"The so-called realism of modern politics is not realism at all, but pure opportunism, lack of moral stamina, lack of vision and the principle of living from hand to mouth."

Chaim Weizman

Trial & Error Harper


"Most men are not political animals. The world of public affairs is not their world. it is alien to them-possibly benevolent, more probably threatening, but nearly always alien. Most men are not interested in politics. Most do not participate in politics."

-Robert Putnam


"Before you can begin to think about politics at all, you have to abandon the notion that here is a war between good men and bad men."

-Walter Lippman


"Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth-to see it like it is, and tell it like it is-to find the truth, to speak the truth, and to live the truth."

-Richard M. Nixon  (U.S. Republican politician president, Speech 9 Aug, 1968, accepting the presidential nomination


"Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room."

-Sir Winston Churchill


"The only remedy they (the Tories) have for every social problem is to enable private enterprise to suck at the teats of the State."

-Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960)


"The Left favors coercion in economic policy, and the Right coercion in everything else."

-Samuel Brittan

Daily Telegraph, 22 September 1979


"Politics is about the systematic organization of hatred."

Henry Adams


"Never murder a man who is committing suicide."

-Woodrow Wilson


"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy."

Ernest Benn


"The folly and presumption of that insidious and crafty animal….a politician."

Adam Smith


"If you take away their resources of wealth from politicians, you will find nothing left but empty arrogance, devoid of sense, for as long as there is an abundant supply of external good things, wisdom and presence of mind appears also to attend them, but when that plenty is taken away all appearance of wisdom is taken away at the same time."

Philo of Alexander (3rd Century AD)


"Successful democratic politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle, or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies."

Walter Lippmann



"Never tell them what you wouldn't do."

-Adam Clayton Powell


"When the water reaches the upper level, follow the rats."

-Claude Swanson


"....The average practical politician has less power than a high school senior-class president and cannot so much as unilaterally decree that the annual House-Senate sock-hop theme will be "Hula Luau". As for fame, the natural buffoonish ness of being President catches the Americans eye, as does the flamboyancy of an occasional loon's run for prominent office. But in general Americans regard the politician as a type of celebrity fitting somewhere between NPR commentator and soap-opera supporting actress."

P.J. O'Rourke Atlantic Monthly Nov 2002


"A political leader is necessarily an impostor since he believes in solving life’s problems without asking its questions."

Andre Malraux



"Concealment, evasion, factious combinations, the surrender of convictions to party objects, and the systematic pursuit of expediency are things of daily occurrence among men of the highest character, once embarked in the contentions of political life."

Robert Lowe, Editorial, London Times, Feb 7, 1852


"In the case of political , and even of religious leaders it is often very doubtful whether they have done more good or harm."

Albert Einstein


"the saddest life is that of a political aspirant under democracy. His failure is ignominious and his success is disgraceful."

H.L. Mencken


"If one were to draw up a list of full-time American politicians whose mental reach encompassed anything more than an encyclopedia of misinformation and outworn maxims, one would surely come close to naming 90 percent of them."

Ferdinand Lundberg


"Let me….warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party."

George Washington



"Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them."

Paul Valery (1871-1945)


"Thus politicians spend much of their time as skunks going around with aerosol cans of room freshener."

P.J. O'Rourke



How a minority

Reaching majority,

Seizing Authority,

Hates a minority!

Leonard Robbins


"In fact, if we use the word politics in its broadest sense, there really is only one political goal in the world. Politics is the business of getting power and privilege without possessing merit. A politician is anyone who asks individuals to surrender part of their liberty-their power and privilege-to State, Masses, Mankind, Planet Earth, or whatever. This state, those masses, that mankind, and the planet will then be run by…..Politicians."

P.J. O’Rourke

All the Trouble in the World



"The desire to go into politics is usually indicative of some sort of personality disorder, and thus it is precisely those who want power most that should be kept furthest from it."

Arthur Koestler


"The lesson should constantly be enforced that though the people support the government the government should not support the people."

President Grover Cleveland


"Representative government in the United States has broken down. Our legislators do not represent the public, the voters or even those who voted for them but rather the commercial-industrial interests that finance their political campaigns and control the organs of communication-the TV, the newspapers, the billboards, the radio. Politics is a game for the rich only. Representative government in the USA represents money, not people, and therefore has forfeited our allegiance and moral support. We owe it nothing but the taxation it extorts from us under threats of seizure of property, imprisonment or in some cases already, when resisted, a violent death by gunfire."

Edward Abbey

The Serpent of Paradise


"Why in hell does anybody want to be a head of state? Damned if I know."

Harry S. Truman


"Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on office, a rottenness begins in his conduct."

Thomas Jefferson


"Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds."

Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams 1907


"The President is the last person in the world to know what the people really want and think."

President James Garfield


"We have selected for our rulers gentlemen who reverently represent the established gods of industry; and we have put behind us, for the while, all thought of experiment in the relations of master and man. We have conferred a mystic popularity upon officials whose only virtue is their timidity; while our scorn of rebels and reformers is so great that we have ceased to persecute them. The capitals and governments of the world are in the hands of caution; and change comes over them only in the night, unseen."

Will Durant (1927)



"The syndrome of the System is one of those super-ideas, alongside which life itself becomes a detail unworthy of attention….Only for the sake of a person’s right to a private life is living worth while."

Anatoli Sobchak (Mayor of St. Petersburg)

The Road to Power



"Every government is run by liars, and nothing they say should be believed."

I.F. Stone



"I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first four hundred people listed in the Boston Telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."

William F. Buckley, Jr.


"…..Politicians , for example, will often make appeals to reason or common sense-or what often purports to be the reason or common sense. They will also, as everyone knows, be profligate in making promises. Such promises are pitched specifically to people’s expectations and needs, and often has little or no likelihood of fulfillment. But by making such a promise, one is implicitly acknowledging these expectations and needs. And this recognition, frequently enough, is in itself sufficient. The promise need not necessarily be kept. Indeed, it is generally accepted as liable to breakage, and one will not usually be called to account for breaking it. The recognition of needs and expectations which it implies is deemed an adequate token of good intent. So disillusioned have we become that a mere token of good intent will not only appease us, but furnish us with a repository of trust."

Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln

The Messianic Legacy


"They who have put out the people’s eyes, reproach them of their blindness."

John Milton



"The world of politics is always twenty years behind the world of thought."

John Jay Chapman



"What is politics, after all, but the compulsion to preside over property and make other people’s decisions for them? Liberty, the very opposite of ownership and control, cannot, then, result from Political action, either at the polls or the barricades, but rather evolves out of attitude. If it results from anything, it may be levity."

Tom Robbins

Skinny Legs and All


"The success of government…..requires the acceptance of fiction, requires the willing suspension of disbelief, requires us to believe that the emperor is clothed even though we can see that he is not. Government requires make-believe. Make believe that the king is divine, make believe that he can do no wrong or make believe that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Make believe that the people have a voice or make believe that the representatives of the people are the people. Make believe that all men are equal or make believe that they are not."

Edmund S. Morgan

Inventing the People*


"It is a general error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare."

Edmund Burke


"…..Politics no, I cannot bear the hypocrisy, the continual pretense of noble sentiments for the people, the workers, freedom, justice, etc. They care nothing for these and do not dare admit that it is really the idea of power which intoxicates them. So why are they ashamed to admit it? Do you like power, do you want it? Then take it and stop talking about justice, the workers and freedom. Don’t deceive the people who believe in you. Take the power and keep it as long as it lasts and suffer, because power makes man ugly and destroys him."

Piero Scanzani


"My deepest feeling about politicians is that they are dangerous lunatics to be avoided when possible and carefully humored; people, above all, to whom one must never tell the truth."

W.H. Auden


"There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honor."

Benjamin Disraeli


"Politics and the fate of mankind are shaped by men without ideals and without greatness. Men who have greatness within them don’t go in for politics."

Albert Camus



"Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable."

John Kenneth Galbraith



"I am against all efforts to make men virtuous by law. I believe that the government… simply a camorra of incompetent and mainly dishonest men, transiently licensed to live by the labor of the rest of us."

H.L. Mencken



"I really think that there is a certain type of man who is attracted to politics and that person is suffering from deep and severe sexual identity problems. As Myra McPherson says in her book The power lovers, most of our political leaders are ex-high school presidents who couldn’t get it up. I came to believe that that is more true than not. Some of the Congressmen and Senators who are seen as Don Juan's of the Hill actually have severe sexual problems."

Rita Jenrette


"All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies."

John arbuthnot (1667-1735)


"Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy."

Barry Goldwater (speech 1981)



"Chaos and ineptitude are anti-human; but so too is a superlatively efficient government, equipped with all the products of a highly developed technology."

Aldous Huxley

Tomorrow ,and tomorrow and tomorrow


"One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician, ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one."

Henry Miller



"In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant."

Charles De Gaulle



" 'When I remember how many of my private schemes have miscarried, how speculations have failed. . .how the things I desperately strove against as a misfortune did me immense good- how while the objects I ardently pursued brought me little happiness when gained. . .I am struck with the incompetence of my intellect to prescribe for society. There is a great want of this practical humility in our political conduct. ..Though we have ceased to assume the infallibility of our theological beliefs and so ceased to enact them, we have not ceased to enact hosts of other beliefs of an equally doubtful kind. Though we no longer coerce men for their spiritual good, we still think ourselves called upon to coerce them for their material good: not seeing that the one is as useless and as unwarrantable as the other."



"....Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces. The men become every year more and more creatures of force, massed about central powerhouses. The conflict is no longer between the men, but between the motors that drive the men, and the men tend to succumb to their own motive forces."

-Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams



"Ingratitude is surely the chief of the intellectual sins of man. He takes his political benefits for granted, just as he takes the skies and the seasons for granted, he considers the calm of a city and street a thing as inevitable as the calm of a forest clearing, whereas it is only kept in peace by a sustained stretch and effort similar to that which keeps up a battle or a fencing match."

G.K. Chesterton



"I think one needs to be ruder and more direct to the people in political authority,"

Prince Phillip



"Politics should be based on a community which shares all values, that agrees to disagree because men express themselves on different levels of consciousness and are not equal with their talents and gifts. Politics has become a disease. Instead of a method of keeping order and being a cure for the anarchy of self-interest and unwilling anti-social people, it has become the sickness itself. Cancer is riddled through the body politic."


Christopher Hills

Nuclear Evolution




"If you are desirous to prevent the overrunning of a state by any sect, show it toleration."




"In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one part of the citizens to give it to the other . "



"We create the government that screws you, and then you’re supposed to thank us for protecting you from it."

Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn)



"I do not believe it's wise or safe for us as a party to take refuge in mere negation and to say that there are no evils to be corrected. It seems to me that our attitude should be one of  correcting the evils and thereby showing, that, whereas the populists, socialists, and others really do not correct the evils.


Theodore Roosevelt



"The surge of events abroad has made some few doubters among us ask: Is this the end of a story that has been told? Is the book of democracy now to be closed and placed away upon the dusty shelves of time? My answer is this: All we have known of the glories of democracy- its freedom, its efficiency as a mode of living, its ability to meet the aspirations of the common man-all these are merely an introduction to the greater story of a more glorious future. We Americans of today-all of us-we are characters in the living book of democracy. But we are also its author. It falls upon us now to say whether the chapters that are to come will tell a story of retreat or a story of continued advance."

Franklin Roosevelt

(final national address 1940)


"Whenever possible, the United States should ally itself with the evolving future of man's mind, with those forces in the world (ideas , nations, movements, political parties, institutions) that encourage human beings to walk on two feet. Conversely , the country would stand against the forces in the world that require human beings to crawl on the ground like so many humiliated apes. The simplicity of this distinction would oblige the makers of American policy to ask of their allies a different set of questions. The health of a nation' s people and the stability of its institutions might come to weigh more heavily in the balance than a Shah's capacity to give emeralds to the wives of magazine publishers and oil company presidents. "

Lewis Lapham

Harper ' s Mar 1959


"We have a system that might well be called, in some ways, socialism for the rich. In 1994 the Democratic Leadership Council published a list of such subsidies totaling more than $100 billion a year..."

Daniel M. Friedenberg

Sold to the Highest Bidder



"The things we need for all practical purposes are abstractions. We need a right view of the human lot, a right view of the human society, "

G .K. Chesterton



"That deeds possess such an enormous capacity for endurance, superior to every other man-made product, could be a matter of pride if men were able to bear its burden, the burden of irreversibility and unpredictability, from which the action process draws its very strength. That this is impossible, men have always known. They have known that he who acts never quite knows what he is doing, that he always becomes "guilty" of consequences he never intended or even foresaw, that no matter how disastrous and unexpected the consequences of his deed he can never undo it , that the process he starts is never consummated unequivocally in one single deed or event, and that its very meaning never discloses Itself to the actor but only to the back-ward glance of the historian who himself does not act."

Hannah Arendt



"In the last decade, politics has gone from the age of "Camelot" when all things were possible, to the age of "watergate" when all things are suspect."

William Hungate



"The democrat is a young conservative; the conservative is an old democrat. The aristocrat is the democrat ripe and gone to seed-because both parties stand on the one ground of the supreme value of property, which one endeavors to get, and the other to keep. " -



"Democratic government is a distant dream, so long as non-violence is not recognized as a living force, an inviolable creed, not a mere policy. "



"I could not be leading a religious life unless I identified myself with the whole of mankind, and that I could not do unless I took part in politics. The whole gamut of man' s activities today constitutes and indivisible whole. You cannot divide social, economic, political and purely religious work into watertight compartments. "



"Since a politician never believes what he says, he is always astonished when others do."

De Gaulle


"One can easily guess how full of worry this ordinary political life was if one remembers that Athenian law did not permit remaining neutral and punished those who did not want to take sides in factional strife with loss of citizenship."

Hannah Arendt



"The supreme criterion of fitness for ruling others is, in Plato and in the aristocratic tradition of the West, the capacity to rule one's self. Just as the philosopher-King commands the city, the soul commands the body and reason commands the passions. In Plato himself, the legitimacy of this tyranny in everything pertaining to man, his conduct toward himself no less than his conduct toward others, is still firmly rooted in the equivocal significance of the word 'archein' , which means both beginning and ruling. it is decisive for Plato, as he says expressly at the end of the LAWS, that only the beginning (arche) is entitled to rule (archein) . In the tradition of Platonic thought , this original, linguistically predetermined identity of ruling and beginning had the consequence that all beginning was understood as the legitimation for ruler-ship until, finally, the element of beginning disappeared altogether from the concept of ruler ship. With it the most elementary and authentic understanding of human freedom disappeared from political philosophy. "

Hannah Arendt



"Democracy has become a system of picking candidates with the qualities of a good television or cinema actors and then putting them into an adversary work environment that would turn a poodle into a paranoiac and asking them to spend half our money for us until someone hears some tape of what they have been saying to each other in private. Which causes a great clamor to put them in prison instead."

Norman Macrae

editor of the "economist"



"Another tried and true method for bending subjects to one' s will is the infusion of guilt. Any increase in private well- being can be attacked as "unconscionable greed," materialism", or "excessive affluence"; and mutually beneficial exchanges in the market can be denounced as "selfish. " Somehow the conclusion always drawn is that more resources should be expropriated from the private sector and siphoned into the parasitic "public" , or State, sector, often the call upon the public to yield more resources is couched in a stern call by the ruling elite for more "sacrifices" for the national or the common weal. Somehow, however, while the public is supposed to sacrifice and curtail its "materialistic greed," the sacrifices are always one way. The 'State' does not sacrifice; the state eagerly grabs more and more of the public ' s material resources. Indeed, it is a useful rule of thumb; when your ruler calls aloud for ' sacrifices' , look to your own life and pocketbook!"

Murray N. Rothbard

For a New Liberty



"In recent years, we have seen the development in the United States of a profession of "national security managers," of bureaucrats who never face electoral procedures, but who continue, through administration after administration, secretly using their supposed special expertise to plan wars, interventions, and military adventures. Only their egregious blunders in Vietnam have called their activities into any sort of public question; before that, they were able to ride high, wide, and handsome over the public they saw mostly as cannon fodder for their own purposes. "

Murray N. Rothbard



"Some of the biggest men in the U.S. in the fields of commerce and manufacturing know that there is a power so organized, so subtle, so complete, so pervasive that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."

Woodrow Wilson


"First you thought it was bad politicians, then you found out that many of them were well intentioned, then you blamed the bad businessmen who bribed these well intentioned politicians. Then you discovered that not all businessmen bribe politicians, and many of those who did were pretty good businessmen. So you found out that mostly it was big businessmen that bribed politicians and that little businessmen didn't so you invented the term "big business' and that is as far your analysis went. Hell, can't you see that it is privileged business that corrupts politics-whether it is a big steam railroad that wants a franchise or a little gambling house that wants not to be raided, a temperance society that wants a law passed, a poor little prostitute that wants to be let alone or a merchant occupying storage space in an alley-it's those who seek and/or possess privilege who corrupt. It's those who possess privilege that defend our current system-can't you see that?"

Tom Johnson (former Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio)


"A good philosopher makes a bad citizen."




"Sunday-Soak the rich.

"Tuesday-Begin hearing from the rich.

Tuesday Afternoon Decide to give the rich a chance

to get richer.

"Wednesday- Tax Wall Street stock sales.

"Thursday-Get word from Wall Street: 'Lay off us or you will

get no campaign contributions. '

"Thursday afternoon- Decide we are wrong about Wall Street.

"Friday Soak the little fellow.

"Saturday morning-Find out there is no little fellow. He

has been soaked until he is drowned.


"Next week-Same procedure, only more talk and less results.


(diary of a U.S. Senator by Will Rogers in 1932)



"Great leaders become great and they become leaders precisely because they themselves have experienced the identity struggle of their people in both a most personal and most representative way."

Erik Erikson


"No one is more tedious than the totally ideologized man, the man who forces every passing phenomenon into his ideological mold. "

W. F. Buckley



"How small of all that human hearts endure,

That part which laws and Kings can cause or cure. "



"Socialism is propagated among us chiefly by sentimentalism."




The modern democratic state is even more powerful in executing its intentions than absolute monarchy was, and precisely for this reason the legal impediments against abuse of power are so important today.



"I am all in favor of the democratic principle that one person, even an idiot, is as good as one genius, But I draw the line  when someone takes the next step and concludes that two idiots are better than one genius!"

Dr Leo Szilard



"The healthy stomach is nothing if not conservative. Few radicals have good digestion."

G. K. Chesterton


"The public trust should be the main incentive to holding office--high salaries should not be held out as a bait, for only inferior persons, in the main, would be caught thereby."

Ben Franklin



No hereditary sovereign of the l8th century would have dreamed

of imposing mass conscription--



"Persuading the people to vote against their own best interest has been the awesome genius of the American political elite from the beginning."

Gore Vidal

The new york review of Books

Aug 1,1972



"Our politics are dirty, and they're fought dirty."

Henry Steele Commanger

"The common European perception is of a shallow, arrogant, gun-loving, abortion-hating, Christian fundamentalist Texan buffoon." 

A senior Bush administration official, commenting on the president's first major overseas trip. New York Times, June 6,2001N


Book: "The 2% Solution" by Matthew Miller

Book: "The Real State Of The Union: From the Best Minds in America, Provocative Solutions To the Problems Politicians Dare Not Address"

Book: "The Dark Side: The Personal Price of a Political Life" 

Book: "The Politics of Deceit: Saving Freedom and Democracy from Extinction" by Glenn Smith

Book: "On Politics and the Art of Acting" by Arthur Miller

Book: "The End of Politics: Corporate Power and the Decline of the Public Sphere" by Carl Boggs

© 2001



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