Quotes of the Week---2000


John Diulio (a conservative commentator), writing in The Weekly Standard. "The arguments that ended the battle and `gave´ Bush the presidency are constitutionally disingenuous at best," he writes. "They will come back to haunt conservatives and confuse, if they do not cripple, the principled conservative case for limited government, legislative supremacy, and universal civic deference to legitimate, duly constituted state and local public authority." A brave and compelling statement--and a lonely one. (The Editors of The New Republic Online--12/22/00)

12/18/00 Nostradamaus---1555

Come the millennium, month 12, In the home of the greatest power, The Village Idiot will come forth, To be acclaimed the leader.(as quoted by Norma, a reader of Buzzflash news source)

12/11/00---No Quote of the Week

12/4/00 In societies characterized by inequality between social classes, people must be socialized to accept social conditions that are not in their own best interests. We must be taught to compete for success, even when that success does not actually bring satisfaction of our basic needs. We must be taught to accept authority, even when that authority compels us to repress our own needs in order to satisfy those of the system created by the upper classes. Continually adapting to such conditions creates character traits destructive to the human personality in that they work in a direction opposite from our primary social drives. People thus frequently become incapable of sexual enjoyment, of giving or receiving affection, they desire to be isolated from people, find it impossible to be creative, etc. These socially imposed character traits become the central forces motivating people's behavior. They channel the energies of the biological and emotional drives into patterns that provide only inadequate substitutes and partial tension release. Such substitute gratifications cannot be fully satisfying even though they may avoid the consequences of full frustration. As a result, people in class societies are unhappy much of the time. They cling desparately to patterns that provide limited satisfactions, or which at a minimum provide some relief from feelings of guilt and anxiety. They develop character traits that minimize the pain caused by the impossibility of fully satisfying their basic needs within the confines of a repressive society. Al Szymanski from Sociology 1979

(11/27/00) Re: The Electoral College

It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

The complete text of Federalist Paper #68 can be read online here

(10/23/00...10/30/00...11/6/00...11/13/00...11/20/00 (No Quotes Selected))

(10/16/00) It is impossible to exist with full awareness in the modern world without realizing that moral, political and philosophical commitments are relative, that, in Pascal's words, what is truth on one side of the Pyrenees is error on the other. Intensive occupation with the more fully elaborated meaning systems available in our time gives one a truly frightening understanding of the way in which these systems can provide a total interpretation of reality, within which will be included an interpretation of the alternate systems and the ways of passing from one system to another. Peter L. Berger 1963

(10/9/00) The key characteristic of a scientific theory is that it makes statements that can be disproved. Explanations that cannot be disproved are not scientific. The general process of attempting to disprove a scientific theory involves deriving specific empirical assertions from the theory and comparing these assertions to observations made in the real world; that is, the assertions of the theory are tested against the observed world of facts. If the observations are inconsistent with the assertions of the theory, then the theory is falsified. If the observations are consistent with the assertions of the theory, then the theory becomes more credible, but is not proved; there are always alternative theories that might also explain the same observations. George Vold and Thomas Bernard 1986

(10/2/00) Considering these differences, it is possible to take elements from each school of thought to formulate an integrated definition of crime such as the following:
Crime is a violation of societal rules of behavior as interpreted and expressed by a criminal legal code created by people holding social and political power. Individuals who violate these rules are subject to sanctions by state authority, social stigma, and loss of status
This definition combines the consensus view that criminal law defines crimes, the conflict perspective's emphasis on political power and control, and the interactionist concept of stigma. Thus crime as defined here is a political, social, and economic function of modern life. Larry J. Siegel 2000

(9/25/00) Conflict acting on intelligence creates imagination. Faced with conflict, creatures are forced to imagine what will happen, where the next threat will come from. If there has never been conflict, imagination never develops. Wits arise in answer to danger, to pain, to tragedy. No one ever got smarter eating easy apples. (p. 438) Sheri S. Tepper 1998 (Six Moon Dance)

(9/18/00) A substantial majority of criminals are apparently biologically and psychologically normal individuals whose criminal behaviors arise because they are placed in particular kinds of social situations. The major role for biological and psychological theories in criminology, therefore, is to describe the normal processes by which normal individuals learn normal human behaviors, both criminal and noncriminal. Theories focusing on abnormal biological and psychological characteristics may be useful for understanding some criminal behaviors but are less useful for explaining the broad range of criminality. George Vold d Thomas Bernard 1986

(9/11/00) People construct social structures and people can change them. It is dangerous to believe that social structures are unalterable, stable entities; it leads to fatalism and acceptance of oppressive social conditions. Social structures are human creations. Once they arise, they push us to act in certain ways. Many times they help us to meet our needs and desires and to enrich our lives. But at other times, structures can be harmful. We must then realize that we are not prisoners of society; we are creative participants. We can change society. Alexander Liazos 1989

(9/4/00) Justice in contemporary capitalist society equates the limited idea of equal justice with the formulation and administration of positive law. Capitalist justice, in other words, is made concrete in the establishment of legal order. All notions of goodness, evil, and the earthly kingdom become embodied in capitalist law. And in everyday life questions of justice are confined to whether or not the law is arbitrarily administered. Justice is grounded, not in some alternative idea of social good or natural order, but in the survival needs of the capitalist system. Judgment is now in the hands of of legal agencies of the capitalist state. Legality and the "rational" adminstration of the law have become the capitalist symbols of justice. Richard Quinney 1980

(8/28/00) The two parties are converging more and more into a huge, vested-interest money pot and are turning their backs on very important needs of the people. So we're appealing to conservatives, liberals, all the people who feel they're losing control in this country over everything that matters to them — their government, big business, environment, the workplace, the marketplace, even their own children being seduced by corporate hucksters and entertainers. Ralph Nader 6/00

(8/21/00) Problem-posing does not suggest that students have nothing to learn from established knowledge or that fundamental knowledge must be reconstructed by each group of learners. Rather that instructors and students concern themselves with how texts and syllabi are organized, with the underlying assumptions of a course or discipline, and questioning the sources and perspectives included and/or excluded from the domain of the course. Problem-posing contextualizes knowledge and is based on instructor- and learner- posed questions as catalysts for learning. Mary E. Boyce 1996

(8/14/00) The revolutionary character is the one who is identified with humanity and therefore transcends the narrow limits of his own society, and who is able, because of this, to criticize his or any other society from the standpoint of reason and humanity. He is not caught in the parochial worship of that culture which he happens to be born in, which is nothing but an accident of time and geography. He is able to look at his environment with the open eyes of a man who is awake and who finds his criteria of judgine the accidental in that which is not accidental (reason), in norms which exist in and for the human race ("The Revolutionary Character") Erich Fromm 1961

(8/7/00) Indeed, we suspect that the moral contempt in which some of our citizens hold the marihuana user is related to other behavior or other attitudes assumed to be associated with use of the drug. All of our data suggest that the moral views of the overwhelming majority of marihuana users are in general accord with those of the larger society.
Having previously rejected the approval policy (option number one), we now reject the eliminationist policy (option number two). This policy, if taken seriously, would require a great increase in manpower and resources in order to eliminate the use of a drug which simply does not warrant that kind of attention. The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana & Drug Abuse 1972

(7/31/00) Not only are political and social deviants defined as insane, but sanity itself has a political definition. The sane person is the obedient one who lives in peace and goes to war on cue from his leaders, is not too much troubled by the inhumanities committed against people, is capable of fitting into one of the mindless job slots of a profit-oriented hierarchical organization, and does not challenge the established rules and conventional wisdom. Since authorities accept the present politico-economic system as a good one, then anything that increases its ability to control dissident persons is also seen as good. Michael Parenti 1988

(7/24/00)--No Quote this Week

(7/17/00) When social control is understood as a kind of influence, the central problem in its study is the degree to which it has an impact on human conduct. How much does each means of social control contribute to social order? How effective is each? What are the consequences of each? To what extent, for example, does punishment deter deviant behavior? Scientifically speaking, in this broader view social control is approached primarily as an independent variable. It predicts and explains something: how people behave. When conceived more narrowly as a reaction to deviant behavior, however, social control invites analysis as a dependent variable. From this point of view, every manifestation of social control itself requires study. Why, for example, does punishment occur at all? Why is one person punished more severely than another? Under what conditions might the wrongdoer be asked to pay compensation to the aggrieved party, to enter psychotherapy, or just to go away? Why does a thrid party intervene in one conflict but not another? When are rules invoked? When does law occur? Vengeance? Gossip? Now the question of the extent to which these phenomena influence human behavior is left aside, and the impact of each on conformity and social order is ignored. But this is not because it is claimed that social control has no such influence or impact. Donald Black 1984

(7/10/00) Deviance is profitable for those who study, prescribe, manufacture, and exercise social control techniques. It supports an "enormous enterprise" that includes, at all levels of government, police, judges, prison guards, probation officers, sociologists, psychologists, and doctors, in addition to private security firms, manufacturers of weapons, drugs, uniforms, vehicles, and so on. Deviance control is a sufficiently large enterprise with adequate political clout to ensure that is business will never decline substantially for want of offenders--real or imagined. Craig B. Little 1995

(7/3/00) Hence the indisputable irrelevance of so many empirical studies. The widely used empirical technique of operational or instrumental definition, which delimits a category such as "conservatism" by attaching numerical values to questions posed within the context of the survey itself, places a seal of approval on the primacy of the method over the subject-matter and on the arbitrary way in which the scientific procedure has been devised. The technique sets out to investigate an object with an instrument which, through its own construction, decides in advance just what that object is: a simple case of circularity. Theodor W. Adorno 1957

(6/26/00) Thus, the problem with standardized testing is not only how bad the tests themselves are, but also how much attention is paid to the results. Even new, "authentic" assessments may backfire if students are constantly led to ask, "How am I doing?" Likewise, research demonstrates that students who have come to focus on grades are likely to think less creatively and come to see learning as a chore. ("Do we have to know this?") Alfie Kohn from Educational Workshop

(6/19/00) In fact, I would say the less realistic basis for a vision of the uncrippled man and of a free society there is, the more is Utopia the only legitimate form of expressing hope. But they are not trans-historical as, for instance, is the Christian idea of the Last Judgment, etc. They are historical, but the product of rational imagination, rooted in an experience of what man is capable of and in a clear insight into the transitory character of previous and existing society. Erich Fromm 1969

(6/12/00) Ford vehicles were crucial to the revolutionary Nazi military strategy of blitzkrieg. Of the 350,000 trucks used by the motorized German Army as of 1942, roughly one-third were Ford-made. The Schneider report states that when American troops reached the European theater, "Ford trucks prominently present in the supply lines of the Wehrmacht were understandably an unpleasant sight to men in our Army." Indeed, the Cologne plant proved to be so important to the Reich's war effort that the Allies bombed it on several occasions. A secret 1944 US Air Force "Target Information Sheet" on the factory said that for the previous five years it had been "geared for war production on a high level.".Ken Silverstein 2000

(6/5/00) A white dwarf is the burned-out core of a collapsed star that, like a dying ember, slowly cools and fades away. However, the universe is not yet old enough for any white dwarfs to have cooled off completely to become invisible black dwarfs. White dwarf temperatures can therefore be used as "cosmic clocks" for estimating the age of the universe independently from other techniques.Villard, Richer, & Bond 1995

(5/29/00) Faculty who are deeply committed to developing critical consciousness do not receive completely positive course evaluations. We are described by students as "demanding" and "confusing" as often as "challenging" and "committed". It is common for learners to expect that faculty explain things, demonstrate relevance, make persuasive arguments, provide solutions to problems, and present complex ideas in a simple way. Their expectations are shaped by years of experience. Faculty who uncover and expose complexity, question knowledge, examine perspectives, connect course material to problems and questions in other fields, wrestle with teacher-learner power relations, and participate as co-learners catalyze engagement in some learners and resistance in others. Some students resist during the course and will later say that they learned a great deal, perhaps even, that they are changed; but the day-to-day work of developing critical consciousness is not easy going. Mary E. Boyce 1996

(5/22/00) Surplus-value was defined as the difference between the value of the products of labour and the cost of producing that labour-power, i.e. the labourer's subsistence; for the exchange-value of labour-power was equal to the amount of labour necessary to reproduce that labour-power and this was normally much lower than the exchange-value of the products of that labour-power. David McLellan 1973

(5/15/00) Human thought has changed and developed along with human society and to the same degree. The laws of thought are no more eternal than the laws of society. Just as capitalism is only one link in the chain of historical forms of social organization of production, so formal logic is simply one link in the chain of historical forms of intellectual production. Just as the forces of socialism are fighting to replace the obsolete capitalist form of social production with a more developed system, so the adovcates of materialist dialectics, the logic of scientific socialism, are struggling against the outworn formal logic. The theoretical struggle and the practical political struggle are integral parts of one and the same revolutionary process. George Novack 1971


RE: Fromm's Work

I was taught and led by it. It seemed that every time I was working up to write something, he got there ahead of me. But this also meant speaking for me as well. I certainly was a Frommian and cannot understand why he arouses so much hatred and antagonism and why he is not more honored as a leader and innovator. Abraham H. Maslow 1961-63

(5/1/00) Nothing is indescribable in words if you take the time and the trouble. If your present language framework is inadequate, then you must carefully create a larger one. Colin Wilson 1967

(4/24/00) We are taught that our bodies are temples of God, and are to be clean so that the Holy Ghost may dwell within us. Masturbation is a sinful habit that robs one of the Spirit and creates guilt and emotional stress. It is not physically harmful unless practiced in the extreme. It is a habit that is totally self-centered, and secretive, and in no way expresses the proper use of the procreative power given to man to fulfill eternal purposes. It therefore separates a person from God and defeats the gospel plan. Mark E. Petersen (Mormon advice) circa 1970

(4/17/00) (Re: Swearing) One should be careful to select an ambience with lots of decorum and plenty of politeness and good manners. This will nicely accentuate your own vulgar speech, your bad attitude, and your profound insensitivity to others---in short, it will make your swearing really count for something. And, of course, one must assiduously cultivate the previously mentioned habits of rowdy bars and slang dictionaries Richard Dooling 1996

(4/10/00) I hate purity, I hate goodness. I don't want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones. Well then, I ought to suit you, dear. I'm corrupt to the bones...But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act. George Orwell 1949

(4/3/00) We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, because, in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would "lief" or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virture of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception Alan C. Watts 1951

(3/27/00) What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period? And what varieties are coming to prevail? In what ways are they selected and formed, liberated and represssed, made sensitive and blunted? What kinds of 'human nature' are revealed in the conduct and character we observe in this society in this period? And what is the meaning for 'human nature' of each and every feature of the society we are examining? C. Wright Mills 1959

(3/20/00) Orwell, like the authors of the other negative utopias, is not a prophet of disaster. He wants to warn and to awake us. He still has hope---but in contrast to the writers of the utopias in the earlier phases of Western society, his hope is a desparate one. The hope can be realized only by recognizing, so 1984 teaches us, the danger with which all men are confronted today, the danger of a socity of automatons who will have lost every trace of individuality, of love, of critical thought, and yet who will not be aware of it because of "doublethink" Books like Orwell's are powerful warnings, and it would be most unfortunate if the reader smugly interpreted 1984 as another description of Stalinist barbarism, and if he does not see that it means us, too Erich Fromm 1961

(3/13/00) Underlying all formalism, indeed, is the fact that it is psychically cheap; it substitutes the outer for the inner as more tangible, more capable of being held before the mind without fresh expense of thought and feeling, more easily extended, therefore, and impressed upon the multitude. Thus in our own architecture or literature we have innumerable cheap, unfelt repetitions of forms that were significant and beautiful in their time and place. The effect of formalism upon personality is to starve its Higher life and leave it the prey of apathy, self-complacency, sensuality and the lower nature in general. A formalized religion and a formalized freedom are, notoriously, the congenial dwelling-place of depravity and oppression. Charles Horton Cooley 1909

(2/28/00) That freedom of conscience and religion are the right of every man, and it ought to be decreed by law in every properly- constituted society that all citizens have the right to all freedom without the coercion of either civil or ecclesiastical authority, so that thay may publicly declare their opinions either vocally or in print or in any other way. Pope Pius IX (Medieval Ages)---Ideas Condemned by the Church

(2/21/00) Marx's prediction about the growing gap between rich and poor still haunts the land--and the entire planet. The growing concentration of wealth creates still more poverty. As some few get ever richer, more people fall deeper into destitution, finding it increasingly difficult to emerge from it. The same pattern holds throughout much of the world. For years now, as the wealth of the few has been growing, the number of poor has been increasing at a faster rate than the earth's population. A rising tide sinks many boats. Michael Parenti 2000

(2/14/00) Equality is not in regarding different things similarly, equality is in regarding different things differently. Tom Robbins 1980

(2/7/00) RELIGION - The criminal uses religion to support his way of thinking and his criminality. His religious ideas are usually very literal and concrete. Religion (like sentimentality) does not consistently deter his criminal thinking or actions, but does support his self-image as a good and decent person. Oregon Youth Authority Training Manual

(1/31/00) I'm going to enforce the laws that we have. But I think the laws need to be changed and I'm going to work within the system to change the law. We're spending more and we're locking more people up . . . Personally, I have a fundamental problem with putting people in jail for drug use. What I've done since I've been in office is I have just done a cost-benefit analysis of everything that's come across my desk . . . And right now, the glaring cost-benefit analysis that has incredible cost and no benefit is our war on drugs." Gov. Gary Johnson (R-NM) 1999

(1/24/00) Institutions provide procedures through which human conduct is patterned, compelled to go, in grooves deemed desirable by society. And this trick is performed by making these grooves appear to the individual as the only possible ones Peter L. Berger 1963

(1/17/00) "In a democracy, it is dangerous to have The Few control what The Many will see and read. The electorate is able to come to the best decisions when they are presented with ALL the alternatives and ALL the information available to them. Less knowledge -- i.e. ignorance -- insures that bad decisions will be made. The strength of a free society is maintained by the diversity of voices and the free flow of information. If you limit that flow, if you restrict that access to knowledge and ideas and points of view, then you make the society less free."Michael Moore 1990

(1/10/00) This picture of the child as a 'mini-criminal' one must understand dynamically as a consequence of the need to defend parental authority: to defend authority and thus defend the parents. If you go through the life of most children, then indeed you will find that parental love is one of the greatest fictions that have ever been invented. Usually parental love masks...the power the parent wants to have over the child. I don't mean that there are not exceptions. There are real exceptions, there are some loving parents. But on the whole, if you read the history of the treatment of children by their parents through the ages, and if you see the history of people today, then you will find that indeed the main interest of most parents is control of the children, and that what their love is I would call a kind of sadistic level: 'I mean your best, and I love you inasmuch as you don't try to rebel against my control. Erich Fromm 1980


We don't need no education

We don't need no thought control

No dark sarcasm in the class room

Teachers leave them kids alone

Hey teachers leave them kids alone

Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) 1979