| S.J. Pedde
Quotable snippets from writings of Siegfried Julius Pedde
Sometimes, I get a very rewarding mental glow when I feel that I have nailed an idea, simply yet eloquently, in a way that might help others understand a universal concept or a petty frustration of mine a little better. I’m no Mencken, but if any quote of mine, taken from various things I have written, is useful in any way for others to sharpen a point of their own or to dull an opposing argument, then please, feel free to quote me at will. Don’t forget to give credit where credit is due. At 58, I’m slowly, steadily going downhill and am increasingly concerned about the little things in life, like leaving a legacy. Maybe, somewhere long after I’m gone, someone will see a quote somewhere by Siegfried Julius Pedde and say “Boy, there sure are a lot of letters in that guy’s name.”
So: Here are some quotes that I have culled from many of my rants elsewhere on this website.
Totalitarianism is totalitarianism. The only difference between Communism and Fascism is the rhetoric. The net, practical result of each political/philosophical system to the populace is a complete lack of respect for the individual and the freedom to do what you wish, when you wish, with whom you wish, under circumstances that you alone control.
Governments are a bunch of people bossing us around, spending way too much of our money and interfering in virtually every aspect of our lives.
Think. Don’t accept anything at face value. Research, probe, analyze. When you then draw your own conclusions, at least it will be because you had all the facts, not because someone said it was so or because someone else said it wasn’t so.
It is a widely accepted notion that sacrificing one’s own interests for the ‘greater good’ is noble and even heroic. In keeping with this thinking, those who lived because you died would say, if they thought about your sacrifice at all: “He was a hero. He saved the world. What a noble, selfless thing to do.” Then they would go back to watching television.
All individual men and women, whether their predilection is towards good or evil, industriousness or sloth, whether accepting or rejecting individual responsibility, appear collectively, by some mysterious force, to do everything possible to crush the individual human spirit.
Yes, there are stupid people. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is another one of those things that we have no control over and have to accept. Stupidity is not a choice. It simply means ‘slow to learn.’ Slow learners are usually born that way and can’t help being what they are. So let’s not dwell on them, because they aren’t the problem. Let’s talk about ignorant people instead. ‘Ignorant’ is such a misused word that I feel I have to point out that all it means is ‘lacking education or knowledge.’ That, unlike stupidity, is not an affliction. Rather, it is a condition that something can be done to rectify.
Knowledge is not only important to develop and maintain the skills that you need to earn your daily bread or to pass tests at school. Knowledge provides context. In order to see where the human race is going, you need to know where it has been. Before you suggest that something should be mandated or outlawed, you should know whether it has been tried before and what the outcome was. As the adage goes: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
If we all minded our own business, treated others kindly, stopped trying to steal from one group to satisfy another, celebrated our similarities rather than exaggerated our differences, then the world would be a much better place. Wouldn’t it?
We are increasingly becoming a nation of whiners. And we’re not alone. The better the quality of life in the more prosperous countries, the more people have materially, the more potential for success there is, the more whining there is. As Gilda Radner (a comedienne who actually did have real things to complain about) often said: “It’s always something.” And that is the way that things seem to be. If we don’t have anything real to complain about, we’ll invent something.
There is this notion, in too many of us, that we have a ‘right’ to certain things. Free health care, free day care, free prescriptions, free education, free just-about-everything. But these things are not and cannot be free. Someone, somewhere, pays for them.
The problem, as I see it, is that there is a need in many people to pull everything and everyone down to the lowest common denominator. Don’t like the dichotomy of rich and poor? Instead of working hard to become successful financially, let’s simply take as much as possible away from the rich. Don’t like the fact that some people are smarter than others? Do away with tests and comparative marking systems. Upset because some of us have better jobs than others? Blame it on racial discrimination or sexism.
Actually, I do think that political philosophy has value. It gives us context necessary for comparing varying political and socio-economic systems. It is sometimes easier to value the presence of something featured in one system by being reminded of its absence in another. I’m just annoyed that it is increasingly difficult to define one’s position. Terminology, nomenclature, rhetoric is seemingly even more elastic in matters political than anywhere else.
Politicians obfuscate. It gets them re-elected. If no-one can understand what is going on, then the perception is that we need someone to guide us through the fog. Many people want to be led. A few people even think that they need to be led.
Bureaucrats complicate. It gives them more work to do. It gives them job security. It means promotions as ever more bureaucrats are added to the Ministry of Redundancy.
The terms anarchism and anarchy typically evoke in all variety of statists a vision of hell on earth. How could we function, after all, without a government telling us what to do or not to do. Impossible! Is it really impossible? I think not. I would rather live in a nation completely without government than in one where every action is controlled, monitored, taxed.
True laissez-faire capitalism can only exist in a free society with property rights recognized as a natural extension of the rights to life and liberty. I don’t know of any place in the world where there is true capitalism. Canada and the United States have statist variants of capitalism where businesses are rewarded or punished according to the mood of the electorate.
Overweight? Blame McDonald’s and sue them for millions, so you can sit on your fat ass and cry in the beer that you buy with the money that the courts will extort from McDonald’s on your behalf.
The general public’s approach towards business is much like a sick marriage or love affair where one party sucks the life out of the other, one indignity at a time, while professing everlasting love and devotion.
Want to see what capitalism can really do? Get rid of every corporate subsidy. They merely serve to protect some businesses at the expense of others. Get rid of every useless regulation and all predatory fees and taxes. The economy will boom and there will be full employment for everyone who wants to work. Best of all, everyone will be too busy enjoying their wealth to meddle in the affairs of the rest of us.
Modern liberals rarely believe in individual responsibility. In their eyes, students fail because of poor teachers. Employees fail to advance because their bosses discriminate against blacks, gays or women. The thought that anything that might happen to them might be their own fault is something that wouldn’t occur to a liberal. No, the system is always at fault and only the government can fix it, preferably by taxing the ‘rich’ and spending many, many millions or billions on the ‘problem.’ Decades later, the problem might still there, but liberals would believe that it is only because enough money wasn’t spent.
The majority is always right. Right? I don’t think so. Democracy is the worst possible form of government, except for all the others. Just so I am crystal clear on this matter, I think that democratic government ultimately sows the seeds of its own deterioration and ultimate destruction. The majority keeps on voting itself more and more perks at the expense of the taxpayer and attempts to legislate everyone’s behaviour until we all form a nice, homogenous, featureless, tasteless human soup. The only thing that democracy has going for it is that every other political system is worse.
The right to life simply means that no-one else has the right to kill you. It doesn’t mean that everyone else has to support you, entertain you, educate your children, and give you a place to live. You have the guaranteed right to life and the security of
your person until or unless you do something to threaten someone else’s similar rights.
The right to liberty simply means that no-one has the right to detain you, to force you to do things you don’t wish to do, to keep you from doing things you want to do, or to restrain you from speaking freely or assembling with others. It doesn’t mean that you can escape responsibility or consequence if you have caused harm to others.
The right to pursue happiness is your guarantee that no-one can reasonably interfere with you as you go about your life unless, and this is very important, your actions interfere with the similar rights of others.
Violations against the individual abound, world-wide. That is no surprise. Many cultures and, more recently, political ideologies, place little value on individuals. Collective ‘group-think’ is pervasive. Individuals are expendable and are often seen to be little more than convenient sacrifices on the altar of collectivism and any of many tyrannical political systems.
Hand-wringing and self-recrimination don’t cut it. If you know, in your heart, that you have always done your best, that you have behaved in a responsible, considerate fashion, why spend your precious time beating yourself up? There are plenty of others who will do that for you. And do you know how much time you should spend worrying about the malcontents and their vitriol? None. That is not to say that you should turn your back on others, even if they have hurt or disappointed you. I am simply saying that rarely is anyone solely responsible for any unhappy situation. Usually several people share the blame. Accept whatever responsibility you share for the situation, deal with it, then move on.
The zeal to right various wrongs goes astray when some people purport to know what is right for everyone else and then set about creating policy or rules to enforce their own particular prejudices.
Many people mock fundamental Christians. At the same time, they themselves are faithful (read rabid) communists, liberals or even Objectivists. To them, Karl Marx or Bill Clinton or Ayn Rand become demigods. Every utterance is accepted as gospel. Critical, independent thought vanishes. So, tell me, how is this different from the way Christians act? Human beings, it seems to me, have an inexplicable compulsion to be led around by the nose.
Be tolerant of others, their customs, their beliefs, their religious convictions. If you are going to rail and crusade against anything, pick intolerance and ignorance. You will have your work cut out for you.
Taking on “the system” might be less daunting and frustrating than trying to change the behaviour and resultant poor performance of one’s children in that same system. You know, blame the teacher, blame the principal, blame the school board, blame the government, anything but come to grips with the fact that your child has behavioural and/or learning problems.
Any property of the parents belongs to the parents. The kids had little or nothing to do with the acquisition of any assets and have no more ‘right’ to anything than would the postman or the garbage man. You would be surprised to discover how many times parents have slaved away for years, scrimping and saving, making every sacrifice so that their children could live a better life than they did, then die and leave a fortune behind for the kids to squander. All the things that the parents felt they couldn’t afford suddenly appear, but in bigger and better versions, in the homes and driveways of the children.
If you accept responsibility for problems, you will be respected. If you blame others for problems or hide from responsibility, you will be scorned.
Each individual and the way that he or she transacts business with you will colour the way that you perceive the employing company. Good service, smiling face, pleasant voice: good impression. Poor service, frowning face, snarly voice: bad impression. After any commercial transaction, we don’t care that the employee was in a good mood because she just got a bonus or that he was in a bad mood because he had an argument with his wife that morning. We just care whether we were treated well or not. Any lingering aftertaste, good or bad, is of the company, not the individual.