But human beings are not machines, and however powerful the pressure to conform, they sometimes are so moved by what they see as injustice that they dare to declare their independence. In that historical possibility lies hope.
The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
Before God and high heaven, is there a law for one man which is not a law for every other man?
Education becomes most rich and alive when it confronts the reality of moral conflict in the world.
That chain of relationships made me think of how connections are made–you read a book, you meet a person, you have a single experience, and your life is changed in some way. No act, therefore, however small, should be dismissed or ignored.
Pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy it reproduces itself by crippling our willingness to act.
There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?
We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children
Politics is pointless if it does nothing to enhance the beauty of our lives.
How can you have a war on terrorism while war itself is terrorism!
History is important. If you don’t know history it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.
But by this time I was acutely conscious of the gap between law and justice. I knew that the letter of the law was not as important as who held the power in any real-life situation.
Control in modern times requires more than force, more than law. It requires that a population dangerously concentrated in cities and factories, whose lives are filled with cause for rebellion, be taught that all is right as it is.
Slavery was immensely profitable to some masters. James Madison told a British visitor shortly after the American Revolution that he could make 257 dollars on every (black slave) in a year, and spend only 12 or 13 dollars on his keep.
There has always been, and there is now, a profound conflict of interest between the people and the government of the United States.
Perhaps the most important thing I learned was about democracy, that democracy is not our government, our constitution, our legal structure. Too often they are enemies of democracy.
We must recognize that we cannot depend on the governments of the world to abolish war because they and the economic interests they represent benefit from war.
The cry of the poor is is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.
So long as atrocities remain remote, abstract, they will be tolerated, even by decent people.
They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.
Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can quietly become a power no government can suppress, a power than can transform the world.
But I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is… to tell the truth.
I didn’t want to spent a lot of close time with someone who believed that fun is a bourgeois indulgence.
We need to expose the motives of our political leaders, point out their connections to corporate power, show how huge profits are being made out of death and suffering.
One certain effect of war is to diminish freedom of expression.
In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli.