Thoughts & Quotes of

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


¶ "I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ "I do not believe that any man fears to be dead, but only the stroke of death." (Francis Bacon)
¶ "He who would teach men to die would teach them to live." (Montaigne)
¶ "I want death to find me planting my cabbages." (Montaigne)
¶ "It is certain that to most men the preparation for death has been a greater torment than the suffering of it." (Montaigne)
¶ "What is the worst of woes that wait on age?
What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow?
To view each loved one blotted from life's page,
And be alone on earth, as I am now." (Lord Byron)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- September, 1998.
¶ "For it is the ignorant who judge, and they must be deceived, least they err." (Quintilian.)
¶ Frederick the Great was fond of observing to his generals, "He who defends everything, defends nothing."
§ See blupete's commentary of -- March 15th, 1998.
¶ "Pure democracy is possible only in a small community. The only machinery which perfectly fulfills its idea is the meeting of the elders under the village tree to debate and decide their own concerns." [Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System (London: Stephen Swift, 1911).]
¶ "At the beginning the Government was dependent on the House; now the House is in a state of abject dependence on the Ministers and ex-Ministers, who arrange between them details of all policies." (Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System).]
¶ "The general truth, then, is that the time of the House has passed absolutely into the hands of the little group that governs [the PMO and the party officials]. The House cannot discuss what questions it pleases, or pass what laws it pleases. It can only wait obediently for the questions raised by the Government, and vote blindly for the laws which the Government chooses to introduce." (Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System).]
¶ According to an Italian philosopher, Benedetto Croce ("Politics and Morals") one of the great defects of democracy is, "by idolizing equality conceived in an extrinsic and mechanical way, tends, whether it wishes to or not, towards authoritarianism." [As quoted by Francis Hackett, On Judging Books (New York: Day, 1947).]
¶ "The Moth of Democracy": The German philosopher, Nietzsche was of the view that democracy "was not only a degenerating form of political organization, but it is equivalent to a generating, a waning type of man." Its supporters may glorify public spirit, kindness, deference, industry, temperance, modesty, indulgence, and like virtues; but while these virtues may be found in man -- and generally throughout in a surprising degree, men by their nature exercise these virtues in their dealings with individuals they know and of whom they have made an assessment in the individual's worth. It is not to be expected that they will proceed to exercise these virtues to men as a collective identity. When men, often with good intentions, preach to the whole that they should give into the wishes of these preaching men for the good of the whole and in so doing are virtuous, the result is we trade freedom in for a utopian dream.
¶ "But eventually the power of the Commons rose to its full stature, and the consummation, foreshadowed during this period, hastened during the Lancastrian, Yorkist, and Tudor periods, threatened during the early Stuart period, and finally reached at the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was the supremacy of the legislature over both the executive and the judiciary, in the sense that the recorded decision of the first-named organ, in the shape of an Act of Parliament, could at will increase, decrease, or destroy the activities of the two last-named. ...
But between theory and practice there is a wide divergence. On the rock of strict law have accumulated the limpets of tradition and the barnacles of constitutigtial understandings. Though theoretically the very existence of executive and judiciary depend on the caprice of an omnipotent legislature, yet in practice on the one hand the executive exercises in the legislature the decisive voice, and on the other hand the idea that the legislature should, at the instance of the executive, curtail the independence of the judiciary is unthinkable." [Hanbury, English Courts of Law (1944) (Oxford University Press, 1957) at p. 68.]
¶ Parliament no longer governs and this is due mainly to the party system. "Members of Parliament might be influenced in their votes by debates in the House of Commons. Today the vote is pre-determined before the debate begins ..." (Keeton, The Passing of Parliament (London: Ernest Benn, 1952), p. 58.)
¶ The individual views of Members of Parliament, were, once upon a time of some significance; though, then, before the party system, the parliamentary speech was made more to impress the voters (of a limit base) then the other members of parliament. "The forum in which the views of the individual member can be expressed with the expectation that they will have some influence on policy in the party meeting, or better still, the party's annual conference. In the House, the member's duty is plain. If he wishes to remain a member, he must vote as the party Whip tells him." (Keeton, The Passing of Parliament, p. 60.)
¶ Voting: Universal Sufferage: This is where they count "heads, irrespective of what is inside them ..." (Keeton, The Passing of Parliament, p. 60.)
¶ "Very few people ever read anything except headlines and the commentators, those great miseducators of the American public in giving pepsinized knowledge and sometimes half-knowledge, so that all sorts of good people began to worry ..." [Felix Frankfurter Reminisces (New York: Reynal & Co., 1960) p. 169.]
¶ "Of the political superstitions, none is so universally diffused as the notion that majorities are omnipotent." (Spencer, Social Statics, 1851.)
¶ "... 'the will of the people' deciding things is an elaborate piece of humbug." [Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System (London: Stephen Swift, 1911).]
¶ Voting: "... a plurality of votes, to be given, not to property, but to proved superiority of education. ... the superiority of weight justly due to opinions grounded on superiority of knowledge. ... As far as I [John Stuart Mill] have been able to observe, it has found favour with nobody."
¶ JSM thought that "the lawful expenses of an election" should not fall on the candidate. "... there is a legitimate suspicion that any one who gives money for leave to undertake a public trust, has other than public ends to promote by it; and (a consideration of the greatest importance) the cost of elections, when borne by the candidates, deprives the nation of the services, as members of Parliament, of all who cannot or will not afford to incur a heavy expense. ... I thought a candidate ought neither to canvass nor to incur any expense." (John Stuart Mill, Autobiography.)
¶ "No one questions the legal right of parliament (i.e. the Cabinet) to legislate on any topic it likes so long as it retains sufficient discipline over its followers. The question is simply one of constitutional ethics; and lest this aspect of the matter should likely be dismissed, it must be added that today constitutional ethics have become more important than constitutional law. With the destruction of the House of Lords as an important political force, any government can pass any legislation whatever, which it considers to be necessary. What legislation it will enact depends upon the opinions it holds upon the rights of citizens, and whether it proposes to continue in office by the normal processes of elective government. If its opinions are absolutist, then the life and livelihood of every citizen are at its mercy." (Keeton, The Passing of Parliament, p. 124.)
¶ [The Masses:] "They are a parcel of cold, selfish and calculating animals, who seem to have no other aim or business on earth but to eat, drink and sleep." [Shelley, as quoted by Blunden, Shelley, A Life Story, (London: Collins, Readers Union, 1948) p. 83.]
¶ "The way to move great masses of men is to show that you, yourself are moved. ... in appealing to the public, no one triumphs but in the triumph of some public cause, or by showing a sympathy with the general and predominant feelings of mankind. In a private room, a satirist, a sophist may provoke admiration by expressing his contempt for each of his adversaries in turn, and by setting their opinion at defiance; but when men are congregated together on a great public question and for a weighty object, they must be treated with more respect. They are touched with what affects themselves or the general weal, not with what flatters the vanity of the speaker; they must be moved altogether, if they are moved at all. They are impressed with gratitude for a luminous exposition of their claims or for zeal in their cause; and the lightning of generous indignation at bad men and bad measures is followed by thunders of applause." (William Hazlitt, "Mr. Horne Tooke.")
¶ It is not to be disputed that sovereign power resides in the people: it does. The difficulty, is, transforming this power of the people for the good of the people. The power of the people, except by certain small republics of antiquity, has never been directly exercised by the people for any good purpose, except, as we have seen on great historical occasions, to rise up and overthrow a tyrannical regime. Assuming for the moment that we should want the beliefs, as held by the mob of mankind, to be translated into government action, the fact of the matter is we have no idea on how to gather these beliefs and put them into action.
Bruno Leoni: "... no legislator would be able to establish by himself, without some king of continuous collaboration on his part with all the people concerned, the rules governing the actual behavior of everybody in the endless relationships that each has with everybody else. No public opinion polls, no referenda, no consultations would really put the legislators in a position to determine these rules, any more than a similar procedure could put the directors of a planned economy in a position to discover the total demand and supply of all commodities and services. The actual behavior of people is continuously adapting itself to changing conditions. Moreover, actual behavior is not to be confused with the expression of opinions like those emerging from public opinion polls and similar enquiries, any more than the verbal expression of wishes and desires is to be confused with 'effective' demand in the market." (Freedom and the Law.)
¶ "The inescapable conclusion is that in order to restore to the word 'representation' its original, reasonable meaning, there should be a drastic reduction either in the number of those "represented" or in the number of matters in regard to which they are allegedly represented, or both." (Leoni, Freedom and the Law.)
Burke in his "Speech to the Bristol Voters," December 3, 1774: "... gentlemen, it is not your fond desires or mine that can alter the nature of things; by contending against which, what have we got, or shall ever get, but defeat and shame? I did not obey your instructions: No. I conformed to the instructions of truth and nature, and maintained your interest, against your opinions ... I am to look, to your opinions; but to such opinions as you and I must have five years hence. I was not to look to the flash of the day. I knew that you chose me, ... to be a pillar of the state, and not a weather-cock on the top of the edifice, exalted for my levity and versatility, and of no use but to indicate the shiftings of every fashionable gale."
¶ Representative Government: "... inherent, defect of the representative system; that of giving to a numerical majority all power, instead of only a power proportional to its numbers, and enabling the strongest party to exclude all weaker parties from making their opinions heard in the assembly of the nation, except through such opportunity as may be given to them by the accidentally unequal distribution of opinions in different localities." (John Stuart Mill, Autobiography.)
¶ The legislative assembly, holding the governing power, "should be chosen by, and accountable to, some portion or other of the people whose interest is not materially different from that of the whole." (John Stuart Mill, "Speech Against Sterling.")
¶ "Despotism of the multitude ... [however] democracy is the only tolerable form into which human society can be thrown, that a man is not permitted to hesitate about its merits, without the suspicion of being a friend to tyranny, that is, of being a foe to mankind?" (Edmund Burke)
¶ "The human mind is often in a state neither of pain nor pleasure, which I call a state of indifference." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "In a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "The publick is the theatre for mountebanks and impostors." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "They that live under the government of Democracy, attribute all the inconvenience to that forme of Commonwealth." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ "In a Democracy, look how many Demagogs [that is] how many powerful Orators there are with the people." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ "As water upon a plain Table is drawn which way any one part of it is guided by the finger." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ "The government it self, or the administration of its affairs, are better committed to one, then many." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ "The most part are too busie in getting food, and the rest too negligent to understand." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ "To be seduced by Orators, as a Monarch by Flatterers." (Thomas Hobbes)
§ See blupete's essay -- "Democracy."
§ "... we should take a little care not to call strength what is only nicety, or solid what is only acute, or good what is only beautiful: which delight more tasted than drunk [Cicero]. Not all that entertains us sustains us, when it is a question not of the wit but of the soul [Seneca]." (Montaigne)
§ "What then remains but that we still should cry For being born, and, being born, to die?" (Francis Bacon)
§ "They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea." (Francis Bacon)
¶ A dictator, if he cares for the continuing welfare of his country, has to solve before his death, at least, one problem, the problem of succession.
¶ A dictator must either go to war or face a revolution.
¶ "The sin of this age is dilettantism." (Carlyle.) Dilettante is used "depreciatively to one who interests himself in an art or science merely as a pastime and without serious aim or study (a mere dilettante)." (OED.)
¶ The opposite of Negligence is Diligence, vigilance, attention, which, like Negligence, admits of an infinite variety of gradations." (OED: 1875 Poste Gaius 477.)
¶ "The common law recognizes three degrees of diligence. (1) Common or ordinary; (2) High or great, which is extraordinary diligence; (3) Low or slight, which is that which persons of less than common prudence, or indeed of any prudence at all, take of their own concerns." (OED: 1848 Wharton Law Lex. s.v.,.)
¶ "If the interests of the parties are not identical, the Roman law, at least, requires extraordinary diligence. (OED: 1875 Poste Gaius 480.)
¶ "The people I like least in the world are the numerous class who believe that when anything is the matter with them they are at once absolved from every duty but that of attending to themselves." (W. Robert Nicoll, People & Books.)
¶ The disabled can afford to put their whole intellectual force into writing. They have leisure." (W. Robert Nicoll, People & Books.)
¶ "The irremediableness of marriage, as it is at present constituted, undoubtedly deters many from entering into this state." (Malthus.
§ See blupete's essay -- "Marriage & Divorce."
¶ "... glosses increase doubts." (Montaigne)
¶ "To satisfy one doubt, they give me three; it is the Hydra's head." (Montaigne)
§ "If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties." (Francis Bacon)
§ "What's drinking?
A mere pause from thinking!" (Lord Byron)
§ See blupete's essay -- "Criminal Law & Drugs."
§ See blupete's commentary of -- January 11, 1998.



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2012 (2014)

Peter Landry