Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Friend:
An acquaintance of mine (least of all men a political zealot) had christened a vessel which he had just built — THE LIBERTY; and was seriously admonished by his aristocratic friends to change it for some other name. What? replied the owner very innocently — should I call THE FREEDOM? That (it was replied) would be far better, as people might then think only of Freedom of Trade; whereas LIBERTY had a jacobinical sound with it!
If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.
If only academics understood that…
Here’s a pitch-perfect rendition of how you might imagine the New York Times would have reviewed The Feminine Mystique, which turns out to be precisely how the Times actually did review The Feminine Mystique:
Sweeping generalities, in which this book necessarily abounds, may hold a certain amount of truth but often obscure the deeper issues. It is superficial to blame the “culture” and its handmaidens, the women’s magazines, as she does. What is to stop a woman who is interested in national and international affairs from reading magazines that deal with those subjects? To paraphrase a famous line, “The fault, dear Mrs. Friedan, is not in our culture, but in ourselves.”
H/t Laura Tanenbaum
Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love (1945):
I think housework is far more tiring and frightening than hunting is, no comparison, and yet after hunting we had eggs for tea and were made to rest for hours, but after housework people expect one to go on just as if nothing special had happened.
H/t Jeffrey St. Clair
"Not all contradictions are dialectical—some are simply wrong."
— Herbert Marcuse to Theodor Adorno, in an exchange of letters on student radicalism in the 60s
Hannah Arendt once noted that the appearance of novel political forms is rare. Well, it looks like we’ve got a new one: “the military intervention that deposed Mr. Morsi after protests by millions against him.”
When couples break up, the breaker-upper says, “It’s not you, it’s me.” When Emma Goldman ended it with her anarchist lover Ed Brady — who thought she was too caught up in Nietzsche’s philosophy — Goldman said, “It isn’t Nietzsche, it is you.”
The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective.
I think the Court’s majority grasps that all too well.
Gracchus Babeuf, 1797:
Even a man who shows that he can do the work of four, and who consequently demands the wages of four, will still be an enemy of society…We should curb a man of this type and drive him out as if he had the plague.
H/t Elizabeth Anderson, “Thomas Paine’s Agrarian Justice and the Origins of Social Insurance,” in Eric Schliesser, ed., Ten Neglected Classics of Philosophy (Oxford UP, forthcoming).