Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Devil has the best tunes

Tom Freeman has a couple of nice aphorisms on his site today - here.

I like the libertarian, Keith Preston's view of democracy:
"An institution in which the whole is equal to the scum of the parts."

or H.L.Mencken's ....
"...a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."

And de Tocqueville’s aside that...
“...an election is nothing more than an advance auction of stolen goods.”

Misanthropy is always funnier than the alternatives - something that is slightly upsetting. Take one of the factors in 'Parkinson's Law' for example:
'An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals'

All good funny stuff, and all broadly in line with the less palatable extremes of crude public choice theory.

Then there's Colbert:
"The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to get the most feathers with the least hissing."

And while many of Machiavelli's best lines weren't distilled into aphorisms or were lost in translation, reading him is quite a laugh as well.

On Radio 4's News Quiz, Jeremy Hardy got lots of laughs when he said that "Capitalism is a nice idea in theory, but it will never work in practice." I wonder if he's ever been here before?

As a response, I will now change the sub-header of this blog from "Be reasonable - demand the possible" to "The road to hell is paved with bad intentions". But all of this just goes to show, once again, that if you want laughs, you should probably be looking elsewhere.

I used to work on a leftish magazine many years ago. The Xmas special issue had a jokes section, and unusually, all employees were consulted, including the reptiles in the ad department (yours truly). It became quite a bone of contention. My suggestions, and those of some of the blokes / blokier women (Post-Feminists) excited enough anxiety for a committee to be set up to vet each suggestion. As one sage commented, "this is no laughing matter."


Tom Freeman said...

I think it may have been an old Python sketch where I heard this:

"Communism is a nice idea in practice, but it will never work in theory."

Paulie said...

Tom, I don't want to get *too* precious about this, but it was perhaps, in my lifetime, the triumph of which I am most proud that I changed the two c-words around.

Tom Freeman said...

They should hold a parade for you. ;-)