"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in"
(Leonard Cohen)
"Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say"
(Michael Moorcock)
"Look for your own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
(Andre Gide)
"I want my place, my own place, my true place in the world, my proper sphere, my thing which Nature intended me to perform when she fashioned me thus awry, and which I have vainly sought all my life-time."
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
(Franz Kafka)
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated"
(John Donne)
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
(Robert J. Hanlon)
"Life is beautiful, but the world is hell"
(Harold Pinter)

Thursday, May 02, 2013

On the fiver

EXTRACT: Then, of course, there were Churchill’s odious social views - notably his support for a particularly foul brand of eugenics. The “improvement of the British breed is my aim in life”, he wrote to his cousin, Ivor Guest, on January 19 1899. As a young politician entering parliament in 1901, Churchill saw the mentally disabled as a threat to the vigour and virility of British society. The stock must not be diluted. Thus as home secretary he was in favour of the confinement, segregation and sterilisation of the “feeble-minded” and others - including “idiots”, “imbeciles” and “moral defectives”. He proposed in 1910 that 100,000 “degenerate” Britons should be “forcibly sterilised and others put in labour camps to halt the decline of the British race”.

As for “tramps and wastrels”, he said a year later, there “ought to be proper labour colonies where they could be sent for considerable periods and made to realise their duty to the state”. Very liberal. Unsurprisingly, Churchill eagerly endorsed Dr HC Sharp’s charming booklet, The sterilisation of degenerates. Sharp was a member of the US Indiana Reformatory and issued an apocalyptic warning that “the degenerate class” was reproducing more quickly than the general population and thus threatening the “purity of the race”. In 1907 Indiana passed a eugenics law making sterilisation mandatory for those individuals in state custody deemed to be “mentally unfit” - other states followed suit and in the end more than 65,000 individuals were forcibly sterilised (nor were they allowed to marry). Naturally, Churchill was impressed, writing to home office officials asking them to investigate the possibility of introducing the “Indiana law” to Britain. He remained frustrated on this point. The 1913 Mental Deficiency Act rejected compulsory sterilisation in favour of confinement in special institutions. Bloody do-gooders.

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