The wit and wisdom of Otto von Bismarck (14 Dec 2005)

Posted by on December 14, 2005 in Make My Vote Count | Comments Off on The wit and wisdom of Otto von Bismarck (14 Dec 2005)

I am currently trying to write a post about the use of obfuscation and confusion as a political weapon, and found myself reminded of Bismarck’s celebrated statement that

To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.

It’s not to be found in writing anywhere in Bismarck’s papers, but various versions of the quote have circulated since. I hadn’t realised that Bismarck had also delivered a number of other statements of wry, cynical Realpolitik. He’s like a 19th Century H.L. Mencken, with the added advantage of a powerful land army.

When you say you agree to a thing in principle you mean that you have not the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice.

Referendum on electoral reform in the first term, anyone? As for

There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children, and the United States of America.

… oh, you don’t need me to comment on that one, do you?

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