Friday, 10 October 2008

Whereof we cannot speak...

… thereof it might not be a bad idea to keep our mouths shut.

Calvin Coolidge was the US president who came to be known as ‘Silent Cal’. It’s said that he was approached at a dinner party by a young woman, who told him that she had taken a bet that she could get more than two words out of him. ‘You lose,’ he replied and said nothing further to her.

Told of Coolidge’s death, Dorothy Parker asked ‘How could they tell?’

Taciturn though he may have been, Coolidge nonetheless found the words to write an article called ‘Whose Country is this?’ in Good Housekeeping magazine (of all places) in February 1921. He pointed out:

‘There are racial considerations too grave to be brushed aside for any sentimental reasons. Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend. The Nordics propagate themselves successfully. With other races, the outcome shows deterioration on both sides. Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great a necessity to a nation as immigration law.’

There are people out there who, silent though they may be, could never be silent enough. In this world of Bushes and Palins, any of us can surely make a list of such people: I’ll leave it to you to make your own.

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