A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Quote of the Day

Self-control is the control and rightful-ordering of desires and passions by the rational self. Liberation, as promoted by liberals, socialists, and other libertarians, is the setting-free of desires and passions from the command of the rational self, the thraldom of the latter to the former, and the manipulation and control of the desires and passions by outer forces over the vanquished self. This is the “free man” which the libertarians promote: the man without self-control, not a master of his passions, but their thrall in “free expression” — and a thrall also to those who know how to manipulate and control the passions of others.


  1. "Socialists and other libertarians"?

  2. Self-control is freedom. Freedom, by definition, can never be imposed by outer forces, law, or regulation.

    The libertarians are right.

    The neo-"liberals" and socialists are wrong.

    1. Self control cannot be imposed, you're right, but we can also only develop it in a community with others and with a support structure.

  3. Shamelessly quoting myself:

    "To live a good life, one must always evaluate one’s own self, who one is, what one has done, and what are one’s goals. Are we being truthful to ourselves? We are, after all, the first target of our own lies. As Socrates put it: the unexamined life is not worth living. Second, the idea that what we want is not who we are, that our desires must be judged and moderated by the self-knowing person, frees us from easy manipulation, in modern times both the carrot of political and advertising pandering, and the stick of being defined out of social groups."

    So, yea.

  4. I'm baffled by the use of "libertarian" here. The libertarians I know (and I know a lot of them) want to minimize external control by the State, but understand the importance self-control. And far from promoting "the setting-free of desires and passions from the command of the rational self," most of them bang on about rationalism all the time. If you run around listening to your passions at the expense of your reason, "the universe will learn you or kill you."

    At least, in the case of American libertarians. I understand that in Europe, "libertarian" has connotations that are more like "libertine." Is the quoted source a European?

  5. Elinor could not be surprised at their attachment. She only wished that it were less openly shewn; and once or twice did venture to suggest the propriety of some self-command to Marianne. But Marianne abhorred all concealment where no real disgrace could attend unreserve; and to aim at the restraint of sentiments which were not in themselves illaudable, appeared to her not merely an unnecessary effort, but a disgraceful subjection of reason to common-place and mistaken notions. Willoughby thought the same; and their behaviour at all times, was an illustration of their opinions.
    -- Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 11
    quoted by Brandon at


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