… is from page 7 of the late Vincent Ostrom’s 1997 book, The Meaning of Democracy and the Vulnerability of Democracies:
The world of politics is likely to attract both those who presume to know the Truth and seek to lead others to Salvation and those who are attracted by the fruits of victory like bees to a pot of honey on a warm summer day.
DBx: Or to borrow from Bruce Yandle, politics attracts into its ranks both Baptists and bootleggers. Neither of these types is especially appealing. The first – the “Baptists” – might be motivated by a sense of high-mindedness, but they arrogantly mistake the fact that their minds are high for their minds being able to comprehend that which no human minds can comprehend – namely, the vast amounts of information and knowledge operating at every moment in time to make real even the most mundane of modern realities. These arrogant people fancy themselves smart and well-meaning enough to substitute their own blueprints for the countless choices and actions of millions of individuals. This fancy of theirs makes them dangerous.
The second group – the “bootleggers” – are simply out to use the levers of state power to get what is not rightfully theirs. They scratch no itch to save the country or humanity or anything else. But they are clever enough to understand that if they pretend to be high-minded, they’re far more likely to succeed in politics. So they lie.
What a system.
Here, by the way, is a video from 2010 of Bruce discussing bootleggers and Baptists: