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Let the revolting distinction of rich and poor disappear once and for all, the distinction of great and small, of masters and valets, of governors and governed. Let there be no other differences between human beings than those of age and sex. Since all have the same needs and the same faculties, let there be one education for all, one food for all.
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The human mind is generally far more eager to praise and dispraise than to describe and define. It wants to make every distinction a distinction of value; hence those fatal critics who can never point out the differing quality of two poets without putting them in an order of preference as if they were candidates for a prize.
C. S. Lewis
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I mean ... to let you know how deeply I am impressed with a sense of the importance of Amendments; that the good people may clearly see the distinction - for there is a distinction - between the federal powers vested in Congress and the sovereign authority belonging to the several States, which is the Palladium [the protection] of the private and personal rights of the citizens.
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Despite the apparent absoluteness of the First Amendment, there are any number of ways of getting around it, ways that are known to any student of law. In general, the strategy is to manipulate the distinction between speech and action which is at bottom a distinction between inconsequential and consequential behavior.
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For years I have told my students that I been trying to train executives rather than clerks. The distinction between the two is parallel to the distinction previously made between understanding and knowledge. It is a mighty low executive who cannot hire several people with command of more knowledge than he has himself.
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It is not for nothing that you are named Ransom, ' said the Voice... The whole distinction between things accidental and things designed, like the distinction between fact and myth, was purely terrestrial. The pattern is so large that within the little frame of earthly experience there appear pieces of it between which we can see no connection, and other pieces between which we can. Hence we rightly, for our sue, distinguish the accidental from the essential. But step outside that frame and the distinction drops down into the void, fluttering useless wings. He had been forced out of the frame, caught up into the larger pattern... 'My name also is Ransom, ' said the Voice.
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But the distinction is important and must be made: the highest virtue is not to give or to take. It is to share. And what I didn't understand most of my life is that sharing includes serving oneself. It is a subtle distinction, one too subtle for most adults, though most children understand it.
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The fact that at the moment the distinction is being made, a young adult, as opposed to an adult, is the one reading it. In other words, I don't entirely believe in the distinction. A great book is a great book, and it's impossible to say what part of a person is going to connect to it.
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But there is another and greater distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into kings and subjects. Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and band, the distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.
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There is only one law of Nature-the second law of thermodynamics-which recognises a distinction between past and future more profound than the difference of plus and minus. It stands aloof from all the rest. ... It opens up a new province of knowledge, namely, the study of organisation; and it is in connection with organisation that a direction of time-flow and a distinction between doing and undoing appears for the first time.
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We are ... led to a somewhat vague distinction between what we may call "hard" data and "soft" data. This distinction is a matter of degree, and must not be pressed; but if not taken too seriously it may help to make the situation clear. I mean by "hard" data those which resist the solvent influence of critical reflection, and by "soft" data those which, under the operation of this process, become to our minds more or less doubtful.
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To me, a philosopher who says that the distinction between human and nonhuman depends on whether you have a white or a black skin, and a philosopher who says that the distinction between human and nonhuman depends on whether or not you know the difference between a subject and a predicate, are more alike than they are unlike.
J. M. Coetzee
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I certainly don't feel there's a distinction to be made between a television and a film actor. I think there's a distinction between great actors and not so great actors. But I really think if you watch a person working in television give a wonderful performance, that person is f - ing great, because there is no time.
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Now I wonder what our knowledge has in common with God's knowledge according to those who treat God's knowledge... Is there anything else common to both besides the mere name? ...there is an essential distinction between His knowledge and ours, like the distinction between the substance of the heavens and that of the earth.
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In literary representation, the distinction between the genuinely erotic and the licentious is a distinction not of subject-matter, but of perspective. The genuinely erotic work is one which invites the reader to re-create in imagination the first-person point of view of someone party to an erotic encounter. The pornographic work retains as a rule the third-person perspective of the voyeuristic observer.
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... the Apostle Peter declared that the Church was built by the Holy Spirit. For you read that he said: 'God, Who knows the hearts of men, bore witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as was given to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith' (Acts 15:8-9). In which is to be considered, that as Christ is the Cornerstone, Who joined together both peoples into one, so, too, the Holy Spirit made no distinction between the hearts of each people, but united them.
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Gender is not something that one is, it is something one does, an act... a "doing" rather than a "being". There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; that identity is performatively constituted by the very "expressions" that are said to be its results. If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps this construct called 'sex' is as culturally constructed as gender; indeed, perhaps it was always already gender, with the consequence that the distinction between sex and gender turns out to be no distinction at all.
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If the denial of death is self-hatred, as it is to deny our freedom and live in fear of death (which is to say, to live in a form of bondage), then the acceptance and affirmation of death is indeed a form of self-love. But I'd want to make a distinction between a form of self-love which is essential to what it means to be human, and a narcissism of self-regard, like Rousseau's distinction between amour de soi and amour propre, self-love and pride.
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Just as the end goal of socialist revolution was not only the elimination of the economic class privilege but of the economic class distinction itself, so the end goal of feminist revolution must be, ... not just the elimination of the male privilege, but of the sex distinction itself; genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally.
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In the debate over the use of antibiotics in agriculture, a distinction is usually made between their clinical and nonclinical uses. Public health advocates don't object to treating sick animals with antibiotics; they just don't want to see the drugs lose their effectiveness because factory farms are feeding them to healthy animals to promote growth. But the use of antibiotics in feedlot cattle confounds this distinction. Here the drugs are plainly being used to treat sick animals, yet the animals probably wouldn't be sick if not for the diet of grain we feed them.
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Secularism drew a radical distinction between public and private life, in which religion, in any traditional sense, was relegated to the private sphere with no hold over public life. There are many charms in secularism, in particular the freedom to believe what you will in private. But secularism also poses a public problem. There are those whose beliefs are so different from others' beliefs that finding common ground in the public space is impossible. And then there are those for whom the very distinction between private and public is either meaningless or unacceptable. The complex contrivances of secularism have their charm, but not everyone is charmed.
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When distinction of any kind, even intellectual distinction, is somehow resented as a betrayal of the American spirit of equal opportunity for all, the result must be just this terror of individualistic impulses setting us apart, either above or below our neighbours; just this determination to obey without questioning and to subscribe with passion to the conventions and traditions. The dilemma becomes a very real one: How can this sense of democratic equality be made compatible with respect for exceptional personalities or great minds? How can democracy, as we understand it today, with its iron repression of the free spirit, its monotonous standardisation of everything, learn to cherish an intellectual aristocracy without which any nation runs the risk of becoming a civilisation of the commonplace and the second-rate?
Harold Edmund Stearns
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Just as a moral distinction is drawn between "those at risk" and "those posing a risk", health education routinely draws a distinction between the harm caused by external causes out of the individual's control and that caused by oneself. Lifestyle risk discourse overturns the notion that health hazards in postindustrial society are out of the individual's control. On the contrary, the dominant theme of lifestyle risk discourse is the responsibility of the individual to avoid health risks for the sake of his or her own health as well as the greater good of society.
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Consistently, [Yves] Congar emphasized the distinction between Tradition and traditionalism. The latter was an unyielding commitment to the past. The former was a living principle of commitment to the Beginning, a process that required creativity, inspiration, and a spirit of openness to the present as well as respect for the past. Two of Congar's works, on reform in the church and on the theology of the laity, proved especially controversial... Congar believed that reform was a vital and necessary dimension of the church. This was rooted in the distinction between the church and the kingdom of God and in the intermingling in the church of both divine and human elements. In light of the church's constant temptation to revert to institutionalism, it was always necessary to allow room for the prophetic voice, issuing from the margins, even though this might mean attending to uncomfortable truths.
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