Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Notable Quotables

A few quotes that caught my eye recently:

But as you move forward in life, try to remember your grandpa’s advice. Don’t accelerate and be obsessed about what awaits in the future, but at the same time don’t brake and be consumed by the past. There’s nothing you can do about the past, and not much you can do about the future, either. You might as well do the best you can right here in the present.

Also, this is unrelated to the metaphor, but keep two hands on the wheel. It’s really icy.
 - Bill Lee, former Red Sox pitcher, "Letter to My Younger Self", The Players Tribune

A constitutional government will always be a weak government when compared to an arbitrary one. There will be many desirable things, as well as undesirable, which are easy for a despotism but impossible elsewhere. Constitutionalism suffers from the defects inherent in its own merits. Because it cannot do some evil, it is precluded from doing some good. Shall we, then, forgo the good to prevent the evil, or shall we submit to the evil to secure the good? This is the fundamental practical question of all constitutionalism.
- Charles Howard McIllwain, Constitutionalism Ancient and Modern (1940), via Powerline

Self-driving cars aren't a problem to be solved, because there's no problem there. Why do Millennials want to sit in a booster seat clutching a ziploc bag of Cheerios and a Gameboy until they're ready for a nursing home? Drive your own damn car. It's not that hard if you're not texting.
- Roger de Hautville, Maggie's Farm 

The media feel like lawyers for the Clinton campaign, taking whatever the evidence is and presenting it as advantageous to their client.
 - Ann Althouse, referring to, (what else?) a New York Times story

All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don’t know by what you do; that’s what I called “guessing what was on the other side of the hill.
 - Duke of Wellington, 19th century, via Ghost Writer 

. . . in the world of modern democratic politics, a declared aim is more important than a an actual effect
- Theodore Dalrymple, "Bludgeoning Aspiration to Get to Equality

Because in the world of modern democratic politics, a declared aim is more important than an actual effect. - See more at:
Because in the world of modern democratic politics, a declared aim is more important than an actual effect. - See more at:
The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them. 
- "Reynolds Law"; Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on designing and implementing disclosure rules for such products as home mortgages.  Has there been a single case of a consumer who read such a disclosure and made a better decision as a result of it?**
- Arnold Kling, Askblog

G K Chesterton is often credited with observing: "When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn't believe in nothing. He believes in anything." Whoever said it - he was right. We are supposed to live in a skeptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.
- Umberto Eco

** Our first mortgage was in 1979.  Obtained from a local bank it had a couple of page document telling us how much we borrowed, the interest rate, how much we'd pay a month and the amount we'd pay over the lifetime of the mortgage.  It worked fine.  Since then the paperwork for every mortgage and refinancing we've done has gotten longer, more complex, and less useful.  Every government attempt to simplify the mess they created with their prior simplification just makes it more complicated.

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