Since Jun 27, 2001
"What we can't say we can't say, and we can't whistle it either."
Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
-Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
In politics, yesterdays lie is attacked only to flatter todays.
In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
-Charles de Gaulle
Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right.
-H. L. Mencken
The United States is a nation of laws, badly written and randomly enforced.
Patriot, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.
A party of great vested interests banded together in a formidable configuration: corruption at home, aggression to cover it up abroad, sentiment by the bucket-full, patriotism by the imperial pint, the open hand at the public exchequer, the open door at the public house, dear food for the millions, cheap labor for the millionaire.
-Winston Churchill, describing the Tory Party (1904)
But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
I join you therefore in branding as cowardly the idea that the human mind is incapable of further advances. This is precisely the doctrine which the present despots of the earth are inculcating, & their friends here re-echoing; & applying especially to religion & politics; `that it is not probable that any thing better will be discovered than what was known to our fathers.' We are to look backwards then & not forwards for the improvement of science, & to find it amidst feudal barbarisms and the fires of Spital-fields. But thank heaven the American mind is already too much opened, to listen to these impostures; and while the art of printing is left to us, science can never be retrograde; what is once acquired of real knowlege can never be lost.
-Thomas Jefferson to William Green Munford
The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. . . . The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. . . . It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
-W. Somerset Maugham