That’s a quote from Robert Heinlein. Here’s another, ’Never try to out stubborn a cat.’ That was from his book ‘Time enough for love.’ Interesting book that, with its views of living almost for ever and other somewhat challenging ideas for that time as well as ours. So it goes… (You need to know about the Tralfamadorians to understand that last bit – plus, it’s me being a bit of a smart arse.)
Anyway, to continue, I’ve read many of his books and feel they are unique, a bit disquieting in some cases, but always original, I like original. He also wrote:
‘Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms…but a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.’
This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his / her strength…’ Robert A. Heinlein ‘Friday’
Written in 1982, a wee while ago methinks, eh?
Let’s bring it up to date a tad. Regarding sick cultures and a dying culture. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners… Bad manners, lack of consideration for others in minor matters… Anyone, any leader of a country (plural) come to mind? I thought so. Me too.
Currently we have the 45th incumbent in the White House facing impeachment. In the UK we have the 77th Prime Minister of the UK voted in by 92,153 members of his party, no-one else, just his party. The latter isn’t doing so well is he? He’s losing vote after vote and has been unanimously excoriated by all eleven judges of the highest court in the land regarding his proroguing of Parliament. No matter what, he continues to go his own way, ignoring the normal standards of political discourse. With both of these ‘leaders’ it’s about them, and only about them. Their language inflames rather than leads.
Bad manners, loss of politeness.
The misuse of words such as surrender, or enemy rather than opponent.
As I wrote in a blog in January 2018, ‘Interesting word, enemy. Having been in the military, the word invariably means someone we have to dehumanise since we may have to kill them. Those who disagree with me are not my enemy, they are my opponent, a different thing entirely. I don’t want to kill my opponents. I don’t want to disrespect my opponents. Unfortunately, we are now in a world where balance is no longer respected, vituperation rules and reasoned debate mocked.’
No longer are we polite when we disagree. We see people trying to draw blood, literally, when they confront each other – on the street, on instant media, the press, television. Egged on by their fury, anger, hatred, misunderstanding, and by a media that uses them as the product, (remember, if it’s free then you are the product.)
Unless we regain that politeness, civility, call it what you will, then one day perhaps there’ll be blood drawn for real on a massive scale. Led by those who have never seen the horror that is violence. Led by those who will make sure that they and theirs will never pay the price for causing that violence.
Finally, can we please stop comparing Trump with Hitler. It’s wrong to do so. So very wrong.
Hitler fought for his country.
J J Mitchell
‘No one left behind’