It is their usual reaction; they employ not words and reasoned conversation or discourse to resolve problems, but the truncheon, the jackbooted foot, or the gun. Sophistication requires more competence and skill than mere thuggery. It is a harder, loftier charge to be civilised than to let the beast in man devour man. The enlightened mind knows that all is challengeable, questions all and thus, learns and grows. The weak, narrow mind makes its beliefs – whatever form they take – sacrosanct, defending them with violence if necessary. Political extremists, much like religious zealots, are the latter. They destroy what they cannot convert. They annihilate those they cannot control or make conform. They have found no peace in life, no love and so promote war and division, as emotional cripples – inflicting their own pain and misery and malignant stupidity on the world. Their language binds people together, but only by stirring the darkest excesses of the soul; language of hate and intolerance, fear and conspiracy and the need for vengeance. In war-scarred Europe, these cripples direct mass-psychology and would make the world in their own likeness; mutilated by violence and tribalism and hate.They use language in its most evil, twisted form. They appeal to the lowest form of understanding, on a level I hesitate to allow for the term ‘human intelligence’ to be associated.Children, fertile minds ripe for molestation. Now they will be taught what to think, not how to think. Language, that twisted poison. It scars purity.
Daniel S. Fletcher
So it hadn’t been wrong or dishonest of her to say no this morning, when he asked if she hated him, any more than it had been wrong or dishonest to serve him the elaborate breakfast and to show the elaborate interest in his work and to kiss him goodbye. The kiss, for that matter, had been exactly right—a perfectly fair, friendly kiss, a kiss for a boy you’d just met at a party, a boy who’d danced with you and made you laugh and walked you home afterwards, talking about himself all the way.The only real mistake, the only wrong and dishonest thing, was ever to have seen him as anything more than that. Oh, for a month or two, just for fun, it might be all right to play a game like that with a boy; but all these years! And all because, in a sentimentally lonely time long ago, she had found it easy and agreeable to believe whatever this one particular boy felt like saying and to repay him for that pleasure by telling easy, agreeable lies of her own, until each was saying what the other most wanted to hear—until he was saying I love you and she was saying Really, I mean it; you’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met. What a subtle, treacherous thing it was to let yourself go that way! Because once you’d started it was terribly difficult to stop; soon you were saying I’m sorry, of course you’re right and Whatever you think is best and You’re the most wonderful and valuable thing in the world and the next thing you knew all honesty, all truth, was as far away and glimmering, as hopelessly unattainable as the world of the golden people. Then you discovered you were working at life the way the Laurel Players worked at The Petrified Forest, or the way Steve Kovick worked at his drums—earnest and sloppy and full of pretension and all wrong; you found you were saying yes when you meant no and We’ve got to be together on this thing when you meant the very opposite; then you were breathing gasoline as if it were flowers and abandoning yourself to a delirium of love under the weight of a clumsy, grunting, red-faced man you didn’t even like—Shep Campbell!—and then you were face to face, in total darkness, with the knowledge that you didn’t know who you were. (p.416-7)
Richard Yates