September 1, 2015

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty: updated and adapted…


“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
Wendell Phillips (1811-1884)
       American Abolitionist and liberal activist
       In a
speech to the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society on January 28, 1852
       This quotation is often mistakenly attributed to Irish lawyer and politician John Philpot Curran (1750–1817) or to various American Founding Fathers, most commonly Thomas Jefferson. Similar quotes by Curran, Jefferson and others do predate the speech by Phillips, but he created the formulation we are most familiar with today in his 1852 speech.
       What Curran said, in
a speech in Dublin on July 10, 1790, was: “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”
       The common misattribution to Thomas Jefferson may derive from a quote inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC: “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” This comes from a
letter Jefferson wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush on September 23, 1800, in which he stressed his determination to prevent Christian clergyman from imposing their particular brands of religion on other Americans.
this post on my This Day in Quotes site for more background.


“We must constantly train and equip our people and upgrade our technology to meet these ever-growing and ever-changing challenges. Eternal vigilance is the price for continuing security.” 
      James R. Schlesinger (1929-2014)
       American government official who served as CIA director, Secretary of Defense and the first U.S. Secretary of Energy
       His version of the “eternal vigilance” saying comes from his July 1987 “Report to the Secretary of State on the Moscow Chancery Construction Project.” The report was commissioned after it was discovered that Soviet Russian spy agencies had planted an array of high tech listening and recording devices in the newly-constructed American Embassy building in Moscow. Given the more recent hacking of U.S. government computer systems by China and freelance hackers, his observation still seems relevant.


“Eternal vigilance is not the price of liberty. It’s the price of everything. Every object you own has to be maintained. In society, there will always be people who oppose whatever you hold dear. They will try to overturn, evade or weaken your reforms. Others will seek power, wealth, or status without doing any work. The only way to keep what you have is to guard it constantly.”
Prof. Steven Dutch
       Professor of Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay
       One of
Dutch’s Laws of Just About Everything 


“Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty; eternal vigilance is the price of human decency.”
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
       English novelist and social critic
       From his introduction to the radio version of his novel Brave New World,
produced by William Froug for CBS Radio in 1965


“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and a willingness to act in its defense.” 
George P. Shultz
       U.S. Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan
       A saber-rattling variation
attributed to Schultz


“The price of surfing freedom is eternal vigilance.”
Jay Garmon 
       A “professional geek, Web entrepreneur, and occasional science fiction writer”
       In a
post about online privacy tools (and the unfortunate need for them)

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July 22, 2015

“Half the world…” (vs. the other half)


“Half the world doesn’t know how the other half lives.”
(“La moitié du monde ne sait comment l’autre vit.”) 
François Rabelais (c. 1494-c. 1553)
       French satirist
       Many sources attribute the origin of this saying to its use by Rabelais in his novel Pantagruel (the first of his five Gargantua and Pantagruel novels). In the novel it is cited by the character Alcofribas as something that “is said,” clearly indicating it was already proverbial in French.
       It was also a proverbial in English by the mid-1600s. In 1640, it was recorded by the Anglican priest, poet and collector of proverbs George Herbert in his book Outlandish Proverbs (later reprinted as Jacula Prudentum) in the form: “Half the world knows not how the other half lives.”
       Initially, and throughout the centuries, the saying has generally been used to mean that people who were rich or financially secure could not understand the how hard life was for people who were poor. Photographer and journalist Jacob Riis helped embed that meaning into American culture with the publication of his classic “muckraking” book How the Other Half Lives (1890), which helped raise awareness of the deplorable living and working conditions of poor people in the slums of New York City.


“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.” 
Jane Austen (1775-1817)
       British novelist 
       A famous line from Austen’s novel Emma (1815)
       It is often assumed and even asserted that Austen intended this quote to mean that men can’t understand how women feel or how they think about matters related to sex, love, relationships and other things that make women different from men. But in the context of its use in the novel, it seems to be a much broader generalization that is not about (or at least not just about) sexism or the differences between the sexes.
       In Volume 1, Chapter 9, Emma’s father remarks that he can’t understand why some young children enjoy having an adult toss them “up to the ceiling in a very frightful way!”
       Emma responds: “That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”


“Half the world doesn’t care how the other half lives.”
Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829)
       British chemist and inventor
       A pithy quote by Davy included in The Collected Works of Sir Humphry Davy (1839)


“Half the world hates
What half the world does every day”
       Lyrics from the song “Half the World” by the rock band Rush
       (Band member and drummer Neil Peart wrote the lyrics.)
       On the band’s Test For Echo album (1996)


“Half the world does not know how the other half lives, but is trying to find out.”
Edgar Watson Howe (1853-1937)
       American journalist and novelist
       A quote cited in his book Country Town Sayings (1911)


“Half the world spends its time laughing at the other half, and both are fools.” 
Mr. Moto (played by a
ctor Peter Lorre)
       In the 1937 film Think Fast, Mr. Moto. (Based on the novel of the same name by Mr. Moto’s creator John P. Marquand.)

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July 5, 2015

“Man’s inhumanity to man…”


“Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!”

Robert Burns (1759-1796)
       Scottish poet and lyricist
“Man Was Made to Mourn: A Dirge” (1784), stanza 7
       The phrase “man’s inhumanity to man” was coined in this poem, written by Burns in 1784. It was included in his first book of poetry, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, also known as
the Kilmarnock edition. That volume, published in 1786, made Burns famous and contains several poems that gave us immortal phrases, including: “man’s inhumanity to man,” “the best laid schemes of mice and men” (from “To a Mouse”) and “to see ourselves as others see us” (from “To a Louse” ).
       “Man Was Made to Mourn” reflects Burns’ antipathy toward the social and economic caste system that had been imposed on Scotland by Great Britain, which created a huge, poor, disenfranchised underclass and benefited a relatively small number of wealthy landowners and businessmen. The poem also seems to subtly reflect Burns’ support for Scottish independence —
a radical position at the time.


“The story of ISIS is not about Islam, it is about the universal human story of cruelty and man’s inhumanity to man, whether it be ISIS, Nazism, fascism or pure hatred of others. Intolerance and arrogance mixed with power and politics has caused most wars.”
       Alia Hogben
       Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women
       In an op-ed published by The Kingston Whig-Standard, October 8, 2014
       (Cartoon by artist Steve Greenberg)


“There is only one way in which one can endure man’s inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one’s own life, to exemplify man’s humanity to man.”
Alan Paton (1903-1988)
       South African writer and anti-apartheid activist
From his essay “The Challenge of Fear,” originally published in the Saturday Review, September 9, 1967


“Revolution is the negation of the existing, a violent protest against man’s inhumanity to man with all the thousand and one slaveries it involves. It is the destroyer of dominant values upon which a complex system of injustice, oppression, and wrong has been built up by ignorance and brutality.” 
Emma Goldman (1869-1940)
       Russian-born social activist and anarchist
In her book My Disillusionment in Russia (1925)


“Given the reality of female oppression, how women treat each other matters more, not less...I am not saying that woman’s inhumanity to woman is on the same level as man’s inhumanity to woman; it is not. But women have enormous influence over each other; we have the power to encourage each other to either resist or to collaborate with tyranny.”
Phyllis Chesler
       Pioneering feminist and Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at City University of New York
In the introduction of her book Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman (2009)


“Man’s inhumanity to man has received a lot of press, but man’s inhumanity to animals is worse, by far, if such a thing can be imagined. It is remarkable that animals will have anything whatever to do with us.”
       D. V. Barrett 
In the book Little Thoughts, Big Oughts (2001)

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July 2, 2015

Of all sad words of tongue or pen – which are the saddest?


“Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” 
       John Greenleaf Whittier
       American poet and anti-slavery activist
       The oft-quoted lines from his poem
“Maud Muller” (1856) 
       Whittier’s “Maud Muller” tells the story of a poor farm maid and a wealthy judge who saw each other in passing when they were young. Maud thinks it would be nice to be married to a rich, high-society man like the judge. The judge thinks it would be nice to be married to a beautiful farm girl like Maud and lead the pastoral life of a farmer. But, because of the class-based social conventions of the time, neither one acts on their mutual attraction. They simply pass each other by. Later in life, when they are both stuck in unfulfilling marriages, they think sadly about the life they might have had together. The final lines of the poem note that many people have such regrets, saying:      
      “God pity them both! and pity us all,

       Who vainly the dreams of youth recall;   
       For of all sad words of tongue or pen, 
       The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’ 
       Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies 
       Deeply buried from human eyes;   
       And, in the hereafter, angels may 
       Roll the stone from its grave away!”


“Of all cold words of tongue or pen
The worst are these: ‘I knew him when – ’”
      Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943)
       American writer best known for
his humorous poems
       From a poem in his book Prophets in Their Own Country (1927)


“Of all sad words of lip or pen
The worst are these, ‘I’ve flunked again.’” 
       Parody poem published in the University of Michigan’s Chronicle magazine in 1883


“The Moral is that gardeners pine
Whene’er no pods adorn the vine.
Of all sad words experience gleans
The saddest are: ‘It might have beans.’” 
       Guy Wetmore Carryl (1873-1904)
       American humorist and poet.
       From his book
Grimm Tales Made Gay (1902)


“Of all sad words that I've ever seen.
The saddest are ‘Three putts to the green.’” 
       Poem published in
The American Golfer magazine in 1910 (p. 153)


“Of all sad words asked married men
The saddest are these: Where have you been?” 
       Letter to the editor of Time Magazine, April 25, 1960


“Of all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, Michael Bay is making another ‘Transformers’ movie.”
       Cody Clark 
       Film critic
       In one of his reviews published in the Provo, Utah Daily Herald

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June 19, 2015

“What the world needs now...”


“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”
Hal David (1921-2012)
       American song lyricist; frequent songwriting partner of Burt Bacharach 
       The well-known line from the song
“What the World Needs Now Is Love,” one of many with lyrics by David and music by Bacharach. 
       The song was first recorded and popularized by Jackie DeShannon in 1965 and has since recorded by hundreds of other singers and bands.


“What the world needs now, and is ready for, is a patriot’s love for neighbor, fellow-citizen, and native land, based on sympathy and charity for all humanity.”
       P.M. Magnusson (fl. late 1800s)
       Minnesota educator and writer
       Comment in an article published in the School Education Journal, January 1896


“What the world needs is six months of peace so we can catch up on our worrying.”
Herbert V. Prochnow (1897-1998) 
       American toastmaster, author and bank executive
       A quip included in his book 1000 Stories and Illustrations for All Occasions (1994)
       (Cartoon by
Mike Keefe)


“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
       Howard Thurman 
       American author, theologian, educator and civil rights leader
       A popular quote of Thurman’s cited by many books and websites. It appears to have been originally quoted by theologian Gil Bailie as something Thurman said to him (recorded in Bailie’s book Violence Unveiled).


“I used to charge for access to my blog. But now it’s free, because I’ve realized what the world needs now is not love and peace and other boring turds, but raw unauthorized lists of things that YOU need to do to improve your SEO, PageRank and weiner size.”
       Noah Stokes
       American product design and development consultant 
       A quip on
his old website explaining why he is “the best choice for all your front end development needs”

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