Quote of the week

Whomever you choose to take the blame for our Parlous Times, you’re sort of missing the point:

You know what the reality is? Every one of those guys — even the sneakiest, cleverest, richest of the lot, pick your choice, is floundering. Oh, they may stumble a little less than we do, and get a little more light shed in one corner or another, but they, like you or me, are doing good to keep up. It’s 2017 and a goatherd barely out of the Stone Age armed with a can of gasoline can, for a short while, speak just as loudly and influentially as the greasiest éminence grise. Those fellows who look so confident, generals and zillionaires, Congressthings and shady wheeler-dealers? It’s a front; they’ve got their refuges and boltholes and they hope their ride will wait, but they have no better handle on the future than you do and their only real plan is to see the next sunrise with their skin intact. They rely on custom and habit and the dull goodwill of their fellow humans every bit as much as you do.

Which explains the current state of things:

In January, we saw one of the great civil miracles of modern civilization: the peaceful transfer of power of a major nation going off without a hitch in a ceremony that’s been performed every four years since the end of April, 1789, and you know what people did? They went after trivia. After speculative nonsense. And it has only become worse every day since.

If you’re heavily emotionally invested in contemporary politics, you’re wasting the best part of your life.


  1. fillyjonk »

    12 February 2017 · 3:27 pm

    I read that when she first posted it, and I still can’t decide if I find it comforting that people in Positions of Power sometimes flounder as badly as I do, or terrifying that they’re making it up as they go along as much as I do every day. That they’re not actually any smarter or wiser or braver than I am – because I KNOW what goes on in my head but not what’s in theirs, and I can delude myself, at least in some cases, of figuring that person with power has it more together than I do.

    I think, though, the difference between Those In Power and me is that they don’t actually doubt themselves as much as I do. Maybe that’s the real secret of success: being able to bull-in-china-shop your way forward without wondering if you’re actually doing it wrong.

  2. McG »

    12 February 2017 · 6:07 pm

    The usual consolation is that the leaders of other countries are at least as hopeless as ours.

    And frankly I wish everyone assumed all politicians are every bit as much hopeless frauds as the rest if us. It would finally put a stop to all the big-government worship that has made the freest nation on earth less free every day since March 4, 1933. Or was it March 4, 1913?

    Now get off my lawn!

  3. Joe »

    13 February 2017 · 6:07 am

    Your concluding sentence is one of the wisest things I have read in recent times. It goes onto a very long list of “stuff I wish I had said”.

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