Friday, May 16, 2014

Voltaire's Wisdom...

from: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth



Voltaire Quotes worth reflecting on, and, it seems the more things change the more they stay the same.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.

What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to another.

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

Of all religions, the Christian should of course inspire the most tolerance, but until now Christians have been the most intolerant of all men.

Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy the mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.

Prejudices are what fools use for reason.


And now my personal favorite.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

20 comments:

  1. Yes indeed. A man of the Enlightenment and a Classical Liberal. Those must have been the days!

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  2. I don't think there were any 21st century liberals around back then, but if he were around today, he'd probably be pretty friggin' liberal.

    JMJ

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  3. Yeah, but probably not in the sense 21st century progressives would approve of, eh?

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  4. I don't know if he would be a liberal or not. I think both liberals and conservatives agree with most of those statements. The disagreement is over the meaning or interpretation of what he said. Again, as with many things, the devil is in the details.

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    1. Indeed the devil is in the details Jerry. Since we cannot ask Voltaire questions, and since interpretation is jaded by ones biases, we are left with not knowing for sure. But most will insist they know methinks.

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  5. Voltaire was a top down progressive change kinda guy. I think he'd be very progressive, yes.

    JMJ

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  6. Yes, as an enlightened think in his time he was very progressive. Who knows for certain how progressive he might be were he alive today. My bet is he likely would not be an advocate of Marx or it takes a villiage to raise a child.

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  7. I think he would have appreciated Marx just as much as any other post-Marx philosopher. Marx was one of the most important political philosophers of the modern era. I think he also wouldn't be fool enough to fall for simplistic critiques of things like " it takes a village," a statement that is a plain matter of fact.

    JMJ

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  8. With respect to Marx, agreed. Although our our views on whether he was a net positive or net negative influence probably differ

    As for your closing, the statement simply is what it is. As Jerry says, "the devil is in the details."

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  9. It does take a village, Les. Otherwise you have one weird ass kid.

    JMJ

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  10. I guess it depends on your view as to what it means to "raise a child." I think a strong, cohesive, loving, and supportive family (immediate and extended) is important to successfully raising a child. The influence of teachers, coaches, spiritual leaders, etc. plays a part in helping to shape a child's view of life as well. But is the immediate family influence during a child's early developmental years that lays the foundation for a well adjusted and successful adult life. In most cases.

    I sure as hell wouldn't want the "village" of Detroit, Oakland, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, or numerous other large drug infested and crime ridden cities "raising" my children if I was still of child rearing age.

    But in the name of tolerance, good luck with the noble belief and effort.

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  11. About quotes from famous people: These remind me of how clairvoyants operate. The fortuneteller asks a few leading questions to fish for a clue; then proceeds to tell your fortune based on flimsy feedback. Usually, the forecast is abstract and ambiguous – you can read anything into it.

    Thus, a pithy little quote becomes a kind of Ink Blot test for anyone of any persuasion. I find it funny how liberals and conservatives want to own the same author, each extracting different messages from the same passage. The tiniest nugget of candor turns the wheels of telepathy, divination, prognostication, and conspiracy theories: Charlatanry at its finest. This is why I said recently: "A dwarf clairvoyant who has just escaped from prison is a small medium at large."

    Perhaps this Voltaire quote is apt for the occasion: “In my life, I have prayed but one prayer: Oh Lord, make my enemies look ridiculous. And God granted it.

    The title of Hillary's book, "It takes a Village," is one of those innocuous catchphrases about social supports for child-rearing that has been turned upside down by partisans taking potshots at anything that moves. You can invoke Chicago, Detroit DC, or any urban problem-ridden area as much as you dare, but you render the title a monumental injustice that is out of context and without purpose.

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  12. Sorry you see my comment with respect to HRC's ITAVTRAC and crime ridden area's as you have. It does my concern a great injustice. Potshot was not my purpose, but we each are entitled to views and my initial paragraph outlined my. The rest follows.

    Shall we leave it as we agree to disagree

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  13. The fact that you wouldn't want your kid raised in a poor "village" belies your dismissal of it's importance.

    The conservative brain block on this matter would make for a lot of jokes from Voltaire.

    JMJ

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  14. Your assumption jmj only makes an ass of you. I dismiss nothing. You miss my point, intentionally I believe. Or, it is you with a brain block.

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  15. In light of the 'nature v nurture' paradigm, we ponder Voltaire's education by Jesuits and the Bastille.
    While the Jesuits of the time were scandalously liberal Catholics, Mssr. Voltaire exhibited a deep hostility to organized religion, moreso even than the state and was attracted to the bright folks that made up the enlightenment movement. Indeed, he had much praise for England, where he spent
    a fertile exile.

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  16. I just find the whole "classical liberal" thing a canard. They were liberal then and they'd be liberal now. You can't just remove the historical context to suit you.

    JMJ

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  17. So jmj, perhaps you will go into detail and explain why the term Classical Liberal is a canard?

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  18. I thought I just did. They were ahead of their time then, they'd be ahead of their time now. They certainly wouldn't be conservative, especially with the level of conservative thought today.

    JMJ

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