Category Archives: Quotations

Stephen Fry on being offended

“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.” [I saw hate in a graveyard — Stephen Fry, The Guardian, 5 June 2005]”

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Rowan Atkinson on insults

“The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult.” – Rowan Atkinson.

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John McCain on loudmouths

“Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and the television and the Internet. To hell with them”. – Senator John McCain 27 July 2017

 

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Winston Churchill on private enterprise

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Edmund Burke on deliberative representation

‘Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices to your opinion….Government and legislation are matters of reason and judgement, and not of inclination; and, what sort of reason is that, in which the determination precedes the discussion; in which one set of men deliberate, and another decide; and where those who form the conclusion are perhaps three hundred miles distant from those who hear the arguments?’

Reference

Edmund Burke, ‘Speech at the Conclusion of the Poll, 3 November 1774’, in W.M. Elofson and J.A. Woods (eds) The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Vol.III: Party, Parliament, and the American War 1774-1780, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1996, pp.68-70.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali on cultural inequality

Ayaan Hirsi Ali (born 1969) is a Somali-born Dutch-American activist, author, and former Dutch politician. She is has been a vocal critic of Islam,  as well as a feminist and atheist. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is currently a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and the founder of the AHA Foundation, which exists to protect women and girls from abuses. She will visit Australia in early April to discuss reforming Islam.

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Amanda Vanstone on narcissists

‘Narcissists are on uncomfortable ground when they are not the centre of the world… These people on the edge need to understand that the rest of us will not back down on our view just because they have a different one.

They have to be made to accept that we all have an equal right to hold different views. With any luck we can drag some of them to seeing that we all have an equal responsibility to have some understanding of each other’s point of view. Those discussions are where we find the true meaning of democracy, the great conversation of all of our lives.’ – Amanda Vanstone, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 1 2017

 

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Amanda Vanstone on university students

‘Universities, once the bastions of freedom of thought, the place above all others where one could express contentious views have become beacons of political correctness. Students now need to be warned if there is something in a lecture which they might find difficult. Guest lecturers cancel speeches because students disapproving of their views threaten disruptive demonstrations. If we think the Catholic Church giving Galileo a rough time was medieval what do we think of students, rather than the university, deciding what they are prepared to hear.’ – Amanda Vanstone


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David Dunning on the Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive inability of those of low ability to recognize their ineptitude and evaluate their ability accurately. Their research also suggests corollaries: high-ability individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others. In Dr. Dunning’s own words:

“In 1999, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, my then graduate student Justin Kruger and I published a paper that documented how, in many areas of life, incompetent people do not recognize — scratch that, cannot recognize — just how incompetent they are, a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack…”

“What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”

“Some of our most stubborn misbeliefs arise … from the very values and philosophies that define who we are as individuals. Each of us possesses certain foundational beliefs — narratives about the self, ideas about the social order—that essentially cannot be violated: To contradict them would call into question our very self-worth. As such, these views demand fealty from other opinions. And any information that we glean from the world is amended, distorted, diminished, or forgotten in order to make sure that these sacrosanct beliefs remain whole and unharmed.”

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Tony Blair on popularity vs capability

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and the Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. From 1983 to 2007, Blair was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield and was elected Labour Party leader in July 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under Blair’s leadership, the party used the phrase ‘New Labour‘, to distance it from previous Labour policies and the traditional conception of socialism.


 

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