Gandhi vs FDR

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote
freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how
human beings, be they ever so experienced and
able, can delight in depriving other human beings
of that precious right.

– Mahatma Gandhi

I like this quote. I suppose that one could also say that you can’t have the freedom to succeed unless you also have the freedom to fail.

Now contrast that quote with this quote.

Four freedoms: The first is freedom of speech and
expression – everywhere in the world. The second
is freedom of everyone to worship God in his own
way, everywhere in the world. The third is freedom
from want . . . everywhere in the world. The
fourth is freedom from fear . . . anywhere in the
world.

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

This quote implies that you cannot have the fredom to fail… which would conversly mean that you cannot have the freedom to succeed. If you fail in life then your actions will result in wanting. What about freedom from fear? What things are people fearful of? Should I not be fearful of being fired if I don’t do my job? Should I be fearless of taking risk? How can the government free people from emotion?

I believe that FDR is bastardizing the word ‘freedom.’ Freedom, as in liberty, simply means free from obstruction. Look at how he uses the word ‘of’ and the word ‘from.’

Lets see what our founding fathers had to say about the matter.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

So, I’d very much like not to be free from fear, nor wanting.

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Another quote

It seems my google home page has been churning out a lot of good quotes lately. Here is another:

Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses.

– Margaret Millar

“We are going to win because they love life and we love death.”

Sheik Hassan NasrallahHere is a quote from an LA Times artical, Jonathan Chait: Who Says War Has to Be Proportional?, that talks about the current strategy against Israel from Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the current leader of Hezbolla.

But the brutal fact is that civilian deaths are Hezbollah’s strongest weapon. As Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, once said: “We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win because they love life and we love death.”

Here are some other choice quotes from the artical, which really needs no personal commentary from me. Except to say that I think Mr. Chait is, unfortunately, right.

First of all, Israel is responding not just to those recent killings but to a long string of attacks since it withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. The kidnapping was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Second, as the Israeli government rightly points out, no country operates on the principle of responding to aggression with no more force than was originally used against it. During World War II, Germany sunk a lot of American ships and declared war on us, and in return we flattened its cities, killed or captured hundreds of thousands of its solders and occupied its land. That was hardly a proportionate response.

Thus Hezbollah places its rockets and other potential targets in homes, knowing that Israel cannot hit back without creating collateral damage. This does not relieve Israel of the burden of minimizing civilian casualties as best it can. The point is that if Israel has to operate under a code of ethics that renders civilian deaths unacceptable, then it automatically loses. The ramifications would be dire and ultimately aid the cause of Islamic radicals in such a way as to bring about many more innocent deaths over the long run.

The real question, then, is not whether Israel’s counteroffensive is disproportionate but whether it’s working.

Eventhough it’s a short artical I’m not going to post the whole thing here. Click on the link above to read it.

Confusing quote… for the pretentious or self motivated learners?

I have this nifty little content widget on my Google home page that shows me a new quote each day. Most of the time they are pretty lame and I just ignore them but every once in a while I read an interesting one. The one I saw today seemed somewhat clever at first but then I realized it may have two completely unrelated meanings. The author of the quote is Marquis de Vauvenargues, whom I have no idea who he is so I don’t know the context of the quote.

The things we know best are the things we haven’t been taught.

At first I thought it meant that the things we learn on our own accord are the things we end up being experts at. I soon realized a second meaning could be that people often claim to be experts on things they know nothing about, hence the things we haven’t been taught.

What do you think?

Quotes from Marcus Tullius Cicero

Here are some quotes for you to think about.

I am not ashamed to confess that I am ignorant of what I do not know.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.

If you pursue good with labor, the labor passes away but the good remains; if you pursue evil with pleasure, the pleasure passes away and the evil remains.
In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power.

Let us not listen to those who think we ought to be angry with our enemies, and who believe this to be great and manly. Nothing is so praiseworthy, nothing so clearly shows a great and noble soul, as clemency and readiness to forgive.

The First Bond of Society is Marriage.

Everyone has the obligation to ponder well his own specific traits of character. He must also regulate them adequately and not wonder whether someone else’s traits might suit him better. The more definitely his own a man’s character is, the better it fits him.
The name of peace is sweet, and the thing itself is beneficial, but there is a great difference between peace and servitude. Peace is freedom in tranquillity, servitude is the worst of all evils, to be resisted not only by war, but even by death.

Cicero

Roman author, orator, & politician (106 BC – 43 BC)