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This page contains all of the posts and discussion on MemeStreams referencing the following web page: The Way Things Are and How They Might Be. You can find discussions on MemeStreams as you surf the web, even if you aren't a MemeStreams member, using the Threads Bookmarklet.

The Way Things Are and How They Might Be
by noteworthy at 7:19 am EDT, Apr 5, 2010

Tony Judt:

The old egalitarian language has been transfigured into saying we all have the same opportunities, we are all equal, we will not talk about the fact that you are female and brown, or allow you to dress differently, because that would not be republican. This subterfuge enables very illiberal behavior in the name of a 'liberal ideal'.

The idea is that you can't have an elite, since elitism is undemocratic and unegalitarian. Therefore, you always make the point that people are in some important way the same. You describe everyone as having the same chances when actually some people have more chances than others. And with this cheating language of equality deep inequality is allowed to happen much more easily.

Courage is always missing in politicians. It is like saying basketball players aren't normally short. It isn't a useful attribute.

What we need is a return to a belief not in liberty, because that is easily converted into something else, as we saw, but in equality. Equality, which is not the same as sameness. Equality of access to information, equality of access to knowledge, equality of access to education, equality of access to power and to politics. We should be more concerned than we are about inequalities of opportunity, whether between young and old or between those with different skills or from different regions of a country. It is another way of talking about injustice. We need to rediscover a language of dissent.

William Deresiewicz:

Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things -- the leaders -- are the mediocrities? Because excellence isn't usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering.

Ed Tom Bell:

You can say it's my job to fight it but I don't know what it is anymore.

More than that, I don't want to know. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He would have to say, okay, I'll be part of this world.

Caterina Fake:

Much more important than working hard is knowing how to find the right thing to work on.

David Gelernter:

Instead of letting the Internet solve the easy problems, it's time we got it to solve the important ones.


Life is too short to spend 2300 hours a year working on someone else's idea of what the right problems are.

Notorious BIG:

Just stay hungry.


You don't win friends with salad.


Try not. Do ... or do not. There is no try.

Cormac McCarthy:

Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.

Lauren Clark:

It's good to have a plan, but if something extraordinary comes your way, you should go for it.

Garrison Keillor, quoting you:

I could have done that. I could have done that while doing all the other things that I do. Why didn't I?

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