Quotes Tagged "dictatorship"
Let's say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I'll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years. Heaven watches this with complete indifference. And then 2000 years ago, thinks 'That's enough of that. It's time to intervene,' and the best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East. Don't lets appeal to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let's go to the desert and have another revelation there. This is nonsense. It can't be believed by a thinking person. Why am I glad this is the case? To get to the point of the wrongness of Christianity, because I think the teachings of Christianity are immoral. The central one is the most immoral of all, and that is the one of vicarious redemption. You can throw your sins onto somebody else, vulgarly known as scapegoating. In fact, originating as scapegoating in the same area, the same desert. I can pay your debt if I love you. I can serve your term in prison if I love you very much. I can volunteer to do that. I can't take your sins away, because I can't abolish your responsibility, and I shouldn't offer to do so. Your responsibility has to stay with you. There's no vicarious redemption. There very probably, in fact, is no redemption at all. It's just a part of wish-thinking, and I don't think wish-thinking is good for people either. It even manages to pollute the central question, the word I just employed, the most important word of all: the word love, by making love compulsory, by saying you MUST love. You must love your neighbour as yourself, something you can't actually do. You'll always fall short, so you can always be found guilty. By saying you must love someone who you also must fear. That's to say a supreme being, an eternal father, someone of whom you must be afraid, but you must love him, too. If you fail in this duty, you're again a wretched sinner. This is not mentally or morally or intellectually healthy. And that brings me to the final objection - I'll condense it, Dr. Orlafsky - which is, this is a totalitarian system. If there was a God who could do these things and demand these things of us, and he was eternal and unchanging, we'd be living under a dictatorship from which there is no appeal, and one that can never change and one that knows our thoughts and can convict us of thought crime, and condemn us to eternal punishment for actions that we are condemned in advance to be taking. All this in the round, and I could say more, it's an excellent thing that we have absolutely no reason to believe any of it to be true.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death Offends the September night. Accurate scholarship can Unearth the whole offence From Luther until now That has driven a culture mad, Find what occurred at Linz, What huge imago made A psychopathic god: I and the public know What all schoolchildren learn, Those to whom evil is done Do evil in return. Exiled Thucydides knew All that a speech can say About Democracy, And what dictators do, The elderly rubbish they talk To an apathetic grave; Analysed all in his book, The enlightenment driven away, The habit-forming pain, Mismanagement and grief: We must suffer them all again. Into this neutral air Where blind skyscrapers use Their full height to proclaim The strength of Collective Man, Each language pours its vain Competitive excuse: But who can live for long In an euphoric dream; Out of the mirror they stare, Imperialism's face And the international wrong. Faces along the bar Cling to their average day: The lights must never go out, The music must always play, All the conventions conspire To make this fort assume The furniture of home; Lest we should see where we are, Lost in a haunted wood, Children afraid of the night Who have never been happy or good. The windiest militant trash Important Persons shout Is not so crude as our wish: What mad Nijinsky wrote About Diaghilev Is true of the normal heart; For the error bred in the bone Of each woman and each man Craves what it cannot have, Not universal love But to be loved alone. From the conservative dark Into the ethical life The dense commuters come, Repeating their morning vow; 'I will be true to the wife, I'll concentrate more on my work,' And helpless governors wake To resume their compulsory game: Who can release them now, Who can reach the dead, Who can speak for the dumb? All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And the lie of Authority Whose buildings grope the sky: There is no such thing as the State And no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice To the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die. Defenseless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame.
আমার উপরে, তোমার উপরে, আর ঐ কাপুচিন মঠবাসীদের ’পরে চিকিৎসা-বিদ্যার কিছু জানা সূত্রের নির্ভরে, ঘড়ির মতন নাগাড়ে, বিরতিহীন সোল্লাসে বাড়ে নাসাতরু দিনদিন। রাতারাতি তারা বেড়ে চলে অনুখন প্রতি নাগরিকে, বিশেষ বা সাধারণ, সান্ত্রির তথা মন্ত্রীর ’পরে, ধনী তথা গরিবের, প্যাঁচার মতন নিশি-ডাক ছেড়ে ছেড়ে, ঠাণ্ডা এবং প্রায়-নিষ্ক্রিয়, মেরে ফাটিয়ে দিয়েছে মুষ্টিযোদ্ধা যাকে, অথবা থেঁৎলে গিয়েছে যা দরোজায়, আর আমাদের স্ত্রী-জাতি পড়োশিদের সেগুলি যে, আহা, তুরপুন হয়ে ঢোকে কত দুয়ারের চাবির ছিদ্রে, হায়! গোগল-মরমি, ঝঞ্ঝেটে আত্মাটি ধ্যানে জেনেছিল ইহাদের খুঁটিনাটি। আমার ইয়ার বুগিন্্স্, মদের ঘোরে স্বপ্ন দেখল, যেন গির্জার চূড়ার মতন চোখা হয়ে, ঝাড়বাতি-বালতি-গামলা টুটে, জাগিয়ে এবং বিঁধে ফেলে যত অবাক্ সিলিং, পরে গেঁথে মেঝেগুলি-খোঁটে রিসিট যেমন গেঁথে রাখা হয়-তারপর একরোখা উঠে গেল নির্বাক্ উপরে, আরও উপরে তার আপনার নাক। ‘এর মানেটা কী?’ পরদিন প্রাতে আমাকেই শুধাল সে। ‘হুশিয়ারি কেয়ামতের: হয়তো,’ আমি বলি, ‘তোর বই- পত্রের হ’তে পারে পরীক্ষা-নিরীক্ষা শীঘ্রই।’ তিরিশ তারিখে বন্ধু-বেচারা ঢুকে গেল কারাগারে। কেন, হে প্রধান নাক-বিধায়ক, কেন বাড়ে আমাদের নাকগুলি, আর কমে আয়ু আমাদের? কেন এই ছোট মাংসপিণ্ড রাতের অন্ধকারে আমাদের শুষে ভ্যাম্পায়ার বা সাক্শন-পাম্প্-হেন খালি করে একেবারে? এস্কিমো জাতি, এরকম শোনা যায়, মুখের বদলে নাক দিয়ে চুমু খায়। আমাদের মাঝে এখন অবধি চলন হয় নি এর।
When the Washington Post telephoned me at home on Valentine's Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwah, I felt at once that here was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendship—though I like to think that my reaction would have been the same if I hadn't known Salman at all. To re-state the premise of the argument again: the theocratic head of a foreign despotism offers money in his own name in order to suborn the murder of a civilian citizen of another country, for the offense of writing a work of fiction. No more root-and-branch challenge to the values of the Enlightenment (on the bicentennial of the fall of the Bastille) or to the First Amendment to the Constitution, could be imagined. President George H.W. Bush, when asked to comment, could only say grudgingly that, as far as he could see, no American interests were involved…
The neo-cons, or some of them, decided that they would back Clinton when he belatedly decided for Bosnia and Kosovo against Milosevic, and this even though they loathed Clinton, because the battle against religious and ethnic dictatorship in the Balkans took precedence. This, by the way, was partly a battle to save Muslims from Catholic and Christian Orthodox killers. That impressed me. The neo-cons also took the view, quite early on, that coexistence with Saddam Hussein was impossible as well as undesirable. They were dead right about that. They had furthermore been thinking about the menace of jihadism when most people were half-asleep. And then I have to say that I was rather struck by the way that the Weekly Standard and its associated voices took the decision to get rid of Trent Lott earlier this year, thus removing an embarrassment as well as a disgrace from the political scene. And their arguments were on points of principle, not 'perception.' I liked their ruthlessness here, and their seriousness, at a time when much of the liberal Left is not even seriously wrong, but frivolously wrong, and babbles without any sense of responsibility. (I mean, have you read their sub-Brechtian stuff on Halliburton....?) And revolution from above, in some states and cases, is—as I wrote in my book A Long Short War—often preferable to the status quo, or to no revolution at all.