“Man is the only animal that knows nothing and can learn nothing without being taught. He can neither speak, nor walk, nor eat, nor do anything without the prompting of nature, but only weep.”
-First century Roman, Pliny the Elder (23 – 79), lawyer, author, naturalist, natural philosopher, army and naval commander, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian, comparing humanity to the wonders of the animal kingdom. He died at the beachside resort of Stabiae, on the south-west coast of Italy, sixteen kilometers (nine point nine miles) away from Mount Vesuvius when it blew its stack in the year 79, and which also took out the nearly twelve thousand residents of nearby Pompeii, almost instantaneously.
-Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (1870-1924), also known as Lenin. Russian communist revolutionary, politician, and political theorist, he was head of the government from when the Russian Empire was dissolved and replaced with the Soviet Union, a one-party socialist state. He remains an ideological figurehead behind the political theories of Marxism and Leninism.
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
-Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (1883-1945) also known as ll Duce, was an Italian politician, journalist and leader of the National Fascist Party, which ruled Italy from 1922 to 1945. He was the founder of fascism, a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, and venomously anti-liberal, anti-communist and anti-conservative.
“What happened was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to be governed by surprise, to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. To live in the process is absolutely not to notice it — please try to believe me — unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us ever had occasion to develop.
(Political poster for the 1932 Nazi Party)
Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, regretted. Believe me this is true. Each act, each occasion is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we did nothing) … You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.”
-German professor after World War II describing the rise of Nazism in the 1930’s, to a journalist.
“Taken on the whole, I would believe that Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men of our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence for fighting for our cause, but by non-participation of anything you believe is evil.”
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German born anti-racist, socialist, agnostic, and Nobel prize winning theoretical physicist, who developed the general theory of relativity, also known as the geometric theory of gravitation, which describes that gravity is a geometric property of space and time, in a United Nations radio interview recorded in his study, at Princeton, New Jersey, (1950)
“I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries – the realists of a larger reality. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words.”
-American author and staunch critic of the publishing world, Ursula K. Le Guin, (born Oct. 1929) as she accepted the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th annual National Book Awards ceremony, in November 2014. She believes rightly that capitalism has turned writers into producers of market commodities rather than creators of art. Much like it has for most of all the arts.
“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.”
-Chris Hedges, born in 1956, is an American journalist, activist, author, Presbyterian minister and socialist.
“The general population doesn’t know what’s happening and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know. And as long as the general population is passive, apathetic, and diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.”
Noam Chomsky, (born 1928), is an American author, linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, libertarian socialist, traditional anarchist, and political commentator, whose ideological position revolves around “nourishing the libertarian and creative character of the human being”.
“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, pull back the curtains, move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
-Frank Zappa (1940-1993), American social critic, satirical rocker, jazz-rock fusionist, guitar virtuoso, electronics wizard, orchestral innovator, atheist, anti-censorship, and perhaps one of rock and roll’s sharpest musical minds. He strongly believed that the United States was becoming a “fascist theocracy”.
“I believe that people have a right to decide their own destinies; people own themselves. I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because (and only so long as) individual citizens give it a ‘temporary license to exist’—in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself. In a democracy, you own the government—it doesn’t own you.”