Choosing Cruelty

Sunday, September 23, 2018 – Choosing Cruelty

The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell. ~ Bertrand Russell

The impulse to cruelty is, in many people, almost as violent as the impulse to sexual love, almost as violent, and much more mischievous. ~ Aldous Huxley

Stupidity, outrage, vanity, cruelty, iniquity, bad faith, falsehood – we fail to see the whole array when it is facing in the same direction as we. ~ Jean Rostand

The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don’t ask for their love, only for their fear. ~ Heinrich Himmler

Unlimited power in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty. ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

In a democracy, the majority of the citizens are capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority. ~ Edmund Burke

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

The greater the state, the more wrong and cruel its patriotism, and the greater is the sum of suffering upon which its power is founded. ~ Leo Tolstoy

The truth is that every intelligent man, as you know, dreams of being a gangster and of ruling over society by force alone. As it is not as easy as the detective novels might lead one to believe, one generally relies on politics and joins the cruelest party. What does it matter, after all, if by humiliating one’s mind one succeeds in dominating every one? I discovered in myself sweet dreams of oppression. ~ Albert Camus, The Fall

I wish something would happen to me, something that would show me exactly how cruel and jealous and vengeful I can be. Then I could go back to gentleness because I chose it over brutality for its own sake, not because I didn’t have the courage to be cruel. I might even like cruelty. I doubt very much that I would, but I ought to find out. ~ Peter S. Beagle, A Fine and Private Place

Youth is impulsive. When our young men grow angry at some real or imaginary wrong, and disfigure their faces with black paint, it denotes that their hearts are black, and that they are often cruel and relentless, and our old men and old women are unable to restrain them. Thus it has ever been. ~ Chief Seattle

The salient fact about Donald Trump isn’t his cruelty or penchant for aggression and violence. It’s his inability to control urges and drives most people gain control over very early in life. There are plenty of sadists and sociopaths in the world. They’re not remarkable. The scariest have a high degree of impulse control (iciness) which allows them to inflict pain on others when no one is looking or when they will pay no price for doing so. What is true with Trump is what every critic has been saying for a year: the most obvious and contrived provocation can goad this thin-skinned charlatan into a wild outburst. He’s a seventy year old man with children and grandchildren and he has no self-control. ~ Josh Marshall

All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness. ~ Tennessee Williams

Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and cruelties; it accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. ~ Hermann Hesse

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel. ~ Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man. ~ Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid. ~ Christopher Hitchens

I think it’s perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don’t know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away. Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it’s because he’s ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they’re responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I’d want nothing to do with them. ~ Philip Pullman

Christ and The Church: If he were to apply for a divorce on the grounds of cruelty, adultery and desertion, he would probably get one. ~ Samuel Butler

Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity. ~ George Eliot

There is no document of civilization that is not also a document of barbarism. ~ Walter Benjamin, On the Concept of History

It is impossible for me to be an anarchist, for I do not believe in the essential goodness of man. The world, the physical world, that was once all-in-all to me, has at moments such as these no road through a wood, no stretch of shore that can bring me comfort. The beauty of these things can no longer at such moments make up to me at all for the ugliness of man, his cruelty, his greed, his lying face. ~ Edna St Vincent Millay

People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Idle people are often bored and bored people, unless they sleep a lot, are cruel. It is not accident that boredom and cruelty are great preoccupations in our time. ~ Renata Adler

There is nothing as desperately monotonous as the sea, and I no longer wonder at the cruelty of pirates. ~ James Russell Lowell

I think cruelty is just loneliness disguised as bitterness. ~ Tom Hiddleston

Cruelty and fear shake hands together. ~ Honoré de Balzac

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. ~ Bertrand Russell

Cruelty is a mystery and a waste of pain. ~ Annie Dillard

Cruelty would be delicious if one could only find some sort of cruelty that didn’t really hurt. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Where does discipline end? Where does cruelty begin? Somewhere between these, thousands of children inhabit a voiceless hell. ~ Francois Mauriac

But the hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes. The heart of a hurt child can shrink so that forever afterward it is hard and pitted as the seed of a peach. Or again, the heart of such a child may fester and swell until it is a misery to carry within the body, easily chafed and hurt by the most ordinary things. ~ Carson McCullers

The truth doesn’t have to do with cruelty. The truth has to do with mercy. ~ Ken Kesey

A child cannot, thank Heaven, know how vast and how merciless is the nature of power, with what unbelievable cruelty people treat each other. ~ James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. ~ Vladimir Nabokov

It is possible that the contemplation of cruelty will not make us humane but cruel; that the reiteration of the badness of our spiritual condition will make us consent to it. ~ Lionel Trilling

Courtesy is a silver lining around the dark clouds of civilization; it is the best part of refinement and in many ways, an art of heroic beauty in the vast gallery of man’s cruelty and baseness. ~ Bryant H. McGill

I wanted to get far away from those who believed in cruelty, so then I went to France, a land of true freedom, democracy, equality and fraternity. ~ Josephine Baker