John Ralston Saul Quotes.

1. "I have a theory of statistics: if you can double them or halve them and they still work, they are really good statistics."
- Quote by John Ralston Saul

2. "As with our earlier worship of saints and facts, there is something silly about grown men and women striving to reduce their vision of themselves and of civilization to bean counting. The message of the competition/efficiency/marketplace Trinity seems to be that we should drop the idea of ourselves developed over two and a half millennia. We are no longer beings distinguished by our ability to think and to act consciously in order to affect our circumstances. Instead we should passively submit ourselves and our whole civilization -- our public structures, social forms and cultural creativity -- to the abstract forces of unregulated commerce. It may be that most citizens have difficulty with the argument and would prefer to continue working on the idea of dignified human intelligence. If they must drop something, they would probably prefer to drop the economists."
- Quote by John Ralston Saul

3. "All the lessons of psychiatry, psychology, social work, indeed culture, have taught us over the last hundred years that it is the acceptance of differences, not the search for similarities which enables people to relate to each other in their personal or family lives."
- Quote by John Ralston Saul

4. "Dictionary: Opinion presented as truth in alphabetical order."
- Quote by John Ralston Saul

5. "Politics is the force that channels social, cultural, and economic powers and makes them imminent in our lives. Abstaining from politics is like turning your back on a beast when it is angry and intent on ripping your guts out."
- John Ralston Saul, The Comeback

6. "At some point the Indian Act system will go. But that will be the result of a broad conversation involving Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals over how to settle the outstanding treaty, land and other issues. This won’t necessarily require a protracted debate. What it will require is that Canadians engage in the conversation instead of sitting back as if it doesn’t concern them. We have to be involved because what is needed is a serious transfer of responsibility and money, the exact opposite of dragging out treaty negotiations one by one. We need to do more than empower our governments to act. We need to push them. We need to make this a make-or-break issue. We need to elect or defeat them with these indigenous issues in mind."
- John Ralston Saul, The Comeback

7. "The obligations of citizens is to make it clear that Aboriginal issues are central to our public concerns, that we want them dealt with in a fully democratic context of openness and justice, that we will vote accordingly."
- John Ralston Saul, The Comeback

8. "Power is certainly important, particularly in dictatorships, in places where constitutions, laws, unwritten rules, traditions and understandings don’t count. But in a healthy democracy, power is a surprisingly limited element. And the unwritten conventions, understandings, forms of respect for how things are done, for how citizens relate to government and to each other, are surprisingly important. Why? Because if democracy is only power, then what we are left with is a system of deep distrust. Why? Because if only power matters – even if it is the result of an election – then the government feels that it has a mandate to do whatever it wants; that the law is there principally to serve power. If democracy is only about winning power and using it, then it has been deformed into a denial of society and of the idea of responsible citizenship."
- John Ralston Saul, The Comeback

9. "Power is certainly important, particularly in dictatorships, in places where constitutions, laws, unwritten rules, traditions and understandings don’t count. But in a healthy democracy, power is a surprisingly limited element. And the unwritten conventions, understandings, forms of respect for how things are done, for how citizens relate to government and to each other, are surprisingly important. Why? Because if democracy is only power, then what we are left with is a system of deep distrust. Why? Because if only power matters – even if it is the result of an election – then the government feels that it has a mandate to do whatever it wants; that the law is there principally to serve power. If democracy is only about winning power and using it, then it has been deformed into a denial of society and of the idea of responsible citizenship. And that is the increasingly common characteristic of government, even in democracies. Only power matters. This is partly the outcome of government being de-intellectualized."
- John Ralston Saul, The Comeback

10. "Canada is now the oldest continuous democratic federation in the world, in good part because most of our leaders, and certainly the best ones, have respected most of these written and unwritten rules. Other countries – almost all our allies and friends – have suffered civil wars, coups, dictatorships, sharp breaks, because they could not maintain the flexibility and respect for the Other that these rules, in particular the unwritten rules, create."
- John Ralston Saul, The Comeback

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