Thoughts & Quotes of

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


¶ "I am amazed at the number of people who are wretched almost beyond endurance. 'Truly the food man feeds upon is Pain.'" (Bertrand Russell.)
¶ A Pantheist is one who believes in conservatism and resignation.
¶ See Spinoza.
¶ "In a true representative system the Executive would be responsible to the elected assembly and the elected assembly would be responsible to the people." [Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System (London: Stephen Swift, 1911)]
¶ "Instead of the executive being controlled by the representative assembly, it controls it. Instead of the demands of the people being expressed for them by their representatives, the matters discussed by the representatives are settled not by the people, not even by themselves, but by the 'Ministry' -- the very body which it is the business of the representative assembly to check and control." (Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System).]
¶ "... the mass of the supporters of either [political] party ... derive their political opinions originally from some family tradition or some fanciful preference." (Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System).]
¶ "We have today to deal not with a divided but with a united plutocracy, a homogeneous mass of the rich, commercial and territorial, into whose hands practically all power, political as well as economic, has now passed." (Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System).]
¶ "That is the Party System as it exists today, and by it the House of Commons has been rendered null, and the people impotent and without a voice." (Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System).]
¶ "[The party is a] close oligarchical corporation, admission to which is only to be gained by the consent who have already secured places therein. The price which has to be paid for admission is, of course, a complete surrender of independence, and absolute submission to the will of the body as a whole." (Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System).]
¶ "It should further be noted that the kindly tolerance on which politicians are so fond of congratulating themselves is extended only to those who play the game and not at all to those who spoil the game." (Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System).]
¶ A party (a political party) is a company or body of persons. They are a collection of individuals on one side in a contest; they unite in maintaining a cause, policy, opinion, etc., in opposition to others who maintain a different one; a body of partisans or adherents. The Spirit of a Political Party: It is a system of taking sides on public questions, an attachment to or zeal for the dictated position of the party. (With the assistance of the OED.)
¶ "It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another ..." (Washington's Farewell Address, 1796.)
¶ "Every party has a right side and a wrong. The right side of Whiggism, Radicalism, or love of liberty, is the love of justice -- the wish to see fair play to all men, and the advancement of knowledge and competence. The wrong side is the wish to pull down those above us, instead of the desire of raising those who are below. The right side of Toryism the love of order and the disposition to reverence personal attachment; the wrong side is the love of power for power's sake, and the determination to maintain it in the teeth of all that is reasonable and humane." (Leigh Hunt's Autobiography.)
¶ "They not only damn the work in the lump, but vilify and traduce the author, and substitute lying abuse and sheer malignity for sense and satire. To have written a popular work is as much as a man's character is worth, and sometimes his life, if he does not happen to be on the right side of the question. The way in which they set about stultifying an adversary is not to accuse you of faults, or to exaggerate those which you may really have, but they deny that you have any merits at all, least of all those that the world have given you credit for; bless themselves from understanding a single sentence in a whole volume; and unless you are ready to subscribe to all their articles of peace, will not allow you to be qualified to write your own name. It is not a question of literary discussion, but of political proscription. It is a mark of loyalty and patriotism to extend no quarter to those of the opposite party. Instead of replying to your arguments, they call you names, put words and opinions into your mouth which you have never uttered ..." (William Hazlitt, "On Criticism.")
¶ "The late comers were full of wine; and those who had remained on duty through the dinner-hour were impatient for their suppers. It was a terrible audience for an ambitious orator who had not accurately judged his own value; and any gentleman of slow invention and short memory, who rose with paper notes in his hand, might count upon being shouted down into his seat before he had come to the end of his first sentence." (George Otto Trevelyan.)
¶ "All people are passionate in what concerns themselves, or in what they take an interest in. The range of this last is different in different persons; but the want of passion is but another name for the want of sympathy and imagination." (William Hazlitt, "Lord Eldon and Mr. Wilberforce.")
¶ "Passions are smirched by indulgence and killed by restraint: the loss in either case is inevitable." (Bertrand Russell.)
¶ "During the first assault of passion as under a thunder stroke the sentiments of virtue may yield for a moment." (Jeremy Bentham)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- September 20th, 1998.
¶ "There is one certain means by which I can be sure never to see my country's ruin: I will die in the last ditch." (David Hume)
¶ "A regard for liberty, though a laudable passion, ought commonly to be subordinate to a reverence for established government." (David Hume)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- July 19th, 1998.
¶ "When rogues like these, (a Sparrow cries,)
To honors and employments rise,
I court no favor, ask no place;
From such preferment is disgrace."
(John Gay, Fables, 1727.)
¶ "The mental product or result of perceiving as distinguished from the action." (OED.)
¶ "It is along this pathway that the visual image formed on the retina by light rays entering the eye is transformed into a visual percept, on the basis of which appropriate commands to the muscles are issued." (As quoted by the OED: 1972, Sci. Amer. Sept. 47/2.)
¶ "Each physical stimulus, after interpretation by the mental processes, will result in a percept." (As quoted by the OED: 1976 Word 1971 XXVII. 226.)
¶ See concept.
¶ Englishmen: "Every event of our lives, from schoolboy games up to the most important struggles of public life, ... is a struggle in which it is considered a duty to do your best to win, to treat your opponents fairly, and to abide by the result in good faith when you lose, without resigning the hope of better luck next time." [Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1873); (University of Chicago Press, 1991) at p. 149.]
¶ Scotsmen: "To a Scotchman if a thing is, it is; there is an end of the question with his opinion about it. He is positive and abrupt, and is not in the habit of conciliating the feelings or soothing the follies of others. His only way therefore to produce a popular effect is to sail with the stream of prejudice, and to vent common dogmas, 'the total grist, unsifted, husks and all,' from some evangelical pulpit. This may answer, and it has answered. On the other hand, if a Scotchman, born or bred, comes to think at all of the feelings of others, it is not as they regard them, but as their opinion reacts on his own interest and safety. He is therefore either pragmatical and offensive, or if he tries to please, he becomes cowardly and fawning." (William Hazlitt, "Mr. Brougham -- Sir F. Burdett.")
¶ Scotsmen: Dr. Johnson was to write, "Much may be made of a Scotchman, if he be caught young."
¶ Englishmen and Scotsmen: In his biography of Byron, John Nicholl was to observe that rough national verdicts are apt to be superficial, and proceeded to write: "Mr. Leslie Stephen, in a review of Hawthorne, has commented on the extent to which the nobler qualities and conquering energy of the English character are hidden, not only from foreigners, but from ourselves, by the 'detestable lay figure' of John Bull. In like manner, the obtrusive type of the 'canny Scot' is apt to make critics forget the hot heart that has marked the early annuls of the country, from the Hebrides to the Borders, with so much violence, and at the same time has been the source of so much strong feeling and persistent purpose."
¶ Scotsmen and Irishmen: John Keats makes the comparison: "A Scotchman's motive is more easily discovered than an Irishman's. A Scotchman will go wisely about to deceive you, an Irishman cunningly. An Irishman would bluster out any discovery to his disadvantage. A Scotchman would retire perhaps without much desire of revenge. An Irishman likes to be thought a callous fellow. A Scotchman is contented with himself. ... Thus the Scotchman will become over grave and over decent and the Irishman over-impetuous. I like a Scotchman best because he is less of a bore -- I like the Irishman best because he ought to be more comfortable -- The Scotchman has made up his Mind within himself in a Sort of snail shell wisdom -- The Irishman is full of strong headed instinct."
¶ The Italian: "An Italian annoys you neither with his pride like an Englishman, nor with his vanity like a Frenchman. He is quiet and natural, self-possessed without wrapping himself up in a corner, and ready for cheerfulness without grimace. His frankness takes the air of a simplicity, at once misplaced and touching." (Leigh Hunt's Autobiography.)
¶ "... Quidnunc -- is tenacious in argument, though wary; carries his point thus and thus, bandies objections and answers with uneasy pleasantry ... [he does however] care something about you, and may be put out of his way by your remarks."
Then there is the one with "unmoved self-complacency, this cavalier, smooth, simpering indifference is more annoying than the extremist violence or irritability. ... seems to announce that nothing you say can shake his opinion a jot, that he has considered the whole of what you have to offer beforehand, and that he is in all respects much wiser and more accomplished than you. Such persons talk to grown people with the same air of patronage and condescension that they do to children. 'They will explain' -- is a familiar expression with them, thinking you can only differ from them in consequence of misconceiving what they say. Or if you detect them in any error in point of fact (as to acknowledged deficiency in wit or argument, they would smile at the idea), they add some correction to your correction, and thus have the whip-hand of you again, being more correct than you who corrected them. If you hint some obvious oversight, they know what you are going to say and were aware of the objection before you uttered it: -- 'So shall their anticipation prevent your discovery.' By being in the right you gain no advantage: by being in the wrong you are entitled to the benefit of their pity or scorn." (Hazlitt, "On Coffee-House Politicians.")
§ See blupete's commentary of -- December 12th, 1999.
¶ "The trouble with the philosophy, on the other hand, was that it was either so simple as to seem childish, or so difficult as to be unintelligible. Philosophy needed, I discovered, a particular absorption of mind that was not apparently mine. When I had read a page or two of Hegel, we will say, my thoughts began to wonder so destructively that I had to begin from the beginning again." (Hugh Walpole, Reading: An Essay, Harper, 1927, p.50)
¶ The vast majority of people have no notion about philosophy or philosophers; though most have a view about how they should proceed in life. Most people come by this view, as William James put it, by "the total push and pressure of the cosmos." - [As quoted by Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process (1921) (Yale University Press, 1961) p.12]
¶ "The philosophers falsify them [rules of nature] and show us the face of Nature painted in too high a color, and too sophisticated, whence spring so many varied portraits of so uniform a subject." (Montaigne)
§ See blupete's essay -- "On Philosophy."
¶ "The Arab experimental chemists were called alchemists, and they were still sufficiently barbaric in spirit to keep their methods and results secret as far as possible. They realized from the very beginning what enormous advantages their possible discoveries might give them, and what far-reaching consequences they might have on human life. They came upon many metallurgical and technical devices of the utmost value, alloys and dyes, distilling, tinctures and essences, optical glass; but the two chief ends they sought, they sought in vain. One was "the philosopher's stone" -- a means of changing the metallic elements one into another and so getting a control of artificial gold, and the other was the elixir vitoe, a stimulant that would revivify age and prolong life indefinitely. ..." (H. G. Wells.)
¶ "Plans do not determine outcomes. The happenings set in motion by a particular scheme of action will rarely be those narrowly intended, are intrinsically unpredictable and will ramify far beyond the anticipation of the instigator." (John Keegan, The First World War.]
¶ In olden days, if one refused to plead, refused to say guilty or not guilty, that person would suffer the punishment of Peine forte et dure, pressing to death with every aggravation of torture.
"That the prisoner shall be remanded to the place from whence he came, and put in some low, dark room, and there laid on his back, without any manner of covering except a cloth round his middle; and that as many weights shall be laid upon him as he can bear, and more; and that he shall have no more sustenance but of the worst bread and water, and that he shall not eat the same day on which he drinks, nor drink the same day on which he eats; and he shall so continue till he die." [Andrews, Old Time Punishments (1890), (New York: Dorset Press, 1991), p. 204.]
A person may well be pressed into pleading, but a simpler method, that of twisting and screwing their thumbs with whipcord, soon evolved. "In 1721, a woman named Mary Andrews was subjected to this punishment. After the first three whipcords, which broke from the violence of the twisting, she submitted to plead at the fourth." [Andrews, op. cit., p.205]
Needless to say, not too many prisoners persisted in keeping silent before the court. An 1827 Act of Parliament directed courts, when a prisoner refused to plead, to enter a plea of "not guilty."
¶ The "essential attribute of poetry, the power of awakening in others sensations like those which animate my own bosom ..." (Shelley, Preface to "The Revolt of Islam.")
¶ "The great end of poesy, that it should be a friend To soothe the cares and life the thoughts of man." (Keats, as quoted by William Michael Rossetti, Life of John Keats.)
¶ "Subtlety may miss them [the multitude], graces may miss them, and reason may fly over their heads, but the words of a generous humanity on the lips of poet [in speaking of Byron] or chief have never failed to kindle divine music in their breasts." [John Morley, in his essay, "Byron."
¶ "... if you want imaginative satire, or bitter wailing, you must go to the writings of Lord Byron; if a thoughtful, dulcet, and wild dreaminess, you must go to Coleridge; if a startling appeal to the first elements of your nature and sympathies (most musical also), to Shelley; if a through enjoyment of the beautiful -- for beauty's sake -- like a walk on a summer's noon in a land of woods and meadows, you must embower yourself in the luxuries of Keats." [As quoted by Blunden, Leigh Hunt and his Circle (London: Harper Brs., 1930) p.271.]
¶ "You speak of Lord Byron and me -- There is this great difference between us. He describes what he sees -- I describe what I [Keats] imagine." [In a letter to his brother George, dated September 27th, 1819; Letters of John Keats (Nelson, 1938).]
¶ "Intensity is the great and prominent distinction of Lord Byron's writings. ... He does not prepare any plan beforehand, nor revise and retouch what he has written with polished accuracy. His only object seems to be to stimulate himself and his readers for the moment... He does not like Mr. Wordsworth, lift poetry from the ground, or create a sentiment out of nothing. He does not describe a daisy or a periwinkle, but the cedar or the cypress: not poor men's cottages but princes' palaces." (William Hazlitt, The Spirit of the Age.)
§ See blupete's introduction to his poetry picks.
¶ The definition of politics was expressed by George Macaulay Trevelyan: "The free play of organized opinion in a civil community."
¶ "Politics consider men as united in society, and dependent on each other." (David Hume)
¶ "The balance of power is a secret in politics." (David Hume)
¶ "In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly." (Coleridge)
Bertrand Russell: "I know that grave men take it [politics] seriously, but it all seems to me to be so unimportant compared to the great eternal facts. ... people ... strike me as all puppets, blind embodiments of the forces of nature, never achieving the liberation that comes to man when he ceases to desire and learns at last to contemplate. Only in thought is man a God; in action and desire we are the slaves of circumstance."
§ See blupete's commentary of -- April 18th, 1999.
¶ The Law of Political Hydrostatics was expressed by George Macaulay Trevelyan: "Discontent denied its proper channels, will find its way out by the sewers."
¶ "It is his business [as a speech making politician] and his inclination to embellish what is trite, to gloss over what is true, to vamp up some feeble sophism, to spread the colours of a meretricious fancy over the unexpected exposure of some dark intrigue, some glaring iniquity. ... The way in which Mr. Canning gets up the staple-commodity of his speeches appears to be this. He hears an observation on the excellence of the English Constitution, or on the dangers of Reform and the fickleness and headstrong humours of the people, dropped by some Member of the House, or he meets with it in an old Debate in the time of Sir Robert Walpole, or in Paley's Moral and Political Philosophy, which our accomplished scholar read, of course, as the established text-book at the University. He turns it in his mind: by dint of memory and ingenuity he illustrates it by the application of some well-known and well-authenticated simile at hand, such as 'the vessel of the state,' 'the torrent of popular fury,' 'the precipice of reform,' 'the thunderbolt of war,' 'the smile of peace,' etc. He improves the hint by the help of a little play upon words and upon an idle fancy into an allegory ... Mr. Canning piles the lofty harangue, high over-arched with metaphor, dazzling with epithets, sparkling with jests -- take it out of doors, or examine it by the light of common sense, and it is no more than a paltry string of sophisms, of trite truisms, and sorry, buffooneries." (William Hazlitt, "The Right Hon. George Canning.")
¶ "The type of man who normally succeeds in obtaining office under the rules of the [political] party game is not fit to administer the affairs of State." [Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System (London: Stephen Swift, 1911).]
¶ "... the truth remains that the standard of ability, reading, and experience in political life is low, and the continual preoccupation of the politician in petty and personal calculations, and in the struggle to maintain his place against competitors of his own kidney, leaves no sufficient margin of leisure or of the energy for any development in his character that may be useful to the State." (Belloc and Chesterton, The Party System)
¶ In attempting to figure out what is in the heads of both politicians and clergy, there are two useful expressions to keep in mind: Super celestial thoughts and subterranean conduct.
¶ "The Oriental curse, '0 that mine enemy had written a book!' hangs suspended over them. By never committing themselves, they neither give a handle to the malice of the world, nor excite the jealousy of friends; and keep all the reputation they have got, not by discreetly blotting, but by never writing a line." (William Hazlitt, "On the Aristocracy of Letters.")
¶ "... Reputation runs in a vicious circle, and Merit limps behind it, mortified and abashed at its own insignificance. It has been said that the test of fame or popularity is to consider the number of times your name is repeated by others ... So, if you see the same name staring you in the face in great letters at the corner of every street, you involuntarily think the owner of it must be a great man to occupy so large a space in the eye of the town. The appeal is made, in the first instance, to the senses, but it sinks below the surface into the mind. There are various ways of playing one's-self off before the public, and keeping one's name alive. The newspapers, the lamp-posts, the walls of empty houses, the shutters of windows, the blank covers of magazines and reviews, are open to every one." (William Hazlitt, "On Patronage and Puffing.")
¶ "... men who expect nothing short of fair play from opponents, and who count upon winning popular favour, and popular support, in exact proportion to their deserts, had better keep out of public life." [George Otto Trevelyan, George the Third and Charles Fox (London: Longmans, Green; 1912).]
¶ In referring to Sir Robert Peel (who dominated English politics between 1833 and 1846), Sir Llewellyn Woodward wrote, "He considered measures on their merits, and disliked pledging himself in advance."
¶ "It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers [read politicians] to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs." (Adam Smith)
¶ "Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, can never willingly abandon it." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "A king is not to be deposed by halves." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "They who make a man an idol, when he is off his pedestal will treat him with all the contempt with which blind and angry worshippers treat an idol that is fallen." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "We do not sufficiently distinguish, in our observations upon language, between a clear expression, and a strong expression." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "A politician, to do great things, looks for a power, what our workmen call a purchase; and if he finds that power, in politics as in mechanics, he cannot be at a loss to apply it." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "I always distinguish between a man's talkative and writative character." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "All which a man without authority can give, -- his unbiased opinion, his honest advice, and his best reasons." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise." (Francis Bacon)
¶ "It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty." (Francis Bacon)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- May 20th, 2001.
§ See blupete's thoughts on Aristocracy.
§ See blupete's essay -- "Politics and The Lie of Legitimacy."
§ See blupete's commentary of -- December 6th, 1998.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- May 24th, 1998.
¶ Where an event, a circumstance, or a belief, which does not exist in the presence, but which may come to exist in the future. Where something only potentially may exist or may happen then it is spoken of as a possibility, than as any settled intention.
¶ See Probability.
¶ Richelieu's approach to seeking and holding power: "to speak little, to listen much, to feign interest in the dullness of superiors, to flatter and to frighten ... to swallow insult, to postpone revenge." Belloc points to Richelieu's definition of cruelty: it is "the love of giving pain for its own sake." (Richelieu, pp. 93,103.)
¶ "After a short tenure of high office, the holder almost invariably thinks himself admirably fitted for it." (Lord Rosebery's biography, Pitt (London: MacMillan, 1891) at p. 230.)
¶ "Power is a very corrupting thing, especially low and jobbish power." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "The operation of opinion being in the inverse ratio to the number of those who abuse power." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "Riches, Knowledge and Honour are but severall sorts of Power." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ I have always found the word "practice" an interesting expression. After much thought and many years, I have come to adopt the normal meaning. A person (encompasses a lawyer) can only practise at whatever he does, one never knows whether one has got things right or not, the best that anyone can hope for is that things might get better through practice, this assumes of course that one is prepared to take repetitive lessons from the repetitive mistakes that we all are bound to make in this life.
¶ "I suppose we shall soon travel by air-vessels; make air instead of sea-voyages." (Lord Byron, 1824)
¶ "You think you are combating prejudice, but you are at war with nature." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "That the critical taste does not depend upon a superior principle in men, but upon superior knowledge." (Edmund Burke)
¶ Prerogative writs, at English law, were issued on extraordinary occasions in the exercise of the royal prerogative. It is a prerogative that has long now been one claimed by the appointed judges of our superior courts. By definition, they are not writs made out by the ministers of government; but by a court of law. They break down into five varieties: habeas corpus, certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and Procedendo Ad Judicium.
¶ "Prerogative writs are issued upon cause shown in cases where the ordinary legal remedies are inapplicable or inadequate." [OED: 1898, G. H. B. Kenrick in Encycl. Laws Eng.] I might add, that a Prerogative writ does not grant as of course, it is granted only on proper grounds being shown and where a like remedy is not available anywhere else in the law.
Blackstone: -- "The great and efficacious writ, in all manner of illegal confinement, is that of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum." Dating back to at least the 13th century in England, it is a "writ issuing out of a court of justice, or awarded by a judge ... requiring the body of a person restrained of liberty to be brought before the judge or into court, that the lawfulness of the restraint may be investigated and determined."
¶ The original Latin of the words of the writ, expressing the wishes of the court, that those responsible for an inferior court or tribunal to hand up to the reviewing court the record of the impugned court or tribunal and in the submission to certify the correctness of the record. Of the several Latin words, the word Certiorari is most prominent. ["We, being desirous for certain reasons, that the said record should by you be certified to us."] Certiorari is a writ, issuing from a superior court, upon the complaint of a party that he has not received justice in an inferior court, or cannot have an impartial trial, by which the records of the cause are called up for review in the superior court.
¶ "It is not necessary that it should be a court in the sense that this court is a court; it is enough if it is exercising, after hearing evidence, judicial functions in the sense that it has to decide on evidence between a proposal and an opposition; and it is not necessary to be strictly a court; if it is a tribunal which has the rights after hearing evidence and opposition, it is amenable to the writ of certiorari." (Scranton, J.L., R. v. London County Council [1931] 2 K.B. 215.)
¶ "The procedure of certiorari applied in many cases in which the body whose acts are criticized would not ordinarily be called a court, nor would its acts be ordinarily termed 'judicial acts'. The true view of the limitation would seem to be that the term 'judicial act' is used in contrast with purely ministerial acts. To these latter the process of certiorari does not apply as for instance to the issue of a warrant to enforce a rate, even though a rate is one which could itself be questioned by certiorari. In short, there must be the exercise of some right or duty to decide in order to provide scope for a writ of certiorari at common law." (Fletcher Moulton, J.L., R. v. London County Council [1931] 2 K.B. 215.)
Prohibition is a prerogative writ, issuing from a superior court, forbidding some court, and the parties engaged in it, from proceeding in a suit, on the ground that this is beyond the cognizance of the court in question. Prohibition is usually claimed together with Certiorari.
Mandamus was a term originally applied generically to "a number of ancient writs, letters missive, or mandates, issued by the sovereign, directing the performance of certain acts, but afterwards restricted to the judicial writ" when issued by a superior court and directed to an inferior court, a corporation, an officer, etc., commanding some specified thing to be done. Its general object is to enforce the performance of some public duty in respect of which there is no other specific legal remedy. (OED.)
¶ "This is a direction from the High Court to a public body or an official, who is under an absolute, as distinct from a discretionary, duty to perform or act, to do it." (G. W. Keeton, The Passing of Parliament.)
Lord Mansfield, in R. v. Baker (1762) wrote the mandamus "ought to be used upon all occasions where the law has established no specific remedy, and where in justice and good government there ought to be one."
¶ As is the case with all prerogative writs, a Mandamus will not be granted, as Lord Wright pointed out in Stepney Borough Council v. Walker, [1934] A.C., 365, where there exists a sufficient and convenient remedy.
¶ And it is from Blackstone that we learn of this obscure prerogative writ: "A writ of Procedendo Ad Judicium issues out of the court of chancery, where judges of any subordinate court do delay the parties; for that they will not give judgment, either on the one side or the other, when they ought so to do. (1768, Blackstone Commentaries III., vii., 109.)
¶ "During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war, as is of every man, against every man." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ "No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ "The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run." (Thoreau, Walden, 1854.)
¶ The Stoics pointed out that we become slaves to our desires, and the Cynics stressed that each desire given up is a degree of freedom gained.
¶ "And the Devil did grin, for his darling sin.
Is pride that apes humility." (Coleridge)
¶ "... that fixed and habitual principle, which implies the absence of all selfish anticipations, whether of hope or fear, and the inward disavowal of any tribunal higher and more dreaded than the mind's own judgment upon its own act." [Burra's biography, Wordsworth (London: Duckworth, 1936) pp. 115-6. It was written by Wordsworth in about 1806, when he was explaining how his views of the French Revolution had changed. Initially he had supported those, or more particularly, the principles behind the French Revolution, which, however, he felt had changed, as Napoleon came to the surface, into selfish tyranny and lawless ambition.]
The quality or fact of being probable; the appearance of truth, or likelihood of being realized, which any statement or event bears in the light of present evidence; likelihood. It is where something, judged by present evidence, is likely to be true, to exist, or to happen. (With the help of the OED.)
¶ See Possibility.
¶ "The degree of estimation in which any profession is held becomes the standard of the estimation in which the professors hold themselves." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "He is willing to join in Society with others for the mutual Preservation of their Lives, Liberties and Estates, which I call by the general Name, Property." (John Locke)
¶ "When a civilized man says, 'My home is my castle,' he obviously is no collectivist, but he does not really mean that he refuses to let the gas-meter be inspected or intends to shoot callers on sight. He is emphasizing that there is a privacy, an independence, that is intensely precious and must not be invaded. The ultimate value of private ownership, in this aspect, is not that it enables him to be aggressive, competitive, but that it secures for him that subtle privilege, the right to and to consult himself. Gregarious and social he has to be, if the self is not diseased, but society is his means to an honest individual end; he wants above all a social system that has 'reverence for the individual human life' at the center of it. The more individuals there are, in the sense of individuated and highly developed persons, the better -- the better for society, for life, and for happiness. And who but pronouncedly 'anti-social' individuals (saints, artists, and revolutionaries) have striven for the multitude, though themselves to be kicked out, to end on the cross, or to be assassinated? The herd is in fact more the enemy of society than is the individuals. The true individual has at once to concern himself with society and endlessly assert himself against it. He has to be no less dissociated than associated." [Francis Hackett, On Judging Books (New York: Day, 1947) at pp. 61-2.]
¶ "If prescription be once shaken, no species of property is secure, when it once becomes an object large enough to tempt the cupidity of indigent power." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "Property, left undefended by principles, became a repository of spoils to tempt cupidity." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "Property was not made by government, but government by and for it. The one is primary and self-existent; the other is secondary and derivative." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "Prosperity is not apt to receive good lessons, nor always to give them." (Edmund Burke)
¶ As Will Durant, in his Our Oriental Heritage, points out, the happenings in the temples of Babylon were to be a "scandalous example of luxurious laxity to all the ancient world. Even Alexander, who was not above dying of drinking, was shocked by the morals of Babylon."
¶ The whores of Babylon: "Every native woman is obliged, once in her life, to sit in the temple of Venus, and have intercourse with some stranger. And many disdaining to mix with the rest, being proud on account of their wealth, come in covered carriages, and take up their station at the temple with a numerous train of servants attending them. ... strangers [come] and make their choice. When a woman has once seated herself she must not return home till some stranger has thrown a piece of silver into her lap, and lain with her outside the temple. ... The woman follows the first man that throws, and refuses no one. But when she has had intercourse and has absolved herself from her obligation to the goddess, she returns home ... Those that are endowed with beauty and symmetry of shape are soon set free; but the deformed are detained a long time, from inability to satisfy the law, for some wait for a space of three or four years." (Herodotus.)
Such women were not prostitutes. However, it was common to find girls selling their favours around the temple (temple prostitutes), they often earned their marriage dowries in this way. Sacred prostitution continued in Babylonia until abolished by Constantine (ca. 325 A.D.).
¶ A precedent is where there exists a previous instance or case which is or may be taken as an example or rule for subsequent cases, or by which some similar act or circumstance may be supported or justified. It has a special meaning in law. A previous judicial decision, method of proceeding, or draft of a document, serves as an authoritative rule or pattern in similar or analogous cases.
¶ "The conservative English instinct, whichever preferred the authority of precedent to any other guide." (OED: 1858, Froude, Hist. Eng., III., xvi., 362.)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- April 29th, 2001.
¶ "It is better that ten guilty escape than that one innocent suffer." This proposition of Blackstone's is one of the cornerstones of English justice. It is only when we are certain beyond a reasonable doubt that the person we have before us is guilty of the crime can we can mete out punishment in its full and proper form. It hasn't always been this way; there was what we now know as the Halifax law, or Lydford law, being: "the summary procedure of certain local tribunals which had or assumed the power of inflicting sentence of death on thieves; the rule proverbially ascribed to them was 'Hang first, Try afterwards.'" (OED.)
¶ Psychoanalysis is any and all therapy that seeks to "uncover repressions and replace them by acts of judgment." Psychoanalysis is a pretended science, one of many that have emanated from Freud and his teachings. The idea is that people can become repressed because of some childhood trauma, mostly sexual in nature, and that hysteria can be cured by making a patient simply recall their painful memories. And so has sprung a whole industry which is busy milking society and providing a ready excuse to those who, not suffering from brain or a nerve disease, are unable to come to grips with themselves.
¶ There are those who promote the notion that there exist public choice in western style democracies. It is not likely that such a thing exists. The economist, Arthur Seldon in his work, Capitalism, set out five reasons for this.
First: Unlike the participants in the market place where buyers and sellers make there own decisions which they are normally obliged to live with, in a representative democracy we have a middle man, the elected representative. Theses elected representatives always have a very keen interest in any step or situation which will better their chances in the next election. They therefore cater to the perceived public positions on social questions as seems to be demonstrated by the evening newscasts. The news of any day usually contains events that have come about as a result of organized movements headed up by activist political people which serves their particular agenda but not necessarily in the best interests of the whole. These activist political people get others, others who may not be best served by following these activist political people and who in the majority of circumstances are ill-informed and have little or no understanding of the issues let alone a calculation of what, if anything, can be done to resolve the issues. These people march with their banners and deputize certain of their number with the sole purpose of intimidating politicians. "This is the source of the innate discrimination of the political process between the activist political people who are adept in these activities and the quiet domestic people who lack the temperament, character, social skills or robust health required for the life political."
Second: The decisions we make in life usually entail getting to know the person or persons with whom we deal, and usually before we make the decision. For example, a careful business person is one who makes an assessment of the character, experience and ability before contracting for the wanted services or the wanted goods. On the other hand, decisions made by politicians are made for millions of people who are strangers to them. Thus the public at large is herded into groups, such as: householders, parents, patients, and alike. This approach, unlike the market place, ignores the differences "between individuals in personal circumstances, requirements, preferences must be ignored. The state provides table d'hôte for groups; the market provides à la carte to individual taste. The administrative herding indispensable in the state must produce equal treatment of unequal people or unequal treatment of equal people." (Seldon.)
Third: In the free market, decisions are made face to face. "In government decisions are made indirectly by delegation to representatives. In the long chain of instruction or command from voter to representative to minister to bureaucrat and back, there is considerable room for misunderstanding of preferences, misinterpretation of circumstances, misrepresentation of wishes, ambiguity of instructions and misdirection of effort."
Fourth: And to continue with the comparison: In the market we spend our own money. Government spends other people's money. There is "no comparable anxiety to make the most of every penny ... no consciousness of the personal consequences of error, carelessness or foolishness; no corresponding sense of responsibility in spending, saving, investing or wasting money." If any movement should come about to make government accountable, to pin responsibility on particular individuals, and to trace losses, well, then, the politicians will step in and scuttle the works. It is not thought that any kind of an airing-out would bring the incumbents the votes for the next election. The politicians basically do this by a military stratagem of "divide and conquer."
Fifth: Arthur Seldon, in continuing his comparison, observed that in the market, "individuals who suffer from poor service can generally escape to other suppliers, and the very knowledge that they can escape prevents poor service being widespread or prolonged." With government we have come to expect poor service as is represented by long waiting lines and sour dispositions all the way around.
§ See blupete's essay -- "Democracy."
¶ As Hazlitt observed, "men in society judge not by their own convictions, but by sympathy with others." ("On the Difference Between Writing and Speaking.")
¶ "Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened." (Washington's Farewell Address, 1796.)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- September, 1999.
¶ "The action of punishing or the fact of being punished; the infliction of a penalty in retribution for an offence; also, that which is inflicted as a penalty; a penalty imposed to ensure the application and enforcement of a law." (OED.)
¶ "We must, wherever we suppose a Law, suppose also some Reward or Punishment annexed to that Rule." (John Locke, Human Understanding.)
¶ Richelieu's definition of cruelty: it is "the love of giving pain for its own sake." (Belloc's biography.)
¶ "Laws gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe seldom executed." (Poor Richard's Almanac, 1738: Benjamin Franklin, 1706-90.)
¶ "Shame ... not fear, is the sheet-anchor of the law." (William Hazlitt, "Jeremy Bentham.")
¶ "Shame is no punishment except upon persons of ingenuous dispositions." (Joseph Priestley, 1788.)
¶ "If hen-stealing prevail to a plainly unendurable extent, will you station police-officers at every hen-roost; and keep them watching and cruising incessantly to and fro over the parish, in the unwholesome dark, at enormous expense, with almost no effect? Or will you not try rather to discover where the fox's den is, and kill the fox?" (Carlyle, 1849.)
¶ "Whoever profits by the crime is guilty of it." (French Proverb)
¶ "The punishment may be remitted; the crime will stand." (Ovid, 43 B.C.-17 A.D., Latin poet.)
¶ "The State has two great engines, punishment and reward." (Jeremy Bentham)
¶ "Punishment cannot act any farther than in as far as the idea of it is present in the mind." (Jeremy Bentham)
¶ "Force can accomplish many things which would be beyond the reach of cunning." (Jeremy Bentham)
¶ "The aym of Punishment is not a revenge, but terrour." (Thomas Hobbes)
¶ "Why any man should take the law of his country rather than his own Inspiration, for the rule of his action." (Thomas Hobbes)



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Peter Landry