Democracy.Ru's Quotes

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sat, 19 Jun 2004 12:00:00 GMT
From Democracy.Ru's Quotes Page, which includes the largest collection I have ever seen of H.L. Mencken quotes:
"As a rule, dictatorships guarantee safe streets and terror of the doorbell. In democracy the streets may be unsafe after dark, but the most likely visitor in the early hours will be the milkman." -- Adam Michnik

"A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular." -- Adlai Ewing Stevenson

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury." -- Alexander Tytler

"Conversation would be vastly improved by the constant use of four simple words: I do not know." -- Andre Maurois

"Tyranny and despotism can be exercised by many, more rigourously, more vigourously, and more severely, than by one." -- Andrew Johnson

"The wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. He is in front of it." -- Axel Munthe

"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." -- Edward Abbey

"Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic." -- Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightning." -- Frederick Douglass

"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." -- Galbraith's Law

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." -- Groucho Marx

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right." -- H. L. Mencken

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." -- H.L. Mencken

"Imagine the Creator as a low comedian, and at once the world becomes explicable." -- H.L. Mencken

"Of government, at least in democratic states, it may be said briefly that it is an agency engaged wholesale, and as a matter of solemn duty, in the performance of acts which all self-respecting individuals refrain from as a matter of common decency." -- H.L. Mencken

"In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." -- H.L. Mencken

"Creator - A comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh." -- H.L. Mencken

"The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That's one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population -- the intelligent ones or the fools?" -- Henrik Ibsen

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." -- Henry de Jouvenel

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." -- John Adams

"If mankind minus one were of one opinion, then mankind is no more justified in silencing the one than the one - if he had the power - would be justified in silencing mankind." -- John Stuart Mill

"We'd all like to vote for the best man but he's never a candidate." -- Kin Hubbard

"Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless or corrupt." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"Any law which violates the indefeasible rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all." -- Maximilien Robespierre

"Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers." -- Mignon McLaughlin

"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people." -- Oscar Wilde

"Political elections do not choose leaders of society. Rather, they are an exercise in which groups of people choose individuals who will assist them in looting other groups of individuals." -- William Anderson

"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." -- Winston Churchill

# My post to this High Road thread:

The AWB is unconstitutional. The Brady Bill is unconstitutional. The 1968 Firearms Act is unconstitutional. The National Firearms Act (NFA) is unconstitutional. Every law requiring a permit or a license to carry openly or concealed is unconstitutional. Every law requiring a firearms owner ID is unconstitutional. Every law requiring registration of handguns is unconstitutional. Every law forbidding the carrying of a loaded firearm readily accessible to a passenger in a motor vehicle is unconstitutional. And every legislator who ever voted for such a law and every cop who ever enforced one is guilty of treason and should be hanged (after due process and a speedy trial, of course).

# Claire Wolfe at Backwoods Home Magazine - Little Ladies Lessons in the War on Terror - some young Hardyville ladies head out for the big city and are stopped by fedgoons. The Hardyville sheriff comes to the rescue. If there are ever regular roadblocks like this in your neighborhood, I hope that you will put your rifle skills to good use. [claire]

# Charley Reese - Reagan Stories - a really nice story about Ronald Reagan's charity.

Sure enough, Reagan read my column on Air Force One en route back to Washington. Touched not by my writing but by Sara Trollinger's faith, Reagan whipped out his personal checkbook and wrote House of Hope a check for $1,000. I heard about it that afternoon when White House staffers called me, wanting more background information on Sara.

Well, the publicity generated by Reagan's donation opened the doors, and donations poured in. Today House of Hope is a most successful operation and is credited with salvaging the lives of thousands of troubled teenagers. Sara has become a national figure, and thanks to her there will soon be 40 Houses of Hope in 27 states. The original old house has expanded to 10 acres with 24 buildings and five homes, all paid for and with not a dime of the taxpayers' money.


I've been amused by some of the pundits who talk about the mystery of Reagan. There was no mystery. The pundits and regular inhabitants of Washington were so cynical, they refused to believe that Reagan was exactly what he appeared to be -- a kind, brave, humorous man with firm convictions. Reagan is one of the few men in public life who was exactly the same in private as he was in public. He had no hidden agendas; he never tried to manipulate people or to trick them; he did not wear one face in public and another when the cameras were turned off. He was exactly as he appeared to be.

# Ran Prieur - The Gospel of George - Mr. Prieur has gotten hold of a few pages of Bushnev's version of the book of Matthew. It's a little different than I remember from Sunday sermons, but explains a lot about the Busheviks' actions. Satire. Hehe. [unknown]

Ye have heard that it hath been said, AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH. But I say unto you, that ye resist evil: and whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, smite him tenfold on both his cheeks. And if any man take away thy coat, take it back and take his cloke also.

# Cory Doctorow at - Microsoft Research DRM Talk - Mr. Doctorow attempts to convince researchers at Microsoft that Digital Rights Management is a really bad idea, for everyone involved. Great speech. [smith2004]

Remember Schneier's Law? Anyone can come up with a security system so clever that he can't see its flaws. The only way to find the flaws in security is to disclose the system's workings and invite public feedback. But now we live in a world where any cipher used to fence off a copyrighted work is off-limits to that kind of feedback. That's something that a Princeton engineering prof named Ed Felten discovered when he submitted a paper to an academic conference on the failings in the Secure Digital Music Initiative, a watermarking scheme proposed by the recording industry. The RIAA responded by threatening to sue his ass if he tried it. We fought them because Ed is the kind of client that impact litigators love: unimpeachable and clean-cut and the RIAA folded. Lucky Ed. Maybe the next guy isn't so lucky.

Matter of fact, the next guy wasn't. Dmitry Skylarov is a Russian programmer who gave a talk at a hacker con in Vegas on the failings in Adobe's e-book locks. The FBI threw him in the slam for 30 days. He copped a plea, went home to Russia, and the Russian equivalent of the State Department issued a blanket warning to its researchers to stay away from American conferences, since we'd apparently turned into the kind of country where certain equations are illegal.


So when your French DVD won't play in America, that's not because it'd be illegal to do so: it's because the studios have invented a business-model and then invented a copyright law to prop it up. The DVD is your property and so is the DVD player, but if you break the region-coding on your disc, you're going to run afoul of anticircumvention.

That's what happened to Jon Johansen, a Norweigan teenager who wanted to watch French DVDs on his Norweigan DVD player. He and some pals wrote some code to break the CSS so that he could do so. He's a wanted man here in America; in Norway the studios put the local fuzz up to bringing him up on charges of *unlawfully trespassing upon a computer system.* When his defense asked, "Which computer has Jon trespassed upon?" the answer was: "His own."

His no-fooling, real and physical property has been expropriated by the weird, notional, metaphorical intellectual property on his DVD: DRM only works if your record player becomes the property of whomever's records you're playing.


It's a bad business. DVD is a format where the guy who makes the records gets to design the record players. Ask yourself: how much innovation has there been over the past decade of DVD players? They've gotten cheaper and smaller, but where are the weird and amazing new markets for DVD that were opened up by the VCR? There's a company that's manufacturing the world's first HDD-based DVD jukebox, a thing that holds 30 movies, and they're charging *$30,000* for this thing. We're talking about a $300 hard drive and a $300 PC -- all that other cost is the cost of anticompetition.


Whenever a new technology has disrupted copyright, we've changed copyright. Copyright isn't an ethical proposition, it's a utlititarian one. There's nothing *moral* about paying a composer tuppence for the piano-roll rights, there's nothing *immoral* about not paying Hollywood for the right to videotape a movie off your TV. They're just the best way of balancing out so that people's physical property rights in their VCRs and phonographs are respected and so that creators get enough of a dangling carrot to go on making shows and music and books and paintings.


I'm a Microsoft customer. Like millions of other Microsoft customers, I want a player that plays anything I throw at it, and I think that you are just the company to give it to me.

Yes, this would violate copyright law as it stands, but Microsoft has been making tools of piracy that change copyright law for decades now. Outlook, Exchange and MSN are tools that abet widescale digital infringement.

More significantly, IIS and your caching proxies all make and serve copies of documents without their authors' consent, something that, if it is legal today, is only legal because companies like Microsoft went ahead and did it and dared lawmakers to prosecute.


American film studios didn't want the Japanese electronics companies to get a piece of the movie pie, so they fought the VCR. Today, everyone who makes movies agrees that they don't want to let you guys get between them and their customers.

Sony didn't get permission. Neither should you. Go build the record player that can play everyone's records.

Because if you don't do it, someone else will.

# Gary Brecher at - Most Valuable Weapon: the RPG - some history of the Russian-designed Rocket Propelled Grenade. [root]

# provides web hosting at amazing prices. $48/year for 600 megs of space, 16 gigs of bandwidth, 16 mailboxes, 16 MySQL databases. One little problem, they don't post a physical address on their web site. That never gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. WHOIS to the rescue. They're in Toronto. I found them via a Google ad in Opera (haven't paid for the newest version yet).

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