Category Archives: passages

“A lawyer should seek the truth”

Mason shook his head.
“Why not?” Drake asked.
“Because,” Mason said, “it isn’t the truth.”
“Don’t be naive,” Drake said. “A lot of criminal lawyers I know don’t pay much attention to the truth. Often when the truth would get a client stuck a good lawyer has to resort to something else.”
“I’m afraid of anything that isn’t the truth.” Mason said. “My client tells me a story that’s almost impossible to believe, but it’s her story. If I, as her attorney, adhere to that story I at least am being true to the ideals of my profession. I may think it’s a lie, but I don’t know it’s a lie.
“If, however, I think up some synthetic story, then I know it’s false and I’m afraid of anything that’s false. A lawyer should seek the truth.”
“But your client’s story, from what I gather about it, can’t be true,” Drake said.
“Then,” Mason said, “it’s up to me to seek out the truth.”

Erle Stanley Gardner, The Case of the Glamorous Ghost


“And all for a lie”

For him personally there could be no assimilation; he had known that after the first five years. By then he had learned fluent Russian, written and spoken, but he still retained a remarkable English accent. Apart from that, he had come to hate the society. It was a completely, irreversibly and unalterably alien society.

That was not the worst of it: within seven years of arriving he had lost his last political illusions. It was all a lie, and he had been smart enough to see through it. He had spent his youth and manhood serving a lie, lying for the lie, betraying for the lie, abandoning that ‘green and pleasant land’, and all for a lie.

Frederick Forsyth, The Fourth Protocol


The faculty for myth is innate in the human race. It seizes with avidity upon any incidents, surprising or mysterious, in the career of those who have at all distinguished themselves from their fellows, and invents a legend to which it then attaches a fanatical belief. It is the protest of romance against the commonplace of life. The incidents of the legend become the hero’s surest passport to immortality.

Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence


Cline’s post

The TSA is deserving of every bit of criticism it has earned, both as a functioning bureaucracy and as a product of government policies. It is staffed by thousands of careless, indiscriminate, prostituting, ignorant drones. I no longer consider them as Americans, but as an alien presence in our midst, as alien as the mindless followers of Islam. So, please, no one remind me or any other liberty-loving American that they are just “doing their job” or that they do not establish policy, or that they are just “following orders.” That’s the Nuremberg trial defense.

reminded me of this passage from Ken Follett’s Triple

Borg said, “You know, with most of my people I don’t feel obliged to argue politics every time I give them an assignment. They just take orders, like operatives are supposed to.”
“I don’t believe you,” Dickstein said. “This is a nation of idealists, or it’s nothing.”
“I once knew a man called Wolfgang. He used to say, ‘I just take orders.’ Then he used to break my leg.”
“Yeah,” Borg said. “You told me.”

The “ich”

From Mencken’s The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

Acutely aware of his own superiority, he showed no patience with the unctuous complacency of dons and dignitaries, and so he became embroiled in various conflicts, and even his admirers among his colleagues seldom ventured upon friendly advances.

There are critics who see in all this proof that Nietzsche showed signs of insanity from early manhood, but as a matter of fact it was his abnormally accurate vision and not a vision gone awry, that made him stand so aloof from his fellows. In the vast majority of those about him he saw the coarse metal of sham and pretense beneath the showy gilding of learning. He had before him, at close range, a good many of the great men of his time—the intellectuals whose word was law in the schools. He saw them on parade and he saw them in their shirt sleeves. What wonder that he lost all false reverence for them and began to estimate them in terms, not of their dignity and reputation, but of their actual credibility and worth? It was inevitable that he should compare his own ideas to theirs, and it was inevitable that he should perceive the difference between his own fanatical striving for the truth and the easy dependence upon precedent and formula which lay beneath their booming bombast. Thus there arose in him a fiery loathing for all authority, and a firm belief that his own opinion regarding any matter to which he had given thought was as sound, at the least, as any other man’s. Thenceforth the assertive “ich” began to besprinkle his discourse and his pages. “I condemn Christianity. I have given to mankind…. I was never yet modest…. I think…. I say…. I do….” Thus he hurled his javelin at authority until the end.