Quotes, A Supplement To
"Politics and The Lie of Legitimacy"
§ "Practical politics consists in ignoring facts." (The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 22.)
§ "It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty."
§ "Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise." ("Of Cunning.")
§ "An administration where policy unduly strains the loyalty of any large section of its supporters is obviously making things easy for its opponents." (In the introduction to Bagehot's The English Constitution.)
§ "[Politics is] a game played between opponents who call themselves by different names but, so far as the average elector can see, do very much the same kind of thing in very much the same kind of way whenever they have the chance." (Ibid.)
§ "Fêted and praised as they may be, the politician's lot is not one to be envied: subject to a perpetual stream of unfriendly questions to which they must make public reply; and they may at any moment be dismissed from power by a hostile vote." (Ibid.)
§ "It is quite true that I don't believe at all firmly in ... the wisdom of the people. I would not stake sixpence on the peoples capacity for governing itself, and not a penny on its capacity for governing me." (Max Beerbohm, "Around Theatres" as quoted by Cecil.)
§ "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." (Olmstead v. United States.)
§ "It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare."
§ "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion." ("Speech to the Electors of Bristol.")
§ "Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, can never willingly abandon it."
§ "Politicians rather think they have their hand on 'the rudder of Government,' but which [is] ... rather the spigot of Taxation ..." ("On History.")
§ "It is necessary for a Senator to be thoroughly acquainted with the Constitution; and this is a knowledge of the most extensive nature; a matter of science, of diligence, of reflection, without which no Senator can possibly be fit for his office."
§ "The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it." (Analects, Bk. 8:9.)
§ "One is hesitant to enter into a debate. We can't open our mouths without being denounced as racists, misogynists, supremacists, imperialists or fascists." (Justice Charles L. Dubin, Chief Justice of Ontario as quoted in The Law Society Gazette, vol. 28, p. 201.)
§ "Their [the spokespersons for interest groups] purpose often is to inflame -- not to inform; to provoke -- not to educate; to hector -- not to reason, and frequently they impute dishonourable motives to those with whom they disagree." (Ibid.)
§ "... oft the cheated crowd adore
The thriving knaves that keep them poor."
§ "The temperament of our politician's mind is poetical, not philosophical. He is more the creature of impulse, than he is of reflection. He invents the unreal; he embellishes the false with the glosses of fancy, but pays little attention to 'the words of truth and soberness.' His impressions are accidental, immediate, personal, instead of being permanent and universal." (The Spirit of the Age, 1825, "Mr. Southey.")
§ "The way to move great masses of men is to show that you yourself are moved. ... in appealing to the public [one must show] a sympathy with the general and predominant feelings of mankind. ... They are impressed with gratitude for a luminous exposition of their claims or for zeal in their cause; and the lightning of generous indignation at bad men and bad measures is followed by thunders of applause." (Ibid.), "Mr. Horne Tooke.")
§ "If you prefer the long jolting of public opinion to the gentle touch of friendship, try it like a man. Only remember this, - that, if a bushel of potatoes is shaken in a market-cart without springs to it, the small potatoes always get to the bottom."
§ "[Politicians] ... Solicit votes ... on the ground of your having neither policy nor principles, nor even opinions, upon any matter in heaven or earth?" (Charles Kingsley (1819-75) from his essay, "My Winter Garden")
§ "The right of suffrage is not valued when indiscriminately bestowed." (1887)
§ "... no sophism is too gross to delude minds distempered by party spirit." (History of England, v.1, 568.)
§ "You do not know the unfathomable cowardice of humanity ... servile in the face of force, pitiless in the face of weakness, implacable before blunders, indulgent before crimes ... and patient to the point of martyrdom before all the violence of bold despotism."
§ "Politicians, reformers and professionals are all alike, in search of a jobs; they are out to bilk the taxpayers."
§ Not one looks backward, onward still he goes,
Yet ne'er looks forward farther than his nose.
No less alike the politic and wise;
All sly, slow things, with circumspective eyes:
Men in their loose, unguarded hours they take;
Not that themselves are wise, but others weak.
But grant that those can conquer, these can cheat;
'Tis phrase absurd to call a villain great:
Who wickedly wise, or madly brave,
Is but more the fool, the more a knave.
"Essay on Man" (1734).
§ "The lower Sort of Men must be indulged the Consolation of finding fault with those above them; without that, they would be so melancholy, that it would be dangerous, considering their numbers." (Geo. Savile, Lord Halifax).
§ "A plausible, insignificant word, in the mouth of an expert demagogue, is a dangerous and a dreadful weapon." (Robert South, 1634-1716, a stout Royalist.)
§ "If the Commission of the Peace finds out the true Gentleman, he faithfully discharged it. I say finds him out; for a public office is a Guest, which receives the best usage from them who never invited it."
§ "We agree to try strength by counting heads instead of breaking heads, but the principle is exactly the same. It is not the wisest side which wins, but the one which for the time being shows its superior strength (of which no doubt wisdom is one element) by enlisting the largest amount of active sympathy in its support. The minority gives way not because it is convinced that it is wrong, but because it is convinced that it is a minority." (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.)
§ "Raving politics, never at rest."
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