Quote of the day

320px-theodore_roosevelt_by_john_singer_sargent_1903

In consideration of the impending presidential elections, a quote by former President Theodore Roosevelt.

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
Theodore Roosevelt

 

On a rather unrelated note, it seems, a bonus of excerpts from a speech he gave at Carnegie Hall, March 12, 1912. Recorded August 1912 by Thomas Edison. Duration 4:07., “The Right of the People to Rule.”
[This is neither an endorsement or disagreement with what he said, just some political history to give some perspective by showing that strong disagreement and widespread dissatisfaction is not new.]

Text of this speech:

THE great fundamental issue now before [the Republican party and before] our people can be stated briefly. It is: Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves? I believe they are. My opponents do not. I believe in the right of the people to rule. I believe that the majority of the plain people of the United States will, day in and day out, make fewer mistakes in governing themselves than any smaller class or body of men, no matter what their training, will make in trying to govern them. I believe, again, that the American people are, as a whole, capable of self-control and of learning by their mistakes. Our opponents pay lip-loyal to this doctrine; but they show their real beliefs by the way in which they champion every device to make the nominal rule of the people a sham.

[As regards the dean’s last paragraph, I can only say that I wish somebody else whose suggestions would arouse less antagonism had proposed it; but nobody else did propose it, and so I had to.] I am not leading this fight as a matter of aesthetic pleasure. I am leading because somebody must lead, or else the fight would not be made at all. I prefer to work with moderate, with rational, conservatives, provided only that they do in good faith strive forward towards the light. But when they halt and turn their backs to the light, and sit with the scorners on the seats of reaction, then I must part company with them. We the people cannot turn back. Our aim must be steady, wise progress.

It would be well if our people would study the history of a sister republic. All the woes of France for a century and a quarter have been due to the folly of her people in splitting into the two camps of unreasonable conservatism and unreasonable radicalism. Had pre-Revolutionary France listened to men like Turgot, and backed them up, all would have gone well. But the beneficiaries of privilege, the Bourbon reactionaries, the short-sighted ultra-conservatives, turned down Turgot; and then found that instead of him they had obtained Robespierre. They gained twenty years freedom from all restraint and reform, at the cost of the whirlwind of the red terror; and in their turn the unbridled extremists of the terror induced a blind reaction; and so, with convulsion and oscillation from one extreme to another, with alternations of violent radicalism and violent Bourbonism, the French people went through misery toward a shattered goal.

May we profit by the experiences of our brother Republicans across the water, and go forward steadily, avoiding all wild extremes; and may our ultra-conservatives remember that the rule of the Bourbons brought on the Revolution, and may our would-be revolutionaries remember that no Bourbon was ever such a dangerous enemy of the people and of freedom as the professed friend of both, Robespierre. There is no danger of a revolution in this country; but there is grave discontent and unrest, and in order to remove them there is need of all the wisdom and probity and deep-seated faith in and purpose to uplift humanity we have at our command.

Friends, our task as Americans is to strive for social and industrial justice, achieved through the genuine rule of the people. This is our end, our purpose. The methods for achieving the end are merely expedients, to be finally accepted or rejected according as actual experience shows that they work well or ill. But in our hearts we must have this lofty purpose, and we must strive for it in all earnestness and sincerity, or our work will come to nothing. In order to succeed we need leaders of inspired idealism, leaders to whom are granted great visions, who dream greatly and strive to make their dreams come true; who can kindle the people with the fire from their own burning souls.

The leader for the time being, whoever he may be, is but an instrument, to be used until broken and then to be cast aside; and if he is worth his salt he will care no more when he is broken than a soldier cares when he is sent where his life is forfeit in order that the victory may be won. In the long fight for righteousness the watchword for all of us is “spend and be spent.”

(I am currently finding it difficult to find a source which concisely explains the Turgot and Bourbon historical references in the correct time frame, but they are all French references, not American. If anyone finds one, let me know.)

Text of the FULL speech.

 

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The ORIGINAL version of the Serenity Prayer

This famous bit of poetry was first written by the theologian Reinhold Neibuhr. He was a powerful influence on the German Pastor and Nazi resister, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Our world is violent and hurting, and people are anxious and angry. Dietrich also lived in a time of great trouble that, in many ways, was worse, but it is easy to lose perspective through our institutionalized ignorance of history. You see, His convictions cost him his life. The Nazis hung him on April 14, 1945, less than a month before the end of the war.  

Many are familiar with this prayer in its shortened form through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), although it has since become popular with many others. However, it is well that we also know it as written, for there is great wisdom there, especially considering its original context.

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

jesus-the-good-shepherd

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If George Orwell wasn’t a prophet, what would you call him?

Do any schools still require students to read 1984, or is that too dangerous to those who seek to gain power by dumbing us down?

Bloggers, never:

  • lower your standards and use the too-easy profanity,
  • forget how to use logic and thought,
  • use ad hominem and straw man attacks, or
  • cave into “political correctness,”

…lest you become a mindless slave of the system.

Keep learning, expand your vocabulary, and continue honing your literary skills, even when people don’t understand you and mock you for it.

“I may be sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside!”

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“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne W. Dyer

That says it so well I have nothing to add.

Today is the Best Day of Our Lives

You are the answer

“If you try to get rid of fear and anger without knowing their meaning,
they will grow stronger and return.”
– Deepak Chopra

「 我們在不願理解我們為何畏懼、為何生氣而急於擺脫他們
(即時發洩以解脫),
他們會變得更強烈,然後回來糾纏我們。 」

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“Trust helps you move quickly. It increases your speed. When it’s absent, you can see it – more checks, controls, and processes. That’s bureaucracy.” Randall Stephenson

Today is the Best Day of Our Lives

Beauty cannot hide

“One of the first things I did is,
I asked the leaders, How do you think you’re performing versus the competition?
The first thing you want leaders to do is recognise the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
A lot of them make excuses, but literally, and I’m really not kidding,
our margins were half of our competition’s.
I wanted people to acknowledge that our performance was terrible.
And then, when you dug deeper, it was terrible by branch,
it was terrible in expenses, it was terrible by product.
It was terrible on all these different levels.
To me, the first thing was just acknowledging that.”
– Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase,
defining reality when he first joined the company after being Head of Bank One

「我做的其中第一件事就是問那些管理人(領導人):
你們覺得比起競爭對手你們表現如何?
第一件事你要你公司的主管坦坦蕩蕩認知一個真相、
全然的真相、除了真相什麼都不是。
許多管理人會找藉口,
但是,我說真的,我們的毛利比我們競爭對手的少一半;
我要我的人認知我們的表現很糟,再往下評估,我們的分行(狀況)很糟、
我們的花費(項目)很糟、我們的產品(服務)很糟、所有層面都糟透了。
對我而言,第一件事(亦最重要的一事)就是坦然地承認真相。」

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“Be a good person but don’t waste time to prove it.” Manas Disoriya

Today is the Best Day of Our Lives

Trapped

“You can’t truthfully explain your smallest action without fully revealing your character.”
– Mignon McLaughlin

「 輕描淡寫我們最微不足道的行為時,
我們還是無法避免在那過程中揭露我們的真性情 (真面目)。 」

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“Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.” Albert Einstein

Today is the Best Day of Our Lives

Grace and Truth

“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation,
nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

「 一個錯誤不會因大幅度的傳播而變成真理,
一個真理亦不會變成錯誤只因無人能看見它。 」

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A serious thought about irony

No, not mine, but by a former homeschooled student from West Virginia (who wrote the book from which this came). Any of you bloggers finding yourself doing this? What do you think?

The ironic individual practices a style of speech and behavior that avoids all appearance of naiveté — of naive devotion, belief, or hope. He subtly protests the inadequacy of the things he says, the gestures he makes, the acts he performs. By the inflection of his voice, the expression of his face, and the motion of his body, he signals that he is aware of all the ways he may be thought silly or jejune, and that he might even think so himself. His wariness becomes a mistrust of language itself. He disowns his own words.
—Jedediah Purdy, American writer, For Common Things, 1999

Quote for Today by Will Rogers

I dedicate this to my nephew, who is otherwise a good guy, and has good sense about many other things, but really needs to get a grip on his testosterone when it comes to motorcycles and vehicles because he had a bit of a wreck and needs some minor surgery to fix a broken bone:

“There are three kinds of men:

The one that learns by reading.

The few who learn by observation.

The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”
–Will Rogers

Quote for Today

“A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true.”
– Sir Isaac Newton

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