(*American....a term generally applied to citizens of the USA ignoring the rest of the citizens of the hemisphere)
"Nothing of importance happened today."
-George III (King of England) diary entry, July 4, 1776)
"Today's Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress honored by tradition is also revolution."
-William O. Douglas
"It was an interesting day."
President George W. Bush, speaking of 9/11
"WE WELCOME any sons of Adam who come in love among us and will not condemn, punish, banish, prosecute, or lay violent hands upon anyone, in whatever name, form or title he might appear. We are true subjects of both the church and the state and we are bound by the law of God and man to do good unto all men, and evil to no man."
from the Flushing Remonstrance document drawn up and signed by 31 townsmen of the village of Flushing, New Netherland (New York) in 1657 to protest the persecution of Quakers by colonial governor Peter Stuyvesant
"Americans are a race of convicts and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging."
-Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
"I am willing to love all mankind, except an American."
"America" was founded as a land of drop-outs. Almost at once it began to produce its own crop of dissidents-visionaries, utopians, Maroons (escaped slaves), white and black "Indians," sailors and buccaneers, tax rebels, angry women, crank reformers, "tri-racial isolate" communities-all on the lam from Babylon, from control. Their self-liberation was carried out under the sign of Wilderness and its guardians, the "natives." Having disappeared from "History," they have ever since been ignored by the Consensus and its guardians, the academics."
Gone to Croatan: origins of North American DropOut Culture
".....What great ground shift sent people with connections of kinship and common traditions to the barricades? Was it ever just about tea, stamps, and sugar?
There is no question that Enlightenment philosophy played a key role in firing the independent spirit of the Revolutionary generation. The upheaval in religious, scientific, and political thinking that elevated reason above dogma and the traditional authority of church and state profoundly influenced the political leanings of such men as Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. Whether found in the physics of Newton or the skepticism of Scottish philosopher David Hume and French philosopher Voltaire, these radical new ways of thinking and observing had broken what historian Peter Gray described in The Enlightenment as "the sacred circle."
But for most Americans, these were largely the inconsequential musings of those fortunate enough not to have to work for a living. There were many other bread-and-butter issues that struck at the purse strings of Americans at every rung on the social ladder. At its heart, the conflict boiled down to real estate, taxes, and property-and the power to control them."
Kenneth C. Davis
America's Hidden History
"....Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive....It is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it....It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government."
Declaration of Independence
"To the Editor:
Re: "Free to Search and Seize" by David K. Shipler (Op-Ed June 23):
The Fourth Amendment's shriveling chronicled by Mr. Shipler (sans the illegal warrantless spying on Americans in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) turns the philosophy of the founding fathers on its head. Individual liberty was their highest good. They protected Americans in their beliefs, their attitudes, their seclusions and their challenges to orthodoxies by crowning them with the right to be left alone.
To protect that right Justice Louis D. Brandeis sermonized in 1928, "Every un-justifiable intrusion by the Government upon the privacy of the individual, what-ever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment." The prevailing yardstick is that every government invasion of privacy must be deemed constitutional if some remote connection to crime or international terrorism can be imagined.
Bruce Fein Washington, June 28, 2011
The writer, associate deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1983, is the author of "American Empire before the Fall."
The New York Times Editorials/Letters Wednesday, June 29, 2011
"Security is mostly a superstition. it does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it."
"George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Arthur Lee, Patrick Henry, and others saw tyranny in Britain's interference with their freedom to make a killing in the West.....colonists who had fought and bled in the war were not about to be deprived of the fruits of victory by a distant government. Land speculators would not watch their investments in Indian country slip away. The clash of French and British ambitions gave way to a clash of British and American ambitions."
Struggling under a massive government debt after the Seven Years' War, and confronted by the ongoing cost of committing armies to the defense of the American colonies, Parliament and the king made another fateful decisions that left the American 'cousins" far from pleased. Reasoning that the colonists should foot the bill for their own defense, Parliament passed the Sugar Act on April 5, 1764, to collect American revenue on molasses brought from non-British colonies. A month later Boston attorney James Otis had condemned this "taxation without representation" at a town meeting, and in July he published "The Rights of the British colonies Asserted and Proved."
-Kenneth C. Davis
America's Hidden History
"Once independence was won, the colonial elites who had inserted themselves to take control of what was a self-organized rebellion turned their attention to securing their hold on the institutions of government. The human rights that had been carefully delineated in an earlier Declaration of colonial Rights, and the principle so elegantly articulated in the Declaration of Independence that all men are crated equal and enjoy a natural right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, fell by the wayside.
The focus shifted to securing the interests of industrialists, bankers, and slave-owning plantation owners and to assuring that the powers of government would remain in the hands of white men of means. Empire morphed once again into a new form, but it remained true to the essential organizing principle of domination. Genocide against Native Americans continued, as did the enslavement of blacks, the denial of the basic rights and humanity of women, and the denial of a just share of profits to those who toiled to make capital productive."
David C. Korten
Agenda For a New Economy
"The pious and politically free inhabitant of New England is a kind of Laocoon who makes not he slightest effort to free himself from the snakes which are strangling him. Mammon is the God of these people: they worship him not only with their lips but with all the powers of their bodies and soul. The earth in their eyes is nothing but one great stock exchange and they are convinced that they have no other mission here below than to become richer than their neighbors. Usury has taken hold of all their thoughts, excitement derives from some change in its object. When they travel, they carry their office or store, so to speak, with them on their backs and speak of nothing but interest and profits and if they turn their eyes for an instant from their own business it is only to turn them to the business of others."
"Colonel Washington appears at Congress in uniform and by his great experience and abilities in military matters is of much service to us."
-John Adams, in Philadelphia, to his wife, Abigail (1775)
"We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest offices that are known in the United States."
"The founders constructed the constitutional system so as to carry forward what they themselves knew as a gracious balance of faith and reason, both of which they took to be indispensable. Now, however, the balance has tipped toward the constriction of freedom of conscience in religion. broadly speaking, this consists of establishing and enforcing the orthodoxy of rational materialism in government, schools, and the culture at large, and driving out even the suspicion that it is inadequate both to eschatological questions and the soul of man. In a technique as old as politics, even while exerting continuous pressure upon those whose views are supposedly retrograde, its agents deny it. it is, they might say, simply imagined. if this is so, then what has been their position and what have they been arguing.
What is at stake is more than a matter of civil liberties. one of the greatest gifts to man and among the most beautiful and comforting things in life is the occasional glimpse of an insubstantial light beyond the dark clouds of mortality. To catch sight of it demands apprehension beyond reason, and a facility exercised in the appreciation of beauty and what we imprecisely call the education of the spirit. An aggressive minority of some who cannot replicate this in themselves has come forward to attack what for others is the most luminous and self-evident of all truths, even as it is expressed in a variety of ways. They deny that this light can exist and demand agreement by force of negative reasoning. But no matter what their success in appropriating politics and governance to their purposes, belief that is self-evident to heard and mine cannot be extinguished any more readily than the sun. And they shall not, because they will not, but because they cannot, penetrate to the heart of the natural order or dictate to the universe that it is an accident."
0mark Helprin The Rise of Antireligious Orthodoxy
Factoid: "Joseph Addison's play was likely the inspiration for such immortal words as "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country"...
"Andrew Jackson scored the most decisive numbers in military history-2,700 British casualties to 13 American ones-producing the real end of the American Revolution. Only then did Great Britain stop planning ways to get "its colonies" back."
Charles A Cerami
Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's
"America is the country of the future. It is a country of beginnings, of projects, of vast designs and expectations."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson meeting of the Library Association 1844
"Americans have been conditioned to respect newness, not what it costs them."
"Spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk."
Amusing Ourselves to Death
"America is her own mistress and can do what she pleases."
-Thomas Paine, 1778
"A vision of the future has been one of the sustaining marks of the American experience. Without that vision and without the men who devote themselves to realizing that vision, there can be no true American way of life. We must beware of the thoughtless men who proclaim that a particular stage of our social development, or any special set of conditions, is the best that progress can offer. These men would immobilize us in the great stream of history. They would let its great challenges and chances pass us by.....forgetting that the American way of life is a way of acting, not a state of inactivity."
-C.W. De Kiewiet
"In the United States a man builds a house to spend his latter years in it, and he sells it before the roof is on; he builds a garden, and lets it, just as the trees are coming into bearing; he brings a field into tillage and leaves other men to gather the crops; he embraces a profession and gives it up; he settles in a place, which he soon afterwards leaves, to carry his changeable longings elsewhere.....The recollection of the shortness of life is a constant spur to him. Besides the good things that he posses, he every instant fancies a thousand others that death will prevent him from trying if he does not try them soon. This thought fills him with anxiety, fear, and regret and keeps his mind in ceaseless trepidation, which leads him perpetually to change his plans and his abode."
-Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
What is the Good Life? David Myers
Americans have big houses and broken homes, high incomes and low morale, secured rights and diminished civility. We were excelling at making a living but too often failing at making a life. We celebrated our prosperity but yearned for purpose. We cherished our freedoms but longed for connection. in an age of plenty; we were feeling spiritual hunger. These facts of life lead us to a startling conclusion: Our becoming better off materially has not made us better off psychologically."
"Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went."
"In the availability of men willing to persevere with a possibly "ridiculous" idea, America had an advantage."
-Frank D. Prager
"Almost without exception, the first permanent settlers in America-F.F.V.'s, Mayflower passengers, Knickerbockers and Quakers-were drawn from the middle and lower classes, from the aggressive, the dissenter, the ne'er-do-well, the underprivileged and the maladjusted.....As has often been said, 'Dukes don't emigrate.'"
Massachusetts Colony Body of Liberties
94 capital Laws.
1. If any man after legal conviction shall have or worship any other god, but the lord god, he shall be put to death.
2. If any man or woman be a witch,(that is hath consulteth with a familiar spirit.) They shall be put to death.
3.If any person shall Blaspheme the name of god, the father. Son of Holy ghost with direct, expresse, presumptuous or high handed blasphemie, or shall cune God in the like manner, he shall be put to death."
"If an American were condemned to confine his activity to his own affairs, he would be robbed of one half of his existence."
Alexis De Tocqueville,
"They were all working men, tailors, merchants, wool combers, weavers, sawyers, hatters, carpenters....The false notion that they were noblemen.....is especially ironic in view of the fact that the chief distinction of the Pilgrims and their claim to our continual veneration is that they established a caste-free government of free men, making no attempt to duplicate the system of degree and station which existed in England and by which the leaders, if they had been smaller men, might well have hoped to advance in the new world."
"A group of English emigrants, more socially insignificant could hardly be imagined....Their intellectual and material poverty, lack of business enterprise, unfavorable situation and defenseless position in the eyes of the law, rendered them an almost negative factor in the life of New England."
-Charles M. Andrews The Fathers of New England
"Without being a full-time professional philosopher, for he had too much else on his mind, Jefferson had a love of pure thought that became almost tangible when one talked with him. His mind was a birthplace of ideas. And although he talked softly, seldom seeming to insist on any point, a listener usually had the feeling that he had heard something out of the ordinary. When he talked of Bacon, Newton, and Locke, one had the impression that he knew these men, that he was talking of friends. He was a lover of learning for its own sake. His friend Madison was almost unequaled in his knowledge of the past, which could also mean his respect for the value of what other ages have thought. Jefferson had no peer in his love of pure thought, his interest in the wonders that a human mind can achieve, with emphasis on the present. And he did not hesitate to add his own thoughts to those of the great thinkers he studied."
-Charles A. Cerami
Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's
".....Common Sense sold one hundred and twenty thousand copies in its first three months after January 10,1776-and upwards of five hundred thousand copies in the next three years. In those days of expensive paper, each copy was passed around America's population was only about 2.5 million, many of whom could not even read, so readership of this pamphlet was virtually universal among the literate. It was a feat unequaled by any document in the Colonies save perhaps the Bible. It brought forth a frenzied response by Loyalist propagandists, desperate to staunch the wounds he'd made, but it was already too late. Paine had changed the very terms of the debate. "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense,' John Adams later mused, "the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain." This was no small admission coming from Adams, since he's initially condemned Common Sense as "a poor ignorant, Malicious, short-sighted, Crapulous Mass."
But....Who cares now? Why should this still matter, this tax and sovereignty polemic from centuries ago? Lots of political writers have written lots of bestsellers, and a few have even managed to tear the nation from its moorings. Yet we not still read Rowan Hinton Helper's Impending Crisis of the South. So why this one: what made it special? Why make this one pamphlet the epitaph on his grave? Perhaps the clue lies in plain sight. Though Common Sense was a forty-six-page pamphlet, its animating spirit may be found within its first sentence: "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right." Forget what you thought was wrong, Paine says, and forget what you thought was right: produce proof that they are so. And if there is one word that expresses what the achievements of the Enlightenment are about, it is that one. Proof."
The Trouble With Tom: The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine
"America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society."
-Peter Kropotkin, speech in London, 1891
"The makers of our Constitution sought to protect Americans....They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone-the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men."
-Judge Louis D. Brandeis U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"The natural mightiness of America expands the mind, and it partakes of the greatness it contemplates."
"Is it not sad, that we are materially dependent on these savages, who are not a better class of human beings?"
-Sigmund Freud (in a letter to a German friend after WWI)
"We have been the recipients of the most choice bounties of Heaven; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand, which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency, all this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humble in the hope authorized by divine teaching that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition and peace."
-Abraham Lincoln, Oct 3, 1863
"There are some things this nation will never do. It will never be the forcible subjugator of other countries; it will never despoil surrounding territories; it will never march through the blood of their offending inhabitants; it will never admit within its own Union those who do not freely desire the boon."
-John L. O'Sullivan, The New York Morning News, November,1845
"The wealthier, or, as they prefer to style themselves, the "upper" classes, tend distinctly toward the bourgeois type of development, and an individual in the bourgeois state of development while honest, industrious, and virtuous, is also not unapt to be a miracle of timid and shortsighted selfishness."
-Theodore Roosevelt Century Magazine 1886
"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American.
....There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile....We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language....and we have room for but one sole loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people."
-Theodore Roosevelt, 1907
"The East is to be opened and transformed whether we will it or not; the standards of the West are to be imposed on it; nations and peoples which have stood still the centuries through.....(will be) made part of the universal world of commerce and of ideas."
-Woodrow Wilson, 1901 in defense of the annexation of the Philippines
"We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace: that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations, far away. We have learned that we must live as men, and not as ostriches not as dogs in the manger. We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community."
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt
"The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis."
Harold Pinter Dec 5,2005 (acceptance speech for Nobel Prize)
"We shall be as a city on a hill, the eyes of all people upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken.....we shall surely perish out of the good land (which) we pass over the vast sea to possess."
-Governor John Winthrop,1630
"The founders of our nation were nearly all infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, Jackson) not a one had professed a belief in Christianity."
(Sermon preached by Reverend Doctor Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York 1831)
Here is a list of religious affiliation of the Founding Fathers:
Episcopalian 88, Presbyterian 30, Congregationalist 27, Quaker 7, Dutch Reformed 6, Lutheran 5, Catholic 3, Huguenot 3, Unitarian 3, Methodist 2, Calvinist 1.
"The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity....I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God."
-John Adams (Letter to Abigail, his wife on the day the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress.)
"They believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
-Thomas Jefferson 1800 about the Christian fundamentalists of his time
"I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another.. It is is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read."
-Margaret Bayard Smith 1816
"With the exception of Adams, the first five American presidents took great care never to refer publicly to a specific deity or to any one religion in particular. The most politically astute of that generation-Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson-avoided discussing religion, either publicly or in correspondence, to a remarkable extent. Washington almost never even used the word "God" preferring "Almighty Being" or "Invisible Hand"; as Joseph Ellis described his faith: "The historical evidence suggests that Washington did not think much about heaven or angels: the only place he knew his body was going was into the ground, and as for his soul, its ultimate location was unknowable. He died as a Roman stoic rather than a Christian saint."
"America was Methodist, once upon a time-Methodist or Baptist, or Presbyterian, or Congregationalist, or Episcopalian....In truth, all the talk, from the 18th century on, of the United States as a religious nation was really just a make-nice way of saying it was a Christian nation-and even to call it a Christian nation was usually just a soft and ecumenical attempt to gloss over the obvious fact that the United States was, at its root, a Protestant nation....
The denominations were often engaged in what later generations would scorn as narrow sectarian debates....Perhaps precisely because they were aimed inward, the Protestant churches were able to radiate outward, giving a characteristic shape to the nation: the centrality of families, the pattern of marriages and funerals, the vague but widespread patriotism, the strong localism, and the ongoing sense of some providential purpose at work in the existence of the United States.
Which makes it all the stranger that somewhere around 1975, the main stream of Protestantism ran dry.....The great confluence of Protestantism has dwindled to a trickle over the past 30 years, and the Great Church of America has come to an end."
-Joseph Bottum editor of First Things, Aug-Sept 2008
"The more I learned about the Family, the more difficulty I had in classifying its theology. It is Protestant, to be sure, though there are Catholic members. Its leadership regards with disdain not only the mainline denominations, but also evangelicals they consider "luke-warm." and yet they distance themselves from the bullying of televangelists and moral scolds as well, in part because of theological differences (Jesus, they believe, instructs them to cultivate the powerful regardless of their doctrinal purity) and in part based on style (the Family believes in a subtler evangelism), "They take the same approach to religion that Ronald Reagan took to economics," says a Senate staffer named Neil MacBride, a political liberal with conservative evangelical convictions that put him at odds with the Family's unorthodox fundamentalism. "Reach the elite, and the blessings will trickle down to the underlings."
The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism At the Heart of American Power
"When it shall be said in any country in the world, "My poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among hem; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am a friend of happiness: when these things can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution and its government."
"The peculiar, chosen people-the Israel of our time, we bear the mark of the Liberties of the world....God has given to us, for a future inheritance, the broad domain of the political pagans, that shall yet come and lie down under the shade of our ark, without bloody hands being lifted. God has predestinated, mankind expects, great things from our race, and great things we feel in our souls."
"The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind."
-Thomas Paine, 1776
"A horrible army of devils is broke in...upon the people of God"
"The fire....carried all before it; and such horrible confusion overwhelmed the savages, that many were broiled unto death in the revenging flames; many of them, climbing to the tops of the pallizadoz, were a fair mark for the mortiferous bullets there; many of them....were slain by the English that stood ready to bid' em welcome....In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them."
"There is nothing more annoying in the habits of life (in America) than this irritable patriotism of the Americans. A foreigner would indeed consent to praise much in their country; but he would want to be permitted to blame something, and this he is absolutely refused. America is therefore a country of freedom where, in order not to wound anyone, a foreigner must not speak freely."
-Alexis de Tocqueville 1830
"To criticize one's country is to do it a service.....Criticism, in short is more than a right, it is an act of patriotism-a higher form of patriotism, I believe, than the familiar rituals and national adulation."
-J. William Fulbright American Senator
Come let me lead thee o'er this second Rome....
This embryo capital, where Fancy sees
Squares in morasses, obelisks in trees'
Which second-sighted seers, ev'n now adorn,
With shrines unbuilt and heroes yet unborn...
(Thomas Moore, "To Thomas Hume, from the City of Washington",1804 in The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore, 1853 vol II p.296)
"The city is a perfect realization of the upper-bracket dream of a white-collar universe, where economies run on the information juggling of the "creative class" and where manufacturing is something done by filthy brutes in far-off lands. In the hard-hit heartland this fantasy seems so visible as to not require attention. In Washington and its suburbs, however-where there are hundreds of corporate offices but little manufacturing-it is thought to be such an apt description of reality, such a pearly pearl of wisdom, that the city's big thinkers return to it again and again. The malls and offices and housing developments of northern Virginia so overwhelmed Joel Garreau, the man on the "cultural revolution" beat at the Washington Post, that in describing them he slipped into the past-tense profundo: the region's "private-enterprise, high-information, high-education, post-Industrial Revolution economy," he raved in 1991, "made it a model of what American urban areas would be in the twenty-first century."
The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule
"In the new American ghetto, the nightmare engine is bubble economics, a kind of high-tech casino scam that kills neighborhoods just like dope does, only the product is credit, not crack or heroin.":
"I chant the new empire, grander than any before-As in a vision it comes to me;
I chant America, the Mistress-I chant a greater supremacy....
And you, Libertad of the world!
You shall sit in the middle, well-pois'd, thousand of years....
The sign is reversing, the orb is enclosed
The ring is circled, the journey done.
-Walt Whitman The Errand-Bearers
"We are the Romans of the modern world-the great assimilating people. Conflicts and conquests are of course necessary accidents with us, as with our prototypes."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table
"If I'd lived in Roman times, I would have lived in Rome. today America is the Roman Empire, and New York is Rome itself."
"What happened to this nation? What came over us?.....(O)f all the peoples of the earth, we who have always boasted of our courage and our confidence and our belief in ourselves, our respect for each other, our trust in our own people, our faith in our institutions of self-government-how could we fall from ourselves so far? And into such morbid and unmanly fears? Into such spiteful hatreds? Such hysterical suspicion of each other and ourselves?"
-Archibald MacLeish "The American State of Mind," Autumn 1950
"God help that country where informers
Where slander flourishes and lies contrive
To kill by whispers! Where men lie to live!
God help that country by informers fed
Where fear corrupts and where suspicion's
By look and gesture, even to the dead."
-Archibald MacLeish "The Black Day"
"The true source of our suffering has been our timidity. We have been afraid to think....Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write....Let it be known that British Liberties are not the grants of princes or parliaments....that many of our rights are inherent and essential, agreed on as maxims and established as preliminaries, even before Parliament existed."
"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."
-William O. Douglas U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"The source of most of the economic, social, and environmental pathologies of our time-including sexism, racism, economic injustice, violence, and environmental destruction-originate upstream in institutions that grant unaccountable power and privilege to the few and assign the majority to lives of hardship and desperation. The history of the United States demonstrates a simple but profound truth: economic democracy-the equitable distribution of economic power-is an essential foundation of political democracy."
Among the founding fathers of the United States, Thomas Jefferson sought to close the divide between owners and workers by making every worker an owner. Alexander Hamilton sought to secure the position of an elite ruling class by assuring that ownership was firmly concentrated in its hands. Hamilton served as the first secretary of the treasury and laid the foundation of the financial system we now know as Wall Street.
Jefferson had it right, but the Hamiltonians have been winning. Fortunately, the struggle is not over and the financial crash creates a rare opening to rally around the Jefferson ideal of a middle-class economic democracy
The facade of political democracy has cloaked the extent to which Wall Street financial interests rule our lives and our government. Economic transformation is an essential foundation of the larger political and cultural turning we must now navigate."
-David C. Corten
Agenda For a New Economy
"In James Bovard's 1994 book, Lost Rights, the author has assembled a great deal of material on just what our law enforcers are up to in the never-to-be-won wars against Drugs and Terrorism, as they do daily battle with the American people in their homes and cars, on buses and planes, indeed, wherever they can get at them, by hook or by crook or by sting. Military necessity is a bit too highbrow a concept for today's federal and local officials to justify their midnight smashing in of doors, usually without warning or warrant, in order to terrorize the unlucky residents. These unlawful attacks and seizures are often justified by the possible existence of a flush toilet on the fingered premises . (If the warriors against drugs don't take drug fiends absolutely by surprise, the fiends will flush away the evidence) This is intolerable for those eager to keep us sin-free and obedient. So in the great sign of Sir Thomas Crapper's homely invention, they suspend the Fourth, and conquer."
Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace
"Americans like to say that the world changed as a result of the September 11,2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It would be more accurate to say that the attacks produced a dangerous change in the thinking of some of our leaders, who began to see our republic as a genuine empire, a new Rome, the greatest colossus in History, no longer bound by international law, the concern of allies, or any constraints on its use of military force."
The Sorrows of Empire
"There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest-why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted....Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors."
A 1954 survey revealed that 78% of Americans believed that all citizens should report to the FBI any neighbor believed to be a Communist.
"Pity the planet, all joy gone
from this sweet volcanic cone:
peace to our children when they fall
in small war on the heels of small
war-until the end of time
to police the earth, a ghost
orbiting forever lost
in our monotonous sublime."
-Robert Lowell end of his poem "Waking Early Sunday Morning
"While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity,
heavily thickening to empire,
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops
and sighs out, and the mass hardens,
I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make
fruit, and the fruit rots to make earth."
-Robinson Jeffers "Shine Perishing Republic" 1925
"In the long run I found life in America anything but agreeable. The exaggerated chase after money is a pedantry which spoils much of the pleasure of meeting people and destroys a sense of honour in favor of imagined needs."
"America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy."
"External things and opportunities so abound in American life that, instead of nurturing the true source of happiness, we tend to make it a direct aim. So we end in looking for happiness in possession of the external-in money, a good time, somebody to lean on, and so on. We are impatient, hurried and fretful because we do not find happiness where we look for it."
"A great part of both the strength and weakness of our national existence lies in the fact that Americans do not abide very quietly the evils of life. We are forever restlessly pitting ourselves against them, demanding changes, improvements, remedies, but not often with sufficient sense of the limits that the human condition will in the end insistently impose on us."
-Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform
"Something ignoble, loathsome, undignified attend all associations between people and has been transferred to all objects, dwellings, tools, even the landscape itself."
-Bertolt Brecht On America
"We (Americans) cheerfully assume that in some mystic way love conquers all, that good outweighs evil in the just balances of the universe and that at the eleventh hour something gloriously triumphant will prevent the worst before it happens."
"Our nation is in danger of becoming a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing and shoving; the land of smash and grab anything to win. This is Nixonland."
-Adlai Stevenson 1956
"Furthermore , what is it about Washington, D.C. that, in 200 years of colorful history, has made it the focus of the zodiac builders, and, so far as arcane lapidary symbols are concerned, the richest city in the world? Could the zodiacs have been set in place to remind those who run the United States that the Spiritual World, which the light of the stars symbolizes, is all around, and may never be ignored with impunity? Or is it possible that the city is still embryonic-still secretly being prepared for some future time when the stars will be seen as the living mysteries that really are?
The Secret Architecture of our Nation's Capital
"All the staff officers Washington trusted were Masons, and all the leading generals of the army were Masons; Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, James Madison, General Greene, General Lee, General Sullivan, Lord Sterling, the two Putnams, General Steuben, Montgomery, Jackson, gist, Henry Knox, and Ethan Allen were Masons. They all gathered around their Master Mason Washington and they all met at the "Temple of Virtue".....a rude structure flanked by two Pillars Jachin and Boaz. The monument had been built by order of the Commander-in-Chief as an assembly hall for the meeting of the (military) field lodges."
Revolution and Freemasonry 1680-1800
"It's time that we realize that our so-called Founding is not the source of our political and constitutional achievement. We owe our success to the common sense of the American people throughout our entire history, and our continued success will depend upon that common sense and not upon the creative moment of the founding."
-Gordon S. Wood The New York Review of Books, Feb 13, 2003
"Mr. Emerson is the most American of our writers. The Idea of America, which lies at the bottom of our original institutions, appears in him with great prominence. We mean the idea of personal freedom, of the dignity and value of human nature, the superiority of a man to the accidents of a man. Emerson is the most republican of republicans, the most protestant of the dissenters."
-Theodore Parker, "The Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson," The Massachusetts Quarterly Review III (Mar 1850)
"Our nation is not rich, But our soil is bountiful and our people industrious, and we have reason to flatter ourselves that we will gradually become useful to our friends."
-George Washington 1789 (a letter to the Emperor of Morocco thanking him for recognizing the United States)
"It may come as a surprise to some to learn that George Washington had a delicate nervous system that behaved badly under certain types of stress. He could walk placidly through a hail of gunfire and go back to a happy dinner. But receiving a complaining letter from his troublesome mother, and having to sit and write her a response that explained why she should not consider moving to Mount Vernon, invariably gave him shoulder pains bad enough to force him to bed. Martha had observed this so many times that she ordered his bed prepared whenever an envelope from his mother appeared."
-Charles A. Cerami
Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's
"What then is the American, this new man? He is either an European, or the descendant of an European, hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country.....He is an American, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds."
J. Hector Saint John Crevecoeur
Letters from an American Farmer 1782
"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American. ....There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile.....We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.....and we have room for but one sole loyalty, and that is a loyalty to the American people."
-Theodore Roosevelt, `1907
"We are....united by the silken bands of mild government, all respecting the laws, without dreading their power, because they are equitable. We are all animated with the spirit of an industry which is unfettered and unrestrained, because each person works for himself."
J. Hector Saint John Crevecoeur 1782
"This people is one of the happiest people in the world.."
Alexis de Tocqueville (1831)
"The people have become 'happiness machines'."
Herbert Hoover 1920s
"As for America, it is the ideal fruit of all your youthful hopes and reforms. Everybody is fairly decent, respectable, domestic, bourgeois, middle-class, and tiresome. There is absolutely nothing to revile except that it's a bore."
Henry B. Adams (1838-1918) Letter 17 Dec 1908
"The pursuit of happiness, which American citizens are obliged to undertake, tends to involve them in trying to perpetuate the moods, tastes and aptitudes of youth."
"Let's talk about that "inalienable right" that the Powers That Be don't want us talking about: The pursuit of happiness.
This basic human right, proclaimed by the founders on July 4,1776, gets short shrift today. It's not taught in schools as a worthy goal in life, it's not mentioned by the mass media, it's not posed as a national as a national objective by vote seeking politicians, and it's deliberately discouraged by corporate bosses who constantly demand more hours from us with less pay. (As one T-shirt puts it: "Medieval Peasants Worked Less Than You Do."}
Instead, the prevailing culture insists that you derive you "happiness" from staying hitched to the constant plow of work, thus making some money so you can buy a car, watch TV, go to Disneyland. They've perverted the language, shifting the debate from real happiness to possessions-and that is leaving a very big hole in our lives.
It's also leaving a gaping hole in our country, for it teaches that happiness is a function of individual attainment, not a community or national purpose. Merely measuring productivity and prosperity leaves most Americans today empty, for these crude measures ignore such essential human needs as public involvement, work satisfaction, good health, free time, environmental balance, spirituality, connectedness to the common good. These are the true elements of happiness, both for individuals and the country."
"We talk about the American Dream, and want to tell the world about the American Dream, but what is that Dream, in most cases, but the dream of material things? I sometimes think that the United States for this reason is the greatest failure the world has ever seen."
"We have definitely monetized the American dream....certainly, you have an equation in society that money equals happiness, that it equals security, that it equals success-and that's connected to happiness. Freedom. Independence. Pretty much all of the key positive values of American culture. All of them have a very strong link to money. Money is seen by many people as the mechanism for getting those things."
"We have one material which actually constitutes an aristocracy...that material is wealth."
-John Adams 1808
"For an American, it's peculiar to think that people of other cultures and lands have no counterpart to the American Dream. When I ask people from around the world what their dream is, they are taken aback. How strange it must be for them to know so much about our American Dream without having one of their own. ...."
The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream
"The morals of our people are much better' their manners are more polite and agreeable; our language is better, our taste better, our persons handsomer, our spirit greater, our laws wiser."
John Adams (commenting on the citizens of Massachusetts 200 years ago...What would he think now?)
"These people are exceedingly dirty and nasty, and afflicted by an unaccountable kind of stupidity"
(George Washington's view of New Englanders)
"I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth."
A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law (1765)
"The nameless pioneers and settlers, the obscure mothers and fathers, the quiet craftsmen and tradesmen; it is only among these that the real story of America is told; it is only among them that the brilliance of liberty may be comprehended."
"The population of no country in the world ever enjoyed the necessities and comforts of life in such abundance as that of the United States. The high state of wages, the great demand for labor of all kinds, the plenty of provisions, the cheapness of land, and the lightness of taxes, connected with the absence of all restrictions upon industry, and the character of the institutions, would naturally produce such a result. It has been computed that a laborer can earn as much in one day as will furnish bread and meat to himself, wife, and four children for three days nearly....
Where the means of subsistence are so easily procured, no person able to work need be in want; but there must be some in all countries who, from age, bodily or mental infirmities are unable to support themselves: the number of these, however is small, and comfortable provision is made for their support by state legislation....A beggar is rarely seen in any part of the country.
The Encyclopedia Americana (1832)
"Thus a Russian is less likely to consider a sudden descent into poverty as a fall from God's grace and economic collapse as God's punishment upon the people, while the religions that dominate America - Protestantism, Judaism and Islam-all feature temporal success of their followers as a key piece of evidence that God is well-disposed toward them. What will happen once God's good will toward them is no longer manifest? Chances are, they will become angry and try to find someone other than their own selves to blame, that being one of the central mechanisms of human psychology. We should look forward to unexpectedly wrathful congregations eager to do the work of an unexpectedly wrathful God."
Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects
"To evade the bondage of system and habit, of family maxims, class opinions, and, in some degree, of national prejudices; to accept tradition only as a means of information, and existing facts only as a lesson to be used in doing otherwise and doing better; to seek the reason of things for oneself, and in oneself alone; to tend to results without to be bound to means, and to strike through the form to the substance-such are the principal characteristics of what I shall call the philosophical method of the Americans."
-Alexis de Tocqueville
Democracy in America
"What makes the United States distinctive? There are plenty of celebrated views, but most ignore the restless American quest for heaven. The search for God brought the Puritans to the new world in the first place. In the mid-seventeenth century, religious fervor remade colonial institutions and primed the colonists for their revolution. In the nineteenth century still another evangelical wave would hurl Americans past a secular Constitution and into their religious crusade of a civil war."
James A. Morone
"America is a new character in the universe. She started with a cause divinely right."
-Thomas Paine 1782
"The noise was like the roar of Niagara. I counted seven ministers, all preaching at one time, some on stumps, others in wagons.....People were singing, others praying, some crying for mercy in the most piteous accents while others were shouting most vociferously.....A strange supernatural power seemed to pervade the entire mass.....At one time I saw at least five hundred swept down in a moment, as if a battery of a thousand guns had been opened upon them, and then immediately followed shrieks and shouts that rent the very heavens."
(a description of a revival at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, in the summer of 1801)
"America stepped forward in the first blossoming of the modern age and added.....a vision of democratic self-government. What an idea and what an area for its realization-endless land of richest fertility, a population infinite in variety.....self reliant pioneers, unafraid of man or devil.....
And then some unjust God leaned, laughing, over the ramparts of heaven and dropped a black man in the midst....
It transformed the world."
-W.E.B. Du Bois, 1935
"Inequality is as dear to the American heart as liberty itself."
-William Dean Howells
"As I was praying one day at my plough, the spirit spoke to me saying, 'Seek ye the Kingdom of Heaven.'' What spirit? "The spirit that spoke to the prophets in former days. I was greatly astonished, and for two years prayed continually."
Nat Turner 1830
"Come it must.....(Africa's) turn to figure in the great drama of human improvement....
In that far off mystic land of gold and gems....and waving palms....the Negro race, no longer despised and trodden down, will.....show forth....the most magnificent revelations of human life. Certainly.....in their gentleness, their lowly docility of heart, their childlike simplicity of affection and facility for forgiveness. they will exhibit the highest form of the peculiarly Christian life. Perhaps.....God.....hath chosen Africa....to make her the highest and noblest.....when every other kingdom has been tried and failed."
Harriet Beecher Stowe
"Rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself....The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation."
-President Lyndon Johnson, 1964
"These are the most hopeful times since Christ was born in Bethlehem...."
-Lyndon Johnson (while lighting the national Christmas tree in Dec 1964)
"The United States is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, yet its inhabitants are strikingly unhappy. Accordingly, we present to the rest of mankind, on a planet rife with suffering and tragedy, the spectacle of a clown civilization. Sustained on a clown diet rich in sugar and fat, we have developed a clown physiognomy. We dress like clowns. We move about a landscape filled with cartoon buildings in clown-mobiles, absorbed in clownish activities. We fill our idle hours enjoying the canned antics of a professional clowns, We perceive God to be an elderly comedian. Death, when we acknowledge it, is just another pratfall on the boob tube. Bang! You're dead!"
James Howard Kunstler
Home from Nowhere
"It may come as a shock to be told that (you) have never experienced that kind of society which (our) ancestors knew as the American Republic....We live in the war-torn, debt-ridden, tax-harried wreckage of a once imposing edifice of the free society which arose out of the American Revolution on the foundation of the U.S. Constitution"
-John Flynn (former editor of Saturday Evening Post)
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
"Fifty-nine years ago this week-on April 3,1948-President Truman signed the legislation establishing the Marshall Plan, which contributed so much to the rebuilding of postwar Europe. Now, more than half a century later, the U.S. can't even rebuild New Orleans.
It doesn't seem able to build much of anything, really. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. infrastructure is in sad shape, and it would take more than a trillion and a half dollars over a five-year period to bring it back to a reasonably adequate condition."
Bob Herbert "Our Crumbling Foundation" New York Times April 5, 2007
"The American businessman is, in his moments of social relaxation, the most poisonous and vulgar bore on earth, with a penchant for incoherent oratory, loaded with the catch words of the hour, stupidly-dirty and aged locker-room jokes, and time-worn songs, drunkenly done."
"America is gangsterism for the private profit of the few."
"America....just a nation of two hundred million used-car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."
-Hunter S. Thompson
"America is a mistake, a giant mistake."
"The American landscape has no foreground and the American mind has no background."
"There is a case that, for its effect on the anxieties of people and in consequence on their behavior, the Great Depression is the most important event in the century so far-at least for Americans. Neither of the two wards had a similar effect on so many; the release of atomic energy, while it may have induced some added measure of caution among the pathologically belligerent, was of yet less consequence. The journeys to the moon were a detail in comparison. Few who lived through the Great Depression were unchanged by the experience."
John Kenneth Galbraith
Money: Whence it Came, Where It Went
Book: "The Great Depression" by Lionel Robbins
"The typical American is devoured with a passion for locomotion. He cannot stay in one place; he must go and come, he must stretch his limbs and keep his muscles in play. When his feet are not in motion, his fingers must be in action. He must be whittling a piece of wood, cutting the back of a his chair, or notching the edge of the table, or his jaws must be at work grinding tobacco."
(observation of Captain Frederick Marryat during his 1837 visit)
"The total want of all the usual courtesies of the table, the voracious rapidity with which the viands were seized and devoured, the strange uncouth phrases and pronunciation; the loathsome spitting, from the contamination of which it was absolutely impossible to protect our dresses; the frightful manner of feeding with their knives, till the whole blade seemed to enter into the mouth; and the still more frightful manner of cleaning the teeth afterwards with a pocket knife, soon forced us to feel that we were not surrounded by the general, colonels, and majors of the old world; and that the dinner hour was to be anything rather than an hour of enjoyment."
Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832)
"I believe there is no country on the face of the earth, where there is less freedom of opinion on any subject in reference to which there is a broad difference of opinion, than in this.."
Charles Dickens (1840)
"I believe that God planted in us visions of liberty, that we are chosen and prominently chosen to show the way to the nations of the world how they shall walk in the path of liberty."
-Woodrow Wilson 1912
"Let us show ourselves Americans by showing that we do not want to go off in separate camps or grounds by ourselves, but that we want to co-operate with all other classes and all other groups in a common enterprise which is to release the spirits of the world from bondage-that is the meaning of democracy."
"...it is always best and safest to count on nothing from the Americans but words."
-Neville Chamberlain (former British Prime Minister)
"But America has so cleverly deceived itself that it believes it gets its immediate tribute from global commerce and its thanks in Heaven, but we look around and notice that the tribute America gets is so perverse that we're glad she does not get more. Instead of getting paid for providing protection, the United States is on the receiving end of loans from its tributary states and trading partners. The whole idea is mad and preposterous. An imperial power is supposed to control lesser states and exploit them for its own selfish ends. Of course, it does not admit it. Truthfulness is as much a disappointment in politics as it is in marriage or poker. The idea is to pretend to do good, while you do well. In America's absurd version, she does badly for herself and good for others.....
Empire of Debt
"Who can doubt that there is an American empire?-an "informal" empire, not colonial in polity, but still richly equipped with imperial paraphernalia: troops, ships, planes, bases, proconsuls, local collaborators, all spread around the luckless planet."
-Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
The Cycles of American History
"Power always thinks it has a great soul."
"Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply held religious faith-and I don't care what it is."
-President Dwight Eisenhower, 1954
"We have always know that heedless self-interest was bad morals. We know now that is bad economics."
-President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1937
"This is not the Republic of my imagination. I infinitely prefer a liberal Monarchy....to such a Government as this. In every respect but that of National Education, the Country disappoints me....In everything of which it has made a boast-excepting its education of the people and its care for poor children-it sinks immeasurably below the level I had placed it upon. And England, even England, bad and faulty as the old land is and miserable as millions of her people are, rises in comparison."
Charles Dickens (In a letter to William C. Macready)
Thine own undoing thou hast wrought
For all thy wrongs to Africa
This cup has fallen to thy lot
Whose dregs of bitterness shall last
Till thou acknowledge God in man;
Till thou undo thine iron grasp,
And free thy brother and his clan.
James Madison Bell (1864)
"We cannot reform the world... Uncle Sugar is as dangerous a role for us to play as Uncle Shylock."
John F. Kennedy
"An asylum for the sane would be empty in America."
George Bernard Shaw
"In America, it is sport that is the opiate of the masses."
"How many Americans realize that their country is not a democracy but an oligarchy, and owes a good deal of its stability to that fact?"
The Art of Thinking
"the men of the higher circles are not representative men; their high position is not a result of moral virtue; their fabulous success is not firmly connected with meritorious ability. Those who sit in the seats of the high and mighty are selected and formed by means of power, their sources of wealth, the mechanics of celebrity which prevail in our society."
-C. Wright Mills
It is hard to imagine a culture less concerned than ours with the things that make life worth living. Much of what we esteem as life-enhancing and pleasure-giving tends. toward the childishly self-destructive: fast cars, goopy micro waved cheese snacks, prolonged television viewing, compulsive shopping, playing with guns, heavy drinking, kinky sex, to name a few. These are the fruits of political liberty in our time, and so, tragically, liberty itself begins to seem a rather trashy thing.
Kunstler Home from Nowhere
"Deep down, the US, with its space, its technological refinement, its bluff good conscience, even in those spaces which it opens up for simulation, is the only remaining primitive society."
America, "Vanishing Point"
'I view the United States of these last years of the twentieth Century as essentially a tragic country, endowed with magnificent natural resources that it is rapidly wasting and exhausting, and with an intellectual and artistic intelligentsia of great talent and originality. For this intelligentsia the dominant Political forces of the country have little understanding or regard. For its voice is normally silenced or Out shouted by the commercial media. It is probably Condemned to remain indefinitely,. Like the Russian intelligentsia in the nineteenth century, a helpless spectator of the disturbing course of its nation's life."
GEORGE F. Kennan
The Last Wise Man, April, 1989
"Every day I ask myself the same question: How can this be happening in America. How can people like these be in charge of our country? If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I'd think I was having a hallucination."
-Philip Roth The Plot Against America
"The first thing that strikes one in the United States is the innumerable crowd of those striving to escape from their original social condition; and the second is the rarity, in a land where all are actively ambitious, of any lofty ambition. Every American is eaten up with longing to rise, but hardly any of them seem to entertain very great hopes or to aim very high. All are constantly bent on gaining property, reputation, and power, but few conceive such things on a grand scale. That, at first sight , is surprising, since there is no obvious impediment in the mores or laws of America to put a limit to ambition or to prevent its taking wing in every direction."
Alexis de Tocqueville
Democracy in America
"For the most part we are an intemperate people; we eat too much when we can, drink too much, indulge our senses too much. Even in our so-called virtues we are intemperate: a teetotaler is not content not to drink-he must stop all the drinking in the world; a vegetarian among us would outlaw the eating of meat. We work too hard, and many die under the strain; and then to make up for that we play with a violence (just) as suicidal."
"We knew and took for granted: marriage without love; sex without joy; drink without conviviality; birth, celebration, and death without adequate ceremony; faith without doubt or trial; belief without deeds; manners without generosity.....Such humanizing emotions as pleasure in small profitless things, joy, wonder, ecstasy were removed as by an operation on the brain."
"I have often amused myself by imagining Cicero suddenly appearing in America and being interviewed at the Hotel Biltmore by two newspaper men, one French or British, full of school reminiscences and beyond himself with excitement at the thought of seeing the ORATOR; the other, an American, rehearsing questions concerning prohibition or spiritualism, and really wondering if the Acheron is now crossed by motor-boat, or whether the Elysian Fields are properly grid-ironed.
To sum up: the notion of culture is too often dismissed in the American mind by the phantasm, uselessness; and thought, with such an impediment, is difficult indeed."
The Art of Thinking
"Tis our True policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world-as far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it.
George Washington Farewell address 1796
"If George Washington were alive today, what a shining mark he would be for the whole camorra of uplifters, forward-lookers and professional patriots! He was the Rockefeller of his time, the richest man in the United States, a promoter of stock companies, a land-grabber, an exploiter of mines and timber. he was a bitter opponent of foreign entanglements, and denounced their evils in harsh, specific terms. He had a liking for forthright and pugnacious men, and a contempt for lawyers, schoolmasters and all other such obscurantists. He was not pious. He drank whiskey whenever he felt chilly, and kept a jug of it handy. he knew far more profanity than Scriptures, and used and enjoyed it more. He had no belief in the infallible wisdom of the common people, but regarded them as inflammatory dolts, and tried to save the Republic from them. He advocated no sure cure for all the sorrows of the world, and doubted that such a panacea existed. he took no interest in the private morals of his neighbors.
Inhabiting These States today, George would be ineligible for any office of honor or profit. The Senate would never dare confirm him; the President would not think of nominating him. He would be on trial in the newspapers for belonging to the Money Power. The Sherman Act would have him in its toils; he would be under indictment by every grand jury south of the Potomac; the Methodists of his native State would be denouncing him (he had a still at Mount Vernon) as a debaucher of youth, a recruiting officer for insane asylums, a poisoner of the home. And what a chance there would be for that ambitious young district attorney who thought to shadow him on his peregrinations- and grab him under the Mann Act!"
Pater Patriae from Damn! A Book of Calumny,(1918)
Peace, commence, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.
Thomas Jefferson First Inaugural address
"Gross National Product is our Holy Grail"
"One of the great fallacies of American thinking, is that human worth is constituted by a particular set of aptitudes which lead to economic advancement. This not true at all. Two thirds of the people who can make money are mediocre; and at least one half of them are morally at a low level. As a whole, they are vastly inferior to other types who are not animated by the economic motives; I mean the artists, and teachers, and professional people who do work which they love for its own sake and earn about enough to get along on. This habitual elevation of the type of ability that leads to economic advancement is one of the worst mistakes in your American thinking and needs to be unceasingly corrected..."
Alfred North Whitehead
"They have distinctly and exactly announced their intention to set not only power against power, but, to express it more exactly, altar against altar. In their indecent declarations they have cast blame and scorn on the institutions of Europe most worthy of respect....In permitting themselves these un-provoked attacks, in fostering revolutions wherever they show themselves, in regretting those which have failed, in extending a helping to those which seem to prosper, they lend new strength to the apostles of sedition, and re-animate the courage of every conspirator."
"The office of America is to liberate, to abolish Kingcraft, priest-craft, caste, monopoly, to pull down the gallows, to burn up the bloody statute-book, to take in the immigrant, to open the doors of the sea and the fields of the earth."
"Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scotch/Irish Presbyterian rebellion."
-anonymous Hessian officer (1778)
"America would have been a poor show had it not been for the Scotch."
"The worst country to be poor in is America."
"Half your trouble is the curse of America-sheer, hopeless, well-ordered boredom; and that is going some day to be the curse of the world."
(Letter from Rudyard Kipling to William James 1896)
"As for America, it is the ideal fruit of all your youthful hopes and reforms. Everybody is fairly decent, respectable, domestic, bourgeois, middle-class, and tiresome. There is absolutely nothing to revile except that it's a bore."
Henry B. Adams (letter 1908)
"The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It's over. it supplies the world with its nightmares now: The Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Vietnam...."
"It is a fabulous county, the only fabulous country; it is the only place where miracles not only happen, but where they happen all the time."
You Can't Go Home Again
"Intellectually, I know that America is not better than any other country; emotionally, I know she is better than every other country."
"The American lives even more for his goals, for the future, than the European. Life for him is always becoming, never being."
"My whole life in this country, has really been devoted to fighting the terrible poison which has been undermining the American nation. As an American I resented the hypocrisy, the short-sightedness, the lack of construction, the actual stupidity in control everywhere."
"It's a complex fate, being an American, and one of the responsibilities it entails is fighting against a superstitious valuation of Europe."
"The problem posed by the United States is, as Tocqueville saw, the problem of equality, its consequences, and what price shall be paid for it. How create a cushion of plenty without stupefaction of the soul and the senses? It is a dilemma that glares from every picture window and whistles through every breezeway."
The Humanist in the Bathtub
"When our friend has finished eating he settles back to smoke, an American Indian habit, consuming a plant domesticated in Brazil in either a pipe, derived from the Indians of Virginia, or a cigarette, derived from Mexico....While smoking he reads the news of the day, imprinted in characters by the ancient Semites upon a material invented in China by a process invented in Germany. As he absorbs the accounts of foreign troubles he will, if he is a good conservative citizen, thank a Hebrew deity in an Indo-European language that he is 100% American."
The Study of Man
"The fat, puffy, wattle-faced man of forty-five who has turned asexual is the greatest monument to futility that America has created. he's a nymphomaniac of energy accomplishing nothing. He's an hallucination of the Paleolithic man. He's a statistical bundle of fat and jangled nerves for the insurance man to convert into a frightening thesis. He sows the land with prosperous, restless, empty-headed, idle-handed widows who gang together in ghoulish sororities where politics and diabetes go hand in hand."
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare
"The American people have a genius for splendid and unselfish action, and into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of afflicted humanity."
Pope Pius XII
"What giant efforts to fight seemingly unconquerable ills are made in America. One is not blind there. Men see the evil and act."
"If we did pass out as a great nation our epitaph should read 'America died from fright."
"The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem."
"Ever since the discovery of the New World by the Old there has been an interchange of many things, good and bad, between them. At first it was an uneven exchange. The old world brought culture and small pox, the Christian religion and measles, rum, European quarrels, scarlet fever, sparrows, horses and donkeys, Anglo-Saxons, Irishmen, Jews, Negroes, trousers, influenza, wheat, brotherly love, gun powder, and tuberculosis. For all these blessings it received in return at first only Gold, tobacco, syphilis, potatoes, and Indian corn. As the New World flourished it began to pay a more adequate interest on the invested capital. At present the honours are about even. Some of the things America has received from her elders, like industry, politics, capitalism, Communism, alcoholism, Methodism, baptism, free verse, free love, psychoanalysis, educational systems, journalism, philanthropism, the camera, science, art, literature, football, rats, remittance men, gypsy moths, Russian princes, starlings, macaroni, Wiener Schnitzel, labor troubles, bankers and brokers and so forth, and so forth, we repay either in kind or in a bigger and better way. And we add for good measure high tariffs, peanuts, phonographs, chewing gum, moving pictures, breakfast foods, heiresses, Christian Science, cocktail shakers, efficiency methods, and the baloney dollar.
Yet in many ways we shall always be a colony of Europe."
Rats, Lice and History
"If we can think of this great country of ours as polarized between two sets of James Brothers, Frank and Jesse at one end and Henry and William at the other, why, we begin to get some sense of the enormous spectrum in between."
-Peter De Vries
"Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard....If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us."
Robert Jackson Supreme Court Justice 1941
"America is the oldest country in the world because she was the first country into the twentieth century."
"Here, the people who compose what is called "society" enjoy even less freedom that their counterparts in Europe. Yet, they seem unaware of this restriction since their way of life tends to inhibit personality development from childhood."
Einstein (excerpt from a letter to Belgian Queen Elizabeth)
"The political concepts on which your American society is founded, are a kind of myth, and yours have a long history. Starting in fairly modern times (I mean leaving out their Greco-Roman and Hellenic-Hebraic origins) they stem from Locke in the English seventeenth century, come on down to the great Frenchmen of the eighteenth century, but are never given practical effectuation until they come to the founders of your republic. The purport of that political myth is to improve and safeguard the lot of the common man. In your nineteenth century, however, that myth in America undergoes a serious reversal. The right of the common man to a good life is interpreted as the right of a few exceptional individuals, say one in a thousand-or less-to exploit the resources of a new continent in such a way as to make themselves inordinately rich. When I say 'exceptional' I do not wish to be understood as meaning that they are superior. In every other relationship of life besides the making of money they may be, and quite often are, inferior. But as the nineteenth century proceeded on this continent, they were the ones who ran away with your political myth, and with them it degenerated into the false and vulgar idea that anybody in America could get rich if he were willing to set his mind to it. In this present century you are having to rescue the original conceptions of your political myth from those few individuals controlling corporate wealth who falsified it."
Alfred North Whitehead
"The Americans will always do the right thing...after they've exhausted all the alternatives."
"The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them-which we are missing."
Gamel Abdel Nasser
"You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination."
Charles de Gaulle
"If we are safe today, it is because America has stood with us. If we are to remain safe tomorrow, it will be because America remains powerful and self-confident."
"The Americans increasingly confiscate the raw materials and energy to which the entire world is entitled and which are not the monopoly of 250 million consumers who cram themselves with food. Another century of greed and they will have plundered the entire globe."
Luc Van der Kelen, editor of the Belgian newspaper
Het Niewsblad 2000
"This country is so seized by our civic religion, egalitarianism, that it just averts its gaze from anything that would seem to detract from that central ethic we have that everybody is equal, that perfect societies can be built with the good will of people."
Edward O Wilson
Sociobiology-The New Synthesis
"But history demands that one be aware of the deeper world as well as the wider. For the period in question, America has been hydroplaning on the present, creating and devouring a culture consisting of relentless ephemera. The intellectual so-called life became deconstructionist game playing, politics became claptrap, "globalization" became internationalism for shoppers. Our superpowerhood fed feelings of omnipotence and self-righteousness (remember the city on the Hill"?) which in turn created a false sense of immunity. On Sept. 11, airplanes crashed into two cities on a hill.
What went unacknowledged was that everyone occupies a position in the great stream of events and ideas, even in a time of rampant vapidity, and to forget that was to lose one's bearings, along with one's soul, Moby Dick begins with Ishmael seeing his voyage as an interlude squeezed between more significant events, which he presents as newspaper headlines (you'll smile at his choices):
Grand Contested Election for the presidency
of the United States
Whaling Voyage by one Ishmael
Bloody Battle in Affghanistan (sic)
"Back into the Fray of History" Time Nov 12,2001
"For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us, recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state, our success or failure, in whatever office we hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:
First, were we truly men of courage, with the courage to stand up to one's enemies, and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one's associates, the courage to resist public pressure as well as private greed?
Second, were we truly men of integrity, men who never ran out on either the principles in which we believed or the people who believed in us, men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?
Finally, were we truly men of dedication, with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and compromised by no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest?
Courage, judgment, integrity, dedication-these are the historic qualities of the Bay Colony and the Bay State, the qualities which this state has consistently sent to Beacon Hill here in Boston and to Capitol Hill back in Washington. And these are the qualities which, with God's help, this son of Massachusetts hopes will characterize our government's conduct in the four stormy years that lie ahead. Humbly I ask His help in this undertaking; but aware that on earth His will is worked by men, I ask for your help and your prayers as I embark on this new and solemn journey."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
1952 Inaugural speech as a Senator from Massachusetts
�To those who followed Columbus and Cortez, the New World truly seems incredible because of the natural endowments. The land often announced itself with a heavy scent miles out in the ocean. Giovanni de Verranzano in 1524 smelled the cedars of the East Coast a hundred leagues out. The men of Henry Hudson�s Half Moon were temporarily disarmed by the fragrance of the New Jersey shore, while ships running further up the coast occasionally swam through large beds of floating flowers. Wherever the came inland they found a rich riot of color and sound, of game and luxuriant vegetation. Had they been other than they were, they might have written a new mythology here. As it were they took inventory.�
�The real American has not yet arrived. He is only in the crucible, I tell you-he will be the fusion of all races, the common superman.�
"The White Man does not understand the Indian for the reason that he does not understand America. He is too far removed from its formative processes. The roots of the tree of his life have not yet grasped the rock and soil. The white man is still troubled with primitive fears; he still has in his consciousness the perils of this frontier continent, some of its vastness not yet having yielded to his questing footsteps and inquiring eyes. He shudders still with the memory of the loss of his forefathers upon its scorching deserts and forbidding mountain tops. The man from Europe is still a foreigner and an alien. And he still hates the man who questioned his path across the continent. But in the Indian the spirit of the land is still vested; it will be until other men are able to divine and meet its rhythm. Men must be born and reborn to belong. Their bodies must be formed of the dust of their forefather's bones."
Chief Luther Standing Bear (autobiography 1933)
LET AMERICA BE AMERICA AGAIN by Langston Hughes
....I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope, I seek-
And finding only the same old stupid plan.
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak....
O let America be America again-
The land that never has been yet-
And yet must be-the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine-the poor man's, Indian's Negro's
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain.
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose-
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
�Americans enjoy being abused by waiters. It�s their only way of judging the quality of the food.�
"The organization of American society is an interlocking system of semi-monopolies notoriously venal, an electorate notoriously unenlightened, misled by mass media notoriously phony."
The Community of Scholars (1962)
"With the supermarket as our temple and the singing commercial as our litany, are we likely to fire the world with an irresistible vision of America's exalted purpose and inspiring way of life.?"
�They have distinctly and exactly announced their intention to set not only power against power, but, to express it more exactly, altar against altar. In their indecent declarations they have cast blame and scorn on the institutions of Europe most worthy of respect�.In permitting themselves these un-provoked attacks, in fostering revolutions wherever they show themselves, in regretting those which have failed, in extending a helping to those which seem to prosper, they lend new strength to the apostles of sedition, and re-animate the courage of every conspirator.�
�Since 1815 we have never been threatened by external aggression by any nation except Japan nor, except for the Civil war, by serious ideological conflict.�
Henry Steele Commager
�It�s not Americans I find annoying; it�s Americanism: a social disease of the post industrial world that must inevitably infest each of the mercantile nations in turn, and is called �American� only because your nation is the most advanced case of the malady, much as one speaks of Spanish flue, or Japanese Type-B encephalitis. Its symptoms are a loss of work ethic, a shrinking of inner resources, and a constant need for external stimulation, followed by spiritual decay and moral narcosis. You can recognize the victim of his constant efforts to get in touch with himself, to believe his spiritual feebleness is an interesting psychological warp, to construe his fleeing from responsibility as evidence that he and his life are uniquely open to new experience. In the latter stage, the sufferer is reduced to seeking that most trivial of human activities: fun. As for your food, no one denies that the Americans excel in one narrow rubric: the snack. And I suspect there�s something symbolic in that.�
�WE find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards fertility of soil, extent of territory, and salubrity of climate�.We find ourselves legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or the establishment of them.�
�The office of America is to liberate, to abolish Kingcraft, priest craft, caste, monopoly, to pull down the gallows, to burn up the bloody statute-book, to take in the immigrant, to open the doors of the sea and the fields of the earth.�
�The American lives even more for his goals, for the future, than the European. Life for him is always becoming, never being.�
�We have in short become a society of poor little rich kids�.a race of beautiful savages, surrounded by lovely trinkets that we (and the planet) can�t really afford and which we don�t even understand well enough to repair when they break down. We have made a Faustian bargain�.We have sold our souls to the devil in exchange for fleeting visions of glamour and power. We have (under the relentless pressure of Big government, Big Business, and Big Labor) indeed traded our birthrights for a mess of pottage�.and the cheapest possible plastic pottage at that.�
John (founder of Mother Earth News)
"The lights of Powder Hill twinkled, its chimneys smoked and a pink plush toilet-seat cover flew from a clothesline. Seen at an improbable distance by some zealous adolescent, ranging over the golf links, the piece of plush would seem to be the imprimatur, the guerdon, the accolade and banner of Powder Hill behind which marched, in tight English shoes, the legions of wife swapping, Jew-baiting, booze-fighting spiritual bankrupts. Oh damn them all, thought the adolescent. Damn the bright lights by which no one reads, damn the continuous music which no one hears, damn the grand pianos that no one can play, damn the white houses mortgaged up to their rain gutters, damn them for plundering the ocean for fish to feed the mink whose skins they wear and damn their shelves on which there rests a single book-a copy of the telephone directory, bound in pink brocade. Damn their hypocrisy. Damn their cant, damn their credit cards, damn their discounting the wilderness of the human spirit, damn their immaculateness, damn life that strength, malodorousness, color and zeal that give it meaning. Howl, howl, how."
Bullet Park (1966)
�You have forgotten the ideals for which we fought under Franklin Roosevelt. Your vision is dimmed by greed, by selfishness, by a thirst for power. You would sacrifice the greatest government that was ever conceived in the mind of man for a mess of pottage-for a piece of beef, for a slice of bacon.�
(Speech to the American People drafted by Harry S. Truman)
"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth-and listen to the song of the syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it."
-Patrick Henry, 1775
"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors; they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an ever lasting mark of infamy on the present generation, as enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men."
-Samuel Adams, 1771
"But liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near-war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of the central government."
Brave New World Revisited
�The happy ending is our national belief.�
On The Contrary
�The Americans burn incense before it (democracy) but they are themselves ruled by the Boss and the Trust.�
Outspoken Essays: First Series 1919
"America is the only nation in the world that is founded on creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic, even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence.....It enunciates that all men are equal in their claim to justice and that governments exist to give them that justice, and that their authority is for that reason just. It certainly does condemn anarchism, and it does also by inference condemn atheism, since it clearly names the Creator as the ultimate authority from whom these equal rights are denied."
"....We are a democracy increasingly ruled by judges. We elect a Congress that is increasingly chained by lobbyists. And we are a culture that deep down believes in this counterrevolution: that strangely thinks that this increase in control makes sense.
As commentator Gordon Cook writes: The Internet revolution has come and gone. It has created a tremendous burst of innovation(-a) burst that now looks to have been mismanaged....(T)he people who did the least to advance the new technologies seem most likely to control them. We are left not with the edge-controlled intelligence of the (end-to-end), network but with the central authoritarian control of the likes of AOL Time Warner.
The irony astounds. We win the political struggle against state control as to reentrench control in the name of the market. We fight battles in the name of free speech, only to have those tools turned over to the arsenal of those who would control speech. We defend the ideal of property and then forget its limits, and extend its reach to a space none of four Founders would ever have imagined.
We move through this moment of an architecture of innovation to, once again, embrace an architecture of control-without noticing, without resistance, without so much as a question. Those threatened by this technology of freedom have learned how to turn the technology off. The switch is now being thrown. We are doing nothing about it."
The Future of Ideas
"The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole world of mankind....
Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. ....
After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd...."
Alexis de Tocqueville,
"Democracy in America ,Vol II"
"American expansionism in turn led to imperialism: the imposition of control over other peoples, denying them the freedom to make their own decisions, undermining their sovereign independence. Imperialism took a variety of forms, both formal (annexation, colonialism, or military occupation). Sometimes the United States took territories; sometimes it controlled the economic life of others to such an extent that they lost their sovereignty; sometimes American troops intervened, imposed order, and stayed to govern....The persistent American belief that other people cannot solve their own problems and that only the American model of government will work produced what historian William Appleman Williams has called the tragedy of American diplomacy."
A People and a Nation (pub, Houghton Mifflin, 1982)
"It is in your country, my friends, that those latent forces which eventually will kill any serious monster of professional militarism will be able to make themselves felt more clearly and definitely. Your political and economic condition today is such that if you ever set your hand to this job in all seriousness you will be able entirely to destroy the dreadful tradition of military violence under which the sad memories of the past-and to a certain extent-of the world continue to suffer even after the terrific warning of the Great War. It is along these lines of endeavor that your mission lies as the present moment, and should you be able and willing to accept this high duty, I know that you will build for yourself an enduring monument."
Albert Einstein (broadcast to Americans from his ship over NBC radio)
"America makes prodigious mistakes, America has colossal faults, but one thing cannot be denied: America is always on the move. She may be going to Hell, of course, but at least she isn't standing still."
"We (Americans) suffer primarily not from our vices or our weaknesses, but from our illusions. We are haunted, not by reality, but by those images we have put in place of reality."
-Daniel Boorstin The Image
"Which is more blameworthy, those who will see and steadily pursue their own interests, or those who cannot see, or seeing will not act wisely?"
-George Washington, 1790
"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
-H.L. Mencken, "Bayard vs. Lionheart," Baltimore Evening Sun, 26 July 1920
"Has the U.S. president become king of the world?"
David Gergen Feb 25 U.S. News & World Report
"The truth is that free speech no longer has a strong core constituency In America. What passes for a core constituency is now mostly on the right. The left, which once fiercely fought for free speech, essentially abandoned that role when it decided that "historically underrepresented groups" should be shielded from harmful speech, or else they would never feel comfortable enough to rise in society. This posture arose on the campuses and spread into the general culture, hardening into the doctrines of "hostile environment" and "hate speech, "both of which now justify violations of free speech that would have sent liberals of the 1950s or 1960s into shock."
Feb 25,U.S. News & World Report
"The Bank (of the United States) is trying to kill me and I will kill it."
-Andrew Jackson, 1830
"The real truth...is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson-and I am not wholly excepting the Administration of W.W. The country is going through a repetition of Jackson's fight with the Bank of the United States-only on a far bigger and broader basis."
"We know now the Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob....I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it, the forces of selfishness and lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."
-Franklin D. Roosevelt, (1946)
"The moneychangers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths."
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
Wealth and Democracy
"As the historian W.J. Rorabaugh tells the story in The Alcoholic Republic, we drank the hard stuff at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, before work and after and very often during. Employers were expected to supply spirits over the course of the workday; in fact, the modern coffee break began as a late morning whiskey break called "the elevnses." (Just to pronounce it makes you sound tipsy.) Except for a brief respite Sunday morning in church, Americans simply didn't not gather-whether for a barn raising or quilting bee, corn husking or political rally-without passing the whiskey jug. Visitors from Europe-hardly models of sobriety themselves-marveled at the free flow of American spirits. "Come on then, if you love toping," the journalist William Cobbett wrote his fellow Englishmen in a dispatch from America. "For here you may drink yourself blind at the price of sixpence."
The Omnivore's Dilemma
"Macfadden lived from 1868 to 1955, a long and astonishing life. That he is not better known is owing to the fact that for the most part journalists and historians derive their prestige from those they write about and Bernard Macfadden had scant prestige. He wasn't low status, he was no status. Nevertheless, he, more than any other individual, must be accorded the credit, or given the blame for inventing the underlying form and thematic material which dominates American commercial mass culture. People magazine, the National Enquirer, and television shows like "Inside Edition," "A Current Affair" and the raft of cop, fireperson, 911 programs which mix real people and actors owe their content, technique and inspiration to Bernard, who thought it up first. The advertising industry owes him a debt so great they ought to rename Madison Avenue after him.
Macfadden is important for us because he is a major, early example of a businessman whose profits are directly tied into changing and/or damaging culture and society. A broad swath of Victorian era Americans favored sexual repression out of a wide variety of motives, some having to do with religious belief, some with standards of propriety, others for reasons of hygiene and social discipline. Without antibiotics, venereal disease was no joking matter, as modern Americans in the time of AIDS can understand.
The losing struggle against Macfadden waged primarily by church groups was one of the attempts by the society to defend itself against a business which posed a threat to the common well-being. The older, prebusiness-era enterprise of prostitution could be contained, but Macfadden was making money by sending the sexual message everywhere. It has transpired that the predictions uttered by Macfadden's blue-nosed enemies about the long-term consequences of allowing such a business to stay open have been borne out everywhere.
The voluptuary society they warned against has, in no small measure, come into existence, as all those who worry about what they discern as a slacking off everywhere and everyway, daily testify. While physical ecologists point out the disappearance of the ozone layer, social ecologists point to the disappearance of the work ethic. It remains to be seen if either or both have been exaggerated, but it is beyond dispute that beer and wine companies are free to do their damnedest to turn teenagers into alcoholics and the manufacturers of every product under the sun are free to sell their wares by keeping high-hormoned young people in a state of perpetual sexual arousal, despite the fact that AIDS permeates the land.
Many blame this state of affairs on psychology, permissiveness and liberalism, and though the liberals played their part they only provided the rationale after business had opened up these new veins of commerce. Thanks to them the watch and ward societies of the nineteenth century are laughable to us moderns; men like Plato who warned against the voluptuary society more than two thousand years ago may be shrugged off as grumpy old farts born too soon to get in on the fun, but doubt creeps in. Maybe some of these social thinkers weren't merely dyspeptic personalities. Those who were once laissez-faire businessmen or permissive absolutists are getting twinges to the effect that things may have been allowed to go too far. But how to bell the cat? Since Macfadden won his battles, business has been able to destroy any convention, violate any taboo, steal the minds of adults and children alike if it helps to merchandise the fall line. In the mid-1950s large corporations hung back from buying space in Playboy only until they were convinced it was a hit. A magazine executive recalled this corporate behavior by saying, " I had a closet full of of ten-foot poles from advertisers who said they would never touch Playboy with a ten-foot pole. Today the gleaming expanses of unclothed skin which readers paid to see by getting a copy of Playboy are there for the eye's delectation in the TV beer commercials, so completely have Bernarr Macfadden's business ideas prevailed."
Nicholas Von Hoffman
"What happened to this nation? What came over us?.....Of all the people of the earth, we who have always boasted of our courage and our confidence and our belief in ourselves, our respect for each other, our trust in our own people, our faith in our institutions of self-government-how could we fall from ourselves so far? And into such morbid and unmanly fears? Into such spiteful hatreds? Such hysterical suspicion of each other and ourselves?"
-Archibald Macleish "The American State of Mind," Autumn 1950
�There isn�t a single human characteristic that can safely be labeled as �American.�
"We are a nation in which almost everybody is above average. We are convinced that we are running our own lives quite well, whereas the idiots around us are screwing up theirs...."
David Brooks Atlantic Monthly Nov 2002
�The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children.�
"The impact of the newborn corporation on American society was almost cataclysmic. There was no place for it among existing institutions and no sanction for it in traditional American values.....There was no ready place for the large industrial corporation which was neither an individual nor a natural manifestation. As an artificial person created by charter and comprising many individuals and their wealth, the corporation was infinitely grater in size and power than the isolated individual about whom American society had been conceived....guaranteed immortality by the society which fathered it.....Freed from death, and incidentally from death dues and inheritance taxes, the corporation waxed strong upon accumulated lifetimes and earnings of many individuals."
The Gilded Age
�People here are as charming as my enthusiasm figured them. Simplicity of manners, readiness to help, obliginess, love their country and independence of thought are the common characteristics of all the inhabitants. There is no difference between poor and rich. In spite of the enormous landed properties of some people here, I should like to see the man who could estimate people�s wealth by their behavior to one another!�In America there are no poor at all, not even what we in France should call peasants. Every citizen has at least sufficient to live well, and enjoys the same rights as the richest landowner in the country.�
Lafayette�s( comments after 24 hours in America)
"God has.....made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns. He has given us the spirit of progress to overwhelm the forces of reaction throughout the earth. He has made us adept in government that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples. Were it not for such a force as this, the world would relapse into barbarism and night. And of all our race He has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world. This is the divine mission of America, and it holds for us all the profit, all the glory, all the happiness possible to man.....What shall history say of us? Shall it say that we renounced that holy trust, left the savage to his base condition, the wilderness to the reign of waste, deserted duty, abandoned glory? No! They founded to paralytic government, incapable of the simplest acts of administration....They unfurled to retreating flag. That flag has never paused in its onward march. Who dares halt it now-now, when history's largest events are carrying it forward."
Senator Albert J. Beveridge in a speech he delivered in 1898
"Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my great concern is to be on god's side, for God is always right."
"Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them."
"Twentieth-century America is a lonely country. American movie stars, we all know, are simply lonely citizens who have been catapulted onto thrones and now employ tasters. But ordinary people too-these days everybody's lonely here: adolescents whether heroin addicts or Whiffenpoofs, young mothers waiting for their children to mature (she likes that part), restaurateurs preoccupied with portion control and spoilage, bank tellers in their cages. Except for Carter, all our recent presidents, not just the sexually rapacious ones, have been horribly lonely-Johnson the loneliest of all. No amount of showing his scar and inviting journalists to watch him take a crap could begin to chip away at Johnson's prodigious loneliness. Clinton's loneliness is of course so insistent that he has to assuage it with near-continuous shmoozing and who knows what else_"
The Dangerous Husband
"Why has time disappeared in our culture? How is it that after decades of inventions and new technologies devoted to saving time and labor, the result is that there is no time left? We are a time-poor society; we are temporally impoverished. And there is no issue, no aspect of human life, that exceeds this in importance. The destruction of time is literally the destruction of life."
Money and the Meaning of Life
"We know what the American Dream is. It sells pens, plane tickets and Pontiacs. Fly American, the pride is back. There is also the American night terror haunting the middle class: on the street corners ahead is a bag lady and a bag gentleman waiting to be you. It happens, you read about it, middle-class families in the shelters....traditional family gets its nucleus busted.....lives in a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado and showers in a church. It's a nightmare ride in lunatic park, families zippin up and down, sliding smaller past the dot where you would feel right about staying in touch. Homelessness, property-less ness, the pain and penury of cancer, these are the cares that mark the onset of middle age, when youth is done and you must admit the future, the much talked about future, the one which was to be planned with the help of a registered financial adviser, with your independent insurance representative, that future, that one in the commercials and the frightmares, it has arrived."
Nicholas Von Hoffman
"I concluded that America sits at the center of a world of passions that we cannot control and hardly understand. We have become the global icon of modernity, the aim of ambitions and appetites everywhere. Wealth, security, prestige , power, are all America. We are every imperial capital the world has known: a Rome of power, a London of commerce, and a Paris of culture. yet our empire is a new kind, governed more by seduction than by force and mostly invisible to us who live at its center.
We are a lightning rod for anger everywhere, whether or not its origins have anything to do with us, life in the frenetic cities and new slums of poor countries-even more than life everywhere else-is full of small humiliations, confusions , and defeats. People take comfort from big stories about the lost greatness of their race, religion, or nation and find dignity in the false promise that political violence can restore that greatness. America plays the villain in stories we did not help to write because we stand for the modernity that inspires both eager hope and bitter resentment-often within the same divided soul.
We are not cut out for this role. Americans tend to see our values as natural; we think that, while being French is an affectation, Russian a perversion, and Salvadoran a deprivation, being American is no more or less than being human. We expect people to jump at the chance to become just like us, from Afghan women lining up at beauty salons to Chinese-immigrant entrepreneurs voting Republicans in a few decades. We think of the people who hate us as medieval rather than the up-to-date-warriors they are, educated fanatics with recruitment videos modeled on video games and admirers in TGI Friday's everywhere. We forget that just as European modernization produced democracy, fascism, and communism, the changes sweeping over the world now will produce complicated and terrifying hybrids of old and new.
Forgetting is a great American virtue. Because we treat history as recreation rather than identity, we can absorb wave after wave of immigration and cultural change without trauma: Witness the changing attitudes towards homosexuality, or the commitment to racial equality in a country that within living memory embraced white supremacy. But the same forgetfulness that sometimes helps us to be decent at home can disable us abroad, because we tend to face each new conflict with the innocence of a people without history. This sometimes has the effect of driving the rest of the world insane."
Jedediah Purdy (Esquire Mag Dec 2002)
"Tis our True policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world-as far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it."*
George Washington (farewell address 1796) *
"We are coming to a twenty-first-century crisis in America's informal empire, an empire based on the projection of military power to every corner of the world and on the use of American capital and markets to force global economic integration on our terms, at whatever costs to others....What form our imperial crisis is likely to take years or even decades from now is, of course, impossible to know. But history indicates that , sooner or later, empires do reach such moments, and it seems reasonable to assume that we will not miraculously escape that fate."
Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (2000)
"Empire's greatest tragedy is the denial and suppression of the higher-order possibilities of our human nature. The culture and institutions of the Wall Street economy cultivate and reward our capacity for individualistic greed, hubris, deceit, ruthless competition, and material excess. They deny, even punish , our capacities for sharing, honesty, service, compassion, cooperation, and material sufficiency.
The propagandists of Wall Street would have us believe "there is no alternative,' They have even given it a name; TINA. To believe them is to give up all hope of a future for our children.
Like most imperial propaganda, TINA is a lie. On the foundation of Main Street, we have the means to build a new economy that cultivates and rewards the best rather than the worst of our nature and thus to realize a long-cherished human dream."
-David C. Korten
Agenda For A New Economy
"Rome did not fall because her armies weakened but because Romans forgot what being a Roman meant.....O Dream-America, was civilization's quest to end in obesity and trivia....?
* "The famous phrase warning against "entangling alliances" often ascribed to Washington in his Farewell Address in 1796 (he in fact spoke of the dangers of "complications" abroad) was actually uttered by Jefferson on leaving office in 1801: see Harold Temperley, The Foreign Policy of Canning, 1822-1827: England, the Holy Alliance and The New World (London: G. Bell, 1925), p.126. In 1821 John Quincy Adams, then Monroe's secretary of state, warned that were America to go abroad "in search of monsters," as some suggested at the time, "the fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.....She might become dictatress of the world. We would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit." Cited in Lewis H. Lapham, "Regime Change," Harper's Feb ,2003,p.8
(from notes in Rashid Khalidi: "Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East; Resurrecting Empire"
"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none."
Thomas Jefferson (First Inaugural address)
"Our foreign policy will be more concerned with the safety and stability of our foreign investments than ever before. The proper respect for our capital abroad is just as important as respect for our political principles, and as much care and skill must be demonstrated in obtaining the one as the other."
Leo D. Welch (treasurer of Standard Oil Company N.J. on Nov 12,1946)
"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfolded, there will (America's) heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy."
John Quincy Adams (address to Congress) July 4,1821
"The Department of Homeland Security will discover that in order to save America it will have to destroy it-the one military aphorism from the last hundred years that never went out of date."
article "Anxiety, Anonymity, Amnesia" by Wayne Biddle. Harpers Mag Feb 2003
"The concept of 'national defense' cannot be deemed an end in itself, justifying any exercise of legislative power designed to promote such a goal. Implicit in the term "national defense" is the notion of defending those values and ideals which set this nation apart. For almost two centuries, our country has taken singular pride in the democratic ideals enshrined in its Constitution....It would indeed be ironic if in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of...those liberties....which make the defense of the nation worthwhile."
-Chief Justice Earl Warren, United States v. Robel
"....But Americans have worn the mask of their good intentions for so long, their faces have grown in to it. They look in the mirror and see an imperialist who wants only good things for the world-democracy, freedom, harmony. They are all set to ban cigarettes and require seat belts all over the world.
They think they can be a "good" empire-killing people neither for glory nor for money, but to make the world a better place.
We have to rub our eyes and shake our heads to believe it."
Empire of Debt
"We grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promise of American advertising. I still believe that one can learn to play the piano by mail and that mud will give you a perfect complexion."
"We are....united by the silken bands of mild government, all respecting the laws, without dreading their power, because they are equitable. We are all animated with the spirit of an industry which is unfettered and unrestrained, because each person works for himself."
Letters from an American Farmer (1782) J. Hector Saint John Crevecoeur
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to civil prosperity, a humble fear before the Almighty and a life of Christian morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that main claim the attribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be stated that there is no security for property, for reputation, or for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of true justice."
"Prayer is our greatest weapon in these or in any other times. Best we not send our boys across the sea to face the heathen hoards lest we have a nation at home one in prayer. If history teaches us nothing else, let us at least remember what the Byzantines learned, what the Crusaders learned, and what the French learned: you cannot face the dread terror of Islam in mere human strength. When the quietude of the desert has been stirred, let all Christian men and women turn to the sovereign Lord. let all Christian men and women turn to Him in holy seasons of prayer."
"The American citizen lives in a world where fantasy is more real than reality, where the image has more dignity than its original. We hardly dare face our bewilderment, because our ambiguous experience is so pleasantly iridescent, and the solace of belief in contrived reality is so thoroughly real. We have become eager accessories to the great hoaxes of the age. These are the hoaxes we play on ourselves."
"We tend to think of American democracy as being somehow eternal, ever-renewable, and capable of withstanding all assaults. But the Founders would have thought we were dangerously naive, not to mention lazy, in thinking of democracy in this way. This view-which we see as patriotic-is the very opposite of the view that they held. They would not have considered our attitude patriotic-or even American: The founders thought, in contrast, that it was tyranny that was eternal, ever-renewable, and capable of with-standing all assaults, whereas democracy was difficult, personally exacting, and vanishingly fragile. The Founders did not see Americans as being special in any way: They saw America-that is, the process of liberty-as special."
The End of America: Letter of Warning To a Young Patriot
"In the United States, one is always concerned to find out what an individual does, and not what he is; one takes it for granted that he is nothing but what he has done or may do; his purely inner reality is regarded with indifference, if, indeed, any note is taken of it."
-Simone de Beauvoir
"If the populace of the future is made up mostly of ignorant, a historical, consumer drones with no concept of how a civilization is made possible and what it takes in order to maintain the precious gains of civilization, then aren't we looking into the abyss?"
The Age of Missing Information
"In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or exist in extreme boredom. Make no mistake, all intellectuals are deviants in the U.S."
-William S. Burroughs
"I told him (King Abdullah of Jordan) I was sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners and the humiliation suffered by their families. I told him I was equally sorry that people who've been seeing those pictures didn't understand the true nature and heart of America. I assured him that Americans like me didn't appreciate what we saw, that it made us sick to our stomachs."
-President George W. Bush (may 6,2004
What then is the American, this new man?"
He is an American, who, leaving behind all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds.....The American is a new man, who acts on new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas, and form new opinions."
-J. Hector Saint John Crevecoeur Letters from an American Farmer (1782)
Nature of America
by Robin Dunn, fifth grade, Intermediate School
Lake Country, Co. (First place, Catholic Daughters
of American Poetry Contest-1973)
Stand freely on the topmost hill.
Let the wind whisper to you.
Let your thoughts drift slowly away, sleeping on each
Remember where you stand, for you are in America.
Let your imagination seep slowly, quietly in,
Look, and listen! The flowers are praising you!
Deep back in the seed of reality, you know why,
For you are standing in America.
Sing the songs of the wind, and feel them deeply in
Be quiet, gentle, and kind as the flowers do and feel
Smile warmly, like the sun, and feel glowy inside.
And never forget where you stand, for you are in
5th grader- Robin Dunn
"What next? A manifest American destiny that saves the world from evil? More tough love for recalcitrant's at home? Or a revival from the other side of the Puritan legacy-a new Social Gospel era committed to social justice? With 2 million people in jail and new intimations of community stirring, perhaps we have reached the limits of the Victorian model. We may be ready to renew our faded sense of collective responsibility. Or perhaps the Victorians have only just begun.
Whatever lies ahead, the past offers one final lesson. When the established faiths-political, social, religious-begin to grow stale, there is always another hot American revival in the wings. Americans play many roles and believe many different things. But after more than three and a half centuries-for better and for worse-we remain Puritans all."
James A. Morone
"I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A,B,C and D,....Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them in every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of conservatism."
"I believe in an America where the separation of Church and State is absolute."
-John Fitzergerald Kennedy -assassinated in 1963
"I believe that God in shedding his grace on this country has always in this divine scheme of things kept an eye on our land and guided it as a promised land."
-Ronald Reagan, June 1952
"Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words "the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable."
Harold Pinter (Nobel Prize acceptance Speech Dec 2005)
"Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct and, can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened and, at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence."
George Washington (farewell address)
"Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican liberty."
President George Washington (Farewell Address, September 17,1796)
"The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become instruments of tyranny at home."
"The president has adopted a policy of "anticipatory self-defense" that is alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harbor, on a date which, as an earlier American president said it would, lives in infamy. Franklin D. Roosevelt was right, but today it is we Americans who live in infamy."
"Uncle Sam has become a world-renowned soldier in spite of himself."
-General Maxwell D. Taylor, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
"Today as a result of our military-mindedness, there is less room for debate-less room for argument-less room for persuasion-than in almost any period of our history."
William O. Douglas (Supreme Court Justice)
"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and crates a country where everyone lives in fear."
-Harry S. Truman
"We hold that the greatest right in the world is the right to be wrong, that in the exercise thereof people have an inviolable right to express their unbridled thoughts on all topics and personalities, being liable only for the use of that right."
-William Randolph Hearst
That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back. because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology."
-Senator Frank Church
" To Wilson this war was a crusade, and he intended to wage total war. Perhaps knowing himself even more than the country, he predicted, "Once lead this people into war, and they'll forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance. To fight you must be brutal and ruthless, and the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the very fiber of our national life, infecting congress, the courts, the policeman on the beat, the man in the street."
John M. Barry
The great Influenza: the Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History
"There are citizens of the United States, I blush to admit....who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life.....such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out."
Woodrow Wilson 1918
"The government compelled conformity, controlled speech in ways, frightening ways, not known in America before or since. Soon after the declaration of war, Wilson pushed the Espionage Act through a cooperative Congress, which balked only at legalizing outright press censorship-despite Wilson's calling it "an imperative necessity."
The bill gave Postmaster General Albert Sidney Burleson the right to refuse to deliver any periodical he deemed unpatriotic or critical of the administration. and, before television and radio, most of the political discourse in the country went through the mails. a southerner, a narrow man and a hater, nominally a populist but closer to the Pitchfork Ben Tillman wing of the party than to that of William Jennings Bryan, Burleson soon had the post office stop delivery of virtually all publications and any foreign-language publication that hinted at less-than-enthusiastic support of the war.
attorney general Thomas Gregory called for still more power. Gregory was a progressive largely responsible for Wilson's nominating Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court, a liberal and the court's first Jew. Now, observing that America was "a country governed by public opinion," Gregory intended to help Wilson rule opinion and through opinion, the country. he demanded that the Librarian of Congress report the names of those who had asked for certain books and also explained that the government needed to monitor "the individual casual or impulsive disloyal utterances." To do the latter, Gregory pushed for a law broad enough to punish statements made "from good motives or....(If) traitorous motives weren't provable."
The administration got such a law. In 1798, Federalist President John Adams and his party, under pressure of undeclared war with France, passed the Sedition act, which made it unlawful to '[print, utter, or publish....any false, scandalous, or malicious writing" against the government. But that law inflamed controversy, contributed to Adam's reelection defeat, and led to the only impeachment of a Supreme court justice in history, when Samuel Chase both helped get grand jury indictments of critics and then sentenced these same critics to a maximum terms.
Wilson's administration went further, yet engendered little opposition. The new Sedition Act made it punishable by twenty years in jail to "utter, print, write or publish and disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the government of the United States." One could go to jail for cursing the government, or criticizing it, even if what one said was true. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the Supreme Court opinion that found the act constitutional-after the war ended, upholding lengthy prison terms for the defendants-arguing that the First Amendment did not protect speech if "the words used....create a clear and present danger."
To enforce that law, the head of what became the Federal Bureau of Investigation agreed to make a volunteer group called the American Protective League an adjunct to the Justice department, and authorized them to carry badges identifying them as "Secret Service." Within a few months the APL would have ninety thousand members. Within a year, two hundred thousand APL members were operating in a thousand communities."
--John M.; Barry
The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History
"What had been tolerable became intolerable now. What had been wrongheadedness was now sedition. What had been folly was now treason."
-Nicholas Murray butler (a national leader of the Republican Party, and President of Columbia University 1918)
"People need to watch what they say, watch what they do."
-Ari Fleischer- former White House Press Secretary, 2001
"When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression...no matter how holy the motives."
"The true source of our suffering has been our timidity. We have been afraid to think....Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write....Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes or parliaments....that many of our rights are inherent and essential, agreed on as maxims and established as a preliminaries, even before Parliament existed."
"I want every animal on this farm to keep his eyes very wide open."
-Squealer, in George Orwell's Animal Farm
"Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men, in whose breasts it predominates, so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institutions which is founded on it."
"International law? I better call my lawyer.....I don't know what you're talking about by international law."
-President George W. Bush, Dec 11,2003
"The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian governments whether Nazi or Communist."
"Sure we'll have fascism in America, but it'll come disguised as 100% Americanism."
-Huey P. Long
""I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be, but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self-love."
Harold Pinter (acceptance speech for Nobel Prize 2005)
"We believe no more in Bonaparte's fighting merely for the liberties of the seas, than in Great Britain's fighting for the liberties of mankind. The object is the same, to draw to themselves the power, the wealth, and the resources of other nations."
"America is a Christian nation, the most enthusiastically so in the world, but its Christianity is special. America has long displayed a deeply philo-Semitic streak, seeing in its own history a replaying of the sacred history of the people Israel. This was evident even before the country was founded. Just as Israel fled from Egypt to establish a godly society in Canaan, the first Americans fled from England to establish a godly society in Massachusetts. Both groups were called separatists-as the word "Hebrews," Ivrim, can fairly be translated. When they celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time, in 1621, the Pilgrims imagined it as kind of Yom Kippur, a day of repentance, prayer, and fasting. Sir William Bradford, second governor of the Plymouth colony, observing that Hebrew was the Lord's own language, introduced his History of the Plymouth Plantation with passages in Hebrew. Early American preachers Increase Mather (1639-1723) and Cotton Mather (1663-1728) were students of Hebrew and used it in their writings, citing learned Jewish sources including the Talmud and Midrash, Rashi and Maimonides. The legal codes of colonial Massachusetts and Connecticut were based explicitly on the legal framework of the Five Books of Moses. American towns were often named for Old Testament localities: Bethel, Goshen, Pisgah, Hebron, Jericho, Salem, Zion. Benjamin Franklin recommended as the seal of the United States a portrait of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, with the motto "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God" The Liberty Bell at Philadelphia's Independence Hall is inscribed with a quotations from Leviticus: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
The scholar Michael Novak describes what he calls the "Jewish meta-physics" of the American founding. The founders conceived of God as Creator, King, Judge, Providence-in short, Abraham's God, conveyed in terms that are more Jewish than Christian. Like the Pilgrims, they sought to establish "God's American Israel," and the idea has shaped the soul of the nation ever since. That is why Americans today circumcise our baby boys at a rate that is, outside of Israel, higher than anywhere on earth. It is why American Christians support Israel, demanding that our government stand by her, no matter what the rest of the world may say about the Jewish state."
God: The Discovery of God: Abraham and the Birth of Monotheism
""...if one defines "Christian" as the evangelicals do.....George Washington cannot be properly referred to as a Christian."
-Peter R. Henriques
Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington
"The real theological problem in America today is the nationalist religion....that confuses the identity of the nation with the church, and God's purposes with the mission of American empire. America's foreign policy is more than pre-emptive, it is theologically presumptuous; not only unilateral, but dangerously messianic; not just arrogant but.....blasphemous."
"POSTMODERNISM....This is the most commonly held worldview in the United States today. It maintains that there is no "metanarrative" or grand story that explains life and reality or gives it purpose. Each person has his or her own experience, which cannot be denied or rejected by anyone else; it is simply that person's understanding of reality and truth. Each person makes decisions about how to live based on feelings and experience-and because there are no absolute moral truths that can be known by humanity, nobody has the right to dismiss any of those decisions as wrong or inappropriate. Similarly, it is inappropriate to try to impose a moral point of view on people; morality is a private matter, and if a choice is deemed right by someone, it is therefore right for that person and others must be tolerant of that choice.
To the postmodernist, life is a random series of subjective experiences, and a person's ultimate purposes are comfortable survival and personal expression. The things that matter most in life are having experiences and relationships. Connection to groups of people is particularly important to effectively shape one's views and experiences. One may believe in the existence of God but cannot compel anyone else to do so; it's a personal choice, just like everything else."
The Seven Faith Tribes: Who They Are, What They Believe, and Why They Matter
"..We are passing through a confused period of aggression and fear, characterized by our confrontational government, the decline of diplomacy, a pugnacious foreign policy and settled belief that the surest way to get people to tell the truth is to torture them. (And by the way, "water boarding" was a torture technique at the worst of the Khmer Rouge prisons.) It is no wonder we have begun to squint at strangers. This is a corrosive situation in a country where more and more people, most of them strangers, are a feature of daily life. Americans as a people I believe to be easy going, compassionate, not looking for a fight. But surely I am not the only one who has noticed that we are ruder, more offhand, readier to take offense, a nation of shouters and blamers."
-Paul Theroux article: "America the Overfull" New York Times Dec 31,2006
"America is a quarter of a billion people totally misinformed and disinformed by their government."
"....This imposture, still very much alive, is the notion that America is an exemplary democracy instead of a cunning plutocracy strutting around in the garb of democracy."
"Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none."
-Jefferson, First Inaugural Address
"America's Deepening Crisis of Spirit. Social, intellectual leaders find a loss of faith, abundance of cynicism in the heart of the country."
-San Francisco Examiner, July 8, 1990
"Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration was maturely weighted; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed."
-Thomas Jefferson on George Washington, 2 January, 1814
"My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of evildoers."
-President George W. Bush (September 16, 2001)
"Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil; our great hope lies in developing what is good."
"During the Cold War, the idea of "world domination" was still regarded as an intrinsically evil goal, if not an absurd one, and, when mentioned at all, was identified as a Soviet idea and even as heir to Hitler's similarly reprehensible ambitions' The United States still pictured itself as anti-imperial-opposed both to the old imperialism for the fading European powers and the new style, Soviet empire building, which it strove not to destroy ("roll back") but merely to "contain." soon enough, of course, the phrase "American imperialism" became commonplace around the world, but in the Untied States it was rejected by the mainstream and official opinion as a left-wing libel."
The Seventh Decade
"America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. America is in a position to re-shape norms, alter expectations, and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will."
"If I'd lived in Roman Times, I would have lived in Rome. Today America is the Roman Empire, and New York is Rome itself."
"If people want to say we're an imperial power, fine,"
"We're an Empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality-judiciously, as you will- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors....and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
-Bush administration official to the reporter Ron Suskind
"Four or five men get together, they think up some way to fool the emperor, and they inform him of whatever he must approve....As Diocletian himself used to declare, an emperor-good, careful, the very best- is put up for sale."
-Historia Augusta c. early fourth century A.D.
"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire and at last the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
"We are trying to build a Great Society that will make your children and your grandchildren and the people three or four generations from today proud of what we are doing."
"I have just repeated word for word the oath taken by George Washington two hundred years ago, and the Bible on which I placed my hand is the Bible on which he placed his."
-George H.W. Bush on his inauguration in 1989
"I do solemnly swear....that I will faithfully execute the office of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Presidential Oath of Office
"The makers of our Constitution sought to protect Americans....They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone-the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men."
-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis
"The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." (from the Constitution)
Arlen Specter: "Now wait a minute, wait a minute. The Constitution says you can't take (habeas corpus) away except in the case of invasion or rebellion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there is an invasion or rebellion?
Alberto Gonzales: "I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesn't say. "every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas." It doesn't say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended....
"To the Editor:
Ted Widmer, in his review of "Pennsylvania Avenue," by John Harwood and Gerald F. Seib (June 8), refers to President Bush as "the nation's commander in chief." He most emphatically is not. The Constitution specifically limits the president's commander in chief role to "the Army and Navy of the United States, and...the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States"
the founders were intent on -one could even say obsessed with-ensuring that the chief executive did not become "commander in Chief " of the nations as a whole. Shades of King George III!
"At some point we may be the only ones left. That's okay with me. We are America."
-President George W. Bush, 2002
"Everywhere you look in modern America-in the Hollywood hills or the canyons of Wall street, in the Nashville recording studios or the clapboard houses of Cambridge, Massachusetts-you see elites mastering the art of perpetuating themselves. America is increasingly looking like imperial Britain, with dynastic ties proliferating, social circles interlocking, mechanisms of social exclusion strengthening and a gap widening between the people who make the decisions and shape the culture and the vast majority of ordinary working stiffs."
-The Economist Mag
"But as the result of evil, there's some amazing things that are taking place in America."
-President George W. Bush Daytona Beach, Fl, Jan 30, 2002
" Anyone who believed that Wilson's reluctant embrace of war meant that he would not prosecute it aggressively knew nothing of him. He was one of those rare men who believed almost to the point of mental illness in his own righteousness.
Wilson believed in fact that his will and spirit were informed by the spirit and hope of a people and even of God. he talked of this "sympathetic connection which I am sure that I have with" all American citizens and said , "I am sure that my heart speaks the same thing that they wish their hearts to speak." "I will not cry 'peace' so long as there is sin and wrong in the world," he went on. "America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture."
John M. Barry
The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History
""We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you are studying that reality-judiciously, as you will- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors....and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
-unnamed aid to President George W. Bush in New York Times Magazine article by Ron Suskind 2002
"Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God."
"There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution."
-Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, ruling that the warrantless wiretaps conducted by the NSA are unconstitutional
"To declare that in the administration of criminal law the end justifies the means-to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure conviction of a private criminal-would bring terrible retribution."
-Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis
"9/11 has made us stupid....We're so obsessed with security and terrorism that we've lost the "sense of openness" that once made us the envy of the world. Travel restrictions on foreigners have gotten so bad that business visits to the U.S. have fallen by 10 percent, while businessmen are flocking to our economic rivals in Europe and Asia. We keep pouring billions into the black hole of Iraq, while our bridges and airports rot and crumble. Once the "gold standard" in science and technology, the U.S. now stands idly by while the big breakthroughs, and investments, take place outside our borders. Before 9/11, America's "global brand" was the land "where anything is possible for anybody." Now, instead of standing as a symbol of hope, we're a symbol of paranoia: "Give me your tired, your poor, your fingerprints." We have become "The United States of Fighting Terrorism."
-Thomas Friedman The New York Times
"The Soviet Union and the United States are each either the winner or the runner-up in the following categories: the space race, the arms race, the jails race, the hated evil empire race, the squandering of natural resources race and the bankruptcy race. In some of these categories, the United States is, shall we say, a late bloomer, setting new records after its rival was forced to forfeit. Both believed, with giddy zeal, in science, technology and progress, right up until the Chernobyl disaster occurred. After that, there was only one true believer.
They are the two post-World War II industrial empires that attempted to impose their ideologies on the rest of the world: democracy and capitalism versus socialism and central planning. Both had some successes: while the United States reveled in growth and prosperity, the Soviet Union achieved universal literacy, universal health care, far less social inequality and a guaranteed-albeit lower-standard of living for all citizens. The state-controlled media took pains to make sure that most people didn't realize just how much lower it was: "Those happy Russians don't know how badly they live," Simone Signoret said after a visit.
Both empires made a big mess of quite a few other countries, each one financing, funneling arms and directly taking part in bloody conflicts around the world in order to impose its ideology and thwart the other. Both made quite a big mess of their own country, setting world records for the percentage of population held in jails (South Africa was a contender at one point). In this last category, the US is now a runaway success, supporting a burgeoning, partially privatized prison-industrial complex.
While the United States used to have far more goodwill around the world than the Soviet Union, the "evil empire" gap has narrowed since the Soviet Union disappeared from the scene. Now, in many countries around the world, including Western countries like Sweden, the United States ranks as a bigger threat to peace than Iran or North Korea. In the hated-empire race, the United States is now beginning to look like the champion. These almost universal negative feelings are likely to prove more durable than the superpower's good fortune: nobody likes a loser, especially if the loser is a failed superpower. Nobody had any pity for the poor defunct Soviet Union: and nobody will have any pity for poor defunct America either."
Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects
"....For those who believe that America's place in the world is wholly different from that of the British Empire, it is instructive to read the "Base Structure Report" for fiscal year 2006. In it, the Department of Defense boasts of being "one of the world's largest 'landlords' with a physical plant consisting of more than 571,200 facilities (buildings, structure, and utilities) located on more than 3,700 sites, on nearly 30 million acres," The report lists a sprawling network of 766 bases in forty foreign countries, from Antigua to the United Kingdom, These overseas bases were worth at least $127 billion in 2005, housed 197m000 uniform personnel and an equal number of dependents and civilian officials, and employed an additional 81,000 local foreign hires. They covered 687,000 acres (nearly 1,100 square miles) of foreign land and cost taxpayers $13 billion in maintenance alone."
The Post-American World
"So, we have gone from a country with high ceilings and fans to low ceilings and air-conditioning: we have gone from an economy where many workers serviced one machine to one in which each American has dozens of machines working for them over the course of a given day; we have gone from being a nation of wandering renters to ever more rooted homeowners: we have gone from a country that experienced race riots in the 1960s-during a period of economic growth spread relatively equally across income deciles-to a country of almost Third World levels of economic inequality, where solid majorities vote to repeal the estate tax. we used to enjoy our free time and left the Europeans to work more than us; now we have more kids to take care of than they do, even as we work significantly more hours."
"The American people are not fools. That is why pollsters, inquiring during the last forty years whether the United States was on the right track or the wrong one, have so often gotten the second answer: wrong track,. That was certainly the case again as the year 2005 closed out."
"Today's United States of America would be Constitutionally unrecognizable to the authors of the original Constitution, because today the government has become the wolf at the door. Do I exaggerate? A Television commercial asks: "Is the IRS ruining your life?"
"The battle to reclaim democracy is going to be a difficult one. Our freedoms ere not granted to us by any governments. They were wrested from them by us. And once we surrender them, the battle to retrieve them is called a revolution. it is a battle that must range across continents and countries. It must not acknowledge national boundaries but, if it is to succeed, it has to begin here. In America. The only institution more powerful than the U.S. government is American civil society. The rest of us are subjects of slave nations. We are by no means powerless, but you have the power of proximity."
-Arundhati Roy (speech at Riverside Church)
"I must ask you to direct that the money be returned to them forthwith. We cannot under any circumstances afford to take a contribution which can be even improperly construed as putting us under an improper obligation."
-Theodore Roosevelt Oct 26, 1904 (About a campaign contribution of $100,000 from the Standard OIL Company)
"I am the poor white, fooled and pushed
I am the Negro, bearing slavery's scar,
I am the Red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, or might crush the weak
I say it plain,
America never was America to me
And yet I swear this oath-
America will be!"
-Langston Hughes "Let America Be America Again"
"We still have it in our power to rise above the fears, imagined and real, and to shoulder the great burdens which destiny has placed upon us, not for our country alone, but for the benefit of all the world. That is the only destiny worthy of America."
"....Here's the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.
And none of it matters so long as you remember a few months before Election Day to offer them a two-bit caricature culled from some cutting-room-floor episode of Roseanne as part of your presidential ticket. And if she's a good enough likeness of a loudmouthed Middle American archetype, as Sarah palin is, John Q. Public will drop his giant-size bag of Doritos in gratitude wipe the Sizzlin' Picante dust from his lips and rush to the booth to vote for her. Not because it makes sense, or because it has a chance of improving his life or anyone else's , but simply because it appeals to the low-humming narcissism that substitutes for his personality, because the image on TV reminds him of the mean, brainless slob he sees in the mirror every morning...."
article "mad Dog Palin Rolling Stone Magazine Oct 2,2008.
"I'll say this about Bush and Cheney. Although they are both unusually small men in every sense of the word other than physical size, they have the gonads of 10,000 elephants. They are also, in my estimation, criminals who should be prosecuted for murder. New York Times columnist bob Herbert says that what Bush and his people have done is "one of the great deceptions in the history of American government. " I'd modify that to say it is the greatest, not one of the greatest. I mean, what even comes remotely closer."
The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder
"But the terrible thing about the Rumsfeld book, and there is no polite way to say this, is the half-baked nature of the thinking within it. The quality of analysis and understanding of history is so mediocre, so insufficient to the moment."
-Peggy Noonan Wall Street Journal Mar 12-13 2011
"The principal enemies I see to a brighter day for America are the right wing, which mostly consists of people who are not only rotten from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet, but who also successfully appeal to the worst and most base instincts of many outside their group; religious fundamentalism, which is necessarily hostile to a pluralistic society, has always been the source of intolerance and wars through the years, and which can only increase the nation's ignorance and intolerance if it continues to rise as it has been in America; and the entertainment world, mostly Hollywood, which insists on poisoning our culture with the filth it increasingly spews out to the nation's youth and the rest of us."
The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder
"As for the Bush administration, it is easy for American liberals to vent their fury on it and, in their opprobrium, to juxtapose it with what has followed. In so doing, they seek to absolve themselves of responsibility for what happened. had not the Bush regime simply reflected the priorities of the moment-the supremacy of wealth creation over everything else? America's post-9/11 pact was in fact voluntary, and, for several years at least, it proved itself to be overwhelmingly popular. Bush reflected a popular mood. He did not manufacture it. That is a bitter pill to swallow."
Freedom For Sale
" It is the great scandal of the wars of the Bush era that the U.S. government failed to get him and bring him to justice. It is the shame of this book that Don Rumsfeld lacks the brains to see it, or the guts to admit it."
-Peggy Noonan The Wall Street Journal Mar 12-13 2011 "the Defense Secretary Who Let Bin Laden Get Away."
"God damn the society that will permit such poverty! God damn the religions that stand for such a putrid system!"
-Sinclair Lewis Sinclair Lewis An American Life by Mark Schorer
"As in the 1970s, the barriers to sensible policy today are largely political-and they are potent. People want to blame today's inadequate government responses on the bitter partisanship than now exists, but, as we have seen, our government's capacity to respond to fundamental long-term challenges has always been limited. And, unfortunately, it has diminished over the past 40 years. Now long after our first oil crisis, the combination of threats from high and volatile oil prices that largely benefit OPEC oil producers, from oil and coal mine disasters, and from climate change offer our nation a new chance to obtain greater energy security and a cleaner, safer planet. We are currently spending hundreds of billions of dollars in an effort to transform the way we produce our electricity and free our transpiration sector from dependence on imported oil. Such fundamental changes will not occur quickly, if they occur at all. The big question is where and how we will be getting our energy in midcentury, 40 years hence. The obstacles to change-as they were in the 1970s-are great, but the potential benefits are even larger. The fear, of course, is that knowing our history will not be enough to prevent us from repeating it."
-Michael J. Gratetz
The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America's Environment, Security, and Independence
"We have become a nation of Scarlett O'Hara's: we'll think about that tomorrow."
-Michael J. Graetz
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."
"Our major economic competitors in the 21st century are spending seven, eight, nine percent of their gross domestic product on infrastructure, ....We're spending almost nothing at all."
"Ultimately, we face a future of mass transit strained beyond capacity, planes sitting on tarmacs, slow traffic and wasteful sprawl, ports that lack the capacity to operate efficiently, and increasing numbers of bridges and dams that are obsolescent and dangerous to our public's health and safety."
-Felix Rohatyn and Everet Ehrlich
"The idea that the nation has all but stopped investing in its infrastructure, and that officials in Washington have ignored the crucial role of job creation as the cornerstone of a thriving economy is beyond mind-boggling, It's impossible to understand.
Impossible, that is, until you realize that bandits don't waste time repairing a building that they're looting."
-Bob Herbert "Not a Moment Too Soon" New York times Nov 25 2008
"As far as I know, there is not a single contingency plan in place or currently being written by any of the think tanks of the world that sets out a model illustrating how the world can continue to function smoothly once it is clear that Saudi Arabian oil has peaked. In a nutshell, it is this total lack of any 'alternative scenario thinking' that makes this unavoidable event so alarming."
-Matthew Simons (Texas Investment Banker served on Richard Cheney's Top-priority energy Task force in 2001)
"As the day went on I sank deeper and deeper into my chair. Suddenly I understood. The People aren't always victims in the historical narrative. Sometimes the People are preening, chest-puffing, ignorant assholes, too. And maybe the polls are right, and these people aren't the minority-maybe, I thought as I looked around the packed room, I'm the minority. Maybe this is just how Americans like to roll. You can cut them out of the political deal, lie to them, exile them to some barren cultural landscape of shopping and TV and perpetual powerlessness, sell them a cheap dog-and-pony show for an election, and their way of fighting back will be to parade around like strippers in some amateur lunatic forum, dressing up in the garbs of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thomas Jefferson and Cesar Chavez as they bang their silly heads against the wall, screaming about the Illuminati and holographic airplanes and the free-floating currency exchange.
Or they'll pray for Israel and the speedy arrival of the battle of Armageddon, when those lunatics on the opposite side will be cast into the fires of Hell."
The Great Derangement
"Our noble republic, founded by free men with a cold-eyed appreciation of human weakness, has fallen to smiley-face happy talkers bleating sentimental cant, assuring us that if we hand over ever more of our property and our freedoms to them, the wise and virtuous ones, we shall be secure and happy, able to fulfill the infinite potentials of our noble natures. Idiots!"
WE Are Doomed
"The most dangerous and demoralizing temper into which a state can fall is one of boastful pride."
"Our tradition is one of protest and revolt and it is stultifying to celebrate the rebels of the past.....while we silence the rebels of the present."
-Henry Steele Commager
'The trouble in Washington goes deeper than the men....The basic fact in Washington under the division of powers is the absence of final responsibility. You can never fix the blame....Only a nation supremely gifted in self-government could make a system like this work for 150 years. But now it is in competition with tiger-swift dictatorships. On the answer to the question-can we have efficiency and still have Congress? may rest the future of democracy in America."
-Richard L. Strout New Republic
"Faith in modern-day America is more secular than karma. It is a faith, without benefit of the afterlife, in the American system and its products-a kind of brand-name loyalty. Its political form is patriotism-a belief that we are better off being screwed by our own ruling class than by another one-and war calls upon us for its most extreme expression. In a democratic society, this sort of faith has a particularly strong element of self-justification. If we are screwed not because God wills it but because we permit it, we can avoid the implied self-reproach by denying that there is anything wrong-denying, that is the fact of the screwing. To admit that we're being screwed and could perhaps prevent it would imply hope, which is painful, and the need for action, which is frightening. So we dismiss the problem and renew our faith. We can observe that faith in the example of the two men loyally arguing the respective merits of their cars, while somewhere inside them both are aware that the cars are equally overpriced lemons. Those who are screwed the most are the least willing to admit it-the poor, who are hit by more than the average share of credit frauds, are those who react most angrily when someone points out how they have been taken. Neither they nor anyone else likes to admit that he's been suckered. This self-protecting faith is an asset without price to those in power."
The Screwing of the Average Man
"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."
"Most bad government has grown out of too much government."
"THE MULTIPLE FAILURES that beset the country, from our mismanaged economy to our shedding of Constitutional rights to our lack of universal health care to our imperial debacles in the Middle East, can be laid at the door of institutions that produce and sustain our educated elite. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, the University of Toronto, and the Paris Institute of Political studies, along with most elite schools, do only a mediocre job of teaching students to question and think. They focus instead through the filter of standardized tests, enrichment activities AP classes, high-priced tutors, swanky private schools, entrance exams, and blind deference to authority, on creating hordes of competent systems managers. Responsibility for the collapse of the global economy runs in a direct line from the manicured quadrangles and academic halls in Cambridge, New Haven, Toronto, and Paris to the financial and political centers of power."
Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
"Who would be cleared by their (Un-American) Committees? Not Washington, who was a rebel. Not Jefferson, who wrote that all men are created equal and whose motto was "rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." Not Garrison, who publicly burned the Constitution. Not Lincoln, who admonished us to have malice toward none, charity for all....or Justice Holmes, who said that our Constitution is an experiment and that while that experiment is being made "we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death."
-Henry Steele Commager
"....We have allowed our institutions to be taken over in the name of a globalized American empire that is totally alien in concept to anything our founders had in mind. I suspect that it is far too late in the day for us to restore the republic that we lost a half-century ago."
Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace
"We are fast approaching the stage of ultimate inversion: the stage where government is free to do as it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission."
"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing-when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors-when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you-when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming self-sacrifice-You may know that your society is doomed."
-Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged
"The Conservative Party is not a party but a conspiracy....the seed of imperial ruin and national decay-the unnatural gap between the rich and poor.....the exploitation of boy labor, the physical degeneration which seems to follow so swiftly on civilized poverty....the horrid havoc of the liquor traffic, the constant insecurity in the means of subsistence and employment....the swift increase of vulgar jobless luxury-are the enemies of Britain."
speech by Winston Churchill Nottingham, Jan 30, 1908
"As it enters the twenty-first century, the United States is not fundamentally a weak economy, or a decadent society. But it has developed a highly dysfunctional politics. an antiquated and overly rigid political system to begin with -about 225 years old-has been captured by money, special interests, a sensationalist media, and ideological attack groups. The result is ceaseless, virulent debate about trivia-politics as theater-and very little substance, compromise, and action. A "can-do" country is now saddled with a "do-nothing" political process, designed for partisan battle rather than problem solving. by every measure-the growth of special interests, lobbies, pork-barrel spending-the political process has become far more partisan and ineffective over the last three decades."
The Post-American World
"A democracy smugly disdainful of new ideas would be a sick democracy. A democracy chronologically fearful of new ideas would be a dying democracy."
-Dwight Eisenhower Letter to R.B. Downs American Library Association, June 14, 1953
"Vested interests constitute another problem for the aging society. The phrase has been associated chiefly with wealth and power but, as all students of corporate organization know, the vested interests of the workers may be as strong as those of the top executives. Vested interests may be found wherever a man acquires a shirt for his back or rights and privileges he would be reluctant to lose. In any organization many of the established ways of doing things are held in place not by logic nor even by habit but by the force of one powerful consideration: changing them would jeopardize the rights, privileges or advantages of specific individuals-perhaps the president, perhaps the maintenance men.
As individuals develop vested interests, the organization itself rigidifies. And a democratic form of organization is by no means immune to this consequence. Indeed, the more democratic it is the more vividly the vested interests of its members will be reflected in the policy of the organization. Thus a stagnant democratic organization may be particularly resistant to change."
John W. Gardner
"It is not my purpose here to make the point that such vested interests exist: that point has frequently been made. it is my purpose to point out that they are among the most powerful forces producing rigidity and diminishing capacity for change. And these are the diseases of which organizations and societies die."
-John W. Gardner
"Cheap Merchandise means cheap men, and cheap men mean a cheap country, and that is the kind of Government our fathers founded, and it is not the kind their sons mean to maintain."
"Alas, the money is going away. It is leaving America as fast as its stubby green legs will carry it. America, who loved it so dearly. It has already left the lazy and the stupid-and now it is leaving you. You are heartsick about it, and you'll be damned if you will give Baby Panhandler that five spot you have semi-drunkenly, semi-guiltily pulled from your purse. hey folks! You've got financial problems, too. Have you ever! At least these people don't have Porsche payments and a condo mortgage to worry about.
before you reach the taxi stand on the corner, however, you give the five-dollar bill away. You give it a decrepit old geezer whose beard is like a shock of hazardous asbestos blowing in the wind. The gentleman has a placard around his neck. grotesquely lettered, the sign reads ,MANY THINGS ARE DESTROYING ME. With that, you can identify."
Half Asleep in frog Pajamas
"How long are we Americans going to go on thinking that we can thrive in the 21st Century when doing the optimal things-whether for energy, health care, education or the deficit-are 'off the table'? They are off the table, in large part because they have been banished by an ad hoc coalition of lobbyists loaded with money."
"Looking back on the experience of the last few decades, an increasing number of people are coming to the conclusion that the same market forces that propel the economy are driving ecological degradation, time poverty, the decline of community, and the collapse of social connection. Measures broader than GDP tell a similar story. The New Economics Foundation's happy Planet Index incorporates ecological footprint, life satisfaction measures, and life expectancy into a single metric that measures how efficiently nations are using natural resources to produce happy lives (or "happy life years"). Costa Rica tops the list, with its 99 percent renewable energy, life expectancy of 78.5 years, and average satisfaction score of 8.5 out of 10. (It also has one of the lowest poverty rates in the developing world, is reforesting its land, and abolished its army in 1949.) By contrast, the United States clocks in at a dismally inefficient 114, largely because its ecological footprint is so high relative to "happy life year" results that are about average for wealthy countries."
-Juliet B. Shor
"Everywhere I go, I can see it, such unhappiness, such an overwhelming need to be drugged and distracted."
"Congress functions as competing armies, determined to dominate or destroy."
How to Turn democrats and Republicans into Americans" The Atlantic Monthly July/Aug 2011
"Woman governs America because America is a land of boys who refuse to grow up."
-Salvador De Madariaga
"I've often wondered at American's extraordinary belief and Trust in their government."
-Timothy Wylie British-born author
"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."
"No pundits go to the northern plains to study the state run Bank of North Dakota and find out how it managed to weather the financial crisis without incident. No one wonders how the nation's municipally owned utilities happened to avoid the pitfalls of electricity deregulation. Or how the citizens of those plains and those municipalities remain free after having paved their roads to serfdom so well.
Instead we turn to books like South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint's 2009 best seller, "Saving freedom: We Can Stop America's Slide Into Socialism," a long meditation on the horror of socialism that never really settles on a definition of what socialism is. Or Newsweek's famous 2009 cover story, "We Are All Socialists Now," in which "socialism" is jokingly taken to be a synonym for "French."
But what was it called when your 401K fell by 75%? When you lost your job? When they poised the ocean and shuttered your towns and moved the factory offshore? Merely the blessings of "freedom"-some thing real patriots don't question."
Thomas Frank The Tilting Yard Wall Street Journal July 14, 2010
"Amid all the currents and crosscurrents, however, one character plays a particularly central role: price. Although our government has enacted thousands of pages of energy legislation since the 1970s, it has never demanded that Americans pay a price that reflects the full costs of the energy they consume. Nothing that we did or might have done has had as much potential to be as efficacious as paying the true price. The contrast with tobacco, for example, where taxes have been used over time both to reduce its consumption and to help finance some of the costs it imposes on public budgets and society at large can hardly be more stark. ...."
Michael J. Graetz
The End of Energy: the Unmaking of America's Environment, Security, and Independence
"People are grieving. There was a death. Their money died."
Barbara Goldsmith, a semiretired psychotherapist in Delray Beach, Fla. The New York Times Nov 13, 2008
"A man who couldn't hold a hand in a first-class Poker Game isn't fit to be president of the United States."
-Richard M. Nixon
"I'm a pretty good Poker Player."
"How can a president not be an actor?"
"In 2009, about 40% of individual income taxes will go toward debt interest payments."
-Lawrence Kadish New York Times Oct 10 2009
"In America today, we are nearer a final triumph over poverty than in any land."
1 out of 6 going hungry in America
"Just look at us. Everything is backwards; everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information and religion-destroys spirituality."
"The Ronald Reagan crowd loved to talk about morning in America. For millions of individuals and families, perhaps the majority. it's more like twilight-with nighttime coming on fast.
Look out the window. More and more Americans are being left behind in an economy that is being divided ever more starkly between the haves and the have nots. Not only are millions of people jobless and millions more underemployed, but more and more of the so-called fringe benefits and public services that help make life livable, or even bearable, in a modern society are being put to the torch."
-Bob Herbert "A Terrible Divide" The New York Times Feb 8, 2011
"Once upon a timemy political opponents honored me as possessing the fabulous intellectual and economic power by which I created a worldwide depression all by myself."
"Few politicians die, and none resign."
"Power is a drug on which the politicians are hooked. They but it from the voters, using the voters' own money."
-Richard J. Needham
"We have not faced up to the scale of the economic crisis that still confronts the United States."
-Bob Herbert ibid
"That Government is, or ought to be , instituted for the common benefit, (protection) and security of the people, nation or community....and that whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, indefensible right, to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public Weal."
-George Masson American Revolutionary Leader. Founding Father
"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinions of a day; but as series of appraisals, begun at a distinguishable period and pursued unalterable through every change of ministers, Too plainly prove a deliberate systematic plan of reducing (a people) to slavery."
-Thomas Jefferson Rights of British America 1774
"We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests."
"China accused the United States on Monday of pushing for Internet freedom around the world to undermine other nations while waging a campaign against the antisecrecy Web site WIKILeaks. China's report on Washington's human rights record criticized the United States over homelessness, violent crime, the influence of money on politics and "huge civilian casualties" in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report was a rebuttal to the State Department's annual assessment of human rights around the world, which was critical of china." (AP)
"The Foreign Ministry said Monday that a State Department human rights report that criticized Russia reflected "double standards". Americans prefer not to recall their own record," the ministry said in a statement ,accusing Washington of causing civilian casualties by using disproportionate force in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Odious special prisons in Guantanamo and Bagram are still functioning, despite promises to shut them down," the statement said."
"A nation of sheep will beget a government of Wolves."
-Edward R. Murrow
"In America today and increasingly throughout the Western World, actual facts and true explanations have been relegated to the realm of kookiness. Only people who believe lies are socially approved and accepted as patriotic citizens."
-Paul Craig Roberts
"Why is surprise* the permanent condition of the U.S. political and economic elite?"
Nassim Nicholas Taleb & Mark Blyth Foreign Affairs May/June 2011
* /ed my italics
"We should not forget that our tradition is one of protest and revolt and it is stultifying to celebrate the rebels of the past....while we silence the rebels of the present."
-Henry Steele Commager
""If a nation expect to be ignorant and free it expects
what never was and never will be...
The People cannot be safe without information. Where the press is free, and every man is able (and willing) to read, all is safe."
"In response to record numbers of illegal border crossings and the security fears triggered by the 9/11 attacks, over the past two decades the United States has steadily increased its efforts to secure its border against illegal immigration. The number of U.S. Border Patrol agents has risen from fewer that 3,000 to more than 20,700-;nearly 700 miles of fencing have been built along the southern border with Mexico; and surveillance systems, including pilotless drones, now monitor much of the rest of the border. In a speech in El Paso, Texas in May, U.S. President Barack Obama claimed that the United States had 'strengthened border security beyond what many believed was possible." Yet according to a Fox News poll taken last year, nearly three-quarters of Americans think the border is no more, or even less, secure that it was five years ago. Some administration critics claim that the United States frontiers have never been more porous...."
Edward Alden and Bryan Roberts
Are U.S. Borders Secure?: Why We Don't Know, and How to Find Out Foreign Affairs July/August 2011
"While threats remain, our nation is stronger than it was on 9/11 , more prepared to confront evolving threats, more resilient than ever before."
-Janet Napolitano (second "Janet" hmmm? Ed) Sept 2011
"An unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere."
-Barack Obama (in his historic speech in Cairo..
See Article: "What happened To Obama" by Drew Westen Professor Emory University and the author of "The Political Brain. The Role of Emotion in deciding the Fate of the Nations
The New York Times Aug 7, 2011 "We are afflicted with a president who does not seem to know what he believes...."
A RUSH TO ASSESS S&P. DOWNGRADE OF CREDIT RATING The New York Times Aug 7,2011
Among the Founding Fathers, no single work of literature may have been more influential than Joseph Addison's play "Cato" (Cato may be one of the most quotable plays in history)
Book: "Hellfire Nation" by James A. Morone
Book: "Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led To Economic Armageddon" Gretchen Morgenson & Joshua Rosner
Book: "The Religion Of The Founding Fathers" by David L. Holmes
Book: "The Genteel Tradition and character and Opinion in the U.S." by George Santayana
Book: "Houses of Worship" by Stephen Prothehero
Book: "Are We Rome: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America" by Cullen Murphy
Book: "Surprise, Security, And the American Experience" by John Lewis Gaddis
Book: "What Every American should know about Who's Really Running the World" by Mellisa Rossi
Book: "Kafka Comes To America" Fighting For Justice in the War on Terror" Steven T. Wax
Book: "Soldiers Of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire" by Alex Abella
Book: "Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations" by Craig Nelson
Book: "Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers" by Brooke Allen
Book: "The American Revelation: The Ideals That Shaped Our Country From The Puritans To The Cold War" by Neil Baldwin
Book: "The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History" by Thomas E. Woods Jr
Book: "Henry Adams and the Making of America" by Garry Wills.
Book: "His Excellency: George Washington" by Joseph J. Ellis
Book: "Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington" by Peter R. Henriques
Essay: "The Spirit of 76" by Carl Becker
Book: "Green Back: The Almighty Dollar and the Invention of America" by Jason Goodwin
Book: "Policing America's Empire: The United States, The Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State" by Alfred W. McCoy
Book: "Measuring America: How the United States was shaped by the Greatest Land Sale in History" by Andro Linklater
Book: "46 Pages" by Scott Liell
Book: "The Founding Fish" by John McPhee
Book: "Big Cotton: How a Humble Fiber Created Fortunes, Wrecked Civilizations, and Put America on the Map" by Stephen Yafa
Book: "Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America" by John M. Barry
Book: "Accumulation and Power: An economic History of the United States" by Richard Duboff
Book: "American Empire" by Andrew Bacevich
Book: "First Great Triumph: How five Americans Made Their Country a World Power" by Warren Zimmermann
Book: "Benjamin Franklin" by Edmund S. Morgan
Book: "Dr. Franklin Goes To France; How America Was Born in Monarchist Europe" by Stacy Schiff
Book: "The Essential Founding Father" by James Srodes
Book: "The Puritan Origins of American Patriotism" by George McKenna
Book: "A Few Bloody Noses: The Realities and Mythologies of the American Revolution" by Robert Harvey
Book: "Invisible Giants: Fifty Americans Who Shaped the Nation But Missed the History Book" ed by Mark C. Carnes
Book: "With Amusement For All: A History of American Popular Culture Since 1830" by LeRoy Ashby
Book: "The Encyclopedia of Women's History in America" by Kathryn Cullen-Dupont
Book: "America's First Families: An Inside View of 200 Years of Private Life in the White House" by Carl Sterrazza Anthony
Book: "The Eagle's Shadow: Why America Fascinates and infuriates the World" by Mark Hertsgaard
Book: "The Fabulous History of the Dismal Swamp Company: A Story of George Washington's Times" by Charles Royster
Book: :"Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia" Ed. by J.R. LeMaster & D.D. Kummings
Book: "The Unreal America: Architecture and Illusion" By Ada Louise Huxtable
Book: "William James: Writings 1878-1899" Ed by Gerald E. Myers
Book: "America's First Dynasty: The Adamses, 1735-1918" by Richard Brookhiser
Book: "John Adams" by David McCullough
Book: "The Esoteric Origins of the American Renaissance" by Arthur Versluis
Book: "Posterity Lost: Progress, Ideology and the Decline of the American Family" by Richard Gill
Book: "Dan Rice: The Most Famous Man You've Never Heard Of" by David Carlyon
Book: "The Founding Fish" by John McPhee
Book: "The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth About Global Corruption" by John Perkins
Book: "The Encyclopedia of Women's History in America" by Kathryn Cullen-Dupont
Book: "Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History." by Phillip Jenkins
Book: "Stephen Girard: America's First Tycoon" by George Wilson
Book: The Story of America: Freedom and Crisis from Settlement to Superpower." by A. Weinstein & D. Rubel
Book: "Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire" by Carol Jenkins & E.G. Hines
Book: "Unequal Sisters: A Multi-cultural Reader in U.S. Women's History" Ed. by V.L. Ruiz & E.C. Dubois
Book: "Adam Smith and the Origins of American Enterprise: How America's industrial Success Was Forged by the Timely ideas of a Brilliant Scots Economist" by Roy C. Smith
Book: "SUFFERING SOLDIERS: Revolutionary War Veterans, Moral Sentiment, and Political Culture in the Early Republic" by John Reisch
Book: "The Religious History of America" by E.S. Gaustad & L.E. Schmidt
Book: "The American Republic" by Orestes A. Brownson
Book: "Washington's Crossing" by David Hackett Fischer
Book: "Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation" by Cokie Roberts
Book: "A City Upon A Hill: How the Sermon Changed the Course of American History" by Larry Witham
Book: "An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power" by John Steele Gordon
Book: "Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World" by Greg Critser
Book: "Mr. America: How Muscular Millionaire Bernarr Mcfadden Transformed the Nation Through Sex, Salad, and the Ultimate Starvation Diet" by mark Adams
Book: "America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines" by Gail Collins
Book: "The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic" by Chalmers Johnson
Book: "Colossus" by Niall Ferguson
Book: "Dangerous Nation" by Robert Kagan
Book: "How The Quakers Invented America" by David Yount
Book: "Absolutely American" by David Lipsky
Book: "Freedom Just Around the Corner" by Walter A. McDougall
Book: "American Greats" Ed. by R.A. Wilson & S. Marcus
Book: "Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions" by Clyde Prestowitz
Book: "At War with Ourselves: Why America is Squandering its chance to Build a Better World." by Michael Hirsh
Book: "THE TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN CULTURE" By Morris Berman
Book: WHAT THEY DIDN'T TEACH YOU ABOUT THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION by Mike Wright
Book: "American Philosophic Naturalism in the Twentieth Century" Ed. by John Ryder
Book: "Charles Sanders Peirce, revised edition" by Joseph Brent
Book: "Thomas Jefferson" by R.B. Bernstein
Book: "The Empire of Reason" by Henry Steele Commager
Book: "A is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States" by Jill Lepore
Book: "Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon" by Anthony Harkins
Book: "America Right or Wrong: An anatomy of American Nationalism" by Anatol Lieven
Book: "Dangerous Nation" by Robert Kagan
Book: "An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power" by John Steele Gordon
Book: "Wage Theft in America: Why millions of Americans Are not Getting Paid for Working-and What Can we Do about It."
Book: "White Savage: William Johnson and the Invention of America" by Fintan O'Toole
Book: "American Empire: Roosevelt's Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization" by Neil Smith
Book: "Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America" by Virginia DeJohn Anderson
Book: "Tyranny In America: Capitalism and National Decay" by Neal Wood
Book: "Our Nation Unhinged: The Human Consequences of the War on Terror for Justice in the 21st Century" By Peter Jan Hongsberg
Book: "The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes us Less Safe, Less prosperous, and Less Free" by Christopher A. Preble
Book: "So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the corrosion of American Government" by Robert G. Kaiser
Back to Chrestomathy Next Page