Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quotes from Poul Anderson's "The Sensitive Man"

Main post.


  1. "All too often in our history the vote has been simply a matter of choosing between two well-oiled machines. A sufficiently clever and determined group can take over a party, keep the name and the slogans and in a few years do a complete behind-the-scenes volte-face."
  2. "In the twentieth century that social rigidity--in manners, morals, habits of thought--broke down... But at the same time legal control began tightening up again. Government took over more and more functions, taxes got steeper, the individual's life got more and more bound by regulations saying 'thou shalt' and 'thou shalt not.'"
  3. "you miss the universal father-image.

    You want an almighty Church or an almighty State or an almighty anything, a huge misty symbol which demands everything you've got and gives in return only a feeling of belonging. You can't face the truth that man is a lonely creature and that his purpose must come from within himself."
  4. "He [a politician] wants to restore what he calls 'ancestral virtues'...

    These virtues consist of obedience, physical and mental, to 'constituted authority'--of 'dynamism,' which operationally speaking means people ought to jump when he gives an order".
  5. "Facts just are. There's no use passing moral judgments on reality, the only thing you can do is try to change it."
  6. "libertarian government. In the past it's always broken down sooner or later and the main reason has been that there aren't enough people with the intelligence, alertness and toughness to resist the inevitable encroachments of power on liberty."
  7. "freedom is not a 'natural' condition of man. It's a metastable state at best, all too likely to collapse into tyranny. The tyranny can be imposed from outside by the better-organized armies of a conqueror, or it can come from within--through the will of the people themselves, surrendering their rights to the father-image, the almighty leader, the absolute state."