Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas. May 8, 2007. Government.

Note: A bold-face statement at the conclusion of a quote is my attempt to express a wordy or convoluted quote in plain English. RayS.

Government 384 “People don’t quite know what to make of a government which is really set up for their own benefit.” Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Government 61 [Demosthenes to the Sausageman who doesn’t know how to run the country]: Do what you’re doing now--/ making a hash of things in general,/ sweetening up the mess to public taste/ With a dash of oratorical applesauce. Aristophanes, Knights. [Government is like a sausage maker, making a hash of things in general.]

Government 30 MacLeish was caught…as others had been before him, in the clash of competing bureaucracies in Washington. Blum, V Was for Victory

Government 142 Yarmolinsky on leadership of govt. agencies: ...the ability to make use of the vast resources of government without becoming...merely instruments of the permanent staff. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days [Administrations try to control, not be controlled by, the permanent staffs.]

Government 625 The permanent government was…politically neutral; its essential commitment was to doing things as they had been done before. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days [Permanent government employees are dedicated to doing things as they have always been done.]

Government 626 …the permanent government remained in bulk a force against innovation with an inexhaustible capacity to dilute, delay, and obstruct presidential purpose. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days [Permanent government employees try to dilute, delay and obstruct presidential purposes.]

Government 579 JFK: “What your government believes,” he wrote to Khrushchev in 1961, “is its own business; what it does in the world is the world’s business.” Sorenson, Kennedy

Government 690 Lincoln: It has long been a grave question…whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own excellence in great emergencies. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years. [Governments must not be too strong for the people’s liberties but must be strong enough in great emergencies.]

Government 406 Government must be examined not in the context of the old dichotomies of liberal/conservative or private/public but in the context of a common effort to grapple with new problems posed by a new era. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past. [Governments must not be lost in dichotomies of ideology but must focus on a common effort to grapple with new problems in new eras.]

Government 21 Plato: The state is what it is because its citizens are what they are. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Plato. [The nature of the state reflects its citizens; the state represents its citizens.]

Government 192 Spinoza: the last end of the state is not to dominate men, nor to restrain them by fear; rather it is to free each man from fear that he may live and act with full security and without injury to himself or his neighbor. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza. [The purpose of the state is not to dominate and restrain men by fear, but to free them to live secure without injuring themselves or their neighbors.]

Government 192 Spinoza: The end of the state…is to lead men…that they may not waste their strength in hatred, anger and guile, nor act unfairly toward one another. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza. [The state must lead men not to expend their strength in hatred, anger, guile or unfairness toward one another.]

Government 192 Spinoza: Freedom is the goal of the state because the function of the state is to promote growth, and growth depends on capacity finding freedom. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza. [The function of the state is to promote growth and growth depends on freedom.]

Government 196 Spinoza: People at last prefer tyranny to chaos. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza. [People prefer tyranny to chaos.]

Government 436 Nietzsche: The problem of politics is to prevent the businessman from ruling...such a man has the short sight and narrow grasp...not the long view and wide range of the born aristocrat trained to statesmanship. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Nietzsche. [The problem of politics is to keep businessmen from ruling because of their short-sightedness and narrow views in contrast to the broad view of the aristocrat.]

Government 17 The main gain of modern man has been the weakening of governments. Mencken, Minority Report. [The goal of modern man is to weaken governments.]

Government 109 It would be interesting to hear argument in favor of the doctrine that it is one of the functions of government to provide a job for every citizen. Mencken, Minority Report. [Is the function of government to provide jobs for every citizen?]

Government 143 …the American people have been bolstering up its [government's] powers and giving it more and more jurisdiction over their affairs…pay[ing] for that folly in increased taxes and diminished liberties. Mencken, Minority Report. [The American people have given more and more power to their governments, increasing their taxes and losing their liberties.]

Government 159 [The New Deal] not only cost the American tax payer billions and greatly depleted the accumulated resources of the country, it also burdened future generations with a charge that will grow larger and larger as year chases year. Mencken, Minority Report. [The New Deal raised taxes, depleted the resources of the country and passed on a government that will just grow bigger and bigger.]

Government 168 The only way a government can provide for jobs for all citizens is by deciding what every man shall do. Mencken, Minority Report. [If a government wants every person to have a job, it will also decide what each person can and should do.]

Government 217 The state is not force alone…depends upon the credulity of man quite as much as upon his docility…aim is not merely to make him obey, but also to make him want to obey. Mencken, Minority Report. [The aim of government is not simply to force men to obey, but to make them want to obey.]

Government 561 …that truly, the only interest for the consideration of the state, is persons: that property will always follow persons; that the highest end of government is the culture of men: and if men can be educated, the institutions will share their improvement…. Emerson, Politics. [Educating people will improve our institutions.]

Government 212 In government it is always easier to go forward with a program that does not work than to stop it altogether and admit failure. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest. [In government it is easier to go on with failed programs than to admit they were failures.]

Government 633 McNamara on reading parts of the Pentagon Papers: “You know…they could hang people for what’s in there.” Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest. [On the Pentagon Papers: people could hang for what is in there. ]

Government 32 …British constitution, consisting of King, Lords and Commons…the most perfect system that the wisdom of the ages has produced…the distributions of power…support and control each other. Hofstadter, ed. Great Issues in American History. Vol. 1. Independence. [The British Constitution consists of King, Lords and Commons, with the distributions of power supporting and controlling each other.]

Government 37 …Aristotle, Livy, and Harrington…define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men. Adams, Novanglus, Feb. 6, 1775. Hofstadter, ed. Great Issues in American History. Vol. 1. Independence. [A republic is a government of laws, not of men.]

Government 43 …our ancestors have turned the savage wilderness into a glorious empire, and have made the most extensive and the only honorable conquests, not by destroying, but by promoting the wealth, the number, the happiness of the human race. Edmund Burke, Speech on Conciliation with America, 1775. Hofstadter, ed. Great Issues in American History. Vol. 1. Independence. [The British Empire has grown by promoting the wealth and happiness of the human race.]

Government 47 …government was instituted to promote the welfare of mankind…. Second Continental Congress, Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, 1775. Hofstadter, ed. Great Issues in American History. Vol. 1. Independence. [The purpose of government is to promote the welfare of mankind.]

Government 71 That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. The Declaration of Independence, 1776. Hofstadter, ed. Great Issues in American History. Vol. 1. Independence. [Government’s powers come from the consent of the governed.]

Government 197 [Lincoln] wrote of the legitimate object of government being “to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they cannot, by individual effort, do at all, or do so well for themselves,” such as “making and maintaining roads, bridges, and the like, provide for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools….” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years [Government’s role is do for people what they cannot do for themselves.]

Government 198 Lincoln: Military and civil departments were necessary: “If some men will kill, or beat, or constrain others, or despoil them of property, by force, fraud, or noncompliance with contracts, it is a common object with peaceful and just men to prevent it.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years [Government’s purpose is to keep men from killing, beating or constraining others.]

Government socialism 222 ...those who interpreted all government planning as socialism or worse. Blum, V Was for Victory. [Interpreted any government planning as socialism.]

Government 272 There is a place in governance for representatives…the one whose job it is to take the time to understand all the nuances of complicated issues. Gates, The Road Ahead. [Government requires representatives who try to understand the nuances of complicated issues.]

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