Quotation

No Comment, Quotation — November 23, 2011, 11:42 am

Quesnay: The Despotism of Natural Law

Les loix naturelles et fondamentales des sociétés sont la règle souveraine et decisive du juste et de l’injuste absolu, du bien et du mal moral, elles s’impriment dans le cœur des hommes, elles sont la lumière qui les éclaire et maîtrise leur conscience: cette lumière n’est affaiblie ou obscurcie que par leurs passions déréglées. Le principal objet des loix positives est ce dérèglement même auquel elles oposent une sanction redoubtable aux hommes pervers: car en gros de quoi s’agit-it pour la prospérité d’une nation? De cultiver la terre avec le plus grand succès possible et de preserver la société des …

No Comment, Quotation — November 18, 2011, 4:43 pm

Leopardi: The Eve of the Feast Day

Ecco è fuggito Il dì festivo, ed al festivo il giorno Volgar succede, e si travolge il tempo Ogni umano accidente. Or dov’è ’l suono Di que’ popoli antichi? or dov’è ’l grido De’ nostri avi famosi, e ’l grande impero Di quella Roma, e l’armi, e ’l fragorio Che n’andò per la terra e l’oceano? Tutto è silenzio e pace, e tutto cheto È ’l mondo, e più di lor non si favella. Ne la mia prima età, quando s’aspetta Bramosamente il dì festivo, or poscia Ch’egli era spento, io doloroso e desto Premea le piume; e per la …

No Comment, Quotation — October 21, 2011, 1:13 pm

Plato — The Origins of Democracy

?????? ?? ? ???????? ????? ??????? ??????, ?????? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?????????? ???? ????? ????? ????????, ??? ????????? ?????? ?? ????????? ??? ???????? ????: ?????? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ??????????? ?? ?????, ??? ???????? ??? ??????? ??? ????????? ??? ???????? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ??????. ???? ?? ??????????????? ???? ????? ???????? ????? ????????, ?????? ?? ??? ????: ????????? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ?? ??????? ????? ???????????? ?????, ??? ? ??????????? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ?????? ????? ?????? ??, ???? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ??????? ?????? — ????????? ??? ?????? ???? ?????, ?? ????? ???????? — ??????? …

No Comment, Quotation — September 2, 2011, 12:39 pm

Shakespeare/Morley — “O Mistress Mine”

O Mistress mine, where are you roaming? O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming, That can sing both high and low: Trip no further, pretty sweeting; Journeys end in lovers meeting, Every wise man’s son doth know. What is love? ’Tis not hereafter; Present mirth hath present laughter; What’s to come is still unsure: In delay there lies not plenty; Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty, Youth’s a stuff will not endure. —William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II, iii (1602) These lines are sung by Feste, one of the more complex comic foils to appear in a Shakespearean work. …

No Comment, Quotation — August 18, 2011, 2:32 pm

Solov'ëv and the Eternal Struggle with Evil

Ka?e?c?, o? ?????. ??o ?e?c????e???o cy?ec??ye?, ? o?o ??pa?ae?c? ?e ? o??o? o?cy?c???? ?o?pa, a ? ?o?o???e???o? c??po????e??? ? ?epe?ece ?????x ?a?ec?? ?a? ??c???? ?o ?cex o??ac??x ?????. Ec?? ??o ???????ya???oe — o?o ??pa?ae?c? ? ?o?, ??o ????a? c??po?a ?e?o?e?a, c?o?c??e ? ??epc??e c?pac?? ?po?????c? ?y???? c?pe??e???? ?y?? u ocu?u?a?m ux ? o?po??o? ?o?????c??e ???e?. Ec?? ??o o??ec??e??oe — o?o ? ?o?, ??o ???c?a? ?o??a, ???????ya???o ?opa?o?e??a? ??y, ?po?????c? c?ac??e????? yc????? ?e??o??x ?y???x ???e? ? o?o?e?ae? ?x; ec??, ?a?o?e?, ??o ?????ec?oe ? ?e?o?e?e — ? ?o?, ??? ?????e ?a?ep?a????e ??e?e??? e?o ?e?a co?po???????c? ???o? ? c?e??o? c??e, c?????a??e? ?x ? …

No Comment, Quotation — April 24, 2011, 5:39 am

Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes

Let Observation with extensive View, Survey Mankind, from China to Peru; Remark each anxious Toil, each eager Strife, And watch the busy Scenes of crouded Life; Then say how Hope and Fear, Desire and Hate, O’er spread with Snares the clouded Maze of Fate, Where wav’ring Man, betray’d by vent’rous Pride, To tread the dreary Paths without a Guide; As treach’rous Phantoms in the Mist delude, Shuns fancied Ills, or chases airy Good. How rarely Reason guides the stubborn Choice, Rules the bold Hand, or prompts the suppliant Voice, How Nations sink, by darling Schemes oppres’d, When Vengeance listens to …

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What China Threat?·

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Within about fifteen years, China’s economy will surpass America’s and become the largest in the world. As this moment approaches, meanwhile, a consensus has formed in Washington that China poses a significant threat to American interests and well-­being. General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), has said that “China probably poses the greatest threat to our nation by about 2025.” The summary of America’s 2018 National Defense Strategy claims that China and Russia are “revisionist powers” seeking to “shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model—gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.” Christopher Wray, the FBI director, has said, “One of the things we’re trying to do is view the China threat as not just a whole-­of-­government threat, but a whole-­of-­society threat . . . and I think it’s going to take a whole-­of-­society response by us.” So widespread is this notion that when Donald Trump launched his trade war against China, in January 2018, he received support even from moderate figures such as Democratic senator Chuck Schumer.

Shanghai Broadcasting Building, by Cui Jie (detail) © The artist. Courtesy private collection
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In December 2015, a twenty-­two-year-­old man named Masood Hotak left his home in Kabul, Afghanistan, and set out for Europe. For several weeks, he made his way through the mountains of Iran and the rolling plateaus of Turkey. When he reached the city of Izmir, on the Turkish coast, Masood sent a text message to his elder brother Javed, saying he was preparing to board a boat to Greece. Since the start of the journey, Javed, who was living in England, had been keeping tabs on his younger brother’s progress. As Masood got closer to the sea, Javed had felt increasingly anxious. Winter weather on the Aegean was unpredictable, and the ramshackle crafts used by the smugglers often sank. Javed had even suggested Masood take the longer, overland route, through Bulgaria, but his brother had dismissed the plan as excessively cautious.

Finally, on January 3, 2016, to Javed’s immense relief, Masood sent a series of celebratory Facebook messages announcing his arrival in Europe. “I reached Greece bro,” he wrote. “Safe. Even my shoes didn’t get wet.” Masood reported that his boat had come ashore on the island of Samos. In a few days, he planned to take a ferry to the Greek mainland, after which he would proceed across the European continent to Germany.

But then, silence. Masood stopped writing. At first, Javed was unworried. His brother, he assumed, was in the island’s detention facility, waiting to be sent to Athens with hundreds of other migrants. Days turned into weeks. Every time Javed tried Masood’s phone, the call went straight to voicemail. After a month passed with no word, it dawned on Javed that his brother was missing.

A screenshot of a December 2015 Facebook post by Masood Hotak (left), in Istanbul
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When Philip Benight awoke on January 26, 2017, he saw a bright glow. “Son of a bitch, there is a light,” he thought. He hoped it meant he had died. His mind turned to his wife, Becky: “Where are you?” he thought. “We have to go to the light.” He hoped Becky had died, too. Then he lost consciousness. When he opened his eyes again, Philip realized he wasn’t seeing heaven but overhead fluorescents at Lancaster General Hospital. He was on a hospital bed, with his arms restrained and a tube down his throat, surrounded by staff telling him to relax. He passed out again. The next time he came to, his arms and legs were free, but a drugged heaviness made it hard to move. A nurse told him that his wife was at another hospital—“for her safety”—even though she was also at Lancaster General. Soon after, two police officers arrived. They wanted to know why Becky was in a coma.

Three days earlier, Philip, who was sixty, tall and lanky, with owlish glasses and mustache, had picked up his wife from an HCR ­ManorCare nursing home. Becky had been admitted to the facility recently at the age of seventy-­two after yet another series of strokes. They drove to Darrenkamp’s grocery store and Philip bought their dinner, a special turkey sandwich for Becky, with the meat shaved extra thin. They ate in the car. Then, like every other night, they got ice cream from Burger King and drove to their home in Conestoga, a sparse hamlet in southern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Philip parked in the driveway, and they sat in the car looking out at the fields that roll down to the Susquehanna River.

They listened to the radio until there was nothing more to do. Philip went into the house and retrieved a container of Kraft vanilla pudding, which he’d mixed with all the drugs he could find in the house—Valium, Klonopin, Percocet, and so on. He opened the passenger-­side door and knelt beside Becky. He held a spoon, and she guided it to her mouth. When Becky had eaten all the pudding, he got back into the driver’s seat and swallowed a handful of pills. Philip asked her how the pudding tasted. “Like freedom,” she said. As they lost consciousness, the winter chill seeped into their clothes and skin.

Illustration by Leigh Wells (detail)
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America in the Middle East: learning curves are for pussies.
—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, June 2, 2015

In January 2017, following Donald Trump’s inauguration, his national security staffers entered their White House offices for the first time. One told me that when he searched for the previous administration’s Middle East policy files, the cupboard was bare. “There wasn’t an overarching strategy document for anywhere in the Middle East,” the senior official, who insisted on anonymity, told me in a coffee shop near the White House. “Not even on the ISIS campaign, so there wasn’t a cross-governmental game plan.”

Syrian Arab Red Crescent vehicles in eastern Ghouta, March 24, 2018 (detail) © Anas Alkharboutli/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Chances that a black American adult attended Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in 1963:

1 in 60

Undersea volcanoes erupt almost always between January and June.

The 70th governor of Ohio was sworn in on nine Bibles, which were held by his wife.

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“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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