Gerry Spence

I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.

Gerry Spence (born January 8 1929) is an American lawyer and writer.

SourcedEdit

We are defined by how we use our power.
  • What the insurance companies have done is to reverse the business so that the public at large insures the insurance companies.
    • As quoted in Humanscape : Environments for People (1987), by Rachel Kaplan and Stephen Kaplan, p. 97
  • We are defined by how we use our power.
    • The Rat Hole (2003-12-25) Essay on the use and abuse of power.

How to Argue and Win Every Time (1995)Edit

While birds can fly, only humans can argue. Argument is the affirmation of our being.
The power argument need not fill the air with noise. It need not create pandemonium. It need not destroy the opponent. It can be quiet. Gentle. It can embrace love, not anger, understanding, not hate.
To freely bloom— that is my definition of success.
The function of the law is not to provide justice or to preserve freedom. The function of the law is to keep those who hold power, in power.
  • Everyone wants to argue. Everyone does. Everyone needs to.
    • Getting Started, p. 5
  • While birds can fly, only humans can argue. Argument is the affirmation of our being. It is the principal instrument of human intercourse. Without argument the species would perish. As a subtle suggestion, it is the means by which we aid another. As a warning, it steers us from danger. As exposition, it teaches. As an expression of creativity, it is the gift of ourselves. As a protest, it struggles for justice. As a reasoned dialogue, it resolves disputes. As an assertion of self, it engenders respect. As an entreaty of love, it expresses our devotion. As a plea, it generates mercy. As charismatic oration it moves multitudes and changes history. We must argue — to help, to warn, to lead, to love, to create, to learn, to enjoy justice — to be.
    • Getting Started, p. 5
  • Prejudice locks the mind. Nothing can enter. Nothing true can escape.
    • Ch. 6 : The Power of Prejudice : Examining the Garment, Bleaching the Stain, p. 74
  • Those whose minds are jammed with prejudice have room for little else. Growth is dead. Learning is gridlocked. They may understand our logic, but logic makes no difference. The word root of prejudice, praejudicium, implies prejudgment. People are prejudiced both for and against a philosophy, a religion, a belief system. They are prejudiced for or against a political party, the make of an automobile, a race, a person — you name it.
    • Ch. 6 : The Power of Prejudice : Examining the Garment, Bleaching the Stain, p. 74
  • Our prejudices — we all have them — are part of our personality structure. The problem is that our prejudices may lie lurking at the bottom of the subterranean mind where the slowly ooze up and color our thinking without our knowing it.
    • Ch. 6 : The Power of Prejudice : Examining the Garment, Bleaching the Stain, p. 74
  • When you are faced with prejudice, logic and justice are impotent. Still, we may have an obligation to argue directly into the face of the prejudice, even though there is no chance to win.
    • Ch. 6 : The Power of Prejudice : Examining the Garment, Bleaching the Stain, p. 92
  • The stain of prejudice is often indelible.
    • Ch. 6 : The Power of Prejudice : Examining the Garment, Bleaching the Stain, p. 92
  • I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.
    • Ch. 6 : The Power of Prejudice : Examining the Garment, Bleaching the Stain, p. 98
  • Words that do not create images should be discarded. Words that have no intrinsic emotional or visual content ought to be avoided. Words that are directed to the sterile intellectual head-place should be abandoned. Use simple words, words that create pictures and action and that generate feeling.
    • Ch. 7 : The Power of Words, p. 104
  • If I am real, if I am speaking from the heart zone, the right words will come. They will come a spoonful at a time, in the proper mixture.
    • Ch. 7 : The Power of Words, p. 104
  • There are no rules that say lawyers cannot write or speak from their heart. Passion has never been formally outlawed, although it is a little-known experience among most lawyers and nearly all academicians.
    • Ch. 7 : The Power of Words, p. 104
  • The power argument is an argument so powerful in its structure, so compelling in its delivery that when we assume the power stance the argument cannot be defeated. The power argument need not fill the air with noise. It need not create pandemonium. It need not destroy the opponent. It can be quiet. Gentle. It can embrace love, not anger, understanding, not hate.
    • Ch. 12 The Unbeatable Power Argument : Delivering the Knockout p. 191
  • When we come before the school board, most often we do not face those interested in the education of our children, but those interested in the maintenance of power. These contests are war. Any other paradigm is an illusion. It is not a mere contest, like athletes plunging down the hill on skis for the fastest time. It is not a dance in which the most graceful will be rewarded with a medal. This is war. Once we understand that the struggle is war, we can wage war and win.
    The key to winning any war is to control the war. This does not mean I seek to control my opponent.
    • Ch. 12 The Unbeatable Power Argument : Delivering the Knockout p. 196
  • To freely bloom — that is my definition of success.
    The question then is, How does arguing with our children advance our goal that our children freely bloom.
    • Ch. 14 : Arguing with Kids, p. 255

From Freedom to Slavery (1996)Edit

From Freedom to Slavery : The Rebirth of Tyranny in America (1996) ISBN 9780312143428
  • The major functions of the government are, as in the communist nations, operated by deeply embedded, hopelessly entangled bureaus where nothing is accomplished because the function of the bureau is to intercept every living idea and smother it.
    • Ch. 6 : The New King : Tyranny of the Corporate Core, p. 88
  • The function of the law is not to provide justice or to preserve freedom. The function of the law is to keep those who hold power, in power.
    • Ch. 6 : The New King : Tyranny of the Corporate Core, p. 90
  • Today the courts are choked with lawsuits brought by people against the New King. When they sue each other as a result of an automobile accident they in fact sue the King, for both parties are likely insured. ... Steadily the courts have become clearing-houses for the insurance industry.
    • Ch. 6 : The New King : Tyranny of the Corporate Core, p. 91

Give Me Liberty! (1998)Edit

Full title: Give Me Liberty! Freeing Ourselves in the Twenty-First Century
My intent is to tell the truth as I know it, realizing that what is true for me may be blasphemy for others.
There are only two races (and they are not distinguished by color): those who are free and those who are not.
The less of one's life one must exchange for money, the more freedom one may enjoy.
How much of our lives could we buy back if we cherished our lives instead of our trinkets?
I dream of a time when the people will retake their airways and use them to achieve a voice to rediscover democracy, and to see the divine potential of man.
The Internet has become the phenomenon of the new century. It has become the voice of the people in the first genuine experiment in democracy yet conducted in America.
  • My intent is to tell the truth as I know it, realizing that what is true for me may be blasphemy for others.
    • Our Cry for Liberty, p. xv
  • The people of a nation are enslaved when, together, they are helpless to institute effective change, when the people serve the government more than the government serves them.
    • Ch. 1 : We, the People, the New American Slaves, p. 8
  • Today the insatiable quest for profit promotes the new slavery. In bewildering ways, the new is more pernicious than the old, for the New American Slave is told he is free, and he clings to that myth as if his life depended upon it, a suspicion that cannot be totally ignored.
    • Ch. 2 : Man, the Enslaving Animal, p. 22
  • As we drive down the freeways, we see the new cars, but not the massive new-car loans that enslave their drivers to the banks.
    • Ch. 7 : The New Slave Master, p. 71
  • When any system has for its goal the advancement of the system over the betterment of its individual members, such a system is embedded in slavery.
    • Ch. 7 : The New Slave Master, p. 79
  • Although the ideal of free enterprise could, indeed, lend itself to the uplifting of the human condition, when it is practiced for profit alone, it becomes but a license for the powerful to further enslave the weak.
    • Ch. 7 : The New Slave Master, p. 89
  • To accept capitalism and Free Enterprise as articles of faith without agreeing that we must be free to consider whether what is offered is free and freeing is itself enslavement.
    • Ch. 7 : The New Slave Master, p. 89
  • Each of us has been endowed with the perfect power to be free. Slavery is a state of mind that fails to acknowledge the slave's own power.
    • Ch. 9 : Empowering the Self, p. 117
  • The gift of self cannot be given to us. It is an incomparable gift that has already been given. We have possessed it from the beginning.
    • Ch. 9 : Empowering the Self, p. 118
  • Teach the child to respect that which is not respectable and you teach the child the first requirement of slavery: submission to unjust authority. Children are persons. They are small persons whose perfect souls have not yet been ground through the meat grinder of slavery.
    • Ch. 14 : The Magical Weapon : Withholding Permission to Be Defeated, p. 160
  • I say, embrace fear as a friend. It is nature's gift to us. It is the best weapon for liberty. We do not give our permission to be enslaved by acknowledging its presence. Instead, it permits us to escape into the forest if we must. But it does not prevent the boy from rising off the ground one more time to defeat the bully. Fear is presented to us as a signal of danger. It permits us to escape or to fight with power beyond our ability.
    • Ch. 14 : The Magical Weapon : Withholding Permission to Be Defeated, p. 163
  • There are only two races (and they are not distinguished by color): those who are free and those who are not.
    • Ch. 15 : Black and White Together, p. 168
  • To bargain freedom for security is the devil's bargain. Having made the bargain, one enjoys neither freedom nor security.
    • Ch. 16 : Security, the One-Way Ticket to Slavery, p. 174
  • The new and most powerful union of all will be a union of one — one man, one woman, one worker with special skills, an inquiring mind, and an independent attitude, his creativity intact, his love of life blooming. The union of one will be peopled by one man or one woman who is alive. Such a person is always sought by the intelligent manager.
    • Ch. 17 : Success Redefined, p. 178
  • Money in doses disproportionate to our needs enslaves.
    • Ch. 17 : Success Redefined, p. 192
  • No artist's masterpiece can match a mother's creation of a successful child, one who has been freed to explore and to grow. ... Success is measured not only by who we are, but by what gifts we give. As the old chief said, "The gift is not complete until it is given again." Ah, the mother whose gift to the world is a person!
    • Ch. 17 : Success Redefined, p. 194
  • The less of one's life one must exchange for money, the more freedom one may enjoy.
    • Ch. 17 : Success Redefined, p. 197
  • How much of our lives could we buy back if we cherished our lives instead of our trinkets?
    • Ch. 17 : Success Redefined, p. 199
  • We cannot, as a people, remain mute and free.
    • Ch. 19 : The Benevolent Dictator, p. 233
  • Nearly every day on the television set the hero cop breaks into the bad guy’s house and beats a confession out of him and we cheer on the cop. Propaganda smears our clear vision. It causes us to accept the diminishment of our constitutional protections as something to be lauded — after all, the cop was protecting us.
    • Ch. 20 : The Media : The Perpetual Voice of the Master, the Abiding Ear of the Slave, p. 236
  • I dream of a time when the people will retake their airways and use them to achieve a voice to rediscover democracy, and to see the divine potential of man.
    • Ch. 20 : The Media : The Perpetual Voice of the Master, the Abiding Ear of the Slave, p. 243. Dream 7 : A Propaganda for People, Not Things
  • The Internet has become the phenomenon of the new century. It has become the voice of the people in the first genuine experiment in democracy yet conducted in America. It stands ready to serve every facet, every faction. It creates neighbors where once we were foreigners. It carries our individual voices to new communities formed through the magic of electronics.
    The electronic village has been born, and the village voice, via the internet is being heard.
    • Ch. 21 : The Theft of Our Voice, p. 258
  • A new fascism promises security from the terror of crime. All that is required is that we take away the criminals’ rights – which, of course, are our own. Out of our desperation and fear we begin to feel a sense of security from the new totalitarian state.
    • Ch. 26 : Free at Last, p.331

Have We Already Been Defeated? (2001)Edit

The goal of a free nation is to reveal by example the enlightened possibilities of the human race...
Essay posted 2001-09-20
  • Power can win the body count but it cannot win this war. Because the enemy is not human. This is a war against a malicious spirit. Only fools attempt to defeat a spirit with guns and rockets and bombs.
    • On the war against terrorism
  • The goal of a free nation is to reveal by example the enlightened possibilities of the human race, not to wield its power of destruction and death over the helpless, the poor, the starving and the war torn masses. The goal of a free nation must be no different outside its borders than within them. In America we do not massacre whole towns because they may be the chosen domicile of a criminal or a conspiracy of criminals. Instead we carefully root out the felons and bring them to justice.

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Last modified on 13 April 2014, at 04:26