Just Above Sunset
Volume 5, Number 10
March 11, 2007

Good Government

 The world as seen from Just Above Sunset -

"Notes on how things seem from out here in Hollywood..."

Quotes for the week of March 4, 2007 - Good Government

"Feeling good about government is like looking on the bright side of any catastrophe. When you quit looking on the bright side, the catastrophe is still there." - P. J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores (1991)

"The Founding Fathers were careful to distinguish representative republicanism from direct democracy. Alexander Hamilton, for example, endorsed the former but condemned the latter... the records of the ratification conventions were not verbatim transcriptions. It has been observed, by an honorable gentleman, that a pure democracy, if it were practicable, would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position in politics is more false than this. The ancient democracies, in which the people themselves deliberated, never possessed one feature of good government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure, deformity. When they assembled, the field of debate presented an ungovernable mob, not only incapable of deliberation, but prepared for every enormity." - Alexander Hamilton, at the New York convention for constitutional ratification, June 21, 1788

"There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate government action." - Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive." - Thomas Jefferson, 1787, Letter to Abigail Adams

"When you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship." - Harry Truman

"The republican form of government is the highest form of government: but because of this it requires the highest type of human nature, a type nowhere at present existing." - Herbert Spencer

"Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking." - Clement Atlee

"Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." - George Bernard Shaw

"After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." - Alexis de Tocqueville

"A government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it." - Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

"The government is unresponsive to the needs of the little man. Under 5' 7" it is impossible to get your congressman on the phone." - Woody Allen

"Trying to make things work in government is sometimes like trying to sew a button on a custard pie." - Hyman Rickover

"Politicians in government should be changed regularly, like diapers, for the same reason." - Richard Davies

"It's the Government's job to print the money, deliver the mail and declare war. Now give me my cigarettes." - Florence King

"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." - Edward Abbey

"By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more." - Albert Camus

"As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." - H. L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

"The saddest life is that of a political aspirant under democracy. His failure is ignominious and his success is disgraceful." - Mary Catherine Bateson

"Our country was founded on a distrust of government. Our founding fathers gave power to the people to keep an eye on government. So when politicians say, Trust me, they're actually being very un-American." - David Duchovny

"Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied." - Otto Von Bismark.

[Good Government]

Last updated Saturday, March 10, 2007, 10:30 pm Pacific Time

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 - Alan M. Pavlik