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janvier 2012 Archives

The good ones

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I was getting tired about what the preacher called Christian. Anything he did was Christian, and the people in his church believed it, too. If he stole some book he didn't like from the library, or made the radio station play only part of the day on Sunday, or took somebody off to the state poor home, he called it Christian. I never had much religious training, and I never went to Sunday school because we didn't belong to the church when I was old enough to go,but I thought I knew what believing in Christ meant, and it wasn't half the things the preacher did. I called Aunt Mae a good Christian, but nobody else in the valley would have because she never went to church. One day I told somebody I thoughtAunt Mae was just as much a Christian as Mrs. Watkins claimed to be. It was a
woman who came into the store a lot. She got to talking about some people in town, and when she came to Mrs. Watkins she said that that was a real, dedicated Christian. When I said Aunt Mae was too, she said I was a babe who didn't know the true word, or something like that in the kind of words church people use.

J.K.Toole, The Neon Bible

Thomas Jefferson: "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so."

Jean Jacques Rousseau: «L'homme est né libre et partout il est dans les fers». Il faut « Trouver une forme d'association qui défende et protège de toute la force commune la personne et les biens de chaque associé, et par laquelle chacun, s'unissant à tous, n'obéisse pourtant qu'à lui-même, et reste aussi libre qu'auparavant. Tel est le problème fondamental dont le Contrat social donne la solution. »

For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversationalist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mormons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent typewriters. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmild teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture. If the Chicano intellectuals wish to re-cut my "Wonderful Ice Cream Suit" so it shapes "Zoot," may the belt unravel and the pants fall.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Qu'est-ce donc qu'une majorité prise collectivement, sinon un individu qui a des opinions et le plus souvent des intérêts contraires à un autre individu qu'on nomme la minorité ? Or, si vous admettez qu'un homme revêtu de la toute-puissance peut en abuser contre ses adversaires, pourquoi n'admettez-vous pas la même chose pour une majorité ? Les hommes en se réunissant, ont-ils changé de caractère ? Sont-ils devenus plus patients dans les obstacles en devenant plus forts ? Pour moi, je ne saurais le croire ; et le pouvoir de tout faire, que je refuse à un seul de mes semblables, je ne l'accorderai jamais à plusieurs.

Tocqueville, De la démocratie en Amérique

We have taken the worth of these “values” as something given, as self-evident, as beyond all dispute. Up until now people have also not had the slightest doubts about or wavered in setting up “the good man” as more valuable than “the evil man,” of higher worth in the sense of the improvement, usefulness, and prosperity with respect to mankind in general (along with the future of humanity). What about this? What if the truth were the other way around? Well? What if in the “good” there even lay a symptom of regression, something like a danger, a seduction, a poison, a narcotic, something which makes the present live at the cost of the future? Perhaps something more comfortable, less dangerous, but also on a smaller scale, something more demeaning? . . . So that this very morality would be guilty if the inherently possible highest power and magnificence of the human type were never attained? So that this very morality might be the danger of all dangers? . . .

F. Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality

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