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Monthly Quote

About Earl

Earl Killian My name is Earl Killian. This is my personal web page. I like to read (history, politics, fiction, science, science fiction), and these pages contain pointers to a few books I recommend and pointers to interesting things on the web. I like to muse on the way things should be and these pages include some of my thoughts and ideas. I am vegan and a supporter of animal rights, and these pages include a few quotes and pointers on these subjects. I have a strong interest in technology and public policy that will eliminate the world’s greenhouse pollution. I have three battery-only powered electric vehicles (a Nissan Leaf, a and a Tesla Model S 85, and a Tesla Model S 75D, and these pages have some EV analysis. (Sadly, I no longer have the Solectria Force.) I do not currently have a fossil car. I once built a solar (passive solar heating plus PV), straw bale home, but I no longer live there. I currently live in Los Altos. My current home has three solar systems (PV, domestic hot water, and pool) and a heating/cooling retrofit. Finally, my politics, values, and essays here reflect my interest and appreciation for non-violence and pacifism.

The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect upon any organization, despite any association I might have.

Monthly Quote

Quote for July:

However, we must note some ironies here, due to the nature of political rhetoric as a secular variant of prayer. Imagine that you, as President, were about to put through Congress some measure that would strongly alienate some highly influential class. What would be the most natural way for you to present this matter to the public? Would you not try, as far as is stylistically possible, to soften the effects of the blow? You would try to be as reassuring as possible. Thus you might say: “Really, the proposed measure is not so drastic as it seems. Those men who are so afraid of it should look at things more calmly, and they’ll underdstand how it will actually benefit them in the end. It is really a measure of partial control, done for their own good.” And the more drastic the measure in actuality, the more natural it would be for the politician to present it in a way that would allay fears and resentment.

Imagine, on the other hand, that the public had been clamoring for such a measure, but you as President did not want to be so drastic. In fact, if the measure did what the public wanted it to do, it would alienate some very influential backers of your party. In this case, you would try to put through a more moderate measure—but you would make up the difference stylistically by thundering about its startling scope. One could hardly call this hypocrisy; it is the normally prayerful use of language, to sharpen up the pointless and blunt the too sharply pointed.

— Kenneth Burke, A Grammar of Motives, Part Three, Section 1, Political Rhetoric as Secular Prayer

About Earl


Sub-content: 2019-07-17 23:22:26


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