High civilizations are lost not in battle but by forfeit.
In ’37 Stalin made a hash
Of party loyalists and army brass.
Decimation: One in ten are shot.
What’s the word when one in ten are not?
Modern democracy has nearly perfected itself; that the people can still occasionally make their wishes known remains its one flaw.
Once memory has been centralized it can be destroyed.
When you hear a proposed law or policy described as “common sense,” run for your life. Common sense doesn’t scale.
If you must be the victim of a grotesque law or policy, be first, or photogenic, and it may pay you back in fame. The rest go unnoticed.
The law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, and this, precisely, is the source of its majesty.
Secret police at all times and places have been delighted by the size and enthusiasm of their volunteer auxiliaries.
So the last shall be told that they are first, and the first that they are last: for many be hectored, but few persuaded.
We are exhorted to ask cui bono?, yet cui malo? is often the more penetrating question.
A government of laws, not of men, requires suitable men.