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July 04, 2007

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Beautiful. Here's my quote for the day:

Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change the world which yields most painfully to change. Aristotle tells us "At the Olympic Games it is not the finest or the strongest men who are crowned, but those who enter the lists. ... So too in the life of the honorable and the good it is they who act rightly who win the prize." I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the world. --Robert F. Kennedy

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Happy 4th to all!

Since this is a open thread sort of vibe here, I'd like to tell everyone that I've got some MySQL problems with the Taking it Outside site. It looks like I'm going to have to back up the old site, reinstall word press and then make a link to an archive of the old site, because there is some major funkiness. This thread describes the same problem I'm having and suggests it is in the MySQL table structure or the charset. Unfortunately, it is the end of the term here and I will be headed to Leicester with students and then to the states at the end of the month, so I'm not sure if I will be able to get things up and running until I get back, though I hope to try when I get settled at my folk's house.

Excellent choice, and a speech that seems remarkably prescient.

what a genius. even in the opening phrases. look at this:

"In the great journal of things happening under the sun..."

you can't hear that phrase without being reminded that "nothing new happens under the sun". Immediately the perspective of eternity is invoked, the wry detachment of experience, the resistance to transient enthusiasms.
Nations have come and gone before; generations have been born and died; speeches have been written, read, and forgotten. We already know what every entry in the "great journal" says: it reads, identically, "nihil novum sub sole".

This refusal to be impressed, this weary invocation of repeated human folly, is the perfect frame for Lincoln's real point: the quiet insistence that, perhaps, just possibly, something unprecedented has occurred in the United States, and that this new, unprecedented occurrence resides not so much in the extent of acreage or the fertility of the soil, as in its novel form of government: the Constitution.

The creation and maintenance of this novel method for organizing human life brings us finally to something of lasting significance, something to make even the indifferent sun pause and take notice. Indeed, the birth of this Constitution ranks right beside the birth of our Saviour in historical significance: that's the claim made by saying that tales of the Revolution will be read as long as the bible is read. It is an extraordinary thing to say.

And now the adage nihil novum sub sole comes back to play a more ominous role. For Lincoln's other point is that there is nothing magically self-sustaining about the Constitution. This extraordinary, world-historical anomaly, this exception and deliverance from the bonds of solar cynicism, can be lost by ordinary indifference and unexceptional vice.

Tyranny, greed, and the lust for power have been the historical condition of our species, and continue to act as constant forces of gravity to pull us down again. If we fail our Constitution and commit political suicide, the brave experiment will have failed, and the sun will have the last laugh.

We have a duty, today, to see that our Constitution is revered and upheld. We have a duty to see that violations of the Constitution are checked with Constitutional remedies.

Thank you, Count Cant.

Thanks, after Libby and everything else, I needed that.

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