Self-preservation

I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.

You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.

You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right. You died when you refused to stand up for truth. You died when you refused to stand up for justice.

[Martin Luther King, Jr.]
From the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967. Found in The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., p.344

................................................................................................................................................................................

When I first took my position against the war in Vietnam, almost every newspaper in the country criticized me. It was a low period in my life. I could hardly open a newspaper.

[...] But then I remember a newsman coming to me one day and saying, "Dr. King, don't you think you're going to have to change your position now because so many people are criticizing you? And people who once had respect for you are going to lose respect for you. And you're going to hurt the budget, I understand, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; people have cut off support. And don't you think that you have to move now more in line with the administration's policy?"

That was a good question, because he was asking me the question of whether I was going to think about what happens to me or what happens to truth and justice in this situation.

On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question, "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.

[Martin Luther King, Jr.]
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., p.342

................................................................................................................................................................................

[...] when I took up the cross I recognized its meaning. It is not something that you merely put your hands on. It is not something that you wear. The cross is something that you bear and ultimately that you die on.

The cross may mean the death of your popularity [...] It may mean the death of a foundation grant. It may cut your budget down a little, but take up your cross and just bear it. And that is the way I have decided to go. Come what may, it doesn't matter now.

[Martin Luther King, Jr.]
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., p.343

................................................................................................................................................................................

DANIELS: Anything you want to tell me? Been weeks, now. The deputy ops knows what's going on in this unit almost before I do. Except last week, we run the bug up into Barksdale's club office and Burrell... For once, he's a step behind. You see it?

CARVER: Maybe, he...

DANIELS: I see it. I look around the office and I see that one of my people is at the academy for in-service.

CARVER: Lieutenant, I swear, it wasn't my idea. I mean, I'm minding my business, doin' my fuckin' job, when the man calls me upstairs for coffee and a danish, right? I mean, I never even been on the eighth floor of that fucking building. And there's the deputy fucking ops telling me how concerned he is about the case, how he needs to be informed. I mean, he's the deputy fucking ops, man.

DANIELS: Couple weeks from now, you're gonna be in some district somewhere with 11 or 12 uniforms looking to you for everything. And some of them are gonna be good police. Some of them are gonna be young and stupid. A few are gonna be pieces of shit. But all of them will take their cue from you. You show loyalty, they learn loyalty. You show them it's about the work, it'll be about the work. You show them some other kinda game, then that's the game they'll play. I came on in the Eastern, and there was a piece-of-shit lieutenant hoping to be a captain, piece-of-shit sergeants hoping to be lieutenants. Pretty soon we had piece-of-shit patrolmen trying to figure the job for themselves. And some of what happens then is hard as hell to live down.

Comes a day you're gonna have to decide whether it's about you or about the work.

Dialogue from The Wire, Episode 13, Season 1

................................................................................................................................................................................



Pearlman: The point is that Maury Levy is a past officer of the Monumental Bar Association, and unless I want to spend my whole life as a fucking A.S.A. I can't spend my afternoons pissing on people who matter.

McNulty: Another career in the balance.

Pearlman: Fuck You

McNulty: No, fuck you. If only half you motherfuckers in the State's Attorneys Office didn't want to be Judges, didn't want to be partners in some down-town law firm; if half of you had the fucking balls to follow through - you know what would happen? A guy like that would be indicted, tried, and convicted. And the rest of them would back up enough so that we could push a clean case or two through your courthouse. But no - everybody stays friends, everybody gets paid, and everybody's got a fucking future.

Dialogue from The Wire, Episode 11, Season 1

................................................................................................................................................................................

And, inside the organisation, you challenge that collective view at your peril. In today’s BBC only those whose antennae are fully attuned to the corporation’s cultural mindset — or keep quiet about their true feelings — are going to make progress.

Moreover, making progress these days doesn’t mean just achieving the influence and prestige of a senior job with the world’s greatest broadcaster, once considered reward enough. For those breaking through into the senior ranks, there’s now big, big money and a gold-plated pension to be had.

Which is why, although there has been plenty of grumbling on the shop floor about the escalation of pay for top BBC managers in recent years, it’s muted. No one wants to wreck his or her chances of a well-paid place in the promised land. The newsroom has many talented journalists of middle rank, who know what’s wrong with the organisation, but who don’t rock the boat for fear of blowing their futures.

[...] What the BBC wants you, the public, to believe is that it has ‘independence’ woven into its fabric, running through its veins and concreted into its foundations. The reality, I discovered, was that for the BBC, independence is not a banner it carries ­principally on behalf of the listener or viewer.

Rather, it is the name it gives to its ability to act at all times in its own best interests.

[Peter Sissons]
"Left-wing bias? It's written through the BBC's very DNA, says Peter Sissons", from Daily Mail Online.

................................................................................................................................................................................

Tell me the truth, Frank. Remember that? We used to live by it. And you know what's so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is, however long they've lived without it.

No one forgets the truth, Frank. They just get better at lying.

['April']
Dialogue from Revolutionary Road (film)

................................................................................................................................................................................

Related posts:-
Vessel and Cargo | 3. Fetishism and Commerce
Sell Out
Structural Integrity
You or the Work
Everybody's Got A Future
Fidelity
High Stakes
The Sublime Character
Means to an End
Go Your Own Way