Such negative terms as “Protestant” and “Reformation” are unhappy designations for a movement that in essence was not protest but affirmation, not reform but conservation, not reaction, but propulsion. Its best name is “evangelical.”
A love that has no silence has no depth. “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” There are people whose love we instinctively distrust because they are always telling us about it. And perhaps it is simply because God is love, in all the glorious fullness of that word, that we have to be still if we would know him.
The case for vegetarianism is at its strongest when we see it as a moral protest against our use of animals as mere things to be exploited for our convenience in whatever way makes them most cheaply available to us.
Missing from [history] are the countless small actions of unknown people that led up to those great moments. When we understand this, we can see that the tiniest acts of protest in which we engage may become the invisible roots of social change.
It is in the nature of a man as he grows older... to protest against change, particularly change for the better.
The foundation of irreligious criticism is this: man makes religion; religion does not make man. Religion is, in fact, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet gained himself or has lost himself again... The wretchedness of religion is at once an express of and a protest against real wretchedness. Religion is the sigh of the opposed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
Death is a great preacher of deathlessness. The protest of the soul against death, its reversion, its revulsion, is a high instinct of life. Dissatisfaction in his world who satisfieth the desire of every living thing has a grip on the future. As far as this goes, he has the least assurance of immortality who can be best satisfied with eating and drinking and “things”’ he has the surest hope of ongoings and far distances who does not live by brad alone, whose eye is looking over the shoulder of things, whose ear hears mighty waters rolling ever more, who has “hopes naught can satisfy below.” The limits of which death makes us aware, make us aware of life’s limitlessness. The wing cage knows it was meant for an ampler ether and diviner air.
Who can protest and does not, is an accomplice in the act.
Gossip … has caused infinitely more sorrow in life than murder. It is drunkenness of the tongue; it is assassination of reputations. It runs the cowardly gamut from mere ignorant, impertinent intrusion into the lives of others to malicious slander ... He who listens to this crime of respectability without protest is as evil as he who speaks. One strong, manly voice of protest, of appeal to justice, of calling halt in the name of charity—could fumigate a room from gossip as a clear, sharp winter wind kills a pestilence.
I see the clouds part slowly, and I hear a cry of protest against the bigot. The restraining hand of tolerance is laid upon the inquisitor, and the humanist utters a message of peace to the persecuted. Instead of the cry, "Burn the heretic!" men study the human soul with sympathy, and there enters into their hearts a new reverence for that which is unseen.
Our tradition is one of protest and revolt, and it is stultifying to celebrate the rebels of the past while we silence the rebels of the present.
Not satisfied with great principles, they were avaricious of great achievements. They subdued forests, organized emigration, marched westward under the star of empire. They achieved Louisburg and Concord and Lexington, and Paul Revere's ride and the Charter Oak and Bennington and Gaspee Point, and Harvard and Yale and Bowdoin and Dartmouth. They preserved the union, annihilated slavery, crushed repudiation, made the promises of the nation equal to gold. They have spoken the word of protest and pleading in behalf of the Chinaman and the Indian and the African, in behalf of a reformed civil service, and of honest elections. And where has there been a battle for God and humanity that they and their sons have not been in it?
There is the past and its continuing horrors: violence, war, prejudices against those who are different, outrageous monopolization of the good earth's wealth by a few, political power in the hands of liars and murderers, the building of prisons instead of schools, the poisoning of the press and the entire culture by money. It is easy to become discouraged observing this, especially since this is what the press and television insist that we look at, and nothing more. But there is also the bubbling of change under the surface of obedience: the growing revulsion against endless wars, the insistence of women all over the world that they will no longer tolerate abuse and subordination… There is civil disobedience against the military machine, protest against police brutality directed especially at people of color.
Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him.
Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.
Today, we must look to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada as a metaphor of our national character and aspiration, its symbol a thirty-foot high cardboard picture of a slot machine and a chorus girl. For Las Vegas is a city entirely devoted to the idea of entertainment, and as such proclaims the spirit of a culture in which all public discourse increasingly takes the form of entertainment. Our politics, our religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice.
I must protest that I would never seek foreign conflicts just to go over domestic difficulties; that would be frivolous. I was speaking of conflicts that we could not avoid, even though we do not seek them.
Animal Liberation has a lot of handicaps. First and most obvious is the fact that members of the exploited group cannot themselves make an organized protest against the treatment they receive (though they can and do protest to the best of their abilities individually). We have to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. You can appreciate how serious this handicap is by asking yourself how long blacks would have had to wait for equal rights if they had not been able to stand up for themselves and demand it. The less able a group is to stand up and organize against oppression, the more easily it is oppressed.
To protest about bullfighting in Spain, the eating of dogs in South Korea, or the slaughter of baby seals in Canada, while continuing to eat eggs from hens who have spent their lives crammed into cages, or veal from calves who have been deprived of their mothers, their proper diet, and the freedom to lie down with their legs extended, is like denouncing apartheid in South Africa while asking your neighbors not to sell their houses to blacks.
I stand ready to negotiate, but I want no part of laws: I acknowledge none; I protest against every order with which some authority may feel pleased on the basis of some alleged necessity to over-rule my free will. Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of government.