February 24, 2013

“Power without responsibility” – the prerogative of harlots, Internet jerks and imperialists…


THE FAMOUS HARLOT QUOTE:

“Power without responsibility — the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.”
       Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947)
       British Conservative Party politician
       Baldwin made this memorable insult famous when he used it in a speech in London on March 17, 1931. He aimed it at wealthy news barons who owned British newspapers that had attacked him in editorials and articles, but it has since been used to describe many other types of people (including politicians). As later noted by many sources, Baldwin got the zinger from his cousin, writer Rudyard Kipling. (For the story behind the quote, see
this post on ThisDayinQuotes.com.)


THE ANONYMOUS INTERNET JERKS VARIATION:

“Online anonymity gives users a power without responsibility. They tweet what they would never dare say to your face and in forums inhabited by like-minded, asinine souls they egg each other on. The lack of accountability results in misogyny, racial abuse, threats of violence and insane rants posted without fear of repercussions.”
       Rita Panahi
       Australian journalist and social commentator 
       In
an article in the Herald Sun, February 7, 2013


THE IMPOTENT GOVERNMENT REGULATORS VERSION:

“Responsibility without control...the prerogative of the cuckold.”
       Ben Chu
       Economics Editor for the The Independent (UK) newspaper
       Commenting in
his February 6, 2013 column on the seeming inability of government agencies to effectively regulate giant “too big to fail” banks


THE ARROGANT IMPERIALISTS VERSION:

“Power without responsibility, the prerogative of the imperialist throughout the ages.”  
      
Piers Brendon 
       British historian and writer
       In his book
The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997 (published in 2007)
       Brendon made this observation after describing the forced removal of the indigenous people of Diego Garcia, an atoll in the Indian Ocean that was depopulated in 1971 to make way for UK and US military facilities. Nesting bird populations were also destroyed. Brendon notes the infamous, arrogant quip that British official Sir Denis Greenhill made about these shameful acts: “Unfortunately, along with the Birds go some few Tarzans or Men Fridays.”


THE IRAQ WAR VERSION OF “SILENCE = DEATH”:

“In the face of the disaster that has overtaken Iraq in the ten years since the 2003 invasion, a number of journalists have quietly lamented their own performance...But the fact is that even the most cynical, hard-right media propagandists complicit in this horrendous crime have not paid any kind of price — they continue, unaffected, with their lucrative, high-profile careers. This facilitation of the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians abroad is a function of the media’s power without responsibility.”
       Editorial on the DissidentVoice.org site, February 7, 2013


THE “SILENCE WOULD BE PREFERABLE” VARIATION:

“The exercise of power without responsibility is the prerogative of the whore — not of the critic.”  
       Lindsay Anderson (1923-1994) 
      
British film and theatre director
      
Responding to a bad review of a play, as quoted by author Michael Billington in the book One Night Stands: a Critic’s View of Modern British Theatre (2002)

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