Thoughts & Quotes of

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


¶ "Strongly it bears us along in swelling and limitless billows, Nothing before and nothing behind but the sky and the ocean." (Coleridge)
¶ "There are four distinguishable sources from which pleasure and pain are in use to flow: considered separately, they may be termed the physical, the political, the moral, and the religious: and inasmuch as the pleasures and pains belonging to each of them are capable of giving a binding force to any law or rule of conduct, they may all of them be termed sanctions." (Jeremy Bentham)
¶ "Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition." (Adam Smith)
¶ "A system of natural philosophy [this is how they described science in those days] may appear very plausible, and be for a long time very generally received in the world, and yet have no foundation in nature, nor any sort of resemblance to the truth." (Adam Smith)
¶ "Science, which demands before all things the free action of an untroubled mind, ..." (H. G. Wells.)
§ See blupete's essay -- "Science and the Philosophers."
§ See blupete's commentary of -- April 11th, 1998.
§ See Personalities.
¶ "A land of meanness, sophistry and lust." (Lord Byron)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- December 3rd, 2000.
¶ The surest way of having a secret kept is to keep it to yourself.
¶ "I have my own laws and court to judge me .... Others do not see you, they guess at you by uncertain conjectures; they see not so much your nature as your art. Therefore do not cling to their judgment; cling to your own." (Montaigne)
¶ "The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself." (Montaigne)
¶ "We must lend ourselves to others and give ourselves only to ourselves." (Montaigne)
¶ "Be so true to thyself, as thou be not false to others." (Francis Bacon)
¶ "All sentimentalists have the same need, to obtain your emotions under false pretenses ..." [Harold Laski, as quoted by Francis Hackett, On Judging Books (New York: Day, 1947) at p. 266.]
§ See blupete's commentary of -- April 15th, 2001.
¶ "What men call gallantry, and gods adultery,
Is much more common where the climate's sultry." (Lord Byron)
¶ "All human history attests
That happiness for man the hungry sinner!
Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner." (Lord Byron)
¶ "A little still she strove, and much repented,
And whispering I will ne'er consent consented." (Lord Byron)
¶ "And there was mounting in hot haste." (Lord Byron)
§ See blupete's essay -- "On Sex."
¶ "This notion [skepticism] is more clearly understood by asking 'What do I know?'" (Montaigne)
¶ "The slightest things in the world, whirl it around. ... As for the error and uncertainty of the operations of the senses, each man can furnish himself with as many examples as he pleases, so ordinary are the mistakes and deceptions that they offer us.") (Montaigne)
¶ "Either we judge absolutely, or we absolutely cannot.") (Montaigne)
¶ "The agricultural slaves [of Rome] were captives who spoke many different languages so that they could not understand each other, or they were born slaves; they had no solidarity to resist oppression, no tradition of rights, no knowledge, for they could not read and write. ... The agricultural workers in Italy in the later days of the Republic and the early empire suffered frightful indignities; they would be chained at night to prevent escape or have half the head shaved to make it difficult. They had no wives of their own; they could be outraged, mutilated, and killed by their masters. A master could sell his slave to fight beasts in the arena. If a slave slew his master, all the slaves in his household and not merely the murderer, were crucified." (H. G. Wells.)
¶ "The slave system had spread to most industries and to every sort of work that could be done by gangs. Mines and metallurgical operations, the rowing of galleys, road-making and big building operations were all largely slave occupations. And almost all domestic service was performed by slaves. There were poor freemen men and there were freed-men in the cities and upon the country side, working for themselves or even working for wages. They were artisans, supervisors and so forth, workers of a new money-paid class working in competition with slave workers; but we do not know what proportion they made of the general population. It probably varied widely in different places and at different periods. And there were also many modifications of slavery, from the slavery that was chained at night and driven with whips to the farm or quarry, to the slave whose master found it advantageous to leave him to cultivate his patch or work his craft and own his wife like a free-man, provided he paid in a satisfactory quittance to his owner."(H. G. Wells.)
¶ The disappearance of slavery on the French colony of Santo Domingo threw the population there into social convulsion. Its entire industrial system was wrecked, due to the "disappearance of slavery, and with it of all white government. The huge sugar and coffee product of the island vanished as a commercial factor ..." [Mahan, Sea Power in its Relations to The War of 1812 (London: Sampson, Low, Marston, 1905), Vol. 1, p. 85.]
§ See blupete's commentary of -- September 10th, 2001.
¶ "A man who values a good night's rest will not lie down with enmity in his heart, if he can help it." (Laurence Sterne, Sentimental Journal.)
¶ "Oh Sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole,
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven,
That slid into my soul." (Coleridge)
¶ "Anxious as they are to promote the redeeming, transcending Truth, the establishment of which they see as their mission on behalf of humanity, they have not much patience with the mundane, everyday truths represented by objective facts which get in the way of their arguments. These awkward, minor truths get brushed aside, doctored, reversed or are even deliberately suppressed." [Paul Johnson, Intellectuals (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 269.]
¶ [Who by nature is fixed and unchangeable.] "Others form man; I tell of him, and portray a particular one, very ill formed, whom I should really make very different from what he is if I had to fashion him over again. But now he is done." (Montaigne)
¶ "Instead of changing men into angels, they change them into beasts.") (Montaigne)
¶ Much mischief can come where there is a conscience without knowledge, as equal to that where there is knowledge without conscience.
¶ We are use to hearing from youth who have concluded there is wrong in the world. They usually become stumped when their critical spirit is checked by asking them to consider what the remedy might be.
¶ The greatest fallacy of the number which invest the ideas of socialism, is, that, the state and the community are synonymous.
¶ "When the process of constructing State-monopolies has been carried to its furthest point, we shall have an electorate which is predominately composed of their employees. These will have a vested interest in the maintenance of the system for their own benefit. To change will not only be hazardous, but politically impossible." (Keeton, The Passing of Parliament (London: Ernest Benn, 1952), p. 199.)
¶ "The state was for Mill, as it was for Bentham, the great reserve force of society which interferes to prevent the capture of the engines of social power by sinister interests." [Harold J. Laski, as he wrote as part of his introduction to John Stuart Mill's Autobiography (Oxford University Press, 1949).]
¶ "I read nearly everything they [the St. Simonians] wrote. Their criticisms on the common doctrines of Liberalism seemed to me full of important truth; and it was partly by their writings that my eyes were opened to the very limited and temporary value of the old political economy, which assumes private property and inheritance as indefeasible facts, and freedom of production and exchange as the dernier mot of social improvement. The scheme gradually unfolded by the St. Simonians, under which the labour and capital of society would be managed for the general account of the community every individual being required to take a share of labour either as thinker, teacher, artist, or producer, all being classed according to their capacity, and remunerated according to their works, appeared to me a far superior description of Socialism to Owen's. Their aim seemed to me desirable and rational, however their means might be inefficacious; and though I neither believed in the practicability nor in the beneficial operation of their social machinery, I felt that the proclamation of such an ideal of human society could not but tend to give a beneficial direction to the efforts of others to bring society as at present constituted, nearer to some ideal standard. ..." (John Stuart Mill.)
I should note that in his introduction to Mill's autobiography (Oxford University Press), Harold J. Laski wrote: "Those who desire to evaluate the worth of Mill must remember that when he began to do his work the franchise was still unreformed, there was no popular education, the universities were still the jealously guarded preserve of the Church, and trade unions were enmeshed within the categories of a selfish law of conspiracy."
¶ "With those who, like all the best and wisest of mankind, are dissatisfied with human life as it is, and whose feelings are wholly identified with its radical amendment, there are two main regions of thought. One is the region of ultimate aims; the constituent elements of the highest realizable ideal of human life. The other is that of the immediately useful and practically attainable." (John Stuart Mill, Autobiography.)
¶ "Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.
We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain." (Frederic Bastiat)
¶ "Please understand that I do not dispute their right to invent social combinations, to advertise them, to advocate them, and to try them upon themselves, at their own expense and risk. But I do dispute their right to impose these plans upon us by law -- by force -- and to compel us to pay for them with our taxes." (Frederic Bastiat)
¶ "One of the principal lessons of our tragic century, which has seen so many millions of innocent lives sacrificed in schemes to improve the lot of humanity, is -- beware intellectuals. Not merely should they be kept well away from the levers of power, they should also be objects of particular suspicion when they seek to offer collective advice." [Paul Johnson, Intellectuals (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 342.]
§ The Argument of the Socialist as put by Mill:
"... There is no greater assumption of infallibility in forbidding the propagation of error, than in any other thing which is done by public authority on its own judgment and responsibility. Judgment is given to men that they may use it. Because it may be used erroneously, are men to be told that they ought not to use it at all? To prohibit what they think pernicious, is not claiming exemption from error, but fulfilling the duty incumbent on them, although fallible, of acting on their conscientious conviction. If we were never to act on our opinions, because those opinions may be wrong, we should leave all our interests uncared for, and all our duties unperformed . An objection which applies to all conduct can be no valid objection to any conduct in particular. It is the duty of governments, and of individuals, to form the truest opinions they can; to form them carefully, and never impose them upon others unless they are quite sure of being right. But when they are sure (such reasoners may say), it is not conscientiousness but cowardice to shrink from acting on their opinions, and allow doctrines which they honestly think dangerous to the welfare of mankind, either in this life or in another, to be scattered abroad without restraint, because other people, in less enlightened times, have persecuted opinions now believed to be true. Let us take care, it may be said, not to make the same mistake: but governments and nations have made mistakes in other things, which are not denied to be fit subjects for the exercise of authority: they have laid on bad taxes, made unjust wars. Ought we therefore to lay on no taxes, and, under whatever provocation, make no wars? Men, and governments, must act to the best of their ability. There is no such thing as absolute certainty, but there is assurance sufficient for the purposes of human life. We may, and must, assume our opinion to be true for the guidance of our own conduct: and it is assuming no more when we forbid bad men to pervert society by the propagation of opinions which we regard as false and pernicious."
§ The Argument of the Socialist as countered by Mill:
"I answer, that it is assuming very much more. There is the greatest difference between presuming an opinion to be true, because, with every opportunity for contesting it, it has not been refuted, and assuming its truth for the purpose of not permitting its refutation. Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right."
§ See blupete's commentary of -- January 16th, 2000.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- January 23rd, 2000.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- January 9th, 2000.
§ See blupete's essay -- "The Siren's Song."
¶ "It was the dread of evil, not the hope of good that first cemented societies together." (Jeremy Bentham)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- October 29th, 2000.
¶ "I look on solemnity as a disease! It seems to me that morality, study and gaiety are three sisters which should never be separated." (Voltaire.)
¶ "It required an unbroken attention, to form a true judgment." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "In solitude, where we are Least alone." (Lord Byron)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- November 22nd, 1998.
¶ "For that same ground, that bears the weeds thick,
Bears also these wholesome herbs as oft;
Next to the foul nettle, rough and thick,
The rose grows sweet, smooth, and soft;
And next the valley is the hill aloft,
And next the dark night is the glad morrow,
And also joy is next after which sorrow."
§ See blupete's commentary of -- January 12th, 2002.
¶ "The qualities, indeed, of action and counsel and speech are absolutely distinct, and rarely combined in one man ..." (Lord Rosebery's biography, Pitt (London: MacMillan, 1891) at p. 230.)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- May 3rd, 1998.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- January 21st, 2001.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- February 7th, 1999.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- February 6th, 2000.
¶ Fancy Words: Latin, which literally mean "to stand by a decision." In English common law courts will not disturb a settled point in law (the decisions of judges made in earlier cases). One would think that this policy of the courts would make the law static; but, it is not. The common law is comparable to a living and evolving creature. As in any evolutionary process matters move slowly and changes are gradual, taking place in its different parts at different rates; resistance and difficulties being the agents in evolutionary changes. Changes in judge-made-law come about only after a series of decisions in cases over a number of years have chipped away at some particular aspect of the law, an aspect that looms larger than it did in the past because of new or developing situations. The chips are small and reluctantly made due to the great stabilizer of the law, stare decisis. The following of precedents established by previous cases acts as a governor to man-made-law. It has always been considered to be a very important legal policy. Why? It is because people generally go about, both their personal and commercial business, on the security and certainty of the law. People plan their lives on the basis of the existing law. When a change of the law is made by a judge on the turn of a single case -- even where "justice" might seem to be served in that single case -- much injustice may be done to society as a whole.
¶ "Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure -- but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico, or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with other reverence, because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born." (Edmund Burke)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- May 10th, 1998.
¶ "The passion for the status quo also shows itself in a general defensive, sullen hatred of all ideas whatever." [Arnold Bennett, Books and Persons (1917), (London: Chatto & Windus, 1919), p. 70.]
¶ During the Tudor period there grew a powerful court, the Star Chamber, "most efficient and popular." "It dealt mainly with matters concerning the safety of the State, but also with many other matters, some falling within, others outside the common law, such as foreign trade, defamation, fraud, and forgery. The procedure was not as in the common law courts, by writ, but by bill, as in the Court of Chancery. The vital difference between the writ and the bill was that whereas the former specified the entire scope of complaint against the defendant, the latter summoned him to answer not only as to matters specified therein, but as to other unspecified matters as well. The Star Chamber further resembled the Chancery, and differed from the courts of common law, in that juries were unknown in it. Its bounds are commonly said to have been marked by cases of freehold and felony; it did not claim to decide the title to freehold land, and it tried and punished only misdemeanours. As it did not deal with felonies, it follows that it never passed the death sentence." [Prof. Hanbury, English Courts of Law (1944) (Oxford University Press, 1957) at p. 82.]
¶ Quoting Maitland, Professor Keeton writes, that the Star Chamber was a "court of politicians enforcing a policy, not a court of judges administering the law." It existed in England between the years 1629 and 1640 when the king ruled without parliament. The Star Chamber was but a "judicial instrument through which the royal despotism was enforced." [Keeton, The Passing of Parliament, (London: Ernest Benn, 1952), pp. 16,38.] The Star Chamber was abolished in 1641.
¶ "Strategy is a system of logic, not of ethics."
§ See blupete's commentary of -- January 12th, 2002.
¶ "Our wisdom and deliberation for the most part follow the lead of chance." (Montaigne)
¶ "Few men have been admired by their own households." [When described by Hermodotus as "Son of the Sun," Antigonus (c. 382-301 BC) said of himself "My valet is not aware of this.") (Montaigne)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- August 22nd, 1999.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- August 30th, 1998.
§ See blupete's commentary of -- May 16th, 1999.
¶ "Superstition is the religion of feeble minds." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "We begin to think and to act from reason and from nature alone." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "Opposing one species of superstition to another, set them a quarreling; while we ourselves, during their fury and contention, happily make our escape into the calm, though obscure, regions of philosophy." (David Hume)
§ See blupete's commentary of -- January 12th, 2002.
¶ "Suspicion is a heavy armour." (Lord Byron)



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Peter Landry