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Monday, August 04, 2008


A collection of, mainly American, mainly political quotes including:

Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn't even get out of committee." - F. Lee Bailey

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"Judges who think it is their job to produce 'fair and just' solutions to society's problems undermine the essence of law. The rule of law means having rules known in advance and applied to all. You cannot have that if judges base decisions on what they think is fair and just." - Thomas Sowell

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it and then misapplying the wrong remedies.” - Groucho Marx

"If the truth of a proposition depended on the number of people who believed it, the earth would still be flat." - Richard Prebble

"Men occasionally stumble on the truth. But most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." -- Ronald Reagan (1986)

"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." -- Pericles (430 B.C.)

"In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other." -Voltaire (1764)

"The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program." - Ronald Reagan

"When people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." - Benjamin Franklin

Aaaaargh! "If the truth of a proposition depended on the number of people who believed it, the earth would still be flat." - Richard Prebble.
It seems impossible to budge Americans from their delusion about Flat Earth believers, even though the whole business has been shown to be an invention of the 19th century writer Washington Irving, as part of an anti-Catholic propaganda campaign. (He pretended that the medieval Roman Catholic church believed that the Earth was flat.) I wonder if American children are subjected to propaganda on this issue when they are taught about Columbus, as they undergo their indoctrination in the factoid account of American History. Anyway, it imparts a certain paradoxical quality to Mr Prebble's vapourings.
You are right that informed opinion pre-Columbus accepted the Earth was round, since Eratosthenes proved it in 250 BC. However the Old Testament says it is flat (like the floor of a tent with the sky being centred over Jerusalem) & I suspect the majority took the Bible as ...gospel.
Try J R Russell "Inventing the Flat Earth", Praeger, NY, 1991. Looks conclusive to me.
I've checked which also agres with you. Medieval maps certainly did take Jerusalem as the centre of the world - which doesn't itself provethey didn't realise it could be centred anywhere else. The problem is that, while there is no dispute that the round world theory was accepted by many educated people it is inherently difficult to know what the less literate majority thought. I think it is a reasonable asumption that the general opinion was bound to be more ignorant but I grant it is an assumption & neither I nor anybody on any side of the debate over the last century has much in the way of evidence.

Certainly the example of St Agatha who became patron saint of bellringers because paintings of hre breasts having been cur off looked like bells, shows medieval peasants had beliefs untrameled by by the discussion of the learned.

I accept the expert opinion re Columbus was not that the world was flat but that it was 5 times larger than he guessed - in which they were right.
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