If you accept - and I do - that freedom of speech is important, then you are going to have to defend the indefensible. That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don't say or like or want said. The Law is a huge blunt weapon that does not and will not make distinctions between what you find acceptable and what you don't. This is how the Law is made. People making art find out where the limits of free expression are by going beyond them and getting into trouble. [... ] The Law is a blunt instrument. It's not a scalpel. It's a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible.
I'm not religious, and I'm not a Christian, but I do reserve the right to believe in the possibility of a God. It's kind of defending the indefensible, though; I'm critical of what religions are becoming, the more destructive they're becoming. But I think as an artist, particularly, it's a necessary part of what I do, that there is some divine element going on within my songs.
I have no profession. It is another example of my decadence. My attitude - quite an indefensible one - is that so long as I am no trouble to any one I have a right to do as I like. I know I ought to be getting money out of people, or devoting myself to things I don't care a straw about, but somehow, I've not been able to begin.' 'You are quite fortunate, it is quite a wonderful opportunity, the possession of leisure.
Today, journalists more than any other cohort of professionals, are responsible for the confusion that surrounds power and its criminality in contemporary society. As Janet Malcolm said in another context, 'Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.'
I must be absolutely clear about this. Britain cannot accept the present situation on the budget. It is demonstrably unjust. It is politically indefensible. I cannot play Sister Bountiful to the Community while my own electorate are being asked to forego improvements in the fields of health, education, welfare and the rest
I don't hate humanity and I'm not interested in people who do. Although, it's funny, actually, some of my favorite writers really do. Like Martin Amis. My dirty secret. 'London Fields' is one of my favorite books ever. And it's indefensible! But he's so funny... I forgive him everything.
Darwinian evolution may be the most truthful and powerful idea ever generated by Western Science, but if we continue to illustrate our conviction with an indefensible, unsupported, entirely speculative, and basically rather silly story, then we are clothing a thing of beauty in rags - and we should be ashamed, "for the apparel oft proclaims the man.
Stephen Jay Gould
Whole communities are growing up without fathers or male role models. Bringing up a family in the best of circumstances is not easy. To try to do it by placing the entire burden on women - 91% of single-parent families in Britain are headed by the mother, according to census data - is practically absurd and morally indefensible.
Although my doctors informed me that I suffered a cerebral concussion, as well as shock, I do not seek to escape responsibility for my actions by placing the blame either on the physical and emotional trauma brought on by the accident, or on anyone else. I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately.
I feel that the recent ruling of the United States Army and Navy regarding the refusal of colored blood donors is an indefensible one from any point of view. As you know, there is no scientific basis for the separation of the bloods of different races except on the basis of the individual blood types or groups.
Charles R. Drew
If anyone has seen the horrific and unwatchable footage of the Chinese cat and dog trade - animals skinned alive - then they could not possibly argue in favour of China as a caring nation. There are no animal protection laws in China and this results in the worst animal abuse and cruelty on the planet. It is indefensible.
If anyone has seen the horrific and unwatchable footage of the Chinese cat and dog trade - animals skinned alive - then they could not possibly argue in favour of China as a caring nation. There are no animal protection laws in China, and this results in the worst animal abuse and cruelty on the planet. It is indefensible.
There are remuneration packages that will no longer be tolerated because they bear no relation to merit. That those who create jobs and wealth may earn a lot of money is not shocking. But that those who contribute to destroying jobs and wealth also earn a lot of money is morally indefensible.
Imposition of the death penalty is arbitrary and capricious. Decision of who will live and who will die for his crime turns less on the nature of the offense and the incorrigibility of the offender and more on inappropriate and indefensible considerations: the political and personal inclinations of prosecutors; the defendant's wealth, race and intellect; the race and economic status of the victim; the quality of the defendant's counsel; and the resources allocated to defense lawyers.
Fortunately, I'm able to make a living from comics, so I'm privileged enough to be quite choosy, though most cartoonists can't afford to be. It's really an uncomfortable situation, since I'm not an illustrator, though I do get calls from morally indefensible businesses offering me money to decorate their ambitions. It's extremely rare, almost unheard of, in fact, that I am asked to do a comic strip. Do writers get calls to pen Toyota advertisements? Do composers get asked to write chamber pieces about exercise machines?
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.
We can never totally return to the indefensible pre-1967 borders, ... We simply cannot afford to make Israel 14.48 km (9 miles) wide again at its center. We can't allow the Palestinians to be a couple of [miles] from [Tel Aviv's] Ben-Gurion Airport in the age of shoulder-fire missiles with the capacity to shoot down jumbo jets. But that doesn't mean we must remain in every corner of the West Bank or in Gaza, where fewer than 10,000 Jews, living next to 1.3 million Palestinians, have been protected by twice as many soldiers.
The slight variations in extracting procedure cause many of the amygdalin (Vitamin B-17, Laetrile) molecules to change to a form unknown to nature(:) isomers...There are ...purveyors who label their 'iso-amygdalin' products 'amygdalin' contrary to all of the recognized specs...For commercial or political purposes, they certainly cannot justify such a fallacy...This scientific heresy and commercial fraud...(is) tremendously reducing the effectiveness of amygdalin therapy. ...To mislabel iso-amygdalin as amygdalin is scientifically, medically, and morally indefensible.
Ernst T. Krebs
When he heard laughter, before he could think or feel anything, his heart would already be beating like he'd sprinted twenty yards. As the beating slowly normalized he'd think of how his heart, unlike him, was safely contained, away from the world, behind bone and inside skin, held by muscles and arteries in its place, carefully off-center, as if to artfully assert itself as source and creator, having grown the chest to hide in and to muffle and absorb-and, later, after innovating the brain and face and limbs, to convert into productive behavior-its uncontrollable, indefensible, unexplainable, embarrassing squeezing of itself.
So far as this argument is concerned nonhuman animals and infants and retarded humans are in the same category; and if we use this argument to justify experiments on nonhuman animals we have to ask ourselves whether we are also prepared to allow experiments on human infants and retarded adults; and if we make a distinction between animals and these humans, on what basis can we do it, other than a bare-faced - and morally indefensible - preference for members of our own species?
Now I have no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips - whether he was going to have enough of them to hand out because his company Bain Capital with all the jobs that they killed, I'm sure he was worried that he'd run out of pink slips. There is something inherently wrong when getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is how you do your business and I happen to think that's indefensible. If you're a victim of Bain Capital's downsizing, it's the ultimate insult for Mitt Romney to come to South Carolina and tell you he feels your pain, because he caused it.
In an essay 10 years ago, I pointed out that it is utterly logical for polygamy rights to follow gay rights. After all, if traditional marriage is defined as the union of (1) two people of (2) opposite gender, and if, as advocates of gay marriage insist, the gender requirement is nothing but prejudice, exclusion and an arbitrary denial of one's autonomous choices in love, then the first requirement - the number restriction (two and only two) - is a similarly arbitrary, discriminatory and indefensible denial of individual choice.
Janet Malcolm had famously described journalism as the art of seduction and betrayal. Any reporter who didn't see journalism as "morally indefensible" was either "too stupid" or "too full of himself, " she wrote. I disagreed. Without shutting the door on the possibility that I was both stupid and full of myself, I'd never bought into the seduction and betrayal conceit. At most, journalism - particularly when writing about media-hungry public figures - was like the seduction of a prostitute. The relationship was transactional. They weren't talking to me because they liked me or because I impressed them; they were talking to me because they wanted the cover of Rolling Stone.
The thing people don't understand about an army is its great, unpunctuated wastes of inaction: you have to scavenge for food, you are camped out somewhere with a rising water level because your mad capitaine says so, you are shifted abruptly in the middle of the night into some indefensible position, so you never really sleep, your equipment is defective, the gunners keep causing small unwanted explosions, the crossbowmen are either drunk or praying, the arrows are ordered up but not here yet, and your whole mind is occupied by a seething anxiety that things are going to go badly because il principe, or whatever little worshipfulness is in charge today, is not very good at the basic business of thinking. It didn't take him many winters to get out of fighting and into supply. In Italy, you could always fight in the summer, if you felt like it. If you wanted to go out.
Whatever it was that people experience in Jesus has today come to be identified with medieval doctrines based on premodern assumptions that are no longer believable. That identification means that serious theological discussion seems to accomplish little more than to erect a division between the shouters and the disinterested. Jesus becomes the captive of the hysterically religious, the chronically fearful, the insecure and even the neurotic among us, or he becomes little more than a fading memory, the symbol of an age that is no more and a nostalgic reminder of our believing past. To me neither option is worth pursuing. Yet even understanding these things, I am still attracted to this Jesus and I will pursue him both relentlessly and passionately. I will not surrender the truth I believe I find in him either to those who seek to defend the indefensible or to those who want to be freed finally from premodern ideas that no longer make any sense.
John Shelby Spong
No more junk talk, no more lies. No more mornings in the hospital getting bad blood drained out of me. No more doctors trying to analyse what makes me a drug addict. No more futile attempts at trying to control my heroin use. No more defending myself when I know I am practically indefensible. No more police using me as practice. No more ODs, no more losses. No more trying to take an intellectual position on my heroin addiction when it takes more than it gives. No more dope-sick mornings, no more slow suicide, no more pain without end. No more AA. No more NA. No more mind control. No more being a victim, no more looking for reasons in childhood, in God in anything but what exists in HERE. No more admitting I am powerless. Down the dusty Los Angeles sidewalks, down the urine stained London back alleys ... there goes the connection fading into the crowd like a 1960's Polaroid. 'Business... ?' 'Whachoo need... ?' 'Chiva... ?
Charity is the power of defending that which we know to be indefensible. Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate. It is true that there is a state of hope which belongs to bright prospects and the morning; but that is not the virtue of hope. The virtue of hope exists only in earthquake and eclipse. It is true that there is a thing crudely called charity, which means charity to the deserving poor; but charity to the deserving is not charity at all, but justice. It is the undeserving who require it, and the ideal either does not exist at all, or exists wholly for them. For practical purposes it is at the hopeless moment that we require the hopeful man, and the virtue either does not exist at all, or begins to exist at that moment. Exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable it begins to be useful.
When I left high school with my diploma, it felt like I was holding a key that would unlock the door to a better world. Every teacher I passed on my way down to the parking lot-the ones who suspended me for questioning them both earnestly and in jest, suspended me for using a contumacious hip-shake as my hallway gait, suspended me for me being me-the ones who would roll their eyes if my behavior was, on the whole, unpatriotic, unjustified, and immature-well, on the way down that long black declivity, their faces seemed so contorted as if lurking shadows had vice grips locked on their kidneys, wrenching it every time a teacher didn't want to remain upright and respectful. Yes, they didn't want to me to succeed either! I pledge allegiance to the flag that united every authority in that indefensible school looked at me, even treated me, as if I was a terrorist, or at the very least, unpatriotic. But God-didn't the red blood, white skin, and blue balls that flagged my physical existence suffice for me to have a little liberty and justice?
I don't think that, when future generations look at the apartheid struggle, they will see it as quite the momentous literary cauldron that recent history has suggested. In fact, as well as recording the struggle for human rights, the literary account, which Gordimer has kept so faithfully and truthfully, may be seen as something of a storm in a teacup. Of course it was true that South Africa preserved in much-condensed form all the nasty prejudices and cruelties of an earlier age, and so it was of particular interest to the liberal West. How, it wondered, could something so obscenely and obviously wrong persist? But this was also obvious to every educated white person in South Africa. Certainly, in my family there were never any misconceptions about the nakedly discriminatory nature of Nationalist rule from 1948 to 1994. Those of us who left had many motives, but one of them was a reluctance to spend our lives attacking the indefensible, particularly in Marxist terms. The point I am making, and have been making for a few years, is that white South African writing rode a wave, whether consciously or not. The big issues that it tackled were in fact long since resolved: The South African Afrikaner government was a blind appendix loosely attached to the western digestive system.