A Curmudgeon’s View of Politics

alex atkins bookshelf quotations“A curmudgeon’s [a cantankerous old codger] reputation for malevolence is underserved,” writes Jon Winokur, author of The Portable Curmudgeon. Incidentally a curmudgeon is an ill-tempered person, a “cantankerous old codger.” Winokur continues, “They’re neither warped nor evil at heart. They don’t hate mankind, just mankind’s excesses.” And there are plenty of excesses to go around. Take politics, for example. Is there a greater example of man’s greed for wealth, power, and idiocy? But let’s hear what world-class curmudgeons think of politics and politicians:

Oscar Levant: “[A politician] will double-cross that bridge when he comes to it.”

Hillaire Belloc: “The standard of intellect in politics is so low that men of moderate mental capacity have to stoop in order to reach it.”

H. L. Mencken: “A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”

Henry Miller: “One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician, ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for that sake of an idea whether a good one or a bad one.”

Karl Kraus: “The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience so that they believe they are as clever as he.”

George Carlin: “So maybe it’s not the politicians who suck; maybe it’s something else. Like the public. That would be a nice realistic campaign slogan for somebody: “The public sucks. Elect me.” Put the blame where it belongs: on the people. Because if everything is really the fault of politicians, where are all the bright, honest, intelligent Americans who are ready to step in and replace them? Where are these people hiding? The truth is, we don’t have people like that. Everyone’s at the mall, scratching his balls and buying sneakers with lights in them. And complaining about the politicians.”

George Carlin (again): “This entire country is completely full of shit… Think of how we started. This country was founded by a group of slave-owners who told us all men are created equal. Oh yeah, all men, except for Indians and [blacks] and women, right?… This was a small group of unelected, white, male, land-holding, slave-owners who also suggested their class be the only one allowed to vote. Now, that is what’s known as being stunningly and embarrassingly full of shit. And I think Americans really show their ignorance when they say they want their politicians to be honest. What are these [freaking] cretins talking about? If honesty were suddenly introduced into American life, the whole system would collapse!”

Read related posts: The Wisdom of George Carlin

For further reading: The Portable Curmudgeon by Jon Winokur
Last Words by George Carlin, Free Press (2010)
Brain Droppings by George Carlin, Hyperion (1998)

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