Sunday, December 07, 2008

In This Hour of Wrack and Ruin

It's remarkable when you think of it - ordinary, wage-earning taxpayers getting saddled with debt and more taxes so their government can borrow vast sums, the very medicine needed to heal the self-indulgence and greed of the rich and powerful.

While pondering a world in which logic, reason and just about everything else has been stood on its head I stumbled across where I found posted these fascinating insights from the past:

"Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom, 1913

"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson."President Roosevelt, Letter to Colonel House, November 1933.

"There is no such thing in America as an independent press. . . . There is not one of you who dare to write his honest opinions. . . . I am paid $150 a week for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper. . . . We are the jumping-jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."John Swinton, addressing a group of journalists, April 12, 1883.

And this timely warning from noneother than the great pamphleteer himself, Thomas Paine:

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated."

These passages and many more, plus the appropriate citations, can be found here:

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