There’s A Cancer On The Presidency, Called Barack Obama

by Alexander Cockburn, June 6, 2012

Never trust a president who claims he reads himself to sleep with the help of Marcus Aurelius. That was Bill Clinton, who claimed this thundering imperial bore never strayed far from his hand.

Most certainly view with profound suspicion a president who professes to be guided in his conduct in grave moral matters by Augustine and Aquinas, two very different characters. Just as civilization would have profited if the rope lowering St. Paul to the ground from that tower in Damascus had broken 50 feet up, a death in the cradle for Augustine would have spared humanity much horror from his poisonous doctrines on original sin and other matters.

Aquinas was a different matter. A jovial fellow, among other things he loved fresh herring, and when he was dying he asked for some. At this point a fishing boat in the Mediterranean hauled an unprecedented netful of herring and the unexpected catch was slated for a while as the second miracle required for Thomas’ canonization.

The excellent, astounding New York Times story by Jo Becker and Scott Shane published on May 29 and vigorously discussed on our Counterpunch.org site by Ralph Nader, says that Obama decided to take personal control of the White House’s secret and unconstitutional death list after reading Augustine and Aquinas. “A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy.”

Notice how the paragraph devolves rapidly from moral duty to pr.

Aquinas, using Augustine, defined a just war thus:

“First, war must occur for a good and just purpose rather than for self-gain or as an exercise of power. Second, just war must be waged by a properly instituted authority such as the state. Third, peace must be a central motive even in the midst of violence.”

Does the following suggest itself to you as a properly instituted authority:

“Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government’s sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, [to] pore over terrorist suspects’ biographies — PowerPoint slides bearing the names, aliases and life stories of suspected members of Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen or its allies in Somalia’s Shabab militia — and recommend to the president who should be the next to die.”

Then the baton passes to Obama poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.

See St. Thomas in action:

“Then, in August 2009, the CIA director, Leon E. Panetta, told Mr. Brennan that the agency had Mr. Mehsud in its sights. But taking out the Pakistani Taliban leader, Mr. Panetta warned, did not meet Mr. Obama’s standard of ‘near certainty’ of no innocents being killed. In fact, a strike would certainly result in such deaths: he was with his wife at his in-laws’ home.

“ ‘Many times,’ General Jones said, in similar circumstances, ‘at the 11th hour we waved off a mission simply because the target had people around them and we were able to loiter on station until they didn’t.’

“But not this time. Mr. Obama, through Mr. Brennan, told the CIA to take the shot, and Mr. Mehsud was killed, along with his wife and, by some reports, other family members as well, said a senior intelligence official… When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.”

Obama makes moral decision-making easier on himself:

“Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.”

We’ve had accounts of presidents dooming people to death: LBJ or Nixon thumping the maps and shouting, Bomb them back to the stone age. There’s an altogether different, chill timbre to the account of Obama as maestro of the death list. It clearly disquieted many in the host of on-the-record sources mustered by Becker and Shane.

“Dennis C. Blair, director of national intelligence until he was fired in May 2010, said that discussions inside the White House of long-term strategy against Al Qaeda were sidelined by the intense focus on strikes. ‘The steady refrain in the White House was, “This is the only game in town” — reminded me of body counts in Vietnam,’ said Mr. Blair, a retired admiral who began his Navy service during that war….

“And Mr. Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, has complained to colleagues that the CIA’s strikes drive American policy there, saying ‘he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people,’ a colleague said…

“Mr. Hayden, the former CIA director and now an adviser to Mr. Obama’s Republican challenger, Mr. Romney, commended the president’s aggressive counterterrorism record, which he said had a ‘Nixon to China’ quality. But, he said, ‘secrecy has its costs’ and Mr. Obama should open the strike strategy up to public scrutiny.

“ ‘This program rests on the personal legitimacy of the president, and that’s not sustainable,’ Mr. Hayden said. ‘I have lived the life of someone taking action on the basis of secret OLC memos, and it ain’t a good life. Democracies do not make war on the basis of legal memos locked in a DOJ safe’.”

Of course the more you get used to consigning human Power Point Cards to incineration, without constitutional review, the slightest form of check or balance, the stronger the psychic mechanisms of self justification come into play:

“But the control he exercises also appears to reflect Mr. Obama’s striking self-confidence: he believes, according to several people who have worked closely with him, that his own judgment should be brought to bear on strikes.”

The larger picture? The entire policy is insane. Every time a drone lands on a suspect al Qaeda leader and kills him and his entourage, the recruitment basis for Al Qaeda widens, the loathing of America deepens.

There’s a “growing cancer” in the White House, John Dean famously advised Richard Nixon. Beyond doubt there’s a “growing cancer” now, settled in the Oval Office, studying his Power Point Death List every week.

Tumbril Time!

A tumbril (n.) a dung cart used for carrying manure, now associated with the transport of prisoners to the guillotine during the French Revolution.

With rare emotion Prosecutor Fouquier-Tinville announced that “play by the rules” had been captured by revolutionary vigilance, and faced the supreme penalty. This pious phrase, he said, is the tribute power pays to the oppressed. Yes, he cried, the feudal peasants whose daughters were raped by Monsieur Le Vicomte “played by the rules,” even as they groaned under extra taxes levied by the Vicomte. “Our glorious revolution says No, we do not play by the rules.” A stormy ovation accompanied the condemned to his final night in the Conciergerie.

23 Responses to There’s A Cancer On The Presidency, Called Barack Obama

  1. WineGuy Reply

    June 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Mr. Cockburrn, you may loathe the tactics used to wage the war against Qaeda but many others support and applaud these military actions. I seriously doubt that Mr Obama takes personal pleasure in these mortal actions. Just today another important Qaeda leader was killed by a drone. Resorting to ancient philosphers and theological arguments little more than academic sophistry, useful maybe in a lively debate at Bailiol or far flung Petrolia but irrelevant in the real world.

    • Dosamuno Reply

      June 8, 2012 at 10:45 am

      Which Al Qaeda leader was killed? Zbigniew Brzezinski?

  2. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 7, 2012 at 8:14 am

    The “real world” is filled with willfully ignorant, bloodthirsty morons who are all too willing to support, and resort to, violence, especially when egged on by the wealthy with lies that their welfare is threatened by those in far-away lands, particularly lands with natural resources, or routes for transport of resources, that we crave or that we wish to control. I agree that Obama probably does not take personal pleasure in extra-judicial killings that he oversees. In that regard, and in so many others, he is simply a willing robot serving the needs of the ruling class.

  3. Chuck Becker Reply

    June 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

  4. WineGuy Reply

    June 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Yeah, that’s the guy, if given the chance, he would quickly slit Mr.Cockburn’s throat or hose him down with an AK, since he is identified as a representative of the Western Liberal Media Establishment. Is that ‘extra judicial?’ He and other Qaeda can give a rat’s ass for that gibberish. Barack Obama serves us well as the Commander in Chief to eliminate this heinous bunch. Will Romney have the balls to do what needs to be done? That remains to be seen.

  5. Chuck Becker Reply

    June 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    ” Will Romney have the balls to do what needs to be done?” – – – That’s a damn good question.

    “”Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night
    because rough men stand ready
    to do violence on their behalf.” – – – George Orwell

  6. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Just who are these “men” on whose behalf the rough ones are doing violence? If your implication is that our brutal military is fighting on behalf of us commoners — for our freedom, for democracy, and all the other bullshit justifications we’re supposed to believe, you need your head examined. If on behalf of the wealthy, I agree.

    Romney will be just as much a robot for wealth as Obama is. There is no question about that. The guy is a thug.

  7. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Incidentally, Chuck, in which of Orwell’s works (writings, speeches) is the quote found? A quick Internet search returns a lot of wingnut sites that have latched onto the quote with a grip of aluminum, but nothing with any context regarding the quote.

  8. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Oh, wait, Chuck, I did find this entry at wikiquotes:

    ” We sleep peaceably in our beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.

    This has commonly been attributed to Orwell but has not been found in any of his writings. Quote Investigator found the earliest known appearance in a 1993 Washington Times essay by Richard Grenier: “As George Orwell pointed out, people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” The absence of quotation marks indicates Grenier was using his own words to convey Orwell’s opinion; thus it may have originated as a paraphrase of his statement in “Notes on Nationalism” (1945): Those who “abjure” violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf. There are also similar sentiments expressed in an essay which Orwell wrote on Rudyard Kipling, quoting from one of Kipling’s poems: “Yes, making mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep.” In the same essay Orwell also wrote of Kipling: “He sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them.” ”

    Shame on you, old man.

  9. Chuck Becker Reply

    June 15, 2012 at 9:13 am

    “Oh, wait, Chuck, I did find this entry…”

    Indeed.

  10. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 15, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Indeed, Mr. Pompous Propagandist.

  11. Chuck Becker Reply

    June 15, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    “Mr. Pompous Propagandist”

    I’m rubber and you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!

  12. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    And yet, Chuck, no word from you on the context for your “quote”. I suspect you just copied it from one of the wingnut sites. That’s what a good authoritarian would do. Next, you’ll be telling us that Huey Long or Sinclair Lewis originated the old ‘wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross” saw, or that protesters spit on returning Vietnam war vets.

  13. Chuck Becker Reply

    June 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    George Orwell (“Notes on Nationalism, 1945”)- – – “Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism … By “patriotism” I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people …Nationalism, in the extended sense … includes such movements … as Communism, political Catholocism, Zionism, Antisemitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism. It does not necessarily mean loyalty to a government or a country, still less to one’s own country, and it is not even strictly necessary that the units in which it deals should actually exist.”

    +

    Harvey Reading (AVA, 5/5/12) – – – “ USans love their hired murderers. They adore them. Always have. It what makes us a nation of exceptionals.”
    Harvey Reading (AVA, 4/16/12) – – – “ USans are exceptional in one regard: exceptional thugs and bullies, in regard to their fellow citizens and the rest of humanity.”

    George Orwell (“Notes on Nationalism, 1945”) – – – “It is also worth emphasizing once again that nationalist feeling can be purely negative. There are, for example, Trotskyists who have become simply enemies of the USSR without developing a corresponding loyalty to any other unit.”

  14. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 20, 2012 at 9:54 am

    So, Chuck, what’s your point? You’re just making a poor attempt to divert attention from answering the question regarding your misquote. By the way, I stand by my earlier statements. They are self-evident to those who prefer to see things as they are, not through the layers of vaseline that guys like you spread over anything that depicts reality.

    And, what is it about wingnut authoritarians that makes them so devoted to quoting others, even when the quote is completely out of context … or, often, nonexistent? Can’t you folks think for yourselves?

    Funny that old George left out fascism … Oh, well, the guy was not a god, just a fellow with opinions that were acceptable to publishers.

  15. Chuck Becker Reply

    June 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    “So, Chuck, what’s your point?” – – – We’ll get to your issues in due course. In the meantime, you’ve spent the past few months conjuring up what you imagine I’d say or what I’d think, creating nothing more nor less than a convenient excuse for you to vent. So we’re going to spend the next bit here to balance things out by using your own words (and George Orwell’s commentary) to see what you’re really all about. Nothing imaginary, nothing conjured, purely “in your own words”.
    +

    Harvey Reading (AVA, 6/11/12) – – – “Because they have the numbers, and, perhaps surprisingly to those of an authoritarian bent, the weaponry and knowledge of how to use it, to effect real change in a big damned hurry.”

    Harvey Reading (AVA, 6/14/12) – – – “ If your implication is that our brutal military is fighting on behalf of us commoners — for our freedom, for democracy, and all the other bullshit justifications we’re supposed to believe, you need your head examined.”

    George Orwell (“Notes on Nationalism, 1945”) – – – “5. PACIFISM The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians … But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists whose real though unadmitted motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration of totalitarianism … they do not as a rule condemn violence as such, but only violence used in defense of western countries. … If one harbours anywhere in one’s mind a nationalistic loyalty or hatred, certain facts, although in a sense known to be true, are inadmissible. Here are just a few examples … against each I append a fact which it is impossible for that type of nationalist to accept, even in his secret thoughts:
    … PACIFIST. Those who “abjure” violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.
    All of these facts are grossly obvious if one’s emotions do not happen to be involved: but to the kind of person named in each case they are also intolerable, and so they have to be denied, and false theories constructed upon their denial.”

  16. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Naw, Chuck, I’ve responded to what you have said, in your comments, and in your pathetic essay, full of wishful-thinking propaganda, to which you pointed me several months ago. As I’ve stated before, you’re easy to peg. I’ve run into too many others like you in my 62 years to be fooled by the pompous rhetoric and high-sounding bullshit that all of you peddle.

    First, the full text of 5. Pacifism (from the Mt. Holyoke College web site)

    “5. PACIFISM

    The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to the taking of life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists whose real though unadmitted motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration of totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States. Moreover they do not as a rule condemn violence as such, but only violence used in defense of western countries. The Russians, unlike the British, are not blamed for defending themselves by warlike means, and indeed all pacifist propaganda of this type avoids mention of Russia or China. It is not claimed, again, that the Indians should abjure violence in their struggle against the British. Pacifist literature abounds with equivocal remarks which, if they mean anything, appear to mean that statesmen of the type of Hitler are preferable to those of the type of Churchill, and that violence is perhaps excusable if it is violent enough. After the fall of France, the French pacifists, faced by a real choice which their English colleagues have not had to make, mostly went over to the Nazis, and in England there appears to have been some small overlap of membership between the Peace Pledge Union and the Blackshirts. Pacifist writers have written in praise of Carlyle, one of the intellectual fathers of Fascism. All in all it is difficult not to feel that pacifism, as it appears among a section of the intelligentsia, is secretly inspired by an admiration for power and successful cruelty. The mistake was made of pinning this emotion to Hitler, but it could easily be retransfered.”

    And, the full text of the paragraph in which the entry PACIFIST appears, in 3. TROTSKYISM: (same source)

    “If one harbours anywhere in one’s mind a nationalistic loyalty or hatred, certain facts, although in a sense known to be true, are inadmissible. Here are just a few examples. I list below five types of nationalist, and against each I append a fact which it is impossible for that type of nationalist to accept, even in his secret thoughts:

    BRITISH TORY: Britain will come out of this war with reduced power and prestige.

    COMMUNIST. If she had not been aided by Britain and America, Russia would have been defeated by Germany.

    IRISH NATIONALIST. Eire can only remain independent because of British protection.

    TROTSKYIST. The Stalin regime is accepted by the Russian masses.

    PACIFIST. Those who “abjure” violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.

    All of these facts are grossly obvious if one’s emotions do not happen to be involved: but to the kind of person named in each case they are also intolerable, and so they have to be denied, and false theories constructed upon their denial. I come back to the astonishing failure of military prediction in the present war. It is, I think, true to say that the intelligentsia have been more wrong about the progress of the war than the common people, and that they were more swayed by partisan feelings. The average intellectual of the Left believed, for instance, that the war was lost in 1940, that the Germans were bound to overrun Egypt in 1942, that the Japanese would never be driven out of the lands they had conquered, and that the Anglo-American bombing offensive was making no impression on Germany. He could believe these things because his hatred for the British ruling class forbade him to admit that British plans could succeed. There is no limit to the follies that can be swallowed if one is under the influence of feelings of this kind. I have heard it confidently stated, for instance, that the American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution. One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool. When Hitler invaded Russia, the officials of the MOI issued “as background” a warning that Russia might be expected to collapse in six weeks. On the other hand the Communists regarded every phase of the war as a Russian victory, even when the Russians were driven back almost to the Caspian Sea and had lost several million prisoners. There is no need to multiply instances. The point is that as soon as fear, hatred, jealousy and power worship are involved, the sense of reality becomes unhinged. And, as I have pointed out already, the sense of right and wrong becomes unhinged also. There is no crime, absolutely none, that cannot be condoned when “our” side commits it. Even if one does not deny that the crime has happened, even if one knows that it is exactly the same crime as one has condemned in some other case, even if one admits in an intellectual sense that it is unjustified — still one cannot feel that it is wrong. Loyalty is involved, and so pity ceases to function.”

    The context of the essay was the second half of the world war that began in 1914, with a lull that lasted from 1918 and 1939 as well as the author’s disgust with the Stalinist dictatorship in Russia.

    Nationalistic authoritarians, notably the neoliberal (aka neocon) , Richard Grenier, — so tightly wrapped in the flag that they have suffered permanent brain damage from anoxia — have selected, completely out of context, one sentence from Orwell’s essay. In this sentence, Orwell suggests there exists a supposedly well-known “grossly obvious fact”, that people he calls pacifists simply cannot accept–again supposedly. The authoritarian nationalists have rearranged the sentence to better suit their purposes of support for world domination (to make it more “catchy”), and raised the misquotation as their banner in justification of the most brutal, murderous military actions ever undertaken, actions that have left millions dead, millions maimed. The fact that those murderous actions were taken on behalf of business interests, mainly for control of resources belonging to others, is lost in the madness of nationalistic fury, aided and abetted by corporate propaganda. And, for all this, we are supposed to be grateful to those (nonexistent) “rough men” who “protect” us. What irrational, disgusting, untruthfulness. And, people fall for it, repeating the out-of-context misquote without thinking, much as you did.

    Now Chuck, simply because Orwell, whom you misquoted, or anyone else you’d care to actually quote, said something, does not make it necessarily so. What people say is simply their opinion, not some great truth just because you happen to agree with it. Again, shame on you, old man. Shame on you.

    Incidentally, I never was a huge fan of Orwell. I read 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World in 7th or 8th grade, and Animal Farm just a few years back. Both 1984 and Brave New World were made into what I considered horrendous movies, though I was able to sit completely through 1984 (Burton and Hurt gave fine performances), which I cannot say for Brave New World. I concluded years ago that Huxley was much more on target with respect to his predictions of current society, right down to our soma, psychotic drugs, peddled legally by those corporate practitioners of medicine, dokters. Yet, he is rarely mentioned these days.

  17. Chuck Becker Reply

    June 21, 2012 at 11:29 am

    “Now Chuck, simply because Orwell, whom you misquoted, or anyone else you’d care to actually quote, said something, does not make it necessarily so.” – – – No, it doesn’t, but smart people learn from those who’ve gone before. If you don’t like what he said, show the errors. Or would that be asking too much? Which brings us to….

    Now that you’ve chosen to put a name on it….

    “Nationalistic authoritarians, notably the neoliberal (aka neocon) , Richard Grenier, — so tightly wrapped in the flag that they have suffered permanent brain damage from anoxia — ”

    What you have left, as s nationalistic authoritarian yourself (we do tend to project, don’t we, mhhh?), is ad hominem attacks against anyone who disagrees with you, or poses a perceived challenge to your position.

    Now, to continue investigating your nationalistic authoritarianism, without the torrent of repetitive, superfluous words:

    Harvey Reading (AVA, 6/11/12) – – – “People in general are not born either racist or imperialist. These characteristics are simply tools used by rulers to condition us into being more manageable domestically and more willing to take up arms (in the names of freedom and democracy — ha) to achieve their ends. That we are so easily manipulated is, for me, evidence that we are a dead-end species … Naw, Chuck, your points were not proven, much as you would like to believe it to be so.”

    George Orwell (“Notes on Nationalism, 1945”) – – – “Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied.”

    According to Harvey:
    – rulers use racism and imperialism to control the people;

    – they are so good at it that all the people are thus so thoroughly manipulated;

    – that the humans are a dead end species;

    – BUT BUT BUT !!! that doesn’t prove that people (having been manipulated by their rulers with racism and imperialism… get it?) are racist and nations imperialist.

    Unmistakable facts, impudently denied?

  18. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Always with the quotes. Can you not think a single thought for yourself?

    No Chuck, you’ve proven nothing, except my points, the more recent ones, not the ones you proved earlier.

    And, still nothing on your misquote.

  19. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Ya know, old man, here’s what I think the circumstances are around your misquote of Orwell, since you don’t seem interested in ‘fessin’ up. I don’t accept the notion that even a guy like you would be so lowdown as to deliberately misquote a person. You would have no problem quoting a person completely out of context, but would not deliberately misquote them, in my opinion.

    I suspect you were out trolling wingnut web sites, ran across the misquote, and being a trusting fellow, simply adopted it. Or, you might have read it in some wingnut periodical. Or, you might have overheard it in a cafe. Or, some wingnut buddy might have told you about it. Who knows. Only you.

    It’s clear to me that you know about as little about Orwell as I do. If you were familiar with his work, you would not have misquoted it, as I suggested earlier. You would have known beforehand that the misquote was, at best, a mix of words from sentences found in at least two different essays that Orwell wrote.

    Even with my limited familiarity with Orwell – I’m no particular fan of his – the quote seemed bogus. Maybe it’s because there are so many misquotes floating around these days, usually originated by wingnuts, or maybe it’s because I disliked hearing the (new) word, doublespeak, being attributed to Orwell, as having appeared in his novel, 1984. The novel referred to a different, and clever, word, newspeak, apparently dreamed up by Orwell himself. Or, maybe it’s because I tend not to trust people who go around quoting others, out of context, to justify their drivel. So, I did a search, the one that returned countless wingnut sites, along with the Wikiquotes site.

    Knowing an erudite fellow like you would put no faith in such as Wikiquotes, I decided to expand my search. I first thought of Harvard, but then reminded myself that the monster, Alan Dershowitz, works there, as did the disgusting Larry Summers, along with that great servant of wealth, Barack Obama. Cal was out, since it has been taken over by corporate interests, plus they have the war criminal, John Yoo as a faculty member. And Stanford was out, too, just another school for rich kids. Added to that, there were my Stanford memories, of the moronic scions of the wealthy, pedaling their bicycles and walking – past barricades and staff, who were wearing rubber raingear, respirators, and goggles, and who were warning the children of privilege to go around – under elm trees and over sidewalks that dripped, and were covered with the milky-white Methoxychlor mixture that I was spraying on the trees from a Hi Ranger in a Department of Food and Agriculture effort to eradicate Dutch Elm Disease, back in the spring of 1977. They’d also fired H. Bruce Franklin, who was tenured, from the faculty a few years before for his work in opposition to the Vietnam war, so Stanford was out. It was with relief then when Mt. Holyoke College popped up, and I went with their information. It’s just another school for rich kids, granted, but they seem to stay out the news, and I’d never sprayed elm trees on their campus. Their document simply confirmed much of what Wikiquotes had to offer.

    Also, old man, I don’t believe you’re as much of a psychiatrist as you’d like to think.

  20. Chuck Becker Reply

    June 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    “Always with the quotes”

    The purpose behind matching your words to commentary from George Orwell, which I’m cutting short at this point, is twofold. First, to use your own words to demonstrate the nationalistic mental processes by which you comprehend the world. You are, first and foremost, an ardent nationalistic ideologue. Second, the purpose of the quotes is to make sure you’ve been exposed to George Orwell’s complete and comprehensive position on nationalism, particularly pacifistic nationalism, so when the time comes to discuss the quote, you will at least have had the opportunity to learn (if not the will, you have to provide that … you can lead a horse to water, etc, etc) what Orwell’s framework of values endorsed and rejected.

    “Can you not think a single thought for yourself?”

    You place far too high a premium on dismissing everyone else’s work and substituting a random handful of half-baked, cynical, and even delusional concepts. The problem here is not so much that I can’t produce an original thought. It’s more that when presented with a properly structured and presented though, you’re unable to recognize it. Maybe if I added some arm-waving, eye-rolling, and spittle-spewing?

    “No Chuck, you’ve proven nothing, except my points, the more recent ones, not the ones you proved earlier.”

    I deal in facts, analysis, logical conclusions and I do my best to disregard ideology. You deal in ideology and do your best to disregard facts, analysis, and logical conclusions. Your responses are driven by the twin engines of emotionalism and ipse dixit. You may have noticed that I’ve never replied to any post where you originated the thread. The reason for that is simple: we have nothing to talk about. I’m not sure how you missed that, but there it is.

    “And, still nothing on your misquote.”

    Uncertainty – As the material you provided shows, nobody has been able to source the quote to Orwell, but nobody has read the entire corpus of his work sufficiently to prove that he could not have said it.

    Certainty – As the material you provided shows, he did say exactly the same thing, in different words, “Those who “abjure” violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.”

    Strong Probability – From other statements that are well attributed, Orwell would have endorsed the quote I provided from http://www.quotedb.com/quotes/3943.

    The quote was an offhanded addendum. I don’t need to prove that it’s attributable, because even if I admit that it’s a misquote, it does nothing to undermine my argument. That’s because it’s proved to be in perfect alignment with the well documented thoughts stated by Orwell. You’re obsessing over a detail that at best is a trivial “gotcha!” moment, a matter of style over substance.

    With amazingly little regret, I offer this as my last communication to or with you. I’ll be out of town for a while, I hope you find another correspondent to keep you company until then. Via con Dios.

  21. Harvey Reading Reply

    June 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Ho, hum.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *