Question of the Day

Today’s QOD comes from Abbi Crutchfield. If you need a QOD, go to Abbi Crutchfield’s Living Room in Brooklyn where they supply questions for all your QOD needs:

What is the inspirational quote nearest your workspace?

“DESIRE — Some succeed because they are destined to, but most succeed because they are determined to.”

I don’t have any inspirational quotes near me which is why I’m in a constant state of despair. I do have a calendar from 2006 which I never change because it has pictures of palm trees. In a few more years the dates may line up correctly with the days of the week again.

Anybody have inspirational quotes near you?

150th Anniversary of The Raid on Harper’s Ferry

From WVCulture:

On the evening of October 16, 1859, John Brown and twenty- one other men launched an attack on the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry,1 the beginning of a long-range plan to destroy the slave system in the South. They were successful in capturing the Arsenal, but soon lost their superior position, due partly to circumstances which delayed the raiding party from leaving the Arsenal and retreating into the mountains above Harpers Ferry. The next day the group was surrounded by the Virginia militia, and on Tuesday morning U. S. Marines, under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee, battered down the doors of the engine house in the Armory yard and captured John Brown and his surviving comrades. In the course of the raid ten of Brown’s men were killed; seven, including Brown himself, were captured and later hanged, and five escaped. There is evidence also that several slaves and free Negroes from the Harpers Ferry region participated in the raid; those who were killed or captured were surreptitiously disposed of by the State of Virginia, and those who escaped went quickly and quietly back to their residences in order to avoid detection.2

In The Inner Civil War, George M. Fredrickson describes John Brown as “a narrow-minded and possibly insane religious fanatic.”3 This dismissal of Brown as a lunatic or, at best, a religious fanatic, is common among contemporary historians. It is ironic that the Civil War, which cost 600,000 lives, is today considered a “reasonable” or at least “understandable” event in our history, but John Brown’s raid is disregarded as the bloody act of a “madman.”

In 1859, the raid at Harpers Ferry was taken much more seriously, both by abolitionists and by the defenders of slavery. Several prominent abolitionists aided Brown with money and weapons in his preparations for Harpers Ferry and in his earlier fight in “bleeding Kansas.” Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman were asked to join the raiders, and Harriet Tubman agreed to participate but was ill at the time of the raid. And, although the immediate reaction to the raid was shock on the part of the less militant abolitionists, many openly applauded the action and honored the raiders before the year was out. The raid at Harpers Ferry was influential in persuading Northern abolitionists that moral suasion would not be sufficient to end the slave system and that more direct action was necessary.

via Metafilter which has a spirited discussion about John Brown including this quote:

His zeal in the cause of freedom was infinitely superior to mine…
Mine was as the taper light;
his was as the burning sun.
I could live for the slave;
John Brown could die for him.

-Fredrick Douglass

Daily Dose of Ingersoll


Some Christian lawyers some eminent and stupid judges have said and still say, that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of all law.

Nothing could be more absurd. Long before these commandments were given there were codes of laws in India and Egypt laws against murder, perjury, larceny, adultery and fraud. Such laws are as old as human society; as old as the love of life; as old as industry; as the idea of prosperity; as old as human love.

All of the Ten Commandments that are good were old; all that were new art foolish. If Jehovah had been civilized he would have left out the commandment about keeping the Sabbath, and in its place would have said: “Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow-men. He would have omitted the one about swearing, and said: “The man shall have but one wife, and the woman but one husband. He would have left out the one about graven images, and in its stead would have said: Thou shalt not wage wars of extermination, and thou shalt not unsheathe the sword except in self-defence.

If Jehovah had been civilized, how much grander the Ten Commandments would have been.

Robert Green Ingersoll, “About the Holy Bible” (1894)

(First posted on May 28, 2007)