- Traffic laws are the least 'moral', most 'rational' laws in existence. They exist only to create efficiency and save lives; their social and economic cost is comparatively quite low; and as laws go, they're pretty rigidly enforced. And yet, people still disobey them constantly.
- People are most likely to form fierce emotional attachments -- bonds they will kill or die for -- around things over which they have little or no personal choice: who their family is, what country they were born in, what invisible ghosts they were raised to believe in, what color their skin is, what language they were first taught to speak. Additionally, intelligent, well-educated, 'self-made' people are far more likely to be egalitarians than are the common people with whom they declare affinity, while the prevailing counter-system is one which claims no affinity higher than income bracket, which means we write our laws in order to favor those who are most likely to be in direct competition with us. Half of our country's elites are engaged in a desperate struggle to turn the non-elites against the other half based on a trumped-up hatred for certain aspects of the system that produced both of them.
- There are no fiercer advocates of self-reliance, personal responsibility and being one's own man than someone who has benefitted the greatest from our socioeconomic system. Rich people (like Lewis Lapham, Gore Vidal and Franklin Roosevelt) who have advocated a more equitable economic system and questioned the wisdom of continually rewarding those, like themselves, who have already been absurdly over-rewarded by accident of birth, are called "class traitors". Self-reliance in action tends to translate to the ability to spend money: when the power elite sees a poor man steal a car, their first reaction is to call the police. When they themselves are accused of stealing a fortune, their first reaction is to hire a PR firm.
- One of the major problems with our approach to education is that it is extremely compartmentalized and emphasizes answering questions rather than asking them. A curious aspect of this is that we place a great deal of emphasis on the definitions -- which we apparently think quite complicated -- of big, difficult words like "icthyologist", "parthenogenesis" and "palimpsest", while we incorrectly assume that everyone already knows the definition of small, simple words like "good", "right", "fair" and "true". In fact, the latter words are so vague as to be indefinable.
TEN THINGS WE OFTEN SAY EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE OBVIOUSLY NOT TRUE:
1. Anyone can grow up to be President of the United States.
2. If you just work hard, you will be a success.
3. America is the greatest country in the world.
4. Violence never solved anything.
5. Things have a way of working themselves out.
6. (anything with the word 'God' in it)
7. Love conquers all.
8. There is no substitute for experience.
9. Always tell the truth.
10. America is the land of the rugged individualist.