Saturday, May 24, 2014

'Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence.’

‘Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence.’

H.L. Mencken’s wise warning that “[i]t is the theory of all modern civilized governments that they protect and foster the liberty of the citizen; it is the practice of all of them to limit its exercise, and sometimes very narrowly.”*


Candidates are constantly asked, ‘Where will you take the country?’ My answer is: ‘Nowhere.’ The country is not a parcel to be ‘taken’ anywhere. It is the spontaneous order of 316 million people making billions of daily decisions, cooperatively contracting together, moving the country in gloriously unplanned directions.

 “A congenial society is one in which most people most of the time, and all politicians almost all of the time, say, when asked about almost everything: ‘This is none of my business.’ If as president I am asked what I think about the death of a rock star, or the imbecilic opinions of rich blowhards who own professional sports teams, I will say: ‘Americans should have no interest in my thoughts about such things, if I had any.’ I will try not to come to the attention of any television camera more than once a week, and only that often if I am convinced that I can speak without violating what will be my administration’s motto: ‘Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence.’



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