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When Maxims Mislead


Uruguayan writer and journalist Eduardo Galeano, author of Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking Glass World, has long been interested in the power of words to reflect and challenge the social and moral issues of our times. His books are a mix of history, social commentary, and prophetic critique. These elements are also apparent in this article in The Progressive magazine.

Galeano starts with some familiar maxims and concludes that "not even such proverbs know what they are saying." Take "Crime doesn't pay." Tell that to the arms dealers and warmongers. "There is no more lucrative business on the face of the Earth than this practice of industrial-scale assassination."

How about "The early bird gets the worm." "In reality, the saying calls on the poor laborers to wake up early, and comes from the times when it was work that paid. But in today's world, work is worth less than garbage."

And finally there is "The devil provides the weapons." That one, Galeano notes, gets it right — "God couldn't be such a bastard."

Read this at The Progressive


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