Variorum, this, that and the other


Here you may find a bit of a mixed bag, all sorts of things, my favorite quotes or little gems I wanted to put together somewhere and share with you who come upon them no doubt more or less by accident.


Jusqu'à présent, les dirigeants syndicaux se sont dit: les réformes restent à la marge, le gros des troupes n'est pas touché.  Donc, on accompagne et on essaie de corriger ce qu'on peut.  Est-ce encore la réponse adéquate ?  Nous, les métallos, on pense que non.  Si on continue de cette manière, les gouvernants rétabliront l'esclavage et les syndicats s'occuperont de négocier le poids des chaînes.

Nicolas Cué (FGTB Métal) dans un entretien avec François Brabant dans Le Vif, 21/2/2014.


Superior values ?!?!

In 1917 Picardy, invaded once more, had been occupied for three years by the German army.  Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, commander of the Sixth Army, urged General Ludendorff, Chief of General Staff, to ensure that the castle of Coucy be spared as a unique architectural treasure of no current military value.  Neither side, he pointed out, had attempted to use it for military purposes, and its destruction "would only mean a blow to our own prestige quite uselessly."  Ludendorff did not like appeals to culture.  Coucy having been unwisely called to his attention, he decided to make it an example of superior values.  Rammed with 28 tons of explosives at his orders, the colossus raised by Enguerrand III in the age of the greatest builders since Greece and Rome was dynamited to the ground.

A Distant Mirror, The Calamitous 14th Century
Barbara W. Tuchman, 1978
Penguin Books, p. 596


To perpetuate a priesthood which would maintain a hold on the people approximately twenty, if not thirty per cent of all Tibetan male children were brought into this monastic system.  As the lamas are obliged to remain celibate the entrusting of so many young boys to their 'tender mercies' creates a moral hazard second to none, especially under the auspices of such an evil system.

Tibetan Tales by Geoffrey T. Bull, Hodder and Stoughton, 1966, p. 35

(These tales are not short stories; they are the record of a Christian missionary at work during the turbulent period before the Chinese Communist invasion.)


Full Circle

American economist John Kenneth Galbraith remarks: "Nearly all US political comment originates in Washington.  Washington politicians after talking things over with each other, relay misinformation to Washington journalists who, after further intramural discussion, print it where it is thoughtfully read by the same politicians.  It is the only completely successful closed system yet devised for recycling rubbish."

Reader's Digest, March 1977, p. 79


A relatively small group of 4th rate scientists, who would never be scientists at all under the standards that prevailed 50 years ago in the United States, have received huge grants of research funds and extensive mainstream media notoriety by - there is no polite way to put this - lying about climate science in order to provide political cover for the UN political agenda.  By all objective standards of inquiry, the hypothesis of human-caused global warming is not just unproved; it is definitively disproved by the experimental and observational research record.  See, for example, "Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" by A.B. Robinson, N.E. Robinson, and W. Soon (2007) J. Am. Phys. Sur. 12, 79-90, available from

There are government-funded scientists carrying out honest climate research.  The funding of a scientist does not determine his integrity - although global warmers apply this fact to themselves but not to their critics.  Nevertheless, the river of billions of dollars in research funds - especially to those who parrot the government's pro-carbon-tax pro-energy-rationing agenda - has certainly attracted many unscrupulous people.

Hence, Climategate, which is just a small taste of the corruption actually present in the pro-human-caused global warming mania.  By now, enormous business, political, and financial interests have taken stakes in the tax-and-regulate cap-and-trade legislation that is pending.  Huge amounts of money and power are now at issue.  The truth behind the climate hoax is irrelevant to most of these interests.  These people seek, as expedient, to replace the truth with perceived truth, primarily to increase their own wealth and power.

Recently it was revealed that one "scientific" effort involved the change of more than 5,000 articles and complete erasure of more than 500 in the web-based encyclopedia Wikipedia.  See "How Wikipedia's green doctor rewrote 5,428 climate articles" by Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, December 19, 2009.

These articles were changed because they made mention of the Medieval Warm Period, a period about 1,000 years ago when Earth temperatures were much higher than they are today and other research data that contra­dicted the human-caused global warming agenda.  This erasure was done under the direction of prominent IPCC climate "scientists" and organized through a web site that they created specifically for the purpose of smearing and suppressing any work that threatened their empire of lavishly government funded human-caused global warming "research" -

From "Access to Energy",
a pro-science, pro-technology, pro-free enterprise newsletter,
December 2009.
You too should definitely consider subscribing to this great newsletter.

Here some more on the Robinson family


It cannot be expected that a John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, a Richard Nixon, or any future president will have experienced and learned all the things that arise to confront him during his busy official life in the White House.  It cannot be expected that a Robert McNamara or a Melvin Laird, a Dean Rusk or a William Rogers comes fully equipped to high office, aware of all matters pertaining to what they will encouter in his relations with the Congo or Cuba, Vietnam or Pakistan, and China and the USSR.  These men learn about these places and the many things that face them from day to day from an endless and unceasing procession of briefing officers.
In government official writing, the man who really writes the paper—or more properly, the men whose original work and words are put together to become the final paper—are rarely, if ever, the men whose names appear on that paper.  A paper attributed to Maxwell Taylor, Robert McNamara or Dean Rusk would not, in almost all instances, have been written by them, but more than likely would have been assembled from information gathered from the Departments of Defense and State and from CIA sources and put into final language by such a man as General Victor H. Krulak, who was among the best.
Much has been written on these subjects and on their vast supporting infra­structure, generally known as the "intelligence community."  Some of this historical writing has suffered from a serious lack of inside knowledge and experience.  Most of this writing has been done by men who know something about the subject, by men who have researched and learned something about the subject, and in a few cases by men who had some experience  with the subject. Rarely is there enough factual experience on the part of the writer.  On the other hand, the Government and other special interests have paid writers huge amounts to write about this subject as they want it done, not truthfully.  Thus our history is seriously warped and biased by such work.

Many people have been so concerned about what has been happening to our Government that they have dedicated themselves to investigating and exposing its evils.  Unfortunately, a number of these writers have been dupes of those cleverer than they or with sinister reasons for concealing knowledge.  They have written what they thought was the truth, only to find out (if they ever did find out) that they had been fed a lot of contrived cover stories and just plain hogwash.  In this book I have taken extracts from some of this writing and, line by line, have shown how it has been manipulated to give a semblance of truth while at the same time being contrived and false.

The Secret Team,
The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World
by L. Fletcher Prouty,
Col., U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1973.


Those who trade their freedom to the government in exchange for security lose both their freedom and their security.

Access to Energy, October 2009 (Vol. 37 no. 3)


A lawyer appearing in a case asked the witness: "Now, Mr James, did you or did you not, on the date in question or at any other time, previously or subsequently, say or even intimate to the defendant or anyone else, whether a friend or acquaintance or in fact a stranger, the statement imputed to you, whether just or unjust, and denied by the plaintiff, was a matter of no consequence or otherwise ?
Answer !  Did you or did you not ?"

The witness pondered for a little while and then asked: "Did I or did I not what ?"


From my favorite newsletter, Access to Energy, received here in July 2009:

On June 26, 2009, Congress passed the largest tax increase and most oppressive regulatory increase in American history - the «climate change,» «clean energy», «cap and trade» bill that revokes most of the remaining American freedom to produce and sell hydrocarbon energy and seizes the capital and profits of anyone who does.
Was this legislation caused by the failure of American science ?  Did our Congressmen listen to Rasputins Gore and Hansen ?  The terrible truth is much worse than that.  The truth is that Congress has become so corrupt that it is incapable of acting on principles - even mis­guided principles.
This past month I watched the awful spectacle - chronicled approvingly in the press - while the cap and trade bill moved forward, picking up votes as its sponsors bought one Congressman after another with provisions that would enhance their careers.  It was reported that the last major hurdle was cleared by giving farm state Congressmen a few goodies for farmers.


... I'd say things like, "Artists are lost: they don't have any subject !  They used to have the religious subjects, but they lost their religion and now they haven't got anything.  They don't understand the technical world they live in; they don't know anything about the beauty of the real world — the scientific world — so they don't have anything in their hearts to paint."

"Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman!",
Adventures of a Curious Character as told to Ralph Leighton,
by Richard P. Feynman, Vintage Books, London, p.260

We couldn't agree more: the violence and lack of harmony in their music and paintings show the emptiness and confusion in their heads.


THERE WAS once a snappy catch answer to consultants, management professors, and other tradesmen who tell others how to mind their own businesses.  "Ah yes," executives could say, "if you know so much, how come you're not rich ?"  There are variations to this arresting theme: "Those who can, do: those who can't, consult," or "He's never met a payroll in his life."

The Great Executive Dream, Robert Heller, Dell Publishing Company, Inc., 1974, p. 291


As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X.  Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X or, in the better case, what A, B and C shall do for X...
What I want to do is to look up C... I call him the Forgotten Man....  He is the man who never is thought of.  He is the victim of the reformer, social speculator and philanthropist, and I hope to show you before I get through that he deserves your notice both for his character and for the many burdens which are laid upon him.

The Forgotten Man, and Other Essays by William Graham Sumner edited by Albert Galloway Keller (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1918)

You can read the entire essay or get the whole book (in pdf version) here.


This is my long-run forecast in brief:

The material conditions of life will continue to get better for most people, in most countries, most of the time, indefinitely.
Within a century or two, all nations and most of humanity will be at or above today's Western living standards.
I also speculate, however, that many people will continue to think and say that the conditions of life are getting worse.

Julian Simon (1932-1998), 
Professor of Economics,  University of Maryland.

Julian Simon wrote a really superb book "Ultimate Resource II".
It was a real revelation to me and I most highly recommend it to you.


The Economist, 11/11/2006 p. 79
Special report Airbus
entitled The making of a jumbo problem

Here follows a short paragraph from this article:

The tale is a sorry one: of a Socialist government selling off a state company — Aérospatiale (a leading partner in Airbus) — at a bargain-basement price to a firm belonging to an influential entrepreneur; of his protégés spending more time fighting each other than attacking Airbus's rival, Boeing; and of the new owner baling out at a vast profit, in part by selling shares back to the government, just before the scale of the mismanagement was made public.


Le Grand Cirque 2000, Mémoires d'un pilote de chasse FFL dans la RAF, par Pierre Clostermann,
Editions J'ai Lu, p.527:

Jaco tente de m'épeler un nom hollandais à multiples syllabes, imprononçables pour un chrétien normal: Herto quelque chose... sur les bords de la Maas !  Comme cette langue n'a ni père ni mère, de guerre lasse Jaco me donne les coordonnées géographiques: 51° 42 N et 5° 18 E !

Dear Mr. Clostermann,
's Hertogenbosch?  Easy, leave it to me !  You are a magnificent gentleman and your book is a great read and full of even greater lessons.  Highly recommended.  I hope an English translation is in print.

Pierre Clostermann was born on 28 February 1921 and passed away on 22 March 2006.


Global warming has become so politicized that scientists must believe in it.  If they predict dire consequences, they win praise from true believers and grants for their important research.  Scientists who question the prophecies of doom can expect to be marginalized.

From An Inconvenient Truth by Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 June 2006.


Felix Dzerzhinsky, as you may know, was the founder of the dreaded Cheka, the forerunner of the KGB, Putin's school of life.  "We stand for organized terror", declared Dzerzhinsky.  And he didn't leave it to idle words or threats either.  Many cheered in 1991 when a 16-ton statue of this monster was toppled in Moscow's Lubyanka Square just outside the KGB headquarters.
In November 2005 a bust of this same Dzerzhinsky quietly appeared in a place of honour outside the headquarters of the Russian Interior Ministry, which is little more or perhaps a lot more than the KGB ever was.
Sorry, no prizes for guessing correctly what Putin is up to.


Human Action, A Treatise on Economics, Ludwig von Mises, Contemporary Books, Inc., Chicago, 1963,  p. 149:

Society cannot exist if the majority is not ready to hinder, by the application or threat of violent action, minorities from destroying the social order.  This power is vested in the state or govern­ment.
State or government is the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion.  It has the monopoly of violent action.  No individual is free to use violence or the threat of violence if the government has not accorded this right to him.  The state is essentially an institution for the preserv­ation of peaceful interhuman relations.  However, for the preservation of peace it must be prepared to crush the onslaughts of peace-breakers.

Our comment: giving to the organization that may legally initiate violence also the job of handing out charity corrupts it.  The more government also takes care of charitable actions the more the politicians begin to think of handing out tax payers money for the purpose of facilitating their re-election.


A letter by B. Littlewood in "The Guardian", a UK newspaper,
13 March 1980 :


"When an artist comes into a studio, we are no longer just recording for the 10 or 12 tracks, we are recording ringtones."
Adam Klein, EMI's President of Strategy and Business in the Financial Times of 17 January 2006.


From "Quote Unquote" in The Independent, London, UK, 19/10/1996:

I must confess that most of the time I do not understand my own regulations -- Emma Bonino, the European Union Fisheries Commissioner.


When it was clear to just about every German that the war was lost, the Nazi leadership used various methods to terrorize soldiers into continuing the fight and to defeat defeatism.  Here follows a quote from p. 176 of "The Fall of Berlin 1945" by Antony Beevor, Viking Penguin, 2002 (ISBN 0-670-03041-4):

There was, however, one group who could demonstrate their feelings about the war without fear of reprisal. German wounded who had lost hands or arms would say 'Heil Hitler' and raise their stumps ostentatiously.


I don't think much of the central idea of Social Credit which, as far as I can see, is this: the government hands over to every citizen the interest on the capital which is the accumulated progress of knowledge, technology etc.

For government to give, it must first take in taxes.  I suggest the government take just enough to run its essential services and nothing more.  Let's not have an extra Ministry where busy bureaucrats calculate how much of our own taxes each one of us should get back.

That doesn't mean everything the promoters of Social Credit say is false.  I found what I thought was a gem in "An Introduction to Social Credit" by Brian W. Monahan, Tidal Publications, Sidney, 1947, p. 5:

It is possible to conceive of a state of life where the consumption of food just balanced the expenditure of energy in obtaining it, and in these circumstances no other activity would be possible.  Life must have started at least slightly above this level, for otherwise no progress beyond it would have been possible.  Now the difference between the energy-expenditure necessary merely to sustain life, and the energy available altogether, represents "profit" in its most fundamental sense.

So you're against profit or the profit motive?  You're against life itself.

That profit or spare time can be used for "amusement" or it can be devoted to "devising beter methods by which to obtain the basic requirements in even less time.  Monihan then goes on to define the word "investment" (p. 6):

Investment is the devotion of energy to the increasing of the efficiency resulting from the expenditure of energy.


Sunday Express (London, UK),
16 January 1977:

flight out of the Soviet Union
was far from being a tense
affair despite his being hand-
cuffed.  Hilarity completely
took over when the K.G.B.
men with the Russian dissi-
dent discovered that his
handcuffs were inscribed
Made in the U.S.A.


From THE WEEKEND REVIEW,  The Independent (London, UK), 26/9/1998:

Sweet of the Week
The Altoid, hottest mint in the
world, favoured by Monica
Lewinsky for inappropriate
breath freshening.


From The Daily Mail (London, UK),
3 Nov. 1976:

A LAST lament from Mr
Carter's mother :  'Mr Ford
is such a nice man that I
sometimes wished we had
something worse to run


From the editorial of Access to Energy, October 2003:

The fact, of course, is that these know-it-alls are not real scientists.  Science has become a big business and is populated with vast numbers of opport­unists who know little and care less about the scientific method.  For every real scientist working today, there are far more tax-funded "scientists" pretending to do scientific work, but actually dabbling in science just enough and publishing just enough politically correct papers to keep the money flowing.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Col. Edward Mandell House, November 21, 1933, F.D.R.: His Personal Letters (New York; Duell, Sloan and Pearce 1950), p. 373:

The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson -- and I am not wholly excepting the Administration of W.W. [Woodrow Wilson].  The country is going through a repetition of Jackson's fight with the Bank of the United States -- only on a far bigger and broader basis.


Bureaucracy gone berserk !


In The Road to Serfdom, 1944 (p. 89 of the 1976 edition by Routledge & Kegan), F.A. Hayek quotes Trotsky in 1937 when he had been reduced to the status of a hunted exile:

"In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation.  The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat."


"Nous vivons dans un pays béni
par les dieux, où le vin et les
promesses électorales coulent à 
"We live in a country blessed
by the gods, where the wine and the
electoral promises flow like rivers."
Jean Amadou  


From the Stark Raving Mad section of the excellent Access to Energy newsletter, May 2004:

The Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2004, p 1, reports that "Experiments on people should be vetted carefully to make certain researchers don't stand to profit from results, new guidelines by the U.S. government Department of Health and Human Services say."
No doubt disease victims dying from fatal diseases will be delighted to know of this new impediment to the development of new treatments.  They will understand that it is far better to die than to financially reward someone for saving your life.


Petr Beckmann, the great nuclear physicist, was also an accomplished amateur musician.  In his very entertaining Musical Musings (The Golem Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1989) there is an article entitled The Art of Knowing When p.84.  And there we read:

It is very easy for amateurs to miss their cue.  Einstein, an amateur violinist, is said to have played a sonata at home, with Arthur Schnabel at the piano.  After Einstein missed his cue twice, Schnabel stopped again, and asked "What's the matter, Albert, can't you count?"

There is also a page (77) entitled Breaking With Nobility where Dr. Beckmann wrote this about Ludwig Van Beethoven (whose grandfather was from Mechelen, Malines in Flanders):

In 1806, he refused to play for French officers who were guests of Prince Lichnowski in Troppau (Austrian part of Silesia), for he particularly detested oppressors who preach liberty; and when Lichnowski insisted, he walked out, returned to Vienna, and wrote "Prince, you are what you are by chance and by birth; I am what I am by my hand alone.  There have been and will be many thousands of princes, but there is only one Beethoven."


The much regretted Sir Peter Ustinov in his hilarious autobiography Dear Me about his life in the army and his "Comp'ny Sar'nt-Major" on p. 134 of the Penguin edition of 1977 (ISBN 0 14 00.4940.1):

'Stand up then," he said, and added: 'Ow's the new billet, U'nov?" (The last word is my name.)
"Oh, much better, sir, thank you," I replied. "It's much less congested."
"I know," he snarled, as though I had uttered an unworthy imbecility, and then, on reflection, he added, "More room too, i'n there?"


J.S. Briskham comments in The Independent (UK) of 8 June 1996 on an article "Our children bad at maths ?" by Margaret Brown.


From The Noblest Triumph by Tom Bethell, St. Martin's Press, 1998, p. 12:

Development economists and elites had failed to grasp the true institutional requirements of economic growth. To some extent these requirements are still not understood.  For example, the repeated call for "democracy" abroad suggests that Western political institutions have not been analyzed much beyond the obligation to hold elections periodically.  But democracy, like economy, must have its foundations.  It is not something that can be set down, naked and exposed, on the unprepared terrain of anarchy or tyranny.  That is not the foundation upon which democracy developed in the Western world itself, and there is no reason to expect that it will suffice for the Third World either.

And same work, next page:

The welfare states of the Western world were built on the premise that property, particularly in its income form, was no longer sacred.  It could be taken from some and given to others -- to the advantage of all.  The latter would enjoy it more than the former would miss it.  This rearrangement was assumed to be both virtuous and efficient.  The rich would be relieved of the temptation to excess and the poor would be relieved of their poverty.  Meanwhile the "laws" of economics would ensure that the poor countries would catch up with the rich ones.  The factors of production, capital in particular, would be more efficacious in the former than in the latter.  Therefore the wealth of nations would converge.  But it hasn't worked out that way.


Soft toiletpaper


   The problem is too vast for our limited minds.  We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages.  The child knows someone must have written those books.  It does not know how.  It does not understand the languages in which they are written.  The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is.  That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.  We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.

   In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God.  But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for support of such views.
Albert Einstein


There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires.  These are work and robbery, one's labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others... I propose... to call one's own labor and the equivalent exchange of one's own labor for the labor of others "the economic means" for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the "politicial means"... The state is an organization of the polical means.
Franz Oppenheimer, The State
New York: Vanguard Press, 1914, p.24

Why agree to preserve resources as they would be in the absence of their human users ?

Most of [our] progress has taken the form of converting ntural resources into more desirable forms of wealth. If man had prized natural resources above his own product, he would doubtless have remained savage, practicing 'conservatism'.
Scott, Anthony "Conservation Policy and Capital Theory"
Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science,
November 1954

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