Had trouble sleeping last night, read some THE MENCKEN CHRESTOMATHY I keep at bedside to soothe me.
Found this: "Sometimes, a politician must rise above his principles." Fell asleep immediately.
This morning, though, I was curious: did Mencken say it FIRST?
I have seen the thought attributed, in very similar form, to Lincoln, though I find no authority for this.
Still, WHOEVER said it, as good a statement of the Downsian model as I have seen, in succinct form.
- I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.
- I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.
I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...
- I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.
- I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech...
I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.
- I believe in the reality of progress.
- I - But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.