Alexander Cockburn

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Life is a succession of lessons enforced by immediate reward, or, oftener, by immediate chastisement.
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Alexander Claud Cockburn [pronounced koh-burn], (born 1941-06-06) is a Scottish-born political journalist who was raised in Ireland and has lived and worked in the United States since 1972. Together with Jeffrey St. Clair he edits the political newsletter CounterPunch. Cockburn also writes for The Nation, The Los Angeles Times and The First Post.


  • The First Law of Journalism: to confirm existing prejudice, rather than contradict it.
    • More magazine (1974)
  • The travel writer seeks the world we have lost — the lost valleys of the imagination.
    • "Bwana Vistas," Harper’s (August 1985), reprinted in Corruptions of Empire (1988)
  • A "just war" is hospitable to every self-deception on the part of those waging it, none more than the certainty of virtue, under whose shelter every abomination can be committed with a clear conscience.
  • No chord in populism reverberates more strongly than the notion that the robust common sense of an unstained outsider is the best medicine for an ailing polity. Caligula doubtless got big cheers from the plebs when he installed his horse as proconsul.

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