Monday, 5 May 2008 harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice.

'I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; - but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest - I will not equivocate - I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch - AND I WILL BE HEARD.'

The preceding words were penned by William Lloyd Garrison, the 'Golden Trumpet of Abolition', in the 1 January 1831 debut issue of The Liberator. The Liberator ran for 35 years [until the end of the American Civil War in, as you already know, 1865], mobilizing the disparate forces of the anti-slavery movement across the northern states.

On 3 December 1964, Mario Savio, arguably the most noteworthy of the spokespersons for the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, observed that:

'There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!'

Then I go look at my all-too-humble little blog where I discuss what I had for breakfast and I get really damn depressed.

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