Five in Five

Five Choice Quotes For Modern-Day Politics

Five Choice Quotes For Modern-Day Politics

Based on a few choice quotes from history, here’s a brief review of just what is happening in the world of politics:

1. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”

Photo credit: pathdoc/

The famed quote is often attributed to the world-renowned American author Mark Twain (1835 – 1910). However, it was Twain himself who credited the phrase to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881). Yet, the phrase is not to be found in any of Disraeli’s written works and its earliest known use came years after his death.

The famous quote is an obvious damnation of the persuasive use of statistics to influence public opinion, especially in the political arena. The sentiment of the quote certainly seems to be as true today as it ever has been. It ranks as one of the most re-quoted phrases of all time.

2. “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely’’

Photo credit:

The phrase is the best-known quote of the 19th century British parliamentarian Lord Acton (1832 – 1902). He made the statement in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in April 1887. However, Acton himself borrowed the sentiment from other writers who had previously expressed the same view, albeit in different words.

The noted proverbial saying conveys the message that as a person’s power increases, their moral sense of right and wrong diminishes. With many governments currently failing to enforce integrity safeguards, (the perception of) corruption across the globe, has arguably, never been higher. Thus, the phrase would seem to be just as relevant today as it has ever been.

3. “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”

Photo credit: photoschmidt/

The quote is often attributed to the French leader Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) but officially its source is unverified. In light of the state of world politics, it seems very difficult to disagree with the sentiment. In fact, I would guess there are many who would allude to the notion that “stupidity” now seems to be a prerequisite for entry into politics.

4. “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

Photo credit: Melinda Nagy/

The quote is widely attributed to the Russian-born political activist and writer, Ella Goldman (1869 – 1940). However, Mark Twain is also credited with a very similar expression. The renowned anarchist, Goldman, was once famously described as “the most dangerous woman in America.”

Her statement obviously buys into the notion that whichever way we (the proletariat) vote, it will never make the slightest bit of difference to our lives. I’m sure many of us have heard a friend or colleague lament exactly the same sentiment in the last few days. Ah well, as “they” say, it seems that some things never change.

5. “Vote for the man who promises least; he’ll be the least disappointing.”

Photo credit: Naparat/

The statement was made by Bernard Baruch (1870 – 1965), the American financier and statesman. The quote can be found in the famed New York Times columnist’s “Meyer Berger’s New York” (1960). Baruch served as a special adviser to both President Woodrow Wilson and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during WWI and WW2, respectfully. Baruch’s statement simply suggests that the more we put our faith in politicians and government, the more we are going to be disappointed. Yes, that it would seem is a ‘universal truth’, if ever there was one!

Interestingly, in a worldwide survey of “Trust in Government”, published by Statista in 2022, the authoritarian state of China came out on top with a score of 89%. Moreover, two other authoritarian governments, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, finished second and third in the appraisal. Meanwhile, the fully working democracy of the UK (37%) finished a miserable 23rd in the same study. Thus, the inference would seem to be that the greater the supposed level of democracy in a country, the greater the perceived level of corruption. Still, I fancy that our parliamentarians are likely to tell us that there’s “lies, damned lies, and statistics”.


Header photo credit: Stokkete/

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar