“…one of the many problems in writing about American politics is that the Empire of Lies that constitutes the American experiment is founded on a monumental lie. The lie will be found in the deepest roots, in the trunk and every branch, and in the newest leaf on the youngest twig. Almost everyone tells us that even our worst problems would be solved if we only returned to the “true” values of the Constitution. The Constitution (link added by Sojourner) is the greatest miracle drug known to humankind, and it will cure all ills.
This is a tale for children, and a viciously cruel one. It represents the complete inversion of the truth: “The government established by the Constitution was the indispensable means by which the ruling class established its dominion over the new nation and sought to ensure the continuation of that dominion into the future….The Constitution created a government of, by and for the most wealthy and powerful Americans — and it made certain (insofar as men can make such things certain) that their rule would never be seriously threatened.”
I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief. — Franz Kafka, in a letter to a friend
I came across these remarks by Kafka several months…
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