Thoughts & Quotes of

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


John Stuart Mill thought to make a "distinction between the laws of the Production of Wealth, which are real laws of nature, dependent on the properties of objects, and the modes of its Distribution, which, subject to certain conditions, depend on human will. The common run of political economists confuse these together, under the designation of economic laws, which they deem incapable of being defeated or modified by human effort ..." On this, Mill was in error. The "real laws of nature" to which he refers, create wealth by its incentive of possessing wealth: you cannot redistribute wealth by "human will" without directly and proportionally impacting on its creation. As for "laws of the Production" and "modes of its Distribution" that "political economists confuse these together": well, there is but one engine in the economy: the rule (law) is that people make the effort because there is something in it for them. How can one suppose that people, as a general rule, will work, when the product of their work will be distributed by another's "human will." Its a lovely socialist dream, which has not and cannot work. [Quotes from JSM's Autobiography.]
¶ "The only safe rule is found in the self-adjusting meter of demand and supply. Do not legislate. Meddle and you snap the sinews with your sumptuary laws. Give no bounties, make equal laws, secure life and property, and you need not give alms. Open the doors of opportunity to talent and virtue and they do themselves justice, and property rushes from the idle and imbecile to the industrious, brave and persevering." [Emerson, as quoted by Paul Johnson in his work, Intellectuals (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p 142.]
¶ "It was an admirable proposal [to replace Highlanders with sheep], but like most such proposals in economics and politics it argued that all men were as benevolent as the proposer." [Prebble, The Highland Clearances (1963) (Penguin), p. 28.]
§ See blupete's essay -- "On Economics."
¶ "The education of Children [is called] a Culture of their mindes." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ "Learning makes difficulties." [Quintilian (c.35 c.100), a Roman rhetorician]
¶ "Study depends on the good will of the student, a quality that cannot be secured by compulsion... He must be engaged in competition and should be allowed to believe himself successful more often than not, while he should be encouraged to do his best by such rewards as may appeal to his tender years... I disapprove of flogging - although it is the regular custom - because it is... an insult, as you will realise if you imagine its infliction at a later age." (Quintilian)
¶ From John Stuart Mill's, Autobiography: "I do not believe that any scientific teaching ever was more thorough, or better fitted for training the faculties, than the mode in which logic and political economy were taught to me by my father. Striving, even in an exaggerated degree, to call forth the activity of my faculties, by making me find out everything for myself, he gave his explanations not before, but after, I had felt the full force of the difficulties; and not only gave me an accurate knowledge of these two great subjects, as far as they were then understood, but made me a thinker on both." "... my father's scheme of education, could not have been accomplished if he had not carefully kept me from having any great amount of intercourse with other boys. He was earnestly bent upon my escaping not only the ordinary corrupting influence which boys exercise over boys, but the contagion of vulgar modes of thought and feeling ..." "... while he saved me from the demoralizing effects of school life, he made no effort to provide me with any sufficient substitute for its practicalizing influences." "And I do not believe that boys can be induced to apply themselves with vigour, and what is so much more difficult, perseverance, to dry and irksome studies, by the sole force of persuasion and soft words. Much must be done, and much must be learnt, by children, for which rigid discipline, and known liability to punishment, are indispensable as means. ... I do not, then, believe that fear, as an element in education, can be dispensed with; but I am sure that it ought not to be the main element ..."
¶ In John Nicholl's biography of Byron there is reference to Dr. Joseph Drury's reaction to young Lord Byron (Drury was the Head-master at Harrow):
"Mr. Hanson, Lord Byron's solicitor, consigned him [Byron] to my [Drury's] care the age of thirteen and a half, with remarks that his education had been neglected; that he was ill prepared for a public school; but that he thought there was a cleverness about him. After his departure I took my young disciple into my study, and endeavoured to bring him forward by inquires as to his former amusements, employments, and associates, but with little or no effect, and I soon found that a wild mountain colt had been submitted to my management. But there was mind in his eye. In the first place, it was necessary to attach him to an elder boy; but the information he received gave him no pleasure when he heard of the advances of some much younger than himself. This I discovered, and assured him that he should not be placed till by diligence he might rank with those of his own age. His manner and temper soon convinced me that he might be led by a silken string to a point, rather than a cable: on that principle I acted." [As as found in Morley's English Men of Letters (New York: The Publishers Plate Renting, nd) at p. 24.]
¶ [Apprenticeship] "... everything that comes to our eyes is book enough; a page's prank, a servant's blunder, a remark made at a table, are so many new materials --- mixing with men is wonderfully useful and to visit foreign countries ... to rub and polish our brains by contact with those of others." (Montaigne)
¶ [Teachers] "I would urge that care be taken to choose a guide with a well-made rather than a well-filled head; that both these qualities should be required of him, but more particularly character and understanding than learning; and that he should go about his job in a novel way." (Montaigne)
¶ "Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided." (John Locke)
¶ "Virtue is harder to be got than knowledge of the world; and, if lost in a young man, is seldom recovered." (John Locke)
¶ "The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it." (John Locke)
¶ "Let the tutor make his charge pass everything through a sieve and lodge nothing in his head on mere authority and trust ... set a variety of ideas before him: let him choose if he can." (Montaigne)
¶ "It should be noted that children's games are not merely games; one should regard them as their most serious activities." (Montaigne)
¶ "Cobbett's view, back then, was that children would be better off learning from their parents. The main thing that children learn when cooped up in a school is laziness. He was also against a general tax on all to support those who were headed in any profession that required book learning. Why, I suppose, should the poor be made to pay so the children of the rich might be educated. Cobbett was of the general view that what the poor family needed was more bread, bacon and beer." (Spater On the Life of William Cobbett)
§ See blupete's essay -- "On The State of Provincial Education."
§ See blupete's commentary of -- July 12th, 1998.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- August 16th, 1998.
¶ "Men give themselves for hire. Their faculties are not for them, they are for those to whom they enslave themselves; their tenants are at home inside, not they. This common humor I do not like. We must husband the freedom of our soul and mortgage it only on the right occasions; which are in very small number, if we judge sanely." (Montaigne)
¶ "Most of our occupations are low comedy. The whole world plays a part. We must play our part duly, but as the part of a borrowed character." (Petronius)
§ "I am sure my bones would not rest in an English grave, or my clay mix with the earth of that country. I believe the thought would drive me mad on my death-bed could I suppose that any of my friends would be base enough to convey my carcass back to her soil. I would not even feed her worms if I could help it." (Lord Byron)
§ "The English winter ending in July,
To recommence in August." (Lord Byron)
¶ "It takes management to enjoy life." (Montaigne)
¶ What entertains people -- it is plain to see from the market -- is to witness people (through the news media, through books, through the movies, and through TV) losing themselves to their passions, who show no restraint when it comes to the natural human proclivities, such as: lust, anger, hate, revenge, etc.
§ "He who ascends to mountaintops, shall find
The loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow;
He who surpasses or subdues mankind
Must look down on the hate of those below." (Lord Byron)
¶ "What is an epigram? A dwarfish whole,
Its body brevity, and wit its soul." (Coleridge)
¶ We can dream and strive for equality; but it does not work out in practice. "Two persons agree to live together in Chambers on principles of pure equality and mutual assistance -- but when it comes to the push, one of them finds that the other always insists on his fetching water from the pump in Hare-court, and cleaning his shoes for him. ... [As for Godwin's scheme, it is] like other schemes where there are all prizes and no blanks, for the accommodation of the enterprising and cunning, at the expense of the credulous and honest. This broke up the system, and left no good odour behind it!" (William Hazlitt, "William Godwin." In other pages I have dealt with the concept, utilitarianism.)
¶ In England (hence in the United States and Canada), "equity" is a distinctive name of a system of law existing side by side with the common law and legislated law, and superseding these, when they conflict with it. The original notion was that a decision in equity was one that was in accordance with natural justice, in a case for which the law did not provide adequate remedy, or in which its operation would have been unfair. In England, equity was formerly administered by a special class of tribunals, of which the Court of Chancery was chief; but since 1873 -- in England and so in Canada, all the branches of the High Court administer both law and equity, it being provided that where the two differ, the rules of equity are to be followed.
§ See Prerogative Writs.
¶ "Errors are not in the art but in the artificers." (Isaac Newton)
¶ "All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it." (John Locke)
¶ "It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of truth." (John Locke)
¶ "No fierce polemical cannading can drive away the impalpable darkness of error, but only the slow and silent presence of the dawning truth." [John Morley's in his essay, "Byron" as found in Morley's Nineteenth Century Essays (University of Chicago Press, 1970) at p. 23.]
§ See blupete's commentary of -- January 7th, 2001.
¶ A lawyer should possess the great art of throwing, the onus probandi on his adversary.
¶ An adverse inference maybe drawn by the court where a party fails to put certain evidence before the courts, such as calling key witnesses. Such a failure may justify the court in drawing an inference that the evidence would have been unfavourable, had it been presented. (Levesque v. Comeau, [1970] S.C.R. 1010.)
¶ "The basic rule of evidence in Canada is that all relevant evidence is admissible unless it is barred by a specific exclusionary rule." (Justice Iacobucchi; R. v. F.F.B., [1993] 1 S.C.R. 697.)
¶ "It is true that by our law there is a higher standard of proof in criminal cases than in civil cases, but this is subject to the qualification that there is no absolute standard in either case. In criminal cases the charge must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, but there may be degrees of proof within that standard. Many great judges have said that, in proportion as the crime is enormous, so ought the proof to be clear. So also in civil cases. The case may be proved by a preponderance of probability, but there may be degrees of probability, within that standard. The degree depends on the subject-matter. A civil court, when considering a charge of fraud, will naturally require a higher degree of probability than that which it would require if considering whether negligence were established. It does not adopt so high a degree as a criminal court, even when it is considering a charge of a criminal nature, but still it does require a degree of probability which is commensurate with the occasion." [Lord Denning, Bater v. Bater, [1950).]
¶ "It is certainly a maxim that all evidence is to be weighed according to the proof which it was in the power of one side to have produced, and in the power of the other to have contradicted." (Lord Mansfield.)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- November 21st, 1999.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- November 3, 1997.
¶ "Experience is to do in its humble way what it can do more surely than its prouder colleague reason: to sift the elements of similarity from the chaos of fact into some pattern that men can live by." (Montaigne)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- May 23rd, 1999.
¶ The man of the specialty cannot describe the large outlines; he is too close upon the minutiae; he does not know the relations of other knowledge, and no one else dares to infringe on his province -- on the 'study of his life' -- for fear of committing errors in detail which he alone knows, and which he may expose. Certain men will, of course, say two things, if we do not take their views: first, that we don't know anything about these matters; and, secondly, that we are not so good as they are.
¶ "The common residual intelligence is becoming impoverished for the benefit of the specialist, the technician, and the aesthete: we leave behind us the world of historical iron-masters and banker histories, geological divines and scholar tobacconists, with its genial watchword: to know something of everything and everything of something: and through the gateway of the Competitive Examination we go out into the Waste Land of Experts, each knowing so much about so little that he can neither be contradicted nor is worth contradicting." (G. M. Young, Victorian England: Portrait of an Age (1936) (Oxford University Press, 1966, p. 160).



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2012 (2013)

Peter Landry