Going through intense change with an ignorant and apathetic citizenry, driven by a corporate agenda, is a really, really scary proposition. But going into it with an educated and empowered citizenry that feels it can determine the course of its society and can hold its corporations and governments accountable has a lot of power and potential to it. To me, that's what makes activism so important.
I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who's in the military. This is not for law enforcement. This is for us. And, in fact, when you read that Constitution and the Founding Fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny.
I have spoken about what we can do as citizens, what we can do as a responsive citizenry, and this is where we have to shatter our complacency and become "active souls,"and be prepared to engage in aware - that personal struggle between our grief and our sorrow. But I don't think we have any choice.
Terry Tempest Williams
You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job, but it doesn't pay as much. And so, that's what's happened to us is that we have put in so much entitlement into our government, that we really have spoiled our citizenry and said you don't want the jobs that are available.
As I have pointed out time and again, it's a hell of a lot cheaper to send little kids to school than it is to let them grow up into young thugs who have to be sent to prison, not to mention the savings in the wear and tear on the nerves, property, and safety of the rest of the citizenry.
I am still baffled by those who feel that criticizing America is unpatriotic, a view increasingly being adopted in the United States since 9/11 as an excuse to render suspect what has always been an American right. An active, brave, outspoken (and heard) citizenry is essential to a healthy democracy.
An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight. It is therefore imperative that the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens.
Conservatives tend to see the world more in terms of good-versus-evil and, for some of them, the nightmare is a disarmed citizenry that can be preyed upon by criminals. They know that having a gun in the house would increase the risk of an accident for a member of their family, but they're willing to take that risk.
I think it's something that the citizenry needs to be vigilant about - participating in democracy, and that includes issues like what's going on and how much secrecy and transparency there should be. That's an on-going thing - in a democracy you want checks and balances and oversight, but you need a covert agency to protect the country. It's a very tricky balance and I think it changes as the world changes and I think we all need to be mindful of that.
Our society on a whole is trained to see young women. There are proportionally far more of them on magazine covers, on TV, and in films than int the actual population. As a result, we have a citizenry taught to see the young and ignore the not-so-young. It isn't conscious; it's Pavlovian. (13)
Sudan has been an experiment that resonated across Africa: if we, the largest country on the continent, reaching from the Sahara to the Congo, bridging religions, cultures and a multitude of ethnicities, were able to construct a prosperous and peaceful state from our diverse citizenry, so too could the rest of Africa.
Could many of our ills today have resulted from our failure to train a strong citizenry from the only source we have - the boys and girls of each community? Have they grown up to believe in politics without principle, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without effort, wealth without work, business without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice?
Ezra Taft Benson
Democracy is not about trust; it is about distrust. It is about accountability, exposure, open debate, critical challenge, and popular input and feedback from the citizenry. It is about responsible government. We have to get our fellow Americans to trust their leaders less and themselves more, trust their own questions and suspicions, and their own desire to know what is going on.
It was during the eighteenth century - a period of boastful satisfaction with the nice balances within the English constitution - that Englishmen came to accept the Whig view of the utility of an armed citizenry. The armed citizen was not only affirmed to be protecting himself but, together with his fellows, provided the ultimate check on tyranny.
Joyce Lee Malcolm
It will be good for us in the long run, and I mean there are six and a half billion people in this world. And it's great for 300 million to keep enjoying more and more property, but I think it's terrific if the remainder do. And I think if they can learn something from us in terms of our system, and I think they have, they are learning more about how to unleash the potential of their citizenry to turn out more goods and services that their citizens want or that we want, I think that's terrific.
Howard Warren Buffett
I stayed only two days in the capital. I was welcomed by a cheering citizenry, who threw flowers at my head. It was disconcerting to think I could have put almost any young man in my retinue on a white horse and they would have thrown flowers at him instead. It was not me they cared about, only what I meant to them: a cessation of hostilities, a chance for prosperity, food on the table.
Megan Whalen Turner
No country can possibly move ahead, no free society can possibly be sustained, unless it has an educated citizenry whose qualities of mind and heart permit it to take part in the complicated and increasingly sophisticated decisions that pour not only upon the President and upon the Congress, but upon all the citizens who exercise the ultimate power.
John F. Kennedy
The purpose of the right to bear arms is twofold; to allow individuals to protect themselves and their families, and to ensure a body of armed citizenry from which a militia could be drawn, whether that militia's role was to protect the nation, or to protect the people from a tyrannical government.
Once you buy the argument that some segment of the citizenry should lose their rights, just because they are envied or resented, you are putting your own rights in jeopardy - quite aside from undermining any moral basis for respecting anybody's rights. You are opening the floodgates to arbitrary power. And once you open the floodgates, you can't tell the water where to go.
The fact throughout history is that whenever government dominates the economic affairs of its citizenry, a free society is eroded, then destroyed, and a minority government ensues. Personal liberty without economic liberty is an absolute contradiction; the one cannot exist without the other.
William E. Simon
We live in a time that demands a discourse of both critique and possibility, one that recognizes that without an informed citizenry, collective struggle, and viable social movements, democracy will slip out of our reach and we will arrive at a new stage of history marked by the birth of an authoritarianism that not only disdains all vestiges of democracy but is more than willing to relegate it to a distant memory.
Henry A. Giroux
The thing political figures fear most is a terror event that will ruin their careers. The biggest thing they fear is that a bomb goes off and it can be traced to something they did or didn't do, an action they did or didn't support. They all fear being accused of not doing enough to keep the citizenry safe.
The rifle is a weapon. Let there be no mistake about that. It is a tool of power, and thus dependent completely upon the moral stature of its user. It is equally useful in securing meat for the table, destroying group enemies on the battlefield, and resisting tyranny. In fact, it is the only means of resisting tyranny, since a citizenry armed with rifles simply cannot be tyrannized.
The constitutional right of free expression... is designed and intended to remove governmental restraints from the arena of public discussion, putting the decision as to what views shall be voiced in the hands of each of us, in the hope that the use of such freedom will ultimately produce a more capable citizenry and more perfect polity and in the belief that no other approach would comport with the premise of individual dignity and choice upon which our political systems rests.
John Marshall Harlan II
Democracy, taken in its narrower, purely political, sense, suffers from the fact that those in economic and political power possess the means for molding public opinion to serve their own class interests. The democratic form of government in itself does not automatically solve problems; it offers, however, a useful framework for their solution. Everything depends ultimately on the political and moral qualities of the citizenry.
A popular feel for scientific endeavors should, if possible, be restored given the needs of the twenty-first century. This does not mean that every literature major should take a watered-down physics course or that a corporate lawyer should stay abreast of quantum mechanics. Rather, it means that an appreciation for the methods of science is a useful asset for a responsible citizenry. What science teaches us, very significantly, is the correlation between factual evidence and general theories, something well illustrated in Einstein's life.
The aspirations of democracy are based on the notion of an informed citizenry, capable of making wise decisions. The choices we are asked to make become increasingly complex. They require the longer-term thinking and greater tolerance for ambiguity that science fosters. The new economy is predicated on a continuous pipeline of scientific and technological innovation. It can not exist without workers and consumers who are mathematically and scientifically literate.
The function of traditional history is to create a citizenry that looks to the top - the president, Congress, the Supreme Court - to make the important decisions. That's what traditional history is all about: the laws that were passed, the decisions made by the court. So much of history is built around "the great men." All of that is very anti-democratic.
Today's political leaders demonstrate their low opinion of the public with every social law they pass. They believe that, if given the right to chose, the citizenry will probably make the wrong choice. Legislators do not think any more in terms of persuading people; they feel the need to force their agenda on the public at the point of a bayonet and the barrel of a gun, in the name of the IRS, the SEC, the FDA, the DEA, the EPA, or a multitude of other ABCs of government authority.
The city might be savage, stray dogs might share the streets with grimy urchins whose blank eyes reflected the knowledge that they might soon be covered over, blinded forever, by the same two pennies just begged from some gentleman, and no one in the fuming, fulminous boulevards of trade might know who actually ran Ambergris-or, if anyone ran it at all, but, like a renegade clock, it ran on and wound itself heedless, empowered by the insane weight of its own inertia, the weight of its own citizenry.
Where utopianism is advanced through gradualism rather than revolution, albeit steady and persistent as in democratic societies, it can deceive and disarm an unsuspecting population, which is largely content and passive. It is sold as reforming and improving the existing society's imperfections and weaknesses without imperiling its basic nature. Under these conditions, it is mostly ignored, dismissed, or tolerated by much of the citizenry and celebrated by some. Transformation is deemed innocuous, well-intentioned, and perhaps constructive but not a dangerous trespass on fundamental liberties.
Mark R. Levin
Our marvelous new information technologies boost our power and opportunities for political engagement, but they can also disempower us by contributing to extreme political mobilization that sometimes overwhelms our institutions. These institutions were designed for rural societies operation at a tiny fraction of today's speed and with a citizenry vastly less capable that today's. It's unclear how they will change to adapt to the new reality, but change they must.
[The] erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardised citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.
H. L. Mencken
Let us hope our weapons are never needed -but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government - and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
[I]t's impossible to evade the fact that Endless War will inevitably degrade the citizenry of the country that engages in it. A country which venerates its military above all other institutions, which demands that its soldiers be spoken of only with religious-like worship, and which continuously indoctrinates its population to believe that endless violence against numerous countries is necessary and just - all by instilling intense fear of the minorities who are the target of that endless violence - will be a country filled with citizens convinced of the virtues and nobility of aggression.
Some information is classified legitimately; as with military hardware, secrecy sometimes really is in the national interest. Further, military, political, and intelligence communities tend to value secrecy for its own sake. It's a way of silencing critics and evading responsibility - for incompetence or worse. It generates an elite, a band of brothers in whom the national confidence can be reliably vested, unlike the great mass of citizenry on whose behalf the information is presumably made secret in the first place. With a few exceptions, secrecy is deeply incompatible with democracy and with science.
The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
There is nothing puzzling ... about America's gratuitously aggressive foreign policy or about the oligarchs' successful efforts to drag the Republic into five wars. What an aggressive foreign policy accomplishes by slow degrees, a state of war accomplishes in a trice. Overnight [war] kills reform, overnight it transforms insurgents into traitors and the Republic into an imperiled realm. Overnight it strangles free politics, distracts and overawes the citizenry. Overnight it blasts public hope.
Rome tolerated every abominable practice, embraced every foul idea in the name of freedom and the rights of the common man. Citizens no longer carried on deviant behavior in private, but pridefully displayed it in public. It was those with moral values who could no longer freely walk in a public park without having to witness a revolting display. What happened to the public censors who protected the majority of citizenry from moral decadence? Did freedom have to mean abolishing common decency? Did freedom mean anyone could do anything they wanted anytime they wanted, without consequences?
A system in which legal police shootings of unarmed civilians are a common occurrence is a system that has some serious flaws. In this case, the drawback is a straightforward consequence of America's approach to firearms. A well-armed citizenry required an even-better-armed constabulary. Widespread gun ownership creates a systematic climate of fear on the part of the police. The result is a quantity of police shootings that, regardless of the facts of any particular case, is just staggeringly high. Young black men, in particular, are paying the price for America's gun culture.
While much psychology emphasizes the familial causes of angst in humans, the cultural component carries as much weight, for culture is the family of the family. If the family of the family has various sicknesses, then all families within that culture will have to struggle with the same malaises. There is a saying cultura cura, culture cures. If the culture is a healer, the families learn how to heal; they will struggle less, be more reparative, far less wounding, far more graceful and loving. In a culture where the predator rules, all new life needing to be born, all old life needing to be gone, is unable to move and the soul-lives of its citizenry are frozen with both fear and spiritual famine.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence - economic, political, even spiritual - is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
With modern technology it is the easiest of tasks for a media, guided by a narrow group of political manipulators, to speak constantly of democracy and freedom while urging regime changes everywhere on earth but at home. A curious condition of a republic based roughly on the original Roman model is that it cannot allow true political parties to share in government. What then is a true political party: one that is based firmly in the interest of a class be it workers or fox hunters. Officially we have two parties which are in fact wings of a common party of property with two right wings. Corporate wealth finances each. Since the property party controls every aspect of media they have had decades to create a false reality for a citizenry largely uneducated by public schools that teach conformity with an occasional advanced degree in consumerism.
Antidemocracy, executive predominance, and elite rule are basic elements of inverted totalitarianism. Antidemocracy does not take the form of overt attacks upon the idea of government by the people. Instead, politically it means encouraging what I have earlier dubbed 'civic demobilization, ' conditioning an electorate to being aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy. The intense pace of work and the extended working day, combined with job insecurity, is a formula for political demobilization, for privatizing the citizenry. It works indirectly. Citizens are encouraged to distrust their government and politicians; to concentrate upon their own interests; to begrudge their taxes; and to exchange active involvement for symbolic gratifications of patriotism, collective self-righteousness, and military prowess. Above all, depoliticization is promoted through society's being enveloped in an atmosphere of collective fear and of individual powerlessness: fear of terrorists, loss of jobs, the uncertainties of pension plans, soaring health costs, and rising educational expenses.
Sheldon S. Wolin
How could a large land empire thrive and dominate in the modern world without reliable access to world markets and without much recourse to naval power? Stalin and Hitler had arrived at the same basic answer to this fundamental question. The state must be large in territory and self-sufficient in economics, with a balance between industry and agriculture that supported a hardily conformist and ideologically motivated citizenry capable of fulfilling historical prophecies - either Stalinist internal industrialization or Nazi colonial agrarianism. Both Hitler and Stalin aimed at imperial autarky, within a large land empire well supplies in food, raw materials, and mineral resources. Both understood the flash appeal of modern materials: Stalin had named himself after steel, and Hitler paid special attention to is production. Yet both Stalin and Hitler understood agriculture as a key element in the completion of their revolutions. Both believed that their systems would prove their superiority to decadent capitalism, and guarantee independence from the rest of the world, by the production of food. p. 158