Lastly, the superstitious man becomes a fanatic, and then his zeal becomes capable of all crimes in the name of the Lord.
The superstitious man is his own executioner; and he is the executioner of all who do not agree with him.
Voltaire – ON SUPERSTITION – Toleration and Other Essays
What I love about this line is its first clause. In what way does superstition make us our own executioners? The second clause is easy enough to get: the murderer of Dr. Tiller for performing abortions, of gays for being gay, of Americans by Al Qaeda; the Crusades, Thirty Years War, Inquisition, on and on. That stuff’s elementary. But what’s Voltaire getting at in that first part?
On Two Ways of Reading: Slavery reads on its knees. Freedom reads on its feet. ((I know, I know — wannabee Nietszchean aphorist indulgence. But cut me some slack. Time is slow here on this beach.))
So a high school teacher’s job: to teach students to find those feet?
I’m just looking for snappy first principles here. Ones within the 15-year-old attention span.
School writing: Assignments by teachers who don’t want to read them, to students who don’t want to write them; a perpetual and unnecessary misery upon which hinges the student’s future, and the teacher’s present, livelihood.