Moderation

I’ve just rediscovered a quotation that you could say defines the way I live and speak:

I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.

– William Lloyd Garrison

 

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20 Comments

  1. JM

     /  July 19, 2011

    I wonder what the reason could be for you to post this… now really. ^_^

  2. Because you made me think of that quote, and I’ve always meant to post it?

  3. JM

     /  July 19, 2011

    It’s always good to make people think. Talk to you tomorrow.

  4. JM

     /  July 19, 2011

    Shit, I should have written “it’s good most of the time”, that would have been appopriately moderate.

  5. Fair enough, though tactics are always the essence of politics 😉

  6. Yeah, and we know how well voting for moderate Mr. Papandreou worked…

  7. Personally I always viewed true justice as compromising.

    But excellent quote nonetheless.

  8. Ironically, what Garrison was fighting for was an end to slavery… which was considered an extremist position.

  9. It is moderately surprising to me how many people seemed to want to end slavery rather then simply improve the rights of the slave.
    Personally I think that would of been more helpful, as “ending slavery” mostly just ended people being called slaves and did not end the practice of people having no freedom or power of their own.

    And at least when someone owned someone else, I think intrinsically people knew that they had a responsibility to them (as well as some laws existing to back this up) but when they are simply people who have no power and make you money then of course you own them nothing and they cost nothing to replace.

  10. Wisnoskij… you really need to start reading up on the stuff you talk about. What you’ve just said is just insupportable. The treatment of African slaves was as brutal as anything you can imagine (we’re talking about centuries of rape, murder, torture, and life under conditions that themselves killed thousands upon thousands); it is indefensible. Besides, how can you under any circumstances defend one human being owning another?

    No, seriously… please spend some moments thinking about what you’re saying and how it affects real people. We’re talking about one of the most massive crimes of the last five hundred years, something which has been documented in great detail, and the aftereffects of which shape lives to this day. That the end of slavery did not bring about the end of worker oppression isn’t relevant – the end of the Jewish Holocaust didn’t bring about the end of racism, either, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have to be stopped. And defending slavery in any form is pretty much the same as defending the Holocaust.

    I find it very disturbing that you keep defending such barbaric practices, long classified as major crimes against humanity.

  11. Mind you, Jonas, I’m not talking about moderate views; I’m talking about calm tactics 😉 Hopefully, we’ll get to discuss this over a drink or too.

  12. Calm tactics I am all for! (Well, most of the time – anger serves a purpose, too, as long as it’s controlled.)

  13. And indentured servitude, serfdom, and all the other names powerlessness has gone by was a walk in the park I suppose?

  14. How is that an argument?

  15. How does being opposed to slavery prevent one from being opposed to indentured servitude and serfdom?

    But the fight of the abolitionists was against a specific political situation, in which a huge amount of people were considered to be property rather than people, and treated with an unspeakable amount of violence. To demand an immediate end to such a thing is the only tenable moral position. You cannot believe in human rights only a little – either you do or you don’t.

  16. I would recommend reading a book called Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, then picking up some modern work on the subject. And then maybe considering whether it is possible in any way to defend a system that considers human beings to be objects.

  17. It is a argument because I do not believe that “ending slavery” at all stopped the violence or poor treatment of the lowest end of the working class.

    And I do not see why I should care what the workers were called, personally I find there treatment and happiness more important then their title.

  18. It’s great for you that you don’t think it matters if people are legally classified as objects and systematically deprived of basic freedoms, raped, tortured and murdered. But I think black people would disagree – including those alive today, who are probably relatively happy that they are not slaves. Even if the system is crap, even if working-class people are treated like shit. Slavery does not compare, and that you think it does speaks volumes about your ignorance.

    I don’t know what kind of perverted headspace you occupy, Jonathon, but I no longer have the patience to deal with you. You condemn every effort at progress and spout the most shockingly reactionary ideas I’ve heard in a long time; I know plenty of Republicans who look like socialists compared to you. You apparently consider yourself to a progressive, but your ideas are anything but – in fact, they can be classified as nothing short of fascist. I find it particularly sad because some of the time you seem like a rational person, and you certainly don’t seem to be aware of how inhumane and reactionary your beliefs are; but I don’t have the time or the energy to even attempt getting you to let go of these notions.

    Let me tell you this, Jonathon: you think you are opposed to the system, pat yourself on the back for being an outsider, but you are the system. People like you, who make excuses, who claim to be removed from society, who provide cheap and unconsidered pseudo-philosophical support for how things are because they are unwilling to stand up for real change – you are the pillars of the system. The system continues to exist primarily because people like you tell themselves that they are outside it or beyond it, when in fact they are its greatest supporters.

    I don’t know why you choose to believe in all these absurd things like Social Darwinism, when most of them have long been disproven. But it’s pointless to argue with you, because you are utterly unwilling to listen to reason and continue to claim that something is “scientifically accurate” even when it’s been considered pseudoscience for over a century. You ignore other people’s most central arguments and twist small parts of what they’re saying to mean something completely different than what was intended and then go off on pointless tangents. That particular habit of yours is almost as annoying as your opposition to any kind of meaningful change, because nearly every single comment you make is not only negative, but completely off topic. Maybe you have trouble understanding the nuances of the English language, and maybe you are just full of hate; I don’t know, and at this point I have stopped caring.

    You are banned from commenting on this website, and I have no desire to receive any kind of communication from you for the next few decades. Go read a few books (you keep claiming to have read so much, but I have my doubts, especially when you can’t even spell the names of their authors) – really read them, not comb them for material that supports what you think. Consider how many of your opinions are based on fact, and how many on desire, hatred and/or fear. Try thinking outside your anti-social ideology and sexist quasi-mysticism (“women should be mystical Earth Mothers! evil drugs have broken the supernatural bond between mother and child!”).

    Maybe some day you’ll look back at yourself today and find that you were a bigoted, aggressive person who did nothing but allow the problems of the world to continue with weak excuses while attacking those who want to do something about them. Unlike you, I do not believe that we are defined exclusively by our genetic code, so I will not just call you a loser in need of castration (as you would do to others). I will, however, say that you are a fool, and that you are in dire need of an education.

    Now let those of us who are willing to do something for the world try to do it.

    “With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost.” – William Lloyd Garrison

  19. Some Other Guy

     /  July 20, 2011

    Well it has been interesting and sometimes enlighening talking with you Jonas.

    Wish you the best of luck and will continue reading this blog which I do more of less agree with on all issues.

    The only excuse I care to use is that I would rather argue then agree, as a bunch of people getting together to agree on something is just one way to assure your self that what you are saying is true without proof or evidence.

    But you are probably right on many of the things you said in the preceding post about me, at least in some ways.

    Anyways, best of luck. And sorry for bothering you, I thought you enjoyed having your beliefs countered as much as I did (hard to tell details like that over text).

  20. Jonathon – I do not mean to be harsh, provocative or self-centered. I genuinely mean it when I say that you don’t seem like an evil person, but I also genuinely mean it when I say that the things you say are deeply, deeply problematic, often to a very extreme degree, and I don’t have the time or the inclination to argue about them on a level where I feel that reasonable arguments don’t help. I honestly believe that you need to do a lot of serious thinking about how you approach the world.

    The very fact that I’m responding to this should show you that I don’t really enjoy banning people or stopping discussions, but in this case I felt it necessary. I hope that in the course of your reading you will perhaps develop a view of humanity that is slightly more fact-based, and that even though we’re still likely to disagree, we will at some point be able to discuss on a common basis.