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  (page 223 of 304)
Oct 21, 2020 12:41PM

“Since the eighteenth century, clerical and military critics of liberalism have pictured it as a doctrine that achieves its public goods, peace, prosperity, and security by encouraging private vice. Selfishness in all its possible forms is said to be its essence, purpose, and outcome. This, it is said now and then, is inevitable once martial virtue and the discipline imposed by God are discarded. Nothing could be more remote from the truth. The very refusal to use public coercion to impose creedal unanimity and uniform standards of behavior demands an enormous degree of self-control. Tolerance consistently applied is more difficult and morally more demanding than repression. Moreover, the liberalism of fear, which makes cruelty the first vice, quite rightly recognizes that fear reduces us to mere reactive units of sensation and that this does impose a public ethos on us. One begins with what is to be avoided, as Montaigne feared being afraid most of all. Courage is to be prized, since it both prevents us from being cruel, as cowards so often are, and fortifies us against fear from threats, both physical and moral. This is, to be sure, not the courage of the armed, but that of their likely victims. This is a liberalism that was born out of the cruelties of the religious civil wars, which forever rendered the claims of Christian charity a rebuke to all religious institutions and parties. ... The alternative then set, and still before us, is not one between classical virtue and liberal self-indulgence, but between cruel military and moral repression and violence, and a self-restraining tolerance that fences in the powerful to protect the freedom and safety of every citizen, old or young, male or female, black or white. Far from being an amoral free-for-all, liberalism is, in fact, extremely difficult and constraining, far too much so for those who cannot endure contradiction, complexity, diversity, and the risks of freedom.”
Judith N. Shklar, Ordinary Vices

“Cruelty, like lying, repels instantly and easily because it is 'ugly.' It is a vice that disfigures human characters, not a transgression of a divine or human rule.”
Judith N. Shklar, Ordinary Vices

“One question, foreigner. How do you speak my language so well?'
'A dead man taught me, after I ate him. Just as the Christ taught his disciples the love of their God after they ate him.'
'You're a strange people, you white folk...”
Indra Das, The Devourers

John Donne
“As Sicknesse is the greatest misery, so the greatest misery of sicknes is solitude; when the infectiousness of the disease deterss them who should assist from coming; even the Phisician dares scarse come... it is an Outlawry, and excommunication upon the patient....”
John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions

Neal Stephenson
“All these beefy Caucasians with guns! Get enough of them together, looking for the America they always believed they'd grow up in, and they glom together like overcooked rice, form integral, starchy little units”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

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