the Long of it ........

unintended consequences and other musings


Joe Sobran, May his words live forever

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Ever read someone who just had a great gift of putting things into words that really cause you pause …and admire?

Joe Sobran was one – National Review Writer – passed away Sept 30, 2010
you can find archives of some of his own newsletter articles here
…..for once, I will let the Joe (the writer) express it in his own words:

“But most prejudices aren’t created by official doctrines; they result from popular experience and the slow spreading of a group’s reputation. The first gypsy I ever met — on a street in Rome — grabbed a wad of money out of my hand. I’d been too naive to be wary of her, though my companions had warned me against her.”

“Despite all the rhetoric of bigotry that assails us these days, it just isn’t that easy to hate indiscriminately. In fact such hatred seems unnatural — or, if you prefer, idiosyncratic.  But some people find a strange moral satisfaction in positing a ubiquitous “hate,” usually against “minorities” of one sort or another. And of course this “hate” requires the state to take various actions to protect the alleged victims, to make reparations, to reeducate the bigoted public, and finally to “eradicate” the proscribed attitudes.”

New York Times headline: “New York Destroyed by Earthquake; Women and Minorities Hit Hardest.”

“your enemies can never hurt you, only your friends can.”

 “Freedom has ceased to be a birthright; it has come to mean whatever we are still permitted to do.”

“Christ never preached anything as mushy and undefined as tolerance, let alone Kinsey-style tolerance. He taught mercy, patience, charity — which cover a lot of ground, but are a long way from Kinseyland. He also condemned divorce, adultery, and even looking at women with lust. Pretty intolerant, according to the Latest Thinking.”

“Of all the apocryphal sayings ascribed to our Founding Fathers, my favorite is one attributed to George Washington: “Government is not reason. It is not persuasion. It is force.” If he never said it, he should have.
Everyone who believes in a moral order should ponder those eleven words. Government is indeed force, force claiming justification, and its exercise at least requires some serious reason.
In Michael Oakeshott’s famous observation, to some people government appears as “a vast reservoir of power” which inspires them to dream of the uses that might be made of it, often in the service of what they take to be benign purposes, for the good of “mankind.” Yet such people typically gloss over the element of power, which, after all, is not a mere property of government but its very essence.”

“Your chances of meeting an IRS agent are far greater than your chances of meeting anyone you voted for.”

“If you want to know how wise and honest a man is, observe how much he is willing to credit to his opponents.”

“If our furry and scaly friends were still evolving, none of them appeared to be gaining on us.”

“A silly old adage has it that you should never argue about politics and religion. But as G.K. Chesterton retorted, politics and religion are the only subjects worth arguing about.”

and Joe on his own words….
“I note that my enemies have written a great deal about me, yet they rarely quote me directly. Why not? If I am so disreputable myself, I must at least occasionally say disreputable things. Is it possible that what I say is more cogent than they like to admit?”

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