Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

July 4, 2006

Happy 4th of July!

Filed under: cultural values — texased @ 1:22 am

Happy 4th of July! Yes, I’m thankful to be an American although not always proud of what is done in my name. Just a few quotes as food for thought on Independence Day.

The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment. ~Robert Maynard Hutchins

Most people don’t care if there the phones or internet connections are tapped as long as they can vote for American Idol.

In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects. ~J. William Fulbright

And why do we need a Flag Burning Amendment?

Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor. ~James Russell Lowell

How many people will be voting for the congressmen and senators that will allow the president’s authority to go unchecked? Please notice a difference here between not allowing the president the authority to allowing the president to have authority and be accountable for it.

If our democracy is to flourish, it must have criticism; if our government is to function it must have dissent. ~Henry Commager

Are people really free to dissent? Check out some of the latest cases on the ACLU webpage. Wait, better not, you’ll probably be marked in some government database. But you can still vote for American Idol.

“Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” ~Hermann Goering

I have to admit, the above quote disturbed me. Are we so much safer from government manipulation because we are a democracy?

What you have when everyone wears the same playclothes for all occasions, is addressad by nickname, expected to participate in Show And Tell, and bullied out of any desire form privacy, is not democracy; it is kindergarten. ~Judith Martin, (Miss Manners)

When I saw this one, I couldn’t help but think of the Washington press corp.

“Power always has to be kept in check; power exercised in secret, especially under the cloak of national security, is doubly dangerous.” ~William Proxmire

Same old point, the president may well need the power he says but he also needs someone else outside the executive branch checking up on him.

Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and the like. ~William O. Douglas

People worry about the government having access to our information. The only reason it can spy on us is because one, we let it and two, we’re perfectly happy to give all our information to private business which then can sell it to the government.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790), Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Really, how many terrorist attacks have been prevented by NSA wiretapping of U.S. citizens? Who outside the executive branch knows?

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. ~Adlai E. Stevenson Jr. (1900 – 1965), Speech in Detroit, 7 Oct. 1952

When the defense department is “monitoring” activities by Quaker peace activists, it’s not safe to be unpopular.

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. Thomas Paine (1737 – 1809)

Why isn’t anyone talking about the three British citizens who were held at Gitmo for more than two years even after the British government vouched for them? It’s only when they were able to provide the U.S. with video proof, that we let them go. And these are our allies.

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. John Milton (1608 – 1674)

Not at presidential speech. You don’t even get to be in the audience unless you can prove your loyalities.

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. ~Barry Goldwater

How many innocent people are you willing to torture to stop a terrorist attack here?

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. ~Justice Louis D. Brandeis, dissenting, Olmstead v. United States, 277 US 479 (1928)

The administration didn’t even bother with the military’s recommendations concerning the treatment of prisoners.

It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. David Hume (1711 – 1776

What liberty did you give up today because it wasn’t relevant to you right now?

Discipline must come through liberty. . . . We do not consider an individual disciplined only when he has been rendered as artificially silent as a mute and as immovable as a paralytic. He is an individual annihilated, not disciplined. ~Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952)

But very easy to control in the classroom.

The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is besides the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech. ~Justice Anthony Kennedy

Unfortunately, too many people believe that if the government is inconvenience, someone has committed treason.

There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)

At least I hope.

What’s right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity – intellect and resources – to do some thing about them. ~Henry Ford II (1917 – 1987)

And he made money doing it!

Intellectually, I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country. ~Sinclair Lewis (1885 – 1951)

I think this is both our strength and weakness. Deal with it. I love American too and I’m not leaving. Happy birthday America!


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