Quote of the Day

“The greatest threat to freedom is an inert people”.

Louis Brandeis, one of America’s greatest Supreme Court judges.

Quote of the Day

” Facebook is interested in “digital inclusion” in much the same manner as loan sharks are interested in “financial inclusion”: it is in it for the money.”

Evgeny Morozov, writing in the Observer, April 26, 2015.

Quote of the Day

Reading Wilhelm II on every conceivable subject for more than 1200 pages (3000 if you read the three volumes in sequence) is like listening for days on end to a dog barking inside a locked car.

Christopher Clark, reviewing the final volume of a massive three-volume biography of Kaiser Bill in the London Review of Books,

Quote of the Day

(Prompted by the nauseating posturing of British politicians on the campaign trail.)

“How small, of all that human hearts endure, that part which laws or kings can cause or cure.”

Samuel Johnson

What the election ought to be about

“The political problem of mankind is to combine three things: economic efficiency, social justice and individual liberty. The first needs criticism, precaution and technical knowledge; the second, an unselfish and enthusiastic spirit, which loves the ordinary man; the third, tolerance, breadth, appreciation of the excellencies of variety and independence, which offers above everything, to give unhindered opportunity to the exceptional and the aspiring.”

John Maynard Keynes, Collected Works, Vol IX, p. 311.

Quote of the Day

“The lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience … “.

Aldous Huxley, writing to George Orwell in 1949.

Quote of the Day

“What liberal values have going for them is liberty and value.”

Adam Gopnik, writing in the New Yorker about Michel Houellebecq’s Francophobia.

It’s a terrific piece, well worth reading in full. Contains this delightful paragraph:

In the novel that made Houellebecq famous, “Les Particules Élémentaires” (1998), he proposed that a society with an unchecked devotion to economic liberalism and erotic libertinism would come to a daylong oscillation between fucking and finance, where bankers would literally break their backs in the act of having sex for the hundredth time that day. The satire seemed ridiculously heavy-handed and overwrought—and then came Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, who, in the brief time before dining with his daughter and boarding a plane, turned out to have budgeted fifteen minutes for sex (coerced or not) with a total stranger. D.S.K. was a character only Houellebecq could have imagined, and already had.

Yeah: and he might have been President of France today if he hadn’t slipped up in New York.