Madness, disloyalty and the reality-based community: Great quotes from Good and Bad Power

October 16, 2009

     By Duncan Green     

Good and Bad Power: The Ideals and Betrayals of Government’ by Geoff good and bad powerMulgan combines real insight with a wonderfully eclectic selection of quotes from across the ages. Here’s a small selection:

‘Madness is something rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, peoples, ages, it is the rule.’ Friedrich Nietzsche

‘The highest manifestation of life consists of this: that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.’ Thomas Aquinas

‘Begin each day by telling yourself: today I shall meet interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill will and selfishness.’ Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor, 2nd C) advising future leaders what to expect

‘A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves’ Bertrand de Jouvenel

Lao Tzu‘The good leader is the one that the people adore; the wicked leader is the one that the people despise; the great leader is the one the people say ‘we did it ourselves.’’ Lao Tzu

‘The best way to have good ideas is to have lots of ideas, and then to discard the bad ones.’ Linus Pauling

But perhaps my favourite: ‘In 2002 a senior White House aide to President Bush gave an interview to a journalist, Ron Suskind, in which he said that the journalist was ‘in what we call the reality-based community’, made up of people who believe that solutions emerge from the ‘judicious study of discernible reality’. But, he commented ‘that’s not the way the world really works any more. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.’’ Maybe it was self-satire – cling to that.

October 16, 2009
Duncan Green