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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 263-264 of the 1978 collection, edited by Eric Mack, of Auberon Herbert’s essays, The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State; specifically, it’s from Herbert’s June 7th, 1906, lecture at Oxford University, “Mr. Spencer and the Great Machine”:

When you strive for power you may form a temporary, fleeting alliance with the great principles, if they happen to serve your purpose of the moment, but the hour soon comes, as the great conflict enters a new phase, when they will not only cease to be serviceable to you, but are likely to prove highly inconvenient and embarrassing.  If you really mean to have and to hold power, you must sit lightly in your saddle, and make and remake your principles with the needs of each new day; for you are as much under the necessity of pleasing and attracting, as those who gain their livelihood in the street.

The successful politician no less than the successful whore adorns himself or herself with whatever costume, no matter how tawdry or embarrassing, is thought to be most alluring to the greatest number of customers.  But unlike the successful whore, who gives something of genuine value in return to each and every person who pays for her services, the successful politician gives value only to a small handful of his or her customers, and this politician finances these transactions with funds and freedoms forcibly confiscated from others.  In short, when ranking different professions according to the principles held and adhered to by their members, whores rank much, much higher than politicians.