Author Archives: David

The Source of All Evil

“IF I had only one sermon to preach, it would be a sermon against Pride. The more I see of existence, and especially of modern practical and experimental existence, the more I am convinced of the reality of the old religious thesis; that all evil began with some attempt at superiority; some moment when, as we might say, the very skies were cracked across like a mirror, because there was a sneer in Heaven.” — G.K. Chesterton: If I Had Only One Sermon To Preach

Turning and Turning

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

— William Butler Yeats, 1919

Useful History

“A great deal of false history was written, by people who never strayed north of London, about working-class hardship in those parts. Yes, there was plenty, but what we get from the entrepreneurs of socialism is twisted to their agitprop needs. Rewriting the history, to make it more true, makes another nice hobby; and in the course of it we discover that the ugliest of the capitalists often did less damage than the philanthropists.” — David Warren

Critics

A “critic” is a person who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative people. There is logic in this; he is unbiased — he hates all creative people equally. — Robert A. Heinlein

Incompatibility

“IF Americans can be divorced for ‘incompatibility of temper,’ I cannot conceive why they are not all divorced. I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.” — G.K. Chesterton: What’s Wrong with the World.

Little Things

Quod minimum, minimum est,
Sed in minimo fidelem esse,
magnum est.

What is a little thing, is (just) a little thing,
But to be faithful in a little thing,
is a great thing. — St. Thomas Aquinas De Doctrina Christiana, IV,35

The Exterminator

“If you’ve got an infestation of rats, you call the guy to come in,” she says.
“You don’t care if his crack’s showing. You don’t care if he’s swearing.
“You don’t care if he’s got tobacco-stained teeth. You want the rats taken out.” — from BBC’s take on why Michigan flipped for Trump in 2016.

Falling Out

“The hard part isn’t coming up with a new idea.
“The hard part is falling out of love with the old idea.
“That’s why editing work is so difficult. In order to make the new thing, to make the old thing better, you need to destroy it first.
“Situation switching, acting as if, loving the idea enough to sketch it out and then caring enough to stop loving it… that’s where the tension often lies.” — Seth Godin

Politics

“A state cannot be constituted from any chance body of persons, or in any chance period of time. Most of the states which have admitted persons of another stock, either at the time of their foundation or later, have been troubled by sedition.” — Aristotle, Politics