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Speakers' Corner

quote leftWhilst men are linked together, they easily and speedily communicate the alarm of an evil design. They are enabled to fathom it with common counsel, and to oppose it with united strength. Whereas, when they lie dispersed, without concert, order, or discipline, communication is uncertain, counsel difficult, and resistance impracticable. ...

Lying on the edge of Hyde Park, in London, since 1872 Speaker's Corner has been a public place where anyone, it is generally believed, may lawfully and without notice address any who assemble there. "Seditious utterances" however, those calling for rebellion against the state, are still illegal there.

The dispersal Burke referred to may appear today to be a thing of the past, yet in virtual assemblies the internet has connected us with capricious ties as a world of ghosts, nodes, aerosols of cellular automata directed not by the gentle humming of its engineers but by the brutish rules of sheer volume.

quote left... Where men are not acquainted with each other's principles, nor experienced in each other's talents, nor at all practised in their mutual habitudes and dispositions by joint efforts in business; no personal confidence, no friendship, no common interest, subsisting among them; it is evidently impossible that they can act a public part with uniformity, perseverance, or efficacy. ...

Freed now from both the cost and the benefits of the daily realities Burke experienced and described two hundred and fifty years ago communication is again uncertain, counsel difficult, and resistance impracticable.

quote left... In a connection, the most inconsiderable man, by adding to the weight of the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it, the greatest talents are wholly unserviceable to the public. No man, who is not inflamed by vainglory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
Quotations by Edmund Burke, taken from his Thoughts On The Present Discontents, published by Cassell & Company, Limited, 1886.


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