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Quotes in _Uncompromising Honor_

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Quotes in _Uncompromising Honor_
Post by Robert_A_Woodward   » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:17 am

Robert_A_Woodward
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I deliberately skipped "beautiful friendship" because it is well known. The following are presented in their order in the book:

1) “May you live in interesting times”

This appears in the very first scene. We know this as a “Chinese curse”, but it doesn’t appear to be one. Austen Chamberlain (brother of Neville) claimed it was a Chinese curse in a speech he made in 1936 (he cited a British diplomat who had served in China as a source), but an extensive search of Chinese literature has failed to find it.

2) “quantity has a quality all its own”

This appears at the start of the Prime-Ajay Hyper Bridge sequence. This statement is usually attributed to Joseph Stalin, but the oldest occurrences found for it are from the 1970s. On the other hand, various statements known to have been made by Stalin indicate that he would have agreed with it.

3) “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”

This appears in the first scene set on Darius (August 1922PD). This quote is also usually attributed to Joseph Stalin, but there is no conclusive evidence that he ever said it. At least one version of this appeared in the 18th Century.

4) “when a man knows he’s going to be hanged in a week, it tends to concentrate his thinking”

This appears in the Hypatia sequence, immediately after the arrival of the SLN taskforce. This is attributed to a Honorverse historical figure, but it is actually a variation of a Samuel Johnson (as recorded by James Boswell) quote: “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully”.
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Beowulf was bad.
(first sentence of Chapter VI of _Space Viking_ by H. Beam Piper)
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Re: Quotes in _Uncompromising Honor_
Post by tlb   » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:59 am

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Robert_A_Woodward wrote:“May you live in interesting times”

This appears in the very first scene. We know this as a “Chinese curse”, but it doesn’t appear to be one. Austen Chamberlain (brother of Neville) claimed it was a Chinese curse in a speech he made in 1936 (he cited a British diplomat who had served in China as a source), but an extensive search of Chinese literature has failed to find it.

I have talked about this one before (near the bottom of the page):

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5723&start=4340

His father had used the same figure of speech in 1898, but without claiming that it was either Chinese or a curse:
I think that you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times. I never remember myself a time in which our history was so full, in which day by day brought us new objects of interest, and, let me say also, new objects for anxiety.

The closest Chinese saying that people can find was reported in 1836 by a British diplomat named John Francis Davis, who published “The Chinese: A General Description of the Empire of China and Its Inhabitants” which included this adage:
The Chinese have lived so much in peace, that they have acquired by habit and education a more than common horror of political disorder.

“Better be a dog in peace than a man in anarchy”.

“It is a general rule, that the worst of men are fondest of change and commotion, hoping that they may thereby benefit themselves; but by adherence to a steady, quiet system, affairs proceed without confusion, and bad men have nothing to gain.”
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Re: Quotes in _Uncompromising Honor_
Post by tlb   » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:33 am

tlb
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Posts: 1137
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:34 am

Robert_A_Woodward wrote:“quantity has a quality all its own”

This appears at the start of the Prime-Ajay Hyper Bridge sequence. This statement is usually attributed to Joseph Stalin, but the oldest occurrences found for it are from the 1970s. On the other hand, various statements known to have been made by Stalin indicate that he would have agreed with it.

This is what I found and why various Marxist authors are credited with the quote.
From Quora, Nils Barth, Updated Sep 11, 2015, originally answered: Who said, "Quantity has a quality all its own?"

Presumably Thomas A. Callaghan Jr., influential US defense consultant of the 1970s and 1980s and director of the Allied Interdependence program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, arguing for increased spending on weapons.

Earliest result I could find is “Quantity has a Quality All Its Own,” Allied Interdependence Newsletter No. 13, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 21 June 1979 (which Callaghan produced and presumably authored), cited in Naval War College Review, “How much is not enough? The non-nuclear air battle in NATO's central region”, Volume 33, March-April (1980), footnote on p. 77, quotation on p. 68, echoing similar sentiments by Sam Nunn (“At some point numbers do count.”). This looks like the origin of the phrase.

The phrase has been popular in the US defense community since the 1980s, sometimes acknowledging it as a US coinage, but often misattributing it to Clausewitz, Lenin, Stalin, and Brezhnev, but mostly to Stalin.

The general principle that quantity begets quality is a key tenet of the Marxist theory of dialectical materialism, as formulated by Marx and Engels, phrased as the law of the passage of quantitative changes into qualitative changes. This in turn is attributed to Hegel (Science of Logic), who in turn attributes it to Ancient Greek philosophers, notably the paradox of the heap (by) Eubulides: a quantitative change in the number of grains of sand leads to a qualitative change in being a heap or not. While Marx and Engels are quoted by various Marxist and communist authors, including Stalin, this formulation is not found in their work or in English translation. (Re: "Quantity has a quality all its own" source?, Tim Davenport, H-Russia, April 5, 2010)
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