“Great ideas often receive violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
Last Monday (March 23 2015) Ted Cruz (R-Tx) became the first announced candidate for 2016’s presidential election. He won’t be the last, of course, as the potential field is extremely broad and contains familiar names such as Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, and who knows, maybe even Paul Ryan, maybe even Mitt Romney. I’m not sure it makes any difference who prevails, however, given that their collective ideology contains at the very least a list of those 14 familiar right wing enthusiasms, including a strong sense of nationalism, a standard enemies list, an all-powerful military, national security fervor, religious fervor, little or no concern for human rights, sexism, a controlled mass media, corporate protection, labor suppression, cronyism, phooey on arts and intellectualism, obsession with crime and punishment, and of course the control of electoral outcome by any means available. Their disdain of practicality is, of course, uniform and embraces virtually everything that might help lower and middle class individuals, including a viable living wage, universal health care, education, immigration reform, racial and ethnic justice, etc. In short, anything considered liberal or progressive that might benefit all the people is, to Republicans and in a word, verboten.
Stated another way, the Republican Party’s sole “solution” to any sort of progressive-liberal populist thought or program that favors the well being of we the people over the upward assignation of money, wealth, and power is to elect any one of their above-mentioned potential candidates — one of those “Demagogues and Stooges” of the day — one of many ubiquitous ‘mediocre minds’ that are perfectly willing to offer whichever level of ‘violent opposition’ it will take to rid America once and for all of her “Great ideas.”
I do admit that over the years I have remained fascinated by the vast intellectual gulf that separates thinkers from Republicans, the same gulf that separates rational discussion from the robotic recitations of Republicans everywhere. Here are some tidbits that celebrate those differences — a handful of quotes I’ve collected over the years, words by one of the foremost thinkers emergent within the entire span of human existence: Albert Einstein.
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
“Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act.”
“Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of mankind.”
“The pioneers of a warless world are the youth that refuse military service.”
“War seems to me to be a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business. And yet so high, in spite of everything, is my opinion of the human race that I believe this bogey would have disappeared long ago, had the sound sense of the nations not been systematically corrupted by commercial and political interests acting through the schools and the Press.”
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”
“The flag is proof that man is still a herd animal.”
“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the true source of all art and science.”
“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”
“This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism on command, senseless violence and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism.”
Einstein on Religion
“If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings. April 24, 1921
“My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.” (in a letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950)
“It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I feel also not able to imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. My views are near those of Spinoza: admiration for the beauty of and belief in the logical simplicity of the order which we can grasp humbly and only imperfectly. I believe that we have to content ourselves with our imperfect knowledge and understanding and treat values and moral obligations as a purely human problem—the most important of all human problems.” (1947)
“The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naïve.” (in a letter to Beatrice Frohlich, December 17, 1952)
“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own ― a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.” (Albert Einstein, quoted in The New York Times obituary, April 19, 1955)
“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”
“Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion of the future: it transcends a personal God, avoids dogma and theology; it covers both the natural and spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.”
From those words, one conclusion is clear, concise, and obvious: Albert Einstein was NOT, in his day, a fascist, and were he alive today he would NOT be (assuming there’s a difference) a Republican.
Quod Erat Demonstrandum.