Tuesday, April 18, 2006

An Aphoristic Interlude

To state the obvious, reasoned discourse is rare on the internet, but a good one-liner can always provoke. Sometimes one garners a grimace, sometimes another sparks a peal of laughter. Few people bother to read paragraphs of frenetically-typed arguments, no matter how well-reasoned the prose or how vital the topic. Yet so many more people can spare the time to read just a sentence or two.

Like a palate-cleansing drink after a bad meal, a well-wrought aphorism is a welcome escape from tedium. So in service to light reading, I offer ten creations of my own:

Silence teaches much, and teaches badly.

Rights-language is a blunt instrument.

Idealists are marionettes for Machiavellians.

The ship of State runs on Fear.

Dreams are made to be destroyed.

Extremists are just moderates who are out of power.

Moderates are just extremists who are out of power.

The American abortion license is as safe as a babe in her mother's womb.

Liberty of indifference--that is, licentiousness--is all style and no content.

Living in the past is impossible; living in the present, even moreso.

Curt scribblers thrive on the aphorism. Those who mistake mere brevity for profundity happily repeat such phrases, especially if they are cynical. In the cacaphonous echo-chamber of the Internet one short line is magnified a thousandfold, given a rhetorical weight far exceeding its meager capacities. This being so, it is always good to keep in mind a one-liner Alasdair MacIntyre once wrote in response to the aphoristic writings of Frederich Nietszche:

"An aphorism is not an argument."

No comments: