Cul­ture

Esquire (Singapore) - - Style -

1. Colonel Gaddafi “Free­dom of ex­pres­sion is the right of ev­ery nat­u­ral per­son, even if a per­son chooses to be­have ir­ra­tionally to ex­press his or her in­san­ity.”

Many dic­ta­tors pro­claimed their sup­port for free­dom of ex­pres­sion. Of course, they were only in­ter­ested in their own free­dom; any­one who de­vi­ated from the norms they es­tab­lished would be pun­ished. Gaddafi’s ar­tic­u­la­tion of the prin­ci­ple, from his in­fa­mous The Green Book, is mas­ter­ful— es­pe­cially when read as a state­ment of per­sonal in­tent.

2. Mao Ze­dong “It [ma­te­ri­al­ist dia­lec­tics] holds that ex­ter­nal causes are the con­di­tion of change and in­ter­nal causes are the ba­sis of change, and that ex­ter­nal causes be­come oper­a­tive through in­ter­nal causes. In a suit­able tem­per­a­ture an egg changes into a chicken, but no tem­per­a­ture can change a stone into a chicken, be­cause each has a dif­fer­ent ba­sis.”

This gob­bledy­gook comes from Chair­man Mao’s ‘phi­los­o­phy’ On Con­tra­dic­tion. It was reprinted in Quo­ta­tions from Chair­man Mao Tse-tung, the most widely cir­cu­lated book in his­tory af­ter the Bible. The ma­nia sur­round­ing Mao’s quo­ta­tions was such that Chi­nese news­pa­pers at­trib­uted mir­a­cles to them. I read On Con­tra­dic­tion while suf­fer­ing from a fever. It made me feel worse.

3. Sad­dam Hus­sein

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