Sunday, October 7, 2018

MiniSeries, John Adams

My note: 
It is very inspiring to see the first 2 episodes, which reflects what was going before US was founded, how the founding fathers dealt with the difficulty and took the risk to declare independence. These 2 episodes have a more historical feeling. The remaining episodes are more political, and somewhat private stories of John and Abigail.

I also read some blogs about the dramatized part of the TV series. e.g. John didn’t fire during his journey to France. The 2nd son and daughter did go to Europe.

So history is complicated and not easy to display from one perspective in a compressed format.

Part I: Join or Die (1770–1774)

Marquis of Beccaria,
If, by supporting the Rights of Mankind, and of invincible Truth, I shall contribute to save from the Agonies of Death one unfortunate Victim of Tyranny, or of Ignorance, equally fatal; his Blessing and Tears of Transport, will be a sufficient Consolation to me, for the Contempt of all Mankind.
When people are taxed without representation, they are sometimes to feel abused. And sometimes they even rebel. But we must take care lest borne away by a torrent of passion we make shipwreck of conscience.
The prisoners should be judged solely upon the evidence produced against them in court, and by nothing else.
whatever our wishes, our inclination, or the dictums of our passions. they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. The law on the one hand is inexorable to the cries and lamentations of the prisoners, but on the other hand, it is dat as an adder to the clamors of the populace

Part II, independence

should they sit and wait for gage and his savages to rob them of their home, their possession, their very life? No sir! Powder and artillery are the surest and most infallible conciliatory measures we can adopt.
To hold out an olive branch to Britain is a measure of gross imbecility.
It is one thing to turn the other cheek, but to lie down in the ground like a snake, and crawl toward the seat of power in abject surrender.That is quite another thing. And I have no stomach for it.
Benjamin Franklin:
It is fine to insult someone in private.
fish and guest stink after 3 days.
like you, Mr. Adams, we are arming myself for our own defense.
colonel Washington,
an attack made on one of our sister colonies is an attack made on all of us… I am prepared to raise 1000 men, subsist them at my own expense.
not generosity. duty.
Does woman not live in politics? When I go to the cupboard, and I find no coffee, no sugar, no pins, no meat, am I not living politics?
sacred and undeniable -> self-evident

part 3, don’t tread on me

No, I’m afraid my occupation allows me to have little time for the finer arts.
I must study politics and war, so my sons will have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons must study navigation, commerce and agriculture so their children will have the right to study painting, poetry, and music.
Frankline: a good politician, observes much, acts little, and speak softly.
In Philadelphia, we negotiated independence.
There are times we must act against our inclination.

part 4, reunion

The English love insult. It’s their only test of a man’s sincerity.
I merely succeed you, dr. Franklin. No one can replace you.
You have a disconcerting lack of faith in your fellow man, Mr. A and in yourself.
Yes, and you display a dangerous excess of faith in your fellow man, Mr. Jefferson.
Our country is founded on the right to disagree.
Abigail, my body is in one place, my soul is in another.
There is no pleasure mixing company where no one cares for you, you care for no one.
John to charles who drunk at Harvard: Do not let your companion or your amusements get the better of you, sir. A scholar is always made alone and sober. Study can be pursued to good purpose only by yourself.
John to Quincy: you are too young. You must work more hours in a day, more days in a week. You must cut off this romantic relationship immediately.
  • I will need some time to consider your offer.
  • No,you will decide now.

5, united or die

Abigail: 5000 USD a year is hardly worthy of such an office. (equivalent to 137 k in 2018)
Thoms Jeffson: The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is a natural manure.
charlies: I wonder, father, just how many anxious hours did you waste on my behalf. Is it after you and mother abandoned me and Thomas to the care of tutors? … a very infrequent letter. Letters full of advice but never affection.
You are a frivolous boy. You know nothing of honor.

book, On Tyranny

on Tyranny (20 lessons from the 20th century)

Timothy Snyder, 2017
Leszek Kolakowski, Polish philosopher,
In politics, being deceived is no excuse.
We learn history not in order to know how to behave or how to succeed, but to know who we are.
The destructive work of totalitarian machinery, whether or not this word is used, is usually supported by a special kind of primitive social philosophy. It proclaims not only that the common good of ‘society’ has priority over the interests of individuals, but that the very existence of individuals as persons is reducible to the existence of the social ‘whole’; in other words, personal existence is, in a strange sense, unreal. This is a convenient foundation for any ideology of slavery.
Do not obey in advance.
Most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then offer themselves without being asked. A citizen who adapts in this way is teaching power what it can do.

be kind to our language.

Make an effort to separate yourselves from the internet. read books.
In daily media, everything happens fast, but nothing actually happens.
Video may constrain our thinking because much more things are not ready to visualize, and we accept the absence of a larger framework. To have such a framework requires more concepts, and having more concepts requires reading.

establish a private life

Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less.
Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble.
Totalitarianism removes the difference between private and public not just to make individuals unfree, but also to draw the whole society away from normal politics and toward conspiracy theories. Rather than defining facts or generating interpretations, we are seduced by the notion of hidden realities and dark conspiracies that explain everything.
Once we accepted the politics of inevitability(history could move in only one direction: toward liberal democracy), we assumed that history was no longer relevant. If everything in the past is governed by a known tendency, then there is no need to learn the details.
In the politics of eternity, the seduction by a mythicized past prevents us from thinking about possible futures. The habit of dwelling on victimhood dull the impulse of self-correction. Since the nation is defined by its inherent virtue rather than by its future potential, politics becomes a discussion of good and evil rather than a discussion of possible solutions to real problems. Since the crisis is permanent, the sense of emergency is always present; planning for the future seems impossible or even disloyal. How can we even think of reform when the enemy is always at the gate?
History permits us to be responsible: not for everything, but for something. Such a notion of responsibility worked against loneliness and indifference.

Tool, how to use vim

Finally, I decided to learn the old fashion editor — VIM. I would look more like a hacker, I guess.
Configure vim:
write “set nu” into _vimrc file (no extension) at home directory, so vim will show line numbers.
vimtutor in command line will pop up the tutor document.
There are 4 modes:
  1. Normal/command mode. When you open vim, this is the default mode. You can move the cursor using arrow key and page up/down. You can copy and paste. carry a bunch of tricks and short cuts.
  2. insert mode. i to enter this mode and esc to exit this mode to command mode.
  3. Command line mode. : to enter this mode and esc to exit this mode. q and enter will exit vim.
  4. visual mode. v to enter this mode. You can select in this mode.