Friday, October 13, 2006

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted, it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in which instinct has learned nothing from experience.
-George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

Monday, October 09, 2006

"The universe is a strange and wondrous place. The truth is quite odd enough to need no help from pseudoscientific charlatans."
-Richard Dawkins

Sunday, October 08, 2006

But Epicurus has set us free from superstitious terrors and delivered us out of captivity, so that we have no fear of beings who, we know, create no trouble for themselves and seek to cause none to others, while we worship with reverence the transcendent majesty of nature.

"But I fear that enthusiasm for my subject has made me long-winded. It was difficult however to leave so vast and splendid a theme unfinished, although not my business to be a speaker so much as a listener."

De Natura Deorum
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Book I, sections 8 through 20

In 1917, after the United States entered the "Great War," the Wilson
Administration and the Congress passed a series of draconian new laws
that greatly restricted Americans' civil liberties. The Baltimore
journalist, H. L. Mencken, wrote: "Holes began to punched in the Bill
Rights, and new laws of strange and often fantastic shape began to slip
through them. . . . The espionage act enlarged the holes to great
fissures. Citizens began to be pursued into their houses, arrested
without warrants, and jailed without any form of trial. The ancient
of habeas corpus was suspended: the Bill of Rights was boldly thrown
overboard." Mencken also noted the way it was done. It was the
tactic of politicians, he wrote, "to invade the Constitution
and then wait to see what happens. If nothing happens they go on more
boldly; if there is a protest they reply hotly that the Constitution is
worn out and absurd, and that progress is impossible under the dead
hand. This is the time to watch them especially."

Saturday, October 07, 2006

"In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be
thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican."
--H. L. Mencken ...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Inconvenient Transubstantiation

A police officer pulled over a priest who had been driving erratically.

"What's that in your thermos, Father?" the officer asked.

"It's only water," the priest replied.

The officer opened the thermos and sniffed. "It smells like wine to me," he said.

The priest looked up at the sky and said "Lord, you've done it again!"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"The people who have spent their lives in reading and acquired their wisdom out of books resemble those who have acquired exact information of a country from the descriptions of many travellers. These people can relate a great deal about many things; but at heart they have no connected, clear, sound knowledge of the condition of the country. While those who have spent their life in thinking are like the people who have been to that country themselves; they alone really know what it is they are saying, know the subject in its entirety, and are quite at home in it."

Thinking for Yourself- Arthur Schopenhauer

Monday, October 02, 2006

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do
-- Edmund Burke

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