Manifesto

“Two factors are constant: in moments of freedom, language seeks clarity and communication; when imprisoned, the word instead becomes a complex and obscure shield for those who master it.”

John Ralston Saul: Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West. New York, MacMillan; 1992. pp. 540

Our Manifesto is in Draft Form. It is posted here as a working document. It is a somewhat difficult thing to write. You will understand the conundrum of our purpose if you look around this website. You may then be able to articulate our mission better than we. Please don’t hesitate to comment.

We will offer a bit of Engels as an hors-d’Oevre. Pungent cheeses will be served later.

“The lowest of interests -base greed, brutal appetites, sordid avarice, selfish robbery of the common wealth- inaugurate the new, civilized society. It is by the vilest means- theft, violence, fraud, treason- that the old classless gentile society is overthrown. And the new society itself, during all the two and a half thousand years of its existence, has never been anything else but the development of the small minority at the expense of the great, exploited and oppressed majority; today it is more so than ever before.”

Freidrich Engels: The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. Charles H. Kerr, Chicago, 1902. pp 117-19. Cited in Stanley Diamond: In Search Of The Primitive: A Critique of Civilization. Transaction, New Brunswick: 2004.

And they do this with words!

“We live in a world in which people are censured, demoted, imprisoned, beheaded, simply because they have opened their mouths, flapped their lips, and vibrated some air. Yes, those vibrations can make us feel sad or stupid or alienated. Tough shit. That’s the price of admission to the marketplace of ideas. Hateful, blasphemous, prejudiced, vulgar, rude or ignorant remarks are the music of a free society, and the relentless patter of idiots is how we know we’re in one. When all the words in our public conversation are fair, good, and true, it’s time to make a run for the fence.

Daniel Gilbert. In The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007. Dave Eggers (Ed.) Houghton Mifflin, New York: 2007. pp129-30.

Yes. And we will raise our voices and open our mouths and flap our lips while we can. To resist the suffocating theft of our common language and shared meaning by those who would extinguish our public conversation. Some of our speech may be hateful, blasphemous, prejudiced, vulgar, rude and ignorant. Sometimes that’s funny. Or not. Tough shit.

My beloved brother once remarked of another family member that he was remarkably astute at being the last one at the table and the first one at the door. When the time comes, watch for us at the fence. We may offer one another a leg up. Meanwhile, welcome to our table and enjoy some pungent cheeses. Please join our conversation.

[Bigoted and racist epithets] “…are used not only because many Americans are infected by various degrees of bigotry but because nearly all Americans are afflicted by a poverty of language that cheapens humor and serious discourse alike.”

Susan Jacoby: The Age of American Unreason. Random House, New York: 2008. pp. 7