention was therefore paid to oratory, and oratory of a particular type -- large, dignified, lofty, appealing to the sense of honour and responsibility of a particular class. Such was the object of the Speech-days so much in vogue, not less than of the specialized study of the Classics as the model of language and taste. Parliamentary eloquence was founded on the pure and lordly speech of the ancient poets and orators, who were freely quoted in the ordinary conversation of gentlemen ... Similarity of education combined with similarity of social position to produce a close society favourable to high spirit and intensity of life rather than to breath of sympathy. For effective debate it is necessary that speakers and audience should share a common fund of experience and a common hinterland of thought.'"
§ "For what were all these country patriots born?
To hunt, and vote, and raise the price of corn?" (Lord Byron)
§ "Such hath it been shall be beneath the sun
The many still must labor for the one." (Lord Byron)
¶ "Aristotle in his first book of Politiques affirmes as a foundation of the whole politicall science, that some men by nature are made worthy to command, others only to serve." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ In acknowledging that an artist, a writer, must take his art from his personal experiences, Bertrand Russell wrote, "There is a thousand times more experience in pain than in pleasure."
¶ "Artists must have strong passions, but they deceive themselves in fancying it good to indulge their desires." (Bertrand Russell.)
¶ "The more deeply we penetrate into the labyrinth of art, the further we find ourselves from those ends for which we entered it." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "The theme of history from the 9th c. B.C. onward for six centuries is the story how these Aryan peoples grew to power and enterprise and how at last they subjugated the whole Ancient world, Semitic, Aegean and Egyptian alike. In form the Aryan peoples were altogether victorious; but the struggle of Aryan, Semitic and Egyptian ideas and methods was continued long after the scepter was in Aryan hands. It is indeed a struggle that goes on through all the rest of history and still in a manner continues to this day." (H. G. Wells.)
¶ "An attack should always be mounted, as near as possible, at right angles to the base of operations." (This Jominian concept (Napoleonic French General) was expressed by John Keegan.)
¶ "As a purely objective fact we should soon see that the distribution of natural phenomena is unaffected by the merits or the demerits of man ..." (John Tyndall.)
¶ "A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion." (Francis Bacon.)
§ See subject heading, "God" in blupete's essay -- "On Religion."
§ See blupete's commentary of -- September, 2000.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- June, 2000.
§ "One hates an author that is all author, fellows In foolscap uniforms turned up with ink, So very anxious, clever, fine, and jealous." (Lord Byron)
¶ "Avarice, the spur of industry." (David Hume)



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Peter Landry