Let us then pay to human virtue the honour that is so justly its due! Imagination is indeed a marvellous power; but imagination never equalled history, the achievments which man has actually performed. It is in vain that the man of contemplation sits down in his closet; it is in vain that the poet yields the reins to enthusiasm and fancy: there is something in the realities of life, that excites the mind infinitely more, than is in the power of the most exalted reverie. The true hero cannot, like the poet, or the delineator of fictitious adventures, put off what he has to do till to-morrow. The occasion calls, and he must obey. He sees the obstacles, and the adversary he has to encounter, before him. He sees the individuals, for whose dear sake he resolves to expose himself to every hazard and every evil. The very circumstance, that he is called on to act in the face of the public, animates him. It is thus that resolution is produced, that martyrdom is voluntarily encountered, and that the deeds of genuine, pure and undeniable heroism are performed.
- William Godwin, Of Human Virtue
Sonja taped Obama's speech from his Inauguration. We watched the speech and had a few drinks last night. All the people crowded into Washington to witness the first moments of a new President both impressed and horrified me. Guess I saw too many of Hitler's well attended speeches on television as a child.
So far so good though. Pakistan is getting bombed, torture of prisoners condemned and Gulag Guantanamo put under review. Godwin, I think, would be impressed.