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Irving Kristol

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The trouble with traditional American conservatism is that it lacks a naturally cheerful, optimistic disposition. Not only does it lack one, it regards signs of one as evidence of unsoundness, irresponsibility.
--
Wall Street Journal, November 18, 1985

 
Irving Kristol

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The difference between a pessimistic and an optimistic mind is of such controlling importance in regard to every intellectual function, and especially for the conduct of life, that it is out of the question to admit that both are normal, and the great majority of mankind are naturally optimistic.

 
Charles Sanders Peirce
 

Conservatism proper is a legitimate, probably necessary, and certainly widespread attitude of opposition to drastic change. It has, since the French Revolution, for a century and a half played an important role in European politics. Until the rise of socialism its opposite was liberalism. There is nothing corresponding to this conflict in the history of the United States, because what in Europe was called "liberalism" was here the common tradition on which the American polity had been built: thus the defender of the American tradition was a liberal in the European sense. This already existing confusion was made worse by the recent attempt to transplant to America the European type of conservatism, which, being alien to the American tradition, has acquired a somewhat odd character. And some time before this, American radicals and socialists began calling themselves "liberals." I will nevertheless continue for the moment to describe as liberal the position which I hold and which I believe differs as much from true conservatism as from socialism.

 
Friedrich Hayek
 

First of all, I was having fun. I was with a group of good-humored, cheerful, happy people. We were singing old protest songs and old Sunday school songs and clapping. I felt I had to be cheerful to set the tone. We didn't want any trouble or to do anything non-peaceful. Secondly, when I got arrested and the officers lifted me out I was afraid that America would see my underwear and that tickled me.

 
Cindy Sheehan
 

After the first International Days of Protest in October, 1965, Senator Mansfield criticized the "sense of utter irresponsibility" shown by the demonstrators. He had nothing to say then, nor has he since, about the "sense of utter irresponsibility" shown by Senator Mansfield and others who stand by quietly and vote appropriations as the cities and villages of North Vietnam are demolished, as millions of refugees in the South are driven from their homes by American bombardment. He has nothing to say about the moral standards or the respect for international law of those who have permitted this tragedy. I speak of Senator Mansfield precisely because he is not a breast-beating superpatriot who wants America to rule the world, but is rather an American intellectual in the best sense, a scholarly and reasonable man -- the kind of man who is the terror of our age. Perhaps this is merely a personal reaction, but when I look at what is happening to our country, what I find most terrifying is not Curtis LeMay, with his cheerful suggestion that we bomb everybody back into the stone age, but rather the calm disquisitions of the political scientists on just how much force will be necessary to achieve our ends, or just what form of government will be acceptable to us in Vietnam. What I find terrifying is the detachment and equanimity with which we view and discuss an unbearable tragedy. We all know that if Russia or China were guilty of what we have done in Vietnam, we would be exploding with moral indignation at these monstrous crimes.

 
Noam Chomsky
 

Terrorism, which means killing civilians in whatever name or title, lacks morality, and nobody who lacks such principle will go to heaven. (During a speech at Council on American-Islamic Relations, September 8, 2006) **http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060909/ts_afp/usattacksirankhatami_060909041526 (dead link).

 
Mohammad Khatami
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