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The Current Popularity of the "Definition of Insanity" Quote

Posted by libhom Monday, November 22, 2010

Sound familiar?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

- Ben Franklin

This quote has been misattributed to Einstein and Mark Twain, probably others too. However, the source isn't the really interesting part. It's the social context.

Why do people keep referencing it these days? Well, with high unemployment, massive theft from ordinary Americans and the US Treasury by the banksters, rising bigotry promoted as a tool of social control, two major political parties that are disturbingly similar and disturbingly hostile to the interests of the vast majority of Americans, corporate media that get more monolithic and propagandistic with every passing day, massive environmental disasters, and so much else going terribly wrong, it doesn't take the wit of Franklin to figure it out.

Things aren't working in this country. America is horribly fucked up. The world around us is a mess as well, and "our" government and corporations play a huge role in that. People keep trying to do the familiar things to try to fix the areas of dysfunction, and they just keep getting worse.

Obviously, we need to do somethings differently. But what? Can we mine our nation's activist history, especially from the 1930s and 1960s for strategy and tactics? Is the metaphorical road so qualitatively different that we have to reinvent a new wheel?




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