Philosophy, July 24th

“Our lives are much too brief . . . If a man is cruel by nature, cruel in action, the mortal world will call down curses on his head while he is alive, and all will mock his memory after death. But then if a man is kind by nature, kind in action, his guests will carry his fame across the earth and people all will praise him from the heart.” – Homer, The Odyssey

“From Smith’s principle that labor is the true measure of price – or, as Warren phrased it, that cost is the proper limit of price – these three men made the following deductions: that the natural wage of labor is its product; that this wage, or product, is the only just source of income (leaving out, of course, gift, inheritance, etc.); that all who derive income from any other source abstract it directly or indirectly from the natural and just wage of labor; that this abstracting process generally takes one of three forms – interest, rent, and profit; that these three constitute the trinity of usury, and are simply different methods of levying tribute for the use of capital; that, capital being simply stored-up labor which has already received its pay in full, its use ought to be gratuitous, on the principle that labor is the only basis of price; that the lender of capital is entitled to its return intact, and nothing more; that the only reason why the banker, the stockholder, the landlord, the manufacturer, and the merchant are able to exact usury from labor lies in the fact that they are backed by legal privilege, or monopoly; and that the only way to secure to labor the enjoyment of its entire product, or natural wage, is to strike down monopoly.” – Benjamin Tucker, Instead of a Book

“When each point advanced is denied by the adversary, discussion with him becomes impossible, but such people stand outside the pale of humanity and have to be educated. But for him who denies an evident truth, because of a difficulty which presents itself to him there is a remedy, i.e. the solution of this difficulty. He who does not understand evident truth, because he is lacking in intelligence, cannot be taught anything, nor can he be educated. It is like trying to make the blind imagine colors or know their existence.” – Averroes, The Incoherence of the Incoherence

“The factory system’s tremendous capacity for expanding with sudden immense leaps, and its dependence on the world market, necessarily give rise to the following cycle: feverish production, a consequent glut on the market, then a contraction of the market, which causes production to be crippled. The life of industry becomes a series of periods of moderate activity, prosperity, over-production, crisis, and stagnation. The uncertainty and instability to which machinery subjects the employment, and consequently the living conditions, of the workers becomes a normal, owing to these periodic turns of the industrial cycle. Except in the periods of prosperity, a most furious combat rages between the capitalists for their individual share in the market. This share is directly proportional to the cheapness of the product. Apart from the rivalry this struggle gives rise to in the use of improved machinery for replacing labor-power, and the introduction of new methods of production, there also comes a time in every industrial cycle when a forcible reduction of wages beneath the value of labor-power is attempted to cheapen commodities.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“He who tries to compare heavenly with earthly existence and believes that the Agent of the divine world acts in the way in which an agent in this sublunary world works, is utterly thoughtless, profoundly mistaken, and in complete error.” – Averroes, The Incoherence of the Incoherence

“The capitalist mode of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of production, produces capitalist private property. This is the first negation of individual private property, as founded on the labor of the proprietor. But capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation. It is the negation of negation. This does not re-establish private property for the producer but gives him individual property based on the acquisition of the capitalist era: i.e., on cooperation and the possession in common of the land and of the means of production.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“In a thoroughly brutal way about 10 years after Ortes, the Church of England parson, Townsend, glorified misery as a necessary condition of wealth. “Legal constraint (to labor) is attended with too much trouble, violence, and noise, whereas hunger is not only a peaceable, silent, unremitted pressure, but as the most natural motive to industry and labor, it calls forth the most powerful exertions.” Everything therefore depends upon making hunger permanent among the working class, and for this, according to Townsend, the principle of population, especially active among the poor, provides. “It seems to be a law of Nature that the poor should be to a certain degree improvident” [i.e., so improvident as to be born without a silver spoon in the mouth], “that there may always be some to fulfil the most servile, the most sordid, and the most ignoble offices in the community. The stock of human happiness is thereby much increased, whilst the more delicate are not only relieved from drudgery … but are left at liberty without interruption to pursue those callings which are suited to their various dispositions … it” [the Poor Law] “tends to destroy the harmony and beauty, the symmetry and order of that system which God and Nature have established in the world.” [27] If the Venetian monk found in the fatal destiny that makes misery eternal, the raison d’etre of Christian charity, celibacy, monasteries and holy houses, the Protestant prebendary finds in it a pretext for condemning the laws in virtue of which the poor possessed a right to a miserable public relief.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“To us materialists and Revolutionary Socialists, there is nothing astonishing or terrifying in this historical phenomenon. Strong in our conscience, in our love of truth at all hazards, in that passion for logic which of itself alone constitutes a great power and outside of which there is no thought; strong in our passion for justice and in our unshakable faith in the triumph of humanity over all theoretical and practical bestialities; strong, finally, in the mutual confidence and support given each other by the few who share our convictions – we resign ourselves to all the consequences of this historical phenomenon, in which we see the manifestation of a social law as natural, as necessary, and as invariable as all the other laws which govern the world.” – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

“Sir, I am a quiet, meek, peaceable man, and can digest any injury, be it never so hard; for, I have a wife and small children to maintain and bring up: wherefore, let me also apprize, (though’ I cannot lay my commands upon your worship) that I will in no shape whatever, use my sword against either knight or knave; and that henceforward, in the fight of God, I forgive all injuries, past, present, or to come, which I have already received, at this present time suffer, or may hereafter undergo, from any person whatsoever, high or low, rich or poor, gentle or simple, without exception to rank or circumstance.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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