who had nothing to do with it

Quote
Fascist Nations

Shortly after the war of 1914-1918 the first fascist nations 
emerged in Europe In those nations 
the sun rose and set at the usual time shedding light 
on homestead roofs and hills' green slopes Cattle 
mooed gently in cowsheds Mothers kissed 
their children's foreheads to wake them at dawn
                    Fathers returning from work 
with cheerful weariness in their bones smelled 
the smoke from their hearths and after dinner 
fell asleep in armchairs or tinkered intrepidly or 
practiced their music with a passion Children 
played at stickball at hopscotch and hide-and-seek Little girls 
sprouted breasts and overnight 
little girls turned into big girls filled with whisper 
and murmur like trees in the woods and sudden giggles
                                   the sound of which 
made boys' throats go dry On summer evenings 
curtains lit from within showed shadows meeting 
parting and meeting again tenderly Whereas in winter 
lovers inhaled the steam of each other's breath in snowy gardens And 
one might also mention cats arching their backs sparrows 
soaring up above the pavement old women on their porches
                           flowers cut and potted nurses
taking patients' temperatures people sweeping streets 
with brooms One might mention drying
wood wind in a thicket damp furrows in a field And one might also 
call to mind many particulars bearing Witness that

For there were no signs on the sky mournful comets 
burning bushes water turned to blood For 
life went on as always Hence there truly were in those nations 
many ordinary people and good people and people 
who knew nothing and to whom 
it never occurred and who 
didn't consider themselves accessories and who 
had nothing to do with it and who didn't 
even read the papers or read them carelessly caught up 
in thoughts of what they had to get done 
fix the leaking roof get the shoes 
repaired propose have 
a beer mix the paint light a candle and who 
really didn't see the fear in a neighbor's eyes didn't 
hear the trembling in travelers' voices asking the way didn't 
see the difference didn't hear 
an inner voice or if 
they had their doubts there was nothing they could do
                                and they took comfort 
saying At least we 
aren't doing anything wrong we live the way we always did
                                           Which was true

And yet these were 
fascist nations

– Wiktor Woroszylski, “Fascist nations”, 1969, translated by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh

…but the american civil war wasn’t about slavery, right?

Aside

The Declaration of Causes of Seceding States

from civilwar.org, quoted without comments

Georgia

The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic. This hostile policy of our confederates has been pursued with every circumstance of aggravation which could arouse the passions and excite the hatred of our people, and has placed the two sections of the Union for many years past in the condition of virtual civil war. Our people, still attached to the Union from habit and national traditions, and averse to change, hoped that time, reason, and argument would bring, if not redress, at least exemption from further insults, injuries, and dangers. Recent events have fully dissipated all such hopes and demonstrated the necessity of separation.

Our Northern confederates, after a full and calm hearing of all the facts, after a fair warning of our purpose not to submit to the rule of the authors of all these wrongs and injuries, have by a large majority committed the Government of the United States into their hands. The people of Georgia, after an equally full and fair and deliberate hearing of the case, have declared with equal firmness that they shall not rule over them. A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery and the political organization into whose hands the administration of the Federal Government has been committed will fully justify the pronounced verdict of the people of Georgia. The party of Lincoln, called the Republican party, under its present name and organization, is of recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party. While it attracts to itself by its creed the scattered advocates of exploded political heresies, of condemned theories in political economy, the advocates of commercial restrictions, of protection, of special privileges, of waste and corruption in the administration of Government, anti-slavery is its mission and its purpose. By anti-slavery it is made a power in the state. The question of slavery was the great difficulty in the way of the formation of the Constitution.

While the subordination and the political and social inequality of the African race was fully conceded by all, it was plainly apparent that slavery would soon disappear from what are now the non-slave-holding States of the original thirteen. The opposition to slavery was then, as now, general in those States and the Constitution was made with direct reference to that fact. But a distinct abolition party was not formed in the United States for more than half a century after the Government went into operation. The main reason was that the North, even if united, could not control both branches of the Legislature during any portion of that time. Therefore such an organization must have resulted either in utter failure or in the total overthrow of the Government. The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the South not at all. In the first years of the Republic the navigating, commercial, and manufacturing interests of the North began to seek profit and aggrandizement at the expense of the agricultural interests. Even the owners of fishing smacks sought and obtained bounties for pursuing their own business (which yet continue), and $500,000 is now paid them annually out of the Treasury. The navigating interests begged for protection against foreign shipbuilders and against competition in the coasting trade.

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we’re here only for prophet

Aside

Why, all our art treasures of to-day are only the dug-up commonplaces of three or four hundred years ago. I wonder if there is real intrinsic beauty in the old soup-plates, beer-mugs, and candle-snuffers that we prize so now, or if it is only the halo of age glowing around them that gives them their charms in our eyes. The “old blue” that we hang about our walls as ornaments were the common every-day household utensils of a few centuries ago; and the pink shepherds and the yellow shepherdesses that we hand round now for all our friends to gush over, and pretend they understand, were the unvalued mantel-ornaments that the mother of the eighteenth century would have given the baby to suck when he cried.

Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap trifles of the day before? Will rows of our willow-pattern dinner-plates be ranged above the chimneypieces of the great in the years 2000 and odd? Will the white cups with the gold rim and the beautiful gold flower inside (species unknown), that our Sarah Janes now break in sheer light-heartedness of spirit, be carefully mended, and stood upon a bracket, and dusted only by the lady of the house?

That china dog that ornaments the bedroom of my furnished lodgings. It is a white dog. Its eyes blue. Its nose is a delicate red, with spots. Its head is painfully erect, its expression is amiability carried to verge of imbecility. I do not admire it myself. Considered as a work of art, I may say it irritates me. Thoughtless friends jeer at it, and even my landlady herself has no admiration for it, and excuses its presence by the circumstance that her aunt gave it to her.

But in 200 years’ time it is more than probable that that dog will be dug up from somewhere or other, minus its legs, and with its tail broken, and will be sold for old china, and put in a glass cabinet. And people will pass it round, and admire it. They will be struck by the wonderful depth of the colour on the nose, and speculate as to how beautiful the bit of the tail that is lost no doubt was.

We, in this age, do not see the beauty of that dog. We are too familiar with it. It is like the sunset and the stars: we are not awed by their loveliness because they are common to our eyes. So it is with that china dog. In 2288 people will gush over it. The making of such dogs will have become a lost art. Our descendants will wonder how we did it, and say how clever we were. We shall be referred to lovingly as “those grand old artists that flourished in the nineteenth century, and produced those china dogs.”

The “sampler” that the eldest daughter did at school will be spoken of as “tapestry of the Victorian era,” and be almost priceless. The blue-and- white mugs of the present-day roadside inn will be hunted up, all cracked and chipped, and sold for their weight in gold, and rich people will use them for claret cups; and travellers from Japan will buy up all the “Presents from Ramsgate,” and “Souvenirs of Margate,” that may have escaped destruction, and take them back to Jedo as ancient English curios.
— Jerome in “Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)”

totally unrelated

Aside

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
— Douglas Adams

those damn leftists

Aside

Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters.