I’ve made a habit, for some years now, of collecting quotes that strike me as profoundly insightful or interesting, probably for all the same reasons that others do — for the keenly focused insight and concise expression of ideas they offer, as well as the inspiration and distilled wisdom they can call to mind on a moment’s notice.
Having recently sifted through the assortment of text files where I’ve been gradually stashing these hand-selected quotes away, I’ve assembled the best of them into a new “Quotes” page that I invite you all to visit.
The topics include Liberty & Economics, Cultural Confidence, War, and keeping Perspective. I hope my readers will draw as much enjoyment from them as I have.
UPDATE 2010-02-08: I’ve added several more selected gems, dug out of a handwritten journal I’ve kept off and on since September 2002. Enjoy!
Foreign enemy sworn to our total destruction, or unhinged domestic-Left social critic inveighing that we deserve the same? Who can tell any difference in the rhetoric these days?
At Digital Journal, via Instapundit:
In Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s most recent televised speech on Iran State TV, the Iranian President upped the ante on his promised February 11 “telling blow against global arrogance” with his prediction of the “end of American civilization.”
“This means the end of a civilization, the end of a thought, and the end of a system.” That is how Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad qualified his statement regarding the “end of American civilization” that he referred to in his most recent televised speech in homage to the ‘Ten Day Dawn’ anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Events will culminate on February 11th with “a telling blow against global arrogance,” according to the Iranian President’s previous speech marking the opening of ceremonies for the anniversary. During this most recent speech, Ahmadinejad claimed that the West, the United States in particular, had been the biggest historical impediment to the worldwide Islamic Revolution:
“The arrogant and hegemonic powers, which mankind experienced in the past 300 years – and past 60 years in particular – have been the biggest historical impediment in the face of fulfillment of this goal (worldwide Islamic revolution),” he said, according to the BBC.
Ahmadinejad went on to declare that the “materialistic and hegemonic (American) system” was dead, and that slogans about freedom, human rights and democracy had misled the world, further declaring that America “has no thoughts or means other than the use of arms to prove themselves.” As with his cryptic allusion to the ‘telling blow’ on February 11, the Iranian president provided no specifics on what would bring about America’s end and focused more on polemics, perhaps to rally his domestic Islamist audience. Calls of “Death to America” and the burning of US flags have been political staples in Iran for thirty years.
If that whole “wiping Israel off the map” and installing a global caliphate thing doesn’t work out, I’m sure Ahmadinejad could easily land an honored position lecturing at an American university. No doubt he’d delight faculty lounge and commencement audiences alike with his incisive takedowns of Western decadence, “arrogance”, and “imperialism”.
A man of his stature and worldly experience (facing down those mythical Western “imperialists”) would probably be spared the tedium of having to teach the pedestrian “Why America Is Uniquely Evil 101” intro course, proceeding directly to coaching graduate students in their independent investigations into Western sins. Granted, he’s not a Marxist (totalitarians of competing stripes are never too keen on shared world domination, but can make cozy if strange bedfellows in the short term) — but I think A-jad will fit in just fine.
Does it ever dawn on our culture’s self-appointed domestic critics, when they witness the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Hugo Chavez parroting their indictments of America and the West and playing to their credulous sympathies with great virtuosity, that they’ve been handing ideological ammo to implacable enemies who want them dead or subservient too? Or that our enemies hear, and will gleefully repeat to their rhetorical advantage, every self-recrimination we speak in our public squares? No, they probably take it as independent validation and pat themselves on the back. “Great minds think alike.”
Useful idiots all the way.
The phrase “aid and comfort” comes to mind…
Chavez holding Chomsky aloft while delivering his own anti-U.S. invective at the U.N. in September 2006. (He wouldn’t hesitate a moment, of course, to imprison an anti-Chavez Venezuelan “Chomsky”.)