A correspondent from one of the most thoroughly fucked parts of our planet — the Bay area of San Francisco — forwarded a nugget:
“Or is it the nature of National Assemblies generally to do, with endless labour and clangour, Nothing? Are Representative Governments mostly at bottom Tyrannies too! Shall we say, the Tyrants, the ambitious contentious Persons, from all corners of the country do, in this manner, get gathered into one place; and there, with motion and counter-motion, with jargon and hubbub, cancel one another…and produce, for net-result, zero;—the country meanwhile governing or guiding itself, by such wisdom, recognised or for most part unrecognised, as may exist in individual heads here and there?—Nay, even that were a great improvement: for, of old, with their Guelf Factions and Ghibelline Factions, with their Red Roses and White Roses, they were wont to cancel the whole country as well. Besides they do it now in a much narrower cockpit; within the four walls of their Assembly House, and here and there an outpost of Hustings and Barrel-heads; do it with tongues too, not with swords:—all which improvements, in the art of producing zero, are they not great? Nay, best of all, some happy Continents (as the Western one, with its Savannahs, where whosoever has four willing limbs finds food under his feet, and an infinite sky over his head) can do without governing.—What Sphinx-questions; which the distracted world, in these very generations, must answer or die!
“One thing an elected Assembly of Twelve Hundred is fit for: Destroying. Which indeed is but a more decided exercise of its natural talent for Doing Nothing. Do nothing, only keep agitating, debating; and things will destroy themselves.”
Sound familiar? The writer is Thomas Carlyle, in his History of the French Revolution. Think about that: “…in the art of producing zero, are they not great?”