January 10th, 2013

A quote to note

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
— C.S. Lewis

29 Responses to “A quote to note”

  1. George Pal Says:

    Oh let’s pile on.

    A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.

    – Cicero

  2. holmes Says:

    A brilliantly succinct quote from one of the more brilliant thinkers of our time.

  3. rickl Says:

    Heh. This is from the current top post at Ace of Spades:

    Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favor, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude.

  4. T Says:

    And such is the justification for a more forthright and pervasive conservative presence in the media. The leftist culture is an enabler of the leftist conscience. Not only are they “omnipotent moral busybodies,” but the left is celebrated for being so.

  5. Richard Says:

    Have used the Lewis quote for years. Falls on deaf ears mostly, of course, as does one of my other favorites from Tolkien:

    “It needs but one foe to breed a war, and those who have not swords can still die upon them.”

  6. DerHahn Says:

    The Heinlein quote that Insty pulls out ever so often is a keeper as well.

    Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
    This is known as “bad luck.”

    And I have no doubt that it goes whistling through the ears of the people that need to hear it the most.

  7. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Dictatorship of the bureaucracy: imposed for our own good, run by our superiors who master over us for our own good, popularized for our benefit so that we never have to question anything it does, there to end any worries about failure, misfortune or anything else except enjoying ourselves, how prefect.

    Orwell left something out when he said the future will consist of a boot on our face forever. The boot will consist of one long wait in line, forever.

  8. progressoverpeace Says:

    As good as Lewis’ quote is (to start, at least) the fact is that the “robber barons” built the modern industrial state and made more resources available to more people at lower cost than anyone else in history had done before.

    Of course, Lewis’ point about the self-annointed moral superiors thinking themselves “naturally” responsible to control the actions of all individuals in accordance with their own personal desires and never resting in this holier-than-thou crusade to crush individualism or feeling the least pang of guilt for their tyranny is nearly a tautology.

  9. Sam L. Says:

    They KNOW it’s for our own good, and they get so ANGRY when we tell them no.

  10. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.” Thomas Jefferson

    “There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want, merely because you think it would be good for him.” — Robert Anson Heinlein

    “if you’re going to try to make the entire cosmos [life] right and just, somebody has got to have an awful lot of power to impose what they think is right on an awful lot of other people. What we’ve seen, particularly in the 20th century, is that putting that much power in anyone’s hands is enormously dangerous.” Thomas Sowell

    As millions realize, the left is and has been using the gullible naivete of liberals to gradually undermine both the Constitution and the very societal infrastructure of American civilization. A process that arguably passed its ‘tipping point’ in America with the election of BHO in 2008 and undeniably was reflected in the election of 2012.

    Which begs the question; at what point does zealotry become despotism?

    Arguably, there are any number of lines where that transformation could be argued to occur but unilateral abrogation by the President of basic Constitutional guarantees certainly qualifies.

    Should Obama issue an executive order that unilaterally ‘vacates’ the second amendment, which states that “the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed” [infringe: to actively break the terms of a law. To act so as to limit, undermine or encroach upon] Obama and his administration shall have crossed the line from zealotry to despotism. At that point, any who support him will be complicit in his crimes.

    “So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.” George Orwell

  11. Mary in OH Says:

    Sadly, no one figures this out until it is too late. Most cannot see the train coming, but try to cross the intersection anyway.

  12. parker Says:

    “Should Obama issue an executive order that unilaterally ‘vacates’ the second amendment…”

    Oh, I have no doubt BHO would gleefully burn the Constitution during an MSM interview to the fawning applause of Chris Matthews, but he is not so stupid to think he could get away with such an order. We’ve seen this before. Like Clinton, he will issue an EO banning ‘assault’ rifle imports and banning the manufacture of certain magazines. He’ll pretend this is somehow meaningful and urge congress to pass sweeping new gun control, but that is not going to happen. Its all kabuki except the actors are not wearing masks.

    No, BHO needs something really big and horrendous to assume the mantel of supreme dictator. A few dirty-nukes in a few major cities would work quite well. That is the crisis of his dreams. The Single Integrated Operational Plan (amended many times) has been with us since the Cold War and BHO would love to implement it.

  13. waltj Says:

    Since we’re doing quotes today, here’s another one: “Those who beat their swords into plowshares and turned their spears into pruning hooks will be forced to grow crops and tend orchards for those who didn’t”.

    Not sure who said it, but it has a certain relevance in the ongoing gun debate.

  14. n.n Says:

    Subversion from within is the most insidious, which is presumably why treason (or betrayal) is considered to be the highest crime.

    As for morality, consider that today people believe that denigration of individual dignity represents justice; that redistributive or retributive change is anything but corruptive; that elective abortion is not only tolerable but a woman’s right; indeed, that reality is a selective phenomenon. Is it possible to successfully protest an ambiguous concept (e.g. progress)?

    On a specific note:

    “For God’s Sake, Please Stop the Aid!”
    (via Free Enterprise Is Coming to Africa)

    It is dissociation of risk which causes corruption. It is dreams of instant (or immediate) gratification which motivates its progress. The price of “good intentions” without rehabilitation (self-esteem without merit, etc.) is high.

  15. SteveH Says:

    Omnipotent moral busybodies is a perfect description of what the modern progressive has morphed into. Yet we still call them liberal for some odd reason. There’s nothing liberal about them.

    Progressive is to the American culture what Naziism was to the German culture. They both insist on righting past wrongs to build a fair and just world, and plan on doing it with an all powerful state in the hands of ruthless believers in the cause.

  16. Rich Says:

    I don’t remember the exact quote, so I’m paraphrasing; but here’s another one from Heinlein:

    question: In a lifeboat full of shipwrecked men, which one is the Captain ?

    answer: The Captain is the one with the gun.

  17. LisaM Says:

    Reading this years ago was the singular event that turned me pro-gun. I’ve never been able to find it again, so I can’t give credit to the source, but it was written by an ancient Roman. “A democracy can only survive while the citizen’s sword is mightier than the senator’s.”

  18. Sharon W Says:

    Lisa…I believe that was Plato. He despised political speech because of it’s manipulative nature. He stated no democracy can survive unless the citizenry remains armed.

  19. Rose Says:

    In deference to C.S.Lewis, let’s revisit an oldie but goodie:The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

    The Ayatollah’s declared mission was to serve mankind on behalf of Allah.The old man was never accused of personal corruption. He was never wealthy and was not a womanizer. He was a teacher with the heart of gold!.Khomeini,unlike Ali Khamene’i the supreme leader in today’s Iran, was a source of emulation(marj’a e taqleed) too, thus uniquely qualified to interpret the laws of God aka Shari’a.He knew best.He was going to save humanity’s soul even if he had to kill everyone in order to do so.
    In answer to the question why in exile (in Paris) he preached freedom, democracy, moderation, rule of law, gender equality… but once in charge,it was all about kill!, gag!, torture!, misogyny!?. He said while in exile “Xod’a kardam”. I had my fingers crossed ( but did it so you’ll give me a chance to serve you).

    How did he serve Iranians? In a fatwa he advised: “All (Iranians) who have sinned (and I don’t know who they are) voluntarily go to your local Islamic revolutionary committees ,confess your sin(s), then wait your turn to be executed!. This is done for your own good because if you stay alive, you’ll continue to commit more sins adding more fuel to your fiery torment in the hereafter!. But if you give us a chance to kill you, your sinning ways come to a halt!. Less sin here means less torment hereafter”.
    I’m not kidding folks.Thousands of Iranians were summarily executed with no trials and no accountability. At the time,Khomeini put in charge of trials and executions of sinners, a ghoulish but pious Muslim priest named Khalkhali known to American press as Judge Blood. “Don’t you fear wrath of Allah, executing people (already in custody) who might be innocent of charges?” the Judge Blood was asked. “No” came the reply. “If killed while innocent,unlike the rest of humanity, they don’t have to wait for judgment day to arrive. Allah will dispatch them to heaven in an instant to enjoy the company of the rest of innocent souls there. But if guilty, then they got what they deserved. Allah knows best”.

  20. T Says:

    “Allah knows best”

    Starring Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Elinor Donahue,Billy Gray and Lauren Chapin

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

  21. Sharon W Says:

    My contributions:

    Thomas Jefferson:
    A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.

    So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.

    Ronald Reagan:
    “Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business, frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by a self-anointed elite.”

  22. Sharon W Says:

    Another gem from Cicero:

    “Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions. … Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the ‘new, wonderful good society’ which shall now be Rome’s, interpreted to mean ‘more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.’”

    I personally have placed blame on the 53% since 2008.

  23. Artfldgr Says:

    I Got 15 Kids & 3 Babydaddys-SOMEONE’S GOTTA PAY FOR ME & MY KIDS!!!

    My wife n i are being forced to be barren for this???
    Why must my family be exterminated?????


  24. Artfldgr Says:

    i have been recommending shikawati for years, and if you search you probably will find a comment from long time ago, as that is an old article by him.

    few read recommendations..

    just think of the work they would have to do to now reinvent all their ideas to adjust to the readings information and better facts and principals..

    just think of all that effort they save by not doing that, and just plowing forward with whatever regardless of that other, safe in the knowledge that the audience wont read it either..

    oh well..

  25. NeoConScum Says:

    Amen, C.S.Lewis!! A-FREAKING-MEN!!

    Useful Idiots for the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro & Uncle Ho. Those mass murdering lefty Heavy Hitters never ever thought in terms of “Gooood” or “Greater Gooooood”, but they LOVED to use those airheads who did. Oh, and then they’d kill them.

    I have NEVER feared for my country as I do now.

  26. n.n Says:


    We are destined to repeat history. It seems to be an inevitable outcome. The only knowledge we lack is the period of the cycle, which, like many other physical phenomenon, can be described as a chaotic behavior, bounded but otherwise random.

    Oh, well. We are neither God nor mortal gods. Our knowledge and skill are strictly limited. As is, apparently, our ability to self-moderate our behavior.

  27. n.n Says:


    Still, we fight the good fight. At least if we believe that life is more than utilitarian, individual lives have an intrinsic value, and that an optimal balance can be negotiated.

  28. Wry Mouth Says:

    see also Lewis’ observation about Man’s Conquest of Nature. heh.

  29. Wry Mouth Says:

    “what we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument. ”

    From the Abolition of Man

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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