John Silber Quote

“The reduction of political discourse to sound bites is one of the worst things that’s happened in American political life.”

~ John Silber

USA Today, 1 October 1990

Ratings and Comments


John-Douglas, Nassau

Just one of the worst. It ranks right up there with 'talking heads' and fake news.

Garrett Wilkins, Denver

This man is a fraud and a lier... Observe the documentary manufacturing consent, or WGBH Public TV Broadcast of "The ten o'clock News" in 1985 where by John Silber denied the circomstances which was an accurate depiction of the assasination of an arch bishop and the local governments genocide and killing of all who opposed it.

Anonymous, Denver

Regardless of what I may think of Mr. Silber's other opinions, I would strongly agree with this quote.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Public discourse of any type is useless if one believes that the society is not one that is ruled by or at least informed by public opinion or majority views which is generally called democracy. Why people would express their views on this site or anywhere else if they do not believe their views are of any use to anyone is beyond me. If we are not in a majority ruled or democratic society of what avail is their opinions. Mike of Norwalk is the King of Sound Bites with his "victimeless crimes" etc.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Waffler, son, I'm convinced that one day you'll "get it". Public opinion has its place; problem is, when public opinion accepts that the only absolute is majority rule absolutely, well then... tyranny and usurpation follows and abounds. Why? Because if you base a system of legitimacy, society, and government only upon what the majority says absolutely -- then you establish a system of government wherein the Hutu are justified to legitimately kill the Tutsi. I don't know how it can be said any clearer. Even gang rape is okay in Democracy (so long as the gang was in the majority). This principle applies no matter how many people you add to the equation. But what if, just what if, you have a society that doesn't believe that mere numbers equates to legitimacy? What if it was reasoned that a set of laws existed that established a woman's rights against the gang that wanted to attack her? If it was the gang that gave her her rights, the gang could most assuredly and just as legitimately take them away (thus establishing that there is not true protection of rights in a Democracy). If the gang consisted of 5 men, and there was one passer-by who tried to help the lady from being raped, in a mere Democracy, that man is a traitor to the organization, a would-be tyrant for not accepting the majority's decision of rape, and a danger to the order of things... Indeed, such an individual IS a danger to the expressed belief that merely because the women is in the minority she has to succumb her body to the probing of 5 men. Individuality shatters the collective thought. The majority in this gang rape decided that the women had no rights, and if they exist and operate under a Democracy, they're right -- because her "rights" are only extended to her in trust, in a Democracy, that these men won't rape her. Ironically, our American society nowadays rejects that mere numbers plays a part in establishing this gang-rape majority, while still ignorantly supporting this system of government on a macro scale towards government -- a system of government our founders rejected and tirelessly sought to dismiss out of our society. Those on this site who you so adamantly disagree with are the only ones who promote a political philosophy wherein we reject that it is okay to rape the women, merely because her attackers outnumber her. We claim that she has inherent rights, separate from the gang that is preparing to rape her, and that she should be protected in her individual rights against a usurping majority. That the majority gang does not, by virtue of being in the majority, have any legitimacy, though being in the majority, to rape her. These men may overpower her, overcome her, and have their way with her (one person one vote) -- but how in the hell can you be so sick and demented to conclude that these men have the authority to have their way with her? This is the very establishment of de factoism! Let's say it was 10 men and 2 women; or 30 men and 25 women; or 100 men and 99 women; or 1,000,000 men and 500,000 women... It doesn't matter WHAT the ratio is, the action IS STILL WRONG!! Democracy does not look for morality, it simply looks for one person/one vote -- majority wins absolutely all of the time without exception (kind of makes you wonder why Bush won and not Gore or Kerry, eh? The Dems actually had popular vote -- interesting that our founders established the electoral system -- yet another proof against your Democracy theory). This is why the EU IS a Democracy and why the US is NOT. As I have brought up before, John Bruton protested a US "Democracy" because we adhere to standard and codex of reasoned rules outside the voting parameters of the majority; however, the EU does not have such a standard, because the majority can vote on whatever it wants. When I asked him how the EU thus protects the minority, he merely stated that the ONLY way to protect the minority in a Democracy is to operate all matters by unanimous vote -- which, by the way, the EU does. You are left without argument, sir. Your ramblings are over, you are left defenseless to wallow in your own mire of asinine ideology. Good hell, how long have we been arguing this fact... at first you wouldn't conceded the point that our founders rejected Democracy -- you gave the most ridiculous arguments declaring the American fighters to somehow be in the majority -- then after we all called that lie, you beset to ramrod more of your blank theories into some celestial quagmire. Good hell again! Give it a rest!

jim k, austin

Logan, you may be convinced that one day waffler will get it, but I have serious doubts. Hey Waff, if the "majority" in my home owners association voted that I must paint my house pink, should I be forced to do it? After all, majority rules.

Mike, Norwalk

Sound bites are the worst part of an empty facade, all substance, conception, and knowledge of freedom and liberty are lost. Waffler, once again you make me smile. Your entire premise is based on a falsehood and what continues from there only serves to increase the error. All who read your diatribe understand your belittling of victimless crimes is in harmony with a democracy. As Logan so apply put it, in a democracy the rape victim is not a victim at all because no crime was committed - public opinion prevailed. On an expanded understanding of democracies victimless crimes, making a criminal out of an individual, when that individual has harmed no-one or thing or, infringed on no-one's rights in any way is a sick and unjust attribute of a democracy. And, as per the quote, sound bites are an excellent tool for covering up a democracy's atrocities (such as victimless crimes)

RKA, Wasilla, AK

My house on my piece of land is my domain. It matters not to anybody who lives around me the way I choose to live my life as long as I live my life within the bound of law and as long as my inalienable rights are protected by constitution that drafted the law. If a country attacks another country, the country being attacked has every right to defend its independence. Our forefathers had that knowledge, hence the declaration of independence and our constitution which I call my bible of liberty. But astute as it is in the filth of political discourse that prevails these days, the underlying question all the time pertains to justice and freedom. I do not understand why we do not look into problems from the perspective of very foundation that this country came to being. I take no heart in calming myself by listening to president when he gives speech in the troubled times, because I see no justification in believing him. That, in my opinion, is a sheer propaganda. The media, screeching under the umbrella of corporate protection, breed that filth of deception, whether that is right or left. There is no difference whatsoever.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Jim K and RKA I can respect your desire to keep your home and paint your home as you wish especially in small confines of Texas and the wide open spaces of Alaska. You may not be acquainted with the concept of planned communities or even more restricted ideas like gated communities and condo communities, where the residents and their homeowners association take an acitve and caring interest and pride in the colors and conditions of the residents homes. Now one who is into purple and pink houses may not wish to buy there, but I just mention it to point out that some folks do like to hang together, and coordinate fashinon and style and their asso. meetings I would bet, if I were a bettor, are run on some majority rule concept. Where I live we have 700 bldgs registered as National Historic Places including my 1895 home. Some of the homes fall under a city restriction in which the residents must get approval for any repairs, paint etcetera to insure that they meet with historical preservation standards. I thank you all for your opinions, views, and argument. It is the American Way and democracy at its best. Those despisers of democracy (and they know who they are) are still contributing to it by their use of this site. I truly do appreciate it.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Question For Mike: What do the folks who want to help in Hurricane Areas do if they do not believe in church? Do you think their Major or City Council could organize a group to help or would you consider that to be some unAmerican activity that it is no business of Government to do. For you to infer that your limited life experience of helping along with your church should be a model for the entire nation is a little bit narrow, I must say.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, again you haven't read what I wrote. There are many churches, Christian and otherwise and, many non-religious affiliated individuals and groups helping. When it comes to co-ordinating garbage / debris pick-up, the government has done a fine job. In other instances, their minimal presence is more of a hindrance than a help. You should come on down, its hot and they would accept another pair of governmental lacky - liberal slave arms of help (they don't discriminate).

E Archer, NYC

"Change" "American values" "terror" "climate change" "family planning" "pre-emptive defense" "American interests" "mainstream America" "gun-toting" "diversity" "terror" "drugs" "population control" "free trade" "save the earth" "security" "progressive" "conservative" "fairness" -- just a bunch of jargon to hide political ambition.

E Archer, NYC

Jim's right. Waffler is a die-hard collectivist swimming safely in the school telling the rest of us to stay in line. As far as voluntary zoning rules, the purchase of most of these homes come with codes and conditions that the 'home owner' agrees to otherwise no sale. But when the association does not live up to the contract, they are in breach and can be held accountable. I do not know of any condo association that is a 'democracy' -- they usually have boards or councils, and certainly they have limited jurisdictions wherein they may make rules. With regards to private property, the system has been set up so that we in fact do not really 'buy' anything but merely are 'liable.' The issue is control -- control IS ownership. The desire to 'control' others is in fact a desire to enslave, to domesticate, to lay claim to what is not theirs. Waffler loves his world of illusion -- it has paid rather handsomely and as long as he doesn't rock the boat, he can think he is free. He does not want to be free actually -- he wants to be taken care of and therefore argues for the dependency of all. As he has already stated, he believes bureaucrats can be trusted and the public cannot. He worships authority and must have been in some position at some time able to dictate rules to others. Give it up, Jim, Mike, Logan -- a more dedicated and deluded slave you will never meet -- an apologist for submission and servitude he calls democracy.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Submission, servitude, humility, and grace to go along with my fellows when they got me out numbered and the guts, intelligence and fortitude to keep my powder dry and fight for my point of view when the time is right. There is a time to fight and a time to agree or at least get along with others. Archer is free and easy with his adjectives. When it suits his purpose he calls me "arrogant", "high and mighty" etcetera. Now he calls me a "submissive". His style sure does remind me of a tyrant. Again I do appreciate y'alls contribution to the formation of opinion and thought which is the heart and soul of democracy. I only wish you could see the dichotomy between your hatred for democracy and your participation in it.(Mike my County has sent Deputy Sheriffs to Galveston to assist in security. So I am paying for that in a small way through my taxes.)

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

PS: Thanks for calling off the dogs, Archer.

E Archer, NYC

Waffler, you are confused about democracy obviously. Here you claim to be "out-numbered" but have the "guts, intelligence and fortitude" to stand your ground. How very independent and individualistic you are -- THAT is what a republican system of laws protects, your right of conscience and right of speech -- these are not up for vote. Quit harping on 'majority opinion rules' because here you are the minority and you make no apologies for not allowing yourself to be 'ruled' -- good for you! That is not democracy, that is taking responsibility for the right to your own opinion despite those arrayed before you. You are proving that we are NOT a democracy and that a democracy would simply be a form of tyranny run by those with more collective power for the time being. Obviously we cannot be subject to the constantly changing whims of opinion -- some things are and must remain SACRED. Arrogance, ignorance, submission can all exist in a collectivist mindset -- indeed they are its foundation. The only dichotomy here is that you confuse free speech and open discussion as 'democracy' -- it isn't. It is based on the mutual respect of each of our natural born rights that no majority or gang or tyrant may take away. Free speech and open dialogue are protected and promoted by INDIVIDUAL rights, not democracy. I do not have the right to force your opinion any more than I have the right to take a percentage of your income or tax your property even if I showed up at your door with a hundred people who agree with me. Democracy is unreal -- it is a justification for exercising unlawful power over others just because they have the numbers. You can thank the Founders for basing our entire nation upon the principles of natural born inalienable rights, not democracy. Democracy is in fact impossible -- it is a lie. Truth be told, committees, councils, and small groups of bureaucrats wield the power of the masses even contrary to the majority opinion that put them there. Therefore rather than declare whatever the majority says goes, we delineate what these government bodies may and may NOT do. That is a Constitutional republican government. The people may vote on a few things directly, but none may ignore the Constitution without consequence. BTW, a free country based on the Rights of Man means more than the freedom to talk and talk and talk -- it needs to protect the lives and property of its citizens -- a democracy cannot do that -- it is already a settled fundamental point and not subject to vote. Opinion is hardly the most important right -- the right to be left alone is much greater. There is a great difference between 'service' and 'servitude' -- one is a gift, the other is a command. If we must be ordered about, then we no longer believe in freedom. You obviously value your freedom, so why not argue for Liberty? A democracy can't.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

You have tried to stifle my free speech and opinions many times with name calling etcetera. I don't at all feel like a minority on this site. I just feel that I sometimes confront uninformed and unthinking people who I have total faith can become informed and can learn to think, thus I care about expounding truth to them. Logan has come a long way from his "republic not a democracy" mantra as has Mike of Norwalk who admitted "yes we are a democracy" after numerous weeks or months of arguing between me and them on the issue. So I agree with you that I am an individual and so is every one else in this country. Stop thinking of me and them as the masses, and that you are maybe some how more independent or individualistic than they are. You and I are They and Them. We only try to differentiate us from the masses in order to puff ourselves up and feel important.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, you crack me up. Just because the current government is more closely aligned to a democracy or democratic oligarchy than most anything else, that doesn't mean that it is Constitutional, lawful, or just. In fact, the current government exists contrary to the principles, intent, and wording of the Constitution, law, and is not a sovereign's representative republic (it is no longer a government of, by, or for the people). As I have illustrated in the past, the Supreme Court now says that: the government is no longer an extension of "We The People" but a totally separate stand alone entity with inherent right; all policing entities have no responsibility or liability to "We The People" - but to the independent state only; any of the three branches may exceed the Constitution by treaty, order, or otherwise; credit not money (you know what I mean by money here, don't go into a weird diatribe) will be the only currency accepted for the payment of debts; the government is superior to the once sovereign by enslaving such with compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny, torture for information, etc., etc., etc. Besides all your other calumniations, please cease to take out of context, misrepresent, or out right lie about what I've said. (for one, I would not include myself in your [we], or any other democracy, I believe in the nobility of man and do my best to maintain my independent sovereignty) Your political sound bites reduce substantive history, facts and truth into empty opinions. You did prove Archer's point, you won't be silenced, no matter what you perceive is being done to you by so many - that is fantastic - this is not a democracy.

Mike, Norwalk

continuing - by 'this', I meant, the Representative Republic, the Constitutional government of law and justice, the nation of the noble free, the land of the individual sovereign, the united sons and daughters of liberty, that place where rights are recognized as inalienable, that place where sound bites don't support and promotes ignorance, despotism and tyranny.

warren, olathe

Waffler, the only reason anyone can say what they want in here is because this is not a democracy.

E Archer, NYC

Waffler, if anything you have proven that your arguments for 'democracy' don't have a legal leg to stand on. It is no surprise that you defend 'opinion' as fact because it is only public opinion that backs up the unlawful usurpation of the Constitution. You have stated time and time again that "everything is opinion" -- well, I guess if you are looking for the right and authority to rule others by force then yes opinion is the only 'fact' thereof. The only times Logan and Mike may have referred to the US as a democracy is when they point out that the lawful representative republic established by We the People in the Constitution is being ignored. They/we have mentioned the difference between 'lawful' and 'legal', 'de jure' and 'de facto', 'right' and 'wrong,' 'natural law' and 'statutes' -- your ignorance of those distinctions has not changed the arguments one iota. I have gone as far to say that even if we really think we are a democracy, ignoring the Constitution, the US is hardly representative of a democracy. Presidents are still NOT popularly elected, there are still SOME jurisdictions respected that no voting block can tear down. Waffler has been careful to NEVER admit that he has ANY INALIENABLE right, but even he knows that he does -- where did those rights come from? Not a popular vote, that is for sure. So what places the limit on what can be voted on? Our individual rights. Thus even if we wanted to be a democracy, not everything can be voted upon -- and Waffler knows that, too, but we won't hear him admit it. Which came first, our inalienable rights or democracy? Well, not democracy, that is for sure. So, if you want to say we are a democracy but the rights to life, liberty, private property, speech, religion, to carry arms, etc, are not EVER subject to vote by Congress or the populace at large then say it. But one really can't because we have rights that are not 'enumerated' -- in fact the rights I list above are simply those that have been specifically noted as untouchable by government legislation -- so we would have to say something like "we are a democracy except for this, and this, and this, and this, and ..." We couldn't be a democracy even if we tried. If anything, America stands for the individual rights of mankind, and we may vote on things that do not abridge these rights. Can Congress pass unconstitutional legislation? Yes -- do we have to obey it? NO! It is void on its face. Again, that is not a democracy -- and thank God for that.

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