Sunday, August 2, 2009

consistent men

In an effort to pare down my library of books and make room for new volumes I have been listing duplicates, previously read, and books I no longer want for sale on Amazon. Interestingly enough I came across this passage from a 1st edition 1947 printing of Kenneth Roberts book "Lydia Bailey." Needless to say, it is no longer on the Amazon sell list.

"I'm not over-enthusiastic about books that teach or preach, but I may as well admit in the beginning that my primary reason for writing this book was to teach as many as possible of those who come after me how much hell and ruin are inevitably brought on innocent people and innocent countries by men who make a virtue of consistency.

All the great villains and small villains whom I met so frequently in the events I'm about to set down were consistent men-unimaginative men who consistently believed in war as a means of settling disputes between nations; equally misguided men who consistently believed that war must be avoided at all hazards, no matter what the provocation: narrow men who consistently upheld the beliefs and acts of one political party and saw no good in any other; shortsighted men who consistently refused to see that the welfare of their own nation was dependent up on the welfare of every other nation: ignorant men who consistently thought that the policies of their own government should be supported and followed, whether those policies were right or wrong; dangerous men who consistently thought that all people with black skins are inferior to those with white skins; intolerant men who consistently believed that all people with white skins should be forced to accept all people with black skins as equals. And I know that any nation that cannot or will not avoid the dreadful pitfalls of consistency will be on e with the dead empires whose crumbling monuments studded our battlegrounds in Haiti and in Africa."

It's not often that I read fiction, however I'll be making an exception in this case.

-Joseph Graves
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