Nastiest Quote

When examining the track record of a nearly-insane mooching thief/convicted criminal/former Democrat staffer under Jimmy Carter advocating the murder of Republicans and conservatives, I encountered this quote:


The first thing that occurred to me is I have never encountered it in Keynes’ works, and that the quote was almost certainly wrong. Even Keynes recognized that free enterprise really does work this way. Voluntary transactions between free individuals do benefit society, regardless of base or noble motives within the hearts of those involved in the transactions.

You might be desirous of earning a lot of money so that you can afford to [insert whatever you think is evil here], but you won’t earn money unless you have a product or service that someone else is willing to pay for.

Or, of course, unless you work for the government — but here we’ve abandoned the free market altogether.

So, I looked into it a bit. The quote was investigated by a site that calls itself (reasonably enough) Quote Investigator. After working through various versions, it seemed to fall back to this statement by an associate of Keynes (not Keynes himself) named A. E. G. Robinson:

But by far the strongest resistance to drastic action comes from those who would say, if they sought at all to express their motives, that inequality of incomes is inevitable and even desirable in a world in which individual are born with unequal talents. You must leave the efficient man as well as the inefficient the motive to exert himself to the utmost. The great merit of the capitalist system, it has been said, is that it succeeds in using the nastiest motives of nasty people for the ultimate benefit of society. (emphasis added)

The sense of this is just as I expected. Free enterprise DOES work that way, as long as transactions are voluntary. Where things go awry as when statists are able to obtain power, and transactions lose their voluntary aspect. Then the statists, the “nasty people” who are oppressors of individual liberty, degrade their victims and bring great harm to society. It is those people, the statists/socialists/communists and their unthinking followers, who are most likely to approvingly post the quote. That quote, if understood properly, damns them.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • The wurm could only have been more appropriate had he been swallowing, rather than just biting, his own tail. Plato’a ouroboros was a self-eating creature, supposedly the first living thing. Later cultures often missed the point and portrayed the critter simply biting himself. We have expressions for that, as well, but they don’t quite capture the progressives’ support for policies that will destroy or enslave them.

    Their steadfast support for Islamic terrorists is a good example. Whenever Shariah law gains power, “progressive” intellectuals/dissidents/homosexuals and other soi-disant “modern” people are the first to be executed.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • JeffR

    I had never heard any variation of that quote before, but would have been suspicious as you were. I HAVE heard pundits say that modern leftist economists like Paul Krugman are far more “Keynesian” than John Maynard Keynes himself was.

    One of the many paradoxes of Progressivism is: They believe that mankind is perfectible (hence their fixation on lenient sentencing, rehabilitation, gentle international diplomacy bordering on pacifism, etc.), yet they believe that the free market is some kind of “nasty” slaughterhouse that would run amok if their mastermind philosopher kings don’t regulate and punish the hell out of it.

    You ended perfectly with, “That quote, if understood properly, damns them.” Progressivism is full of these self-contradictory paradoxes. A couple years ago, I wrote an article that proposed this image as the official “mascot” of Progressivism:

    – Jeff