25 February 2009

The Aphorist

Someone (an otherwise insane poster, in fact) sent this out to a philosophy listserv I subscribe to under the title "Political Philosophy - Pithy Version." Most of it may be more humorous than true, but there are a few choice bons mots. Apologies for length.

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.  -- John Adams

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.  -- Mark Twain

There is no distinctly native American criminal class . . . save Congress.  -- Mark Twain

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.  -- Mark Twain (1866)

Talk is cheap . . . except when Congress does it.  -- Anonymous

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. -- Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.  -- Thomas Jefferson

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.  -- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.  -- Winston Churchill

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.  -- George Bernard Shaw

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.  -- Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.  -- Voltaire (1764)

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.  -- James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.  -- Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.  -- Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.  -- Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!  -- P.J. O'Rourke

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!  -- Pericles (430 B.C.)

The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.  -- Ronald Reagan

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.  -- Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.  -- Mark Twain

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.  -- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. -- Mark Twain


Brian Davidson said...

Ah, that last one always makes me laugh. Wasn't as funny when I was a journalist, however. And P.J. O'Rourke, there's nobody better. When I get distressed about government, I read his "Parliament of Whores," and remind myself who the "whores" are in the title.

carl g said...

I love libertarians like O'Rourke, and badly wish they were entirely right in their political philosophy. But as critics, they have the easiest of jobs. Really, how hard is it to skewer the government?

Brian Davidson said...

The thing I've noticed about libertarians is that they tend to be wrong with about the same ability as do Republicans and Democrats. And it is extremely easy to poke fun at our government, but O'Rourke is one of the better pokers we've got.