Wednesday, September 23, 2020



George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (London: Constable and Co. Ltd., 1925), pp. 95-96:
Government among us is certainly not an art, but a fatality. In so far as it is not a matter of mere tradition and routine, it results from contrary purposes and parties pulling against each other in a tug-of-war, for the sake of office or of some immediate reform or relief. Whether the effects of government are beneficent in the end nobody can tell, because nobody can foresee the infinite radiations of those effects in the future; nor even in the present have we any clear or authoritative notion of the uses of government, or any criterion by which to measure the various goods that various people might regard as ultimate, such as health, friendship, knowledge, laughter, or heaven. And so far is government among us from regarding any ultimate good, that many are inclined to look in other directions for true guidance in their allegiances, and for the means to happiness; and they regard politics with aversion, and politicians with contempt, thinking that government, at best, is a nuisance.

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