Monday, November 22, 2004


I came accross these quotes looking for something else and I may as well put them here so that I have them archived.

The noble rhetorician,

"The rhetorician seeks to move men. It is reasonable, therefore, to judge his effectiveness by ascertaining whether he has moved any and, if so, how many. But it is precisely this seemingly incontrovertible logic that we must now scrutinize. The base rhetorician seeks to move men toward evil; since it seems to be the nature of man that he wants to go to hell as quickly as possible, it is not surprising that effective base rhetoricians can greatly accelerate this process for millions, and tens or even hundreds of millions of per sons. Marx, Lenin, and Hitler were indeed successful in influencing great multitudes. This is precisely why we consider them eminent rhetoricians, base to be sure, but brilliant. After all, many individuals try to drive men into slavery, as if they were cattle; but only a few succeed. These we hail as “great historical figures.” I submit that we cannot judge the noble rhetorician by this standard. Since he urges men to be better than they are, the noble rhetorician cannot possibly succeed in changing those who prefer to remain as they are or become evil. Indeed, because his task is to bring men to them selves, not to him, the noble rhetorician ought not to be judged by his manifest effect on others at all. Rather, he ought to be judged by the clarity and steadfastness with which he proclaims his counsel. Should not a single person heed his advice, the noble rhetorician would still have to be judged successful in proportion as he succeeds in per fecting his own soul by perfecting his own language. So judged, Kraus’s success is as imposing as that of his ad versaries whom he so “unsuccessfilly” opposed. For, in the final analysis, what Karl Kraus sought was to purify him self by purifying his own language. He achieved his goal. He died a semantic saint in a semantically satanic society."
By Thomas Szasz :56-57)

Later, a young man speaks forth the Truth,
'What is important, what brings together all these questions,' Yorck replied, 'is the totalitarian claim of the State on the individual which forces him to renounce his moral and religious obligations to God.' 'Nonsense!' cried Freisler, and he cut off the young man. [Nazi judges never have liked a word that is like a curse to them, "God."]

....punishment was meted out as soon as the trial had ended on August 8.

....Goebbels is said to have kept himself from fainting by holding his hands over his eyes."
(The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
By William L. Shirer. (Simon and Schuster) 1990 :240)

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