Joke of the day

I forget who told this one to me.  I am terrible at discussing politics, and this joke never fails to get me safely away from a discussion, or in some cases escape from people who approach me at random (e.g., at a gas station, or a queue for soup) and with whom I almost certainly share no political values, and it also never fails to get agreement from all parties:

“Politicians should be guaranteed two terms: Once in office, once in jail.”

And, with more wisdom than wit, Robert Heinlein:

If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong.

If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well-meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time on it that truly intelligent exercise of franchise requires.

 

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7 Responses to Joke of the day

  1. Omer says:

    Terry Pratchett’s democracy,
    as exercised by the heathens of Ephebe on “Small Gods”:
    [.. Can’t find exact quote ..]
    The term of going down to the cell to meet the chosen ruler,
    having the chosen ruler rule from the cell “because it saves time later”.

    [Calling the democratically chosen ruler “The Tyrant”.]

    [Too goshdarned long since I read that book too…]

  2. Anon says:

    I urge all Americans to vote against the advice of the well meaning fools. The world is a brutal place, and the people they support are too naive to be given power.

    Instead, pick someone with military experience and a stubborn streak.

    I think in this election it’s pretty clear who Heinlein would have voted for. Unfortunately it seems like that candidate will lose this time. Living in Taiwan, I hope Obama isn’t a disaster to the extent Carter was.

  3. landon says:

    “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

    — Henry Mencken

  4. Barry Kelly says:

    @Anon – I presume you are being ironic, since e.g. Hitler is a fine fit for the template of “military experience and a stubborn streak” in a “brutal” world.

    Everyone with strong ideologies are well-meaning fools, left and right, without much distinction. Vote against strong ideologies; the more rigid, the more fundamentalist, the more irrational, the more you should fear them.

  5. landon says:

    Ahhhnnnndddd . . . we are about _this close_ to being Godwinned. Boy, that was quick. 🙂

    See why I don’t talk about politics?

    Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

  6. Stuart says:

    Anon,

    You must remember that Heinlein graduated from Annapolis and you can bet he ranked a lot higher in his class than McCain did. To him competence was the highest virtue. The clown show that was the McCain campaign would not have gotten his vote. Most likely he would have voted for Bob Barr.

  7. Oisín says:

    Re: Godwin’s law,

    Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum#Countering_the_fallacy but be wary of committing a similar logical fallacy – invokation of Godwin’s law doesn’t negate the arguments made.
    I would still agree with Barry’s closing comment: “Everyone with strong ideologies are well-meaning fools, left and right, without much distinction. Vote against strong ideologies; the more rigid, the more fundamentalist, the more irrational, the more you should fear them.”

    There’s a long, exhausting three-part documentary called “The Trap” (http://www.rewtube.com/the-trap-episode-1/) which, apart from depressing the viewer, treats the subject of strong, “radical” ideologies and some of the dangers therein.

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