Note (added March 24, 2011): Obviously, in the book I was required to adopt Bill Bonner’s characteristic voice, rather than my own –  so there was no intent to imitate without acknowledgment in what I wrote.


For the overall division of labor in the book, and for lines or passages not cited here, see the tab on the book on this site (“Mobs, Messiahs and Markets” – at the top).

Below is an email with attachment from Lila Rajiva to Bill Bonner, dated February 12, 2008,  listing possible quotes from “Mobs, Messiahs and Markets” and attribution for each one, agreed to by both authors.


This is for future reference so we can use our own quotes  in our own work later. As you can see, some of your stuff is mixed up with mine and yours with mine so I tried to pick it apart.”


1. He was not merely a pervert; he was an activist. BB p. 3

2. The trouble with the big wide world is that it is never quite good enough for some people. BB, p.7
They want gas chambers and Social Security – vast changes almost always brought about at the point of a gun. BB p. 7

3. Art should never be as dull and dim-witted as real life. BB p. 8

4. The only better world Alexander could see was the reflection of his own face. BB p. 9.

5. They [the world-improvers] propose a ban on world hunger – without planting a single turnip. They take up the cause of “freedom” in other countries – and force the liquor store next door to close on Sunday. They insist so strongly on better treatment for women in the Islamic world, they forget to kiss their own wives. BB p 9.

6. In the contest between tyranny and George W. Bush, we have seen no odds. But we wouldn’t put our money on the president. Mr. Bush has had only seven years in high office. Tyranny has been rehearsing for centuries. BB p. 9.

7. What really moves the world improvers is vanity; and what makes them odious that they give in to it so readily. BB p. 10.

8. So many humbugs, dear reader, and so little time. BB. 12.

9. Ignorance increases by the square of the distance from a given event. BB p. 14

10. Life, liberty and happiness — three things as inextricably linked as Curly, Moe, and Larry. LR, p. 21

11. The truth is – popular politics and bubbles are almost always frauds that flatter our sense of vanity. BB. p.22.

12. Even an ironicist looks upon a couple in love with a little envy; they are fools, he says to himself, and wishes he could be one, too. BB 23

13. Love is so profound we suspect, it deserves to be treated only in the most superficial and flippant way. BB  23

14. But in the modern western world, arranged marriages have given way to deranged ones. BB 24.

15. Is private passion, like public folly, a rational choice or a type of mania? LR  26

16. Human beings are neither good nor bad; they are merely subject to influence. BB 42

17. The artist in Europe today has as special status, somewhere between a Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux Klan and a carny for Barnum and Bailey. LR 34.

18. Suppose we view man not as a fallen angel but a risen ape? LR 40.

19. But in the autumn of 2005 Americans had come to believe not in being a light but in packing heat. BB  51 ??

20. One day, historians will look back at our era and marvel at how George Bush and Tony Blair determined to convert the Iraqis to democracy. To our descendants it will look like a mad caprice; a quaint religious gesture; and act of remarkable faith or delusion, like missionaries showing the heathen the correct posture for copulation.
BB 55
21. Every election is to some extent an advance auction of stolen goods. BB 55. (Lila: Actually, I found later that this is a well known saying by  Mencken  )

22. Voters might as well be the home crowd at a ball game. BB 58

23. Men are not as you want them to be; they are as they are. (Sylvie, quoted by BB 59).

24. In war and speculation it is often better to lose the first encounter than to win it; it might make you reconsider. BB 61.

25. The point is not that people do not think. It is that they cannot stop thinking. LR 61

26. Words may be inescapable but they are also indefinable. LR 67

27. A man who selects his wife logically makes a fool for a husband. BB 68

28. The real trouble is that we tend to think of our reasoning power as if it is cordoned off from the rowdy world of the emotions like a football star from a mob of crazy fans. LR 68

29. Once we leave the clinically logical world of moral philosophers and cannibals, we begin to see the virtues of our emotional and intuitive minds. LR 69

30. While the judgments we make conceal emotions, our emotions too conceal hidden judgments. LR 69

31. In his private world a man is often an oaf but rarely a beast. But give him a big idea – a New Era, a Master Race, a Domino Theory – then put a throng of morons at his band and he’ll do almost anything. BB 72

32. What extraordinarily bad things ordinary people do – when they think they have a good reason. BB 72

33. It is not news that sells papers, but papers that sell news. BB 77

34. News is simply what the newspapers tell you it is. LR 79

35. There was popular hysteria, and there were unpopular victims; there were sensational pamphlets, misbegotten theories, sex, lies and…devilry. It could have been mistaken for a session of Congress. LR 80.

36. A periodic blood letting might be as good for the social body as it was once thought necessary for the human body. LR 80

37. Those who write the history of yesteryear have no more of a grip on truth than those who keep us up to date with today’s gossip LR 82

38. If it is a fib that newspapers deliver the news as immaculately as the virgin birth, it is also a fib that history brings back the past as accurately as a truth serum. LR 82

39. And that is what creates public spectacles in the first place – the delightful certainty with which ordinary people read history or the front pages of their newspapers, convinced they about fifteenth century Wurzberg what no one could possibly know about twenty first century Washington. LR 83

40. If we are unwilling to take the church in the seventeenth century at its face value, we wonder why we should be expected to take feminist historians in the twentieth at theirs. LR 84

41. It was not illiterate fools who drove the persecution of the witches. It was the bigger semi literate fools. It was not what people did not know that proved their undoing; it was what they thought they knew that wasn’t so. LR 85

42. The modern equivalent of the magic flying carpet – the therapists’ couch. LR 93

43. Thus does the neo-cortex sputter in fits and starts from dubious assumptions to preposterous conclusions with nary a whisper of doubt in between. LR 98

44. What is it that signifies that adulthood has arrived? Is it the driver’s license or the marriage license? Is it making love or making war? LR 99

45. How much Satanism turns you into a pedophile? How much pedophilia turns you into Satan? LR 100

46. Sex, self importance salvation – all in one. What more could any do-gooder want? LR 100

47. For every Eros there is a Thanatos. LR 100

48. Sex may sell newspapers,  but it is War that buys newsmen and publishers. LR 100

49. Fake news is not new. It has been part of military offensives since Neanderthal man first tricked his neighbor and clubbed him over the head. LR 102

50. They thought they were volunteering to fight for the republic; they didn’t know they were signing up for Aztec child sacrifice. LR 103

51. Why do intelligent Americans continue to believe that their lives depend on which tin-pot dictator straddles the Tigris and the Euphrates? Why do they believe that a government they think too incompetent to deliver the mail on time can be trusted with delivering freedom to foreigners who don’t want it? LR 105

52. Nobody ends up as brainwashed as the brain-washers. LR 106

53. Every step of the way to utopia seemed to need paving with lies LR 105

54. Poor innocent Belgium – practically a virgin in matters of foreign policy… LR 107

55.The French lost or were badly beaten up in every war since Waterloo. They are still far too French to sit most visitors. BB 115

56. Political independence has no particular value in a house of god BB 115

57. The dead men were no less dead for want of a good reason. BB 116

58. Any fight that isn’t forced upon you is a sucker’s game. BB 116

59. As a profession soldiering must be nearly as hopeless as psychology or marriage counseling. BB 116

60. What altered the course of warfare was not the gay cavalryman but the dour mechanic. BB 119

61. That ultimately is the trouble with running as empire. It ends up running you. BB 120

62. It is not ideas that rule the world, though, but the world that rules our ideas. LR 121

63. Malleable as soldiers, they were also malleable as citizens LR 121

64. When you have an enemy so hopelessly ill equipped and feeble as the terrorists today you are faced with an entirely different sort of challenge. Your task is no longer to defeat an enemy…but to create one. BB & LR 126

65. No wonder people like politics; it is so much like real life. BB 132

66. American have taken to the imperial purple on their backs like a gorilla to a tutu. LR 133

67. An empire is a comedy on a much larger scale. BB 135

68. We are feeding so many good things to the Iraqis all at once: democracy, diversity, feminism. It is no wonder the poor Iraqis choke. BB 136

69. Every day it seems is brand spanking new to the Bush boys, with no trace of yesterday in it and no hint of tomorrow. It is not as if they were born yesterday; it is as if they had never been born at all. BB 138.

70. It’s always reassuring to know that hired torturers believe in the Bill of Rights. LR  138

71. If the CIA does wrong it’s only a dumb mistake to be fixed by better laws passed by Democrats.  LR 140

72. Dumb and deadly not only are not mutually exclusive, they tend to stumble around together like contestants in a three-legged race. And dumb is often pretty good cover for deadly. LR 140

73. CIA confessions are like cooking with onions. They make you weep and when you’re done peeling through all the layers, you’re usually left with nothing.  LR 140

74. Invisible spooks tend to be even more unaccountable than visible Congresspersons. LR 141

75. Pork with principle! How could any self-respecting Congressman resist? LR 141

76. Now the CIA takes to renditions like a Louisiana governor to strippers. LR 142

77. People stop worrying about the return ON their money and begin to be concerned about the return OF their money. BB43

78. Every public spectacle makes the headlines at least twice: first, in pleasant expectation; later, in miserable regret. BB 145

79. We’ve been around long enough to know that God can do any damned thing He wants. BB 148

80. Out on the penumbras and umbras of the spectrum of life where the public spectacles occur, the light is either so white you are blinded by it or so black you cannot see a thing. BB 148

82. When it comes down to it, every actor in a public spectacle has an eye cocked to the cameras and a mouth full of cant. LR 151

83. Like all world improvers Che had a remarkable ability to look into the future and improve it before it happened. BB 151

84. Like other revolutionaries, he might have profited from some vocational counseling
BB 155

85. Che did not merely want a new world; he also insisted on a whole new race of human beings to put into it. BB 156

86. It was crack pot economics, with the cracks and minus the pots. BB 164

87. Now with the opening of archives and the closing of the lives of most of the principals, we get to find out what these great revolutionary heroes were really like. And what a ghastly show it is. Hegel meets Helter Skelter. Das Kapital meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre. BB 173

88. Put them at the head of a country or an army, then they are off on some fool mission – bringing civilization to the barbarians, making the world safe for democracy or ushering in the proletarian revolution. LR 185

89. If experts have a particular squint on a subject, we develop cross-eyes too. LR 188

90. It doesn’t matter how untrue a thing is. If enough people (especially people we look up to) repeat it often enough, it soon becomes conventional wisdom. A hundred years ago, Gustave Le Bon understood this when he wrote his classic work on crowds. He realized that the popular mind wanted most of all to simplify things. Le Bon called the process by which an idea gets simplified, repeated, imitated, and spread by the crowd, contagion. LR 188

91. The shifting bog of group think which is not only completely different from private thinking but is an illusion piled on top of a fraud stacked on a foundation of humbug, built in the mud of misconception with the building blocks of lunacy BB 190

92. People occasionally appreciate the truth in the same way they appreciate a good joke It breaks the monotony. BB 191

93. The poor man who was happy in his naive particulars is miserable in his role as a poverty-stricken hick  BB 195

94. They (the world improvers) are always smoothing out the past and gilding the future with the unctuous certainty of tea leaf readers at a country fair. LR

95. The less they understand the numbers the more they are enamored of them What they can’t see clearly must – like veiled houris – have charms beyond what they do see. LR 205

96. There is no sense that does not have a foundation that is nonsense. The charm of real mathematics is its absurd poetry.205 LR

96  What is history but a vast public spectacle? Some people usually fools and knaves – make history. Others suffer it. Decent people who mind their own business and do their best, seem to appear in history only as statistics. BB 214

97 Between theory and practice is a chasm so large that a posse of economists might fall into it and never be missed LR 222

98 Many Indians – like many other Asians and Africans – have been yearning to be poor in America for years. LR 223

99. We might not know a pixel from a byte and our last acquaintance with a chip might have been at Wendy’s  but losing in the stock market gives us plenty of company. Whatever else it is, it’s not a lonely proposition. LR 226

100. Mankind ifs first of all a herd animal and fears nothing more than not being part of the herd. LR 226

101. Money attracts money; the spotlight follows the famous, not the obscure; we pick what everyone else picks. Unto those who have, more will be given, as even the Gospel tells us. LR 231

102. We have no desire to eat strawberries armed against frost bite with herring genes or cauliflower with an IQ higher than ours.  LR 234

103. Unless it is communion wine, any transformations of nature need to pass the smell test first. LR 234

104. Free trade is anything but free. 237 LR

105. What the right hand – foreign aid – giveth. The left hand – import barriers – taketh away. LR 23

106. Between do-gooding and doing good there is all the difference. LR 240

107. Every public spectacle begins with a lie, progresses into a farce and ends in disaster. BB 246

108. Greenspan may not have been able to walk on water but it was widely believed that he could multiply the loaves and fishes  BB 247

109. Neither clear headed polemics nor saxophone riffs nor gold buggery pay very well
BB 252

110. Nothing fails like success. 254 BB

111. Modern central banking like bank robbing is a nefarious metier. BB 254

112. Scientists often suggest that the gospels lie . But as to the veracity of modern finance, they are mute. BB 273.

113. All Speculation Nation needed was to replace the stars on Old Glory with a roulette wheel; visitors would get the idea. BB & LR 273.

114. Cheap suits, expensive suits – when you got down to it, they all fell into the same trap. BB 273

115. All public spectacles always end in correction of some sort – often, a house of correction. And if the force of correction is equal and opposite to the deception that preceded it, this one ought to be a doozie. 274 BB

116. We make it our business to think about precisely what most people can’t bear thinking about, even if we don’t know any more than anyone else. BB & LR 274

117. The typical retirement plan was simple – buy a house in Florida, then sell the house in New Jersey – BB 275

118. The going rate for short-term credit – like that of bread or of titanium bicycles – would not normally be a matter for public debate. But now, voters expected to find it on the ballot along with proposals to expand the number of daylight hours and round off pi to the nearest whole number. BB 280

119. An increase in firepower doesn’t make war a thing of the past; it just makes it more costly. The machinery of central banking may have become more sophisticated, but the engine drivers still have the same heaving, squeezing, juice pumping hearts. Like all humans, they are sometimes good, sometimes bad, and always subject to influence. BB 280

120. Fixing prizes in the private sector has always been a crime, like taking a dive in a prize fight; yet people accept it without a squawk when  officials fix the single most important price of all – the price of money. BB 281

121. And so the world went over to a faith based currency, but faith in what? BB 282

122. The Greenspan gases were heating up the entire financial world, putting it at risk of a runaway Greenspan effect, but global liquidity got less coverage than global warming. BB 283

123. Thus was the economy spared the rod and spoiled by easy money. BB 283

124. The inflation of the mark in Germany led to disorder…and then sorrow. LL 286

125. Yes, I Alan Greenspan ruled the financial world. But who ruled Alan Greenspan? BB 287

126. They saw in me a kind of genius – an Einstein of economics whose mind worked at such a high pitch his thoughts were inaudible to most humans. (about Alan Greenspan) BB 287

127. Some are born in crisis, some create crisis and others just make a mess of things. (about Alan Greenspan LR, BB 287)

128. I know well and good what generally happened when politicians and central bankers got their hands on soft money and a compliant central banker. They used their control of money to cheat people. BB 288

129. I left New York for Washington – that is, I left its heart of commerce to take up residence in its gall bladder of politics. (about Greenspan) 289 BB

130. No matter how high the waves, nor how low the tide might ebb, sooner or later stock prices regress to sea level. BB 290

140. The lunatic phases of investor sentiment – that inconstant moon of irrational exuberance and unseasonable gloom. BB & LR 290

141. If you want power you have to go where the power is. BB 291

142. But the political power in the United States  is in Washington and financial power if ins New York. And the real power is where the two come together – in the Federal Reserve System. BB 291

143. A central bank can control the quantity of money, or indirectly, the quality of money. What it can’t do is increase the quantity while still protecting the quality. BB 292

144. You rob one Peter voter…and spread the loot among the Pauls. BB 292

145. If central banking was an honest metier, there would be no reason to have it at all. Private banks could do the job better. But people are ready to believe anything. Some how they think that rich financiers and power-mad politicians get together to run a central bank for the benefit of the people! Well, I’ve got news: It doesn’t work that way. BB 292

146. A successful central banker in the age of compliant paper money is one who is able to control the rate of ruin so that the rubes don’t catch on. BB 293

147. No one wants honest money. No one. BB 293

148. Take away the “punch bowl” and they begin punching you! LR 293

149. I owe that also to old Ayn; she taught me who rules Greenspan – Greenspan! BB? LR?  294

150. I gave the people enough rope to hang themselves. And that’s what they’ve done. BB 295

151. Mr. Greenspan blew up the Grand Coolee Dam and sent a wall of cash and credit flooding around the world like a rogue wave. BB 296

152. The combination of Nipponese desperation with American ingenuity is what we have to thank for today’s bubbles. BB 296

153. Packages of debt, Bundles of debt, Piles of debt. Rocky Mountains of debt…..It is debt for all seasons, all people, all times, and all places. It is urbi et orbi debt. There. We have given you the technical description of it. BB 297

154. Fast talking lenders wrote mortgages for slow-witted homeowners. LR 298

155. That would be those sad-sack home owners we mentioned who stretched too far to buy too much house with an ARM far too long. BB & LR 298

156. Then comes the day when the bubbles take a bath. When the poor home owners must find another source of  funds – another money tree – or miss their mortgage payment. And when they miss, what a hit they will take. LR 299

157. Our guess is that when the history of the early twenty first century economy is finally written, derivatives will get a special “tipping point” place – like the Hindenburg in the history of the Zeppelin business – or the Little Big Horn in the life of George Armstrong Custer. 299 BB

158. Hardly had we finished mopping up the dot-com mess before the hedge funds began blowing up LR 299

159. Hunter was long, and investors were short – as much as $6 billion. LR 300

160. In the financial world standards are perverted so easily they must have a twisted gene to start with. BB 299

161. They (hedge fund managers) pretend they are disinterested scientists, but they are actually more like hair-stylists, ready to coif their portfolios to suit the latest fashion. And they make their customers into clowns their returns get trimmed. BB 301

162. Whenever the higher math and the greater greed come together, there are bound to be thrills. BB 301

163. The whole market cannot outperform itself BB 301

164. In 2006 you could have actually done better by accident than in the average hedge fund BB 301
Hedge fund managers must be getting nervous; soon the Department of Homeland Security will be rounding them up and sending them to Syria for water-boarding. And not a moment too soon, in our opinion. BB 302

165. The jazzy wheels matched the snazzy wheeling and dealing at the American energy fund LR 303

166. What kind of gig is that where investors have to pay to play and then pay to lose as well? LR 304

167. The important math of hedge funds is very simple – it’s heads I win, tails you lose. BB & LR 304

168. For clients hedge fund investing it like playing strip poker with a beautiful woman – by her rules: When you lose a hand, you take off your shirt; but when she loses, he puts on a leather coat! BB 304

169. In the last stages of a public spectacle, thinking becomes a vestigial function – about as useful as an appendix…and as liable to be cut out in a crisis. LR 304

170. Don’t marry your stocks. Just shack up for a few months and unload them when the next hottie comes along; that’s what the celebrity hedgies do. BB & LR 305

171. Is filling your portfolio with fast moving floozies any way to make money? They’ve all been on the street too long already; they’re overpriced and over worked. BB & LR 305

172. Today Hedge funds have spread like a tropical parasite. LR 305

173. If vanity were gravity, Greenwich Connecticut, the home of the hedge fund stars, would be a black hole. It sucks the money from all over the financial world and turns it into – nothing. BB & LR 306

174. Thailand may squeeze its citizens. Goldman may swindle its customers. But only the US Treasury has the power to do both. BB 308

174. The future is the best long-distance runner, and when it wins, it will wipe out your loans. BB 309
Markets make opinions……but opinions make markets too. BB 309

175. “A fool and his money are soon parted,” goes the old saying. What has always puzzled us is how the two of them got together in the first place. BB 311

176. Do unto others — and they will do unto you. And the more you do for others, the more you can expect them to do for you. People bake bread not to put bread on others’ tables, but to put it on their own. Thank God. Otherwise, we’d all go hungry. BB 311

177. Today, give and take is replaced by assault and battery. BB 312

178. No wonder mommas now only want their babies to grow up to be hedge fund managers. BB 314

179. Never have so few done so little and made so much doing it. BB 315.

180. Financiers – like bank robbers – do not create wealth. They merely redistribute it. BB 317

181. While the mob may idolize holdup men in good times, in the bad times it lynches them. BB 317

182. The hardest thing for a man to do is simply get through life with his grave and dignity intact. BB 321

183. One man’s necessity is another man’s bugaboo. BB 322

184. Mr. Market we have found, is like a woman: coy, changeable, and contemptuous of our efforts to understand her. BB 324

185. Let your money go forth and multiply. God commanded Adam to do it. Money and rabbits do it naturally. BB 326

186. The vast majority of wealth is made the old fashioned way, by accumulation. BB 326

187. Thrift used to be a virtue. Now it is a mystery. BB 326

188. India’s poor people have no credits cards. They have no access to credit. They are not rich enough to be that poor. BB 330

189. There is no human gene that makes people want Ralph Lauren written on their clothes. BB 331

190. Perhaps they were administering cyanide to elderly patients in nursing homes before they turned their attention to our portfolios. LR 333

191. Useful intelligence decreases, like gravity, by the square of the distance from the facts. BB 346

200. The more someone wants to sell you an investment, the more you don’t want to buy it. BB 354

201. The best investments are those no one wants to sell. BB 355

202. Good men we think are loyal to their vice. BB 358

203. People need a well developed vice that they can stick with through think and thin. 358 BB

204. A man has to find a vice that suits them and stick with it. 358 BB

205. Few things are as damnable as inaction. In politics, it is cause for recrimination. In marriage, even the Catholics allow for annulment in cases of non consummation. In finance, it is cause for regrets. In war, it is cause for firing squads. BB 358

206. When they are thrown into the company of legions of their fellow men, some chemistry turns humans who are individually of irreproachable integrity and unimpeachable  prudence into stark, raving block-heads. That this is sometimes called democracy does not improve matters. And that popular business columnists announce the very opposite practically seals the matter for us. LR 364

207. Surowiecki has managed to write something wise and moronoic about crowds: wise to notice that two heads sometimes better than one, moronic to fail to notice why.  366 BB

208.  Everytime you get a couple of knuckleheads together they are not going to write good music or build an atomic bomb. BB 366

209. What is the difference between a group and a crowd? Just this – a group never reduces itself to one. BB 367

210. When the crowd takes up a corrupt wish – to get something for nothing or to make the world a better place by killing people – the last thing it wants is another point of view.
BB 368

211. Democracy of this sort replaces reasoned cooperation with high handed fraud, the wise congregation  of independent citizens with a mob with silly slogans on their bumpers and mischief in their heart; it goes from building consensus to building concentration camps. BB 368

212. Man’s greatest need is not to be right, it is to have the approval of his fellow men. He would rather be wrong following the leader than right on his own. LR 370

213. There is a pattern even in what we call chaos, just as there is a pattern in the formation of clouds, the shape of mountain ranges, or even the movement of waves. 371 LR

214. The hurly burly of a free market seems to be closer to the patterns of nature than the simple minded schemes of pundits. LR 371

215. In a command economy, clueless government hacks are free to impose any fatheaded scheme they can come up with on their hapless subjects. Where nature produces unpredictable order, the hacks create thoroughly predictable chaos. LR 371

216. You can pass all the orders, laws, and policies you want; you can employ stables full of pedigreed lawyers. But if there is nothing back the laws and policies, you are n trouble.  LR 371

217. Like gold, traditions represent real value. LR 372

218. Cartesian reason while good at technical and physical problems is not very good when it is turned on itself or on human life. LR 372

219. Man is first of all Homo faber (man the creator) and we understand him best by looking at his creations. LR 373

220. Man learns to use his reason, only to turn it on himself. He strives to discover truth and instead concocts the delusory spectacles with which he destroys himself. From a modest republic of the self-reliant, he converts his nation into a boastful empire of debtors that eventually collapses of its own weight. He rises only to fall.
LR 374

221. History does not pull in at the doorstop of progress, democracy, and liberalism, like the 5:15 from  Paddington. Instead, history rises and falls… like waves emerging from the ocean spume and disappearing into it. LR 374

222. Like beautiful women, fine wines, or graceful buildings, civilizations too are never more alluring than when there is a hint of decay about them Age gives them grace and mystery…before destroying them completely. BB 375

223. It is with nations as it is with human beings. LR 375

224. What man is any good until he has been tempered by age and hammered at the forge of mortality? As a young man he walked upward, climbing the mountain every day, but it is the downhill walk that puts him to the est. Like an army in retreat, he tries to hold himself together and meet his fate without making a fool of himself. BB 375

225. History records the whole thing as a pack of lies and misunderstandings involving hairy people with tails doing foolish things for absurd reasons.  BB 375

226.  Sometimes nature seems to draw out its best from the dregs of corruption. BB 375

227. Like a leech on a dog or a lobbyist in Congress. BB 376

228. The world and everything in it seems set up for disappointment. BB 376

229. Rot has its own rationale. LR 376

230. Without death and decay, there would be no redemption, no hope of heaven, no fear of hell, and no chance of everlasting life. Without them, life everlasting would have no meaning; all movement would cease, because the earth would be frozen into a meaningless past and an equally meaningless future. LR & BB 176

231. Even our religious beliefs regress to the mean. BB 376

232. To be a fisher of men, on the other hand, is to undergo a personal transformation. That is the Christian vision of renewal – not the socialist. LR & BB 377

233. Like any history, we have no way of knowing which part of it is humbug and what part of it is humbug and what is true.  BB 380

234. We pay attention to everything that comes to us bearing the mysterious weight of the past. LR 380

235. History is the great, bloody river on which all the public spectacles sail. LR 380

236. But if history rises and falls as chaotically as the waves, how can it have anything to teach us? LR 381
The average investor like the average voter is much more likely to be deceived by too little history than by too much. BB 381

237. History may not fly in a straight arrow toward goodness, truth and beauty. It may not unfold inexorably like a five act play from exposition to denouement. But because the patterns of history are not obvious and regular does not mean that there are no patterns at all. Because the lessons are opaque even contradictory, it does not follow that there are no lessons at all. Instead, the patterns of history follow their own chaotic laws, like the beating of the heart, or the structure of the genes, or the shapes of clouds and mountains. History moves to its own fractured rhythms.
LR 382

238. Like a Hudson river hustler trying to do business in Hyderabad – or a man trying to reason with his wife. BB 383

239. He sees Mars heading out into space and he imagines himself going where no man has gone before…when, actually, he never left home. BB384

240. The older we et, the less we know about anything; the more facts, opinions and ideas we collect, the less sure we are of any of them. 384 BB

241. Reason is slave to our wishes. BB 384

242. There is nothing like a twenty year bear market to hone a man’s sense of humility. BB 385

243. A handsome  man looks for mirrors A well bred man thinks that it is class that counts, while a rich one measures himself in dollars or pounds. A humble one comes to think that the meek will really inherit the world; they just have to wait for the other arrogant SOBs to drop dead. BB 385

244. Societies go through small fads and big ones, cute little peccadilloes and major public spectacles. There are cycles within cycles, and of course, countertrends within trends: from religion to politics to money, from God to Caesar to Mammon, and back again. All this turning, churning, and recycling is what makes the world go round. BB 387

245. The twentieth century was clearly the bubble phase of politics. 387 BB

246. Every excess has to be dealt with and every bubble pricked. BB 388

247. Since the people who don’t get enormous bonuses clearly outweigh those who do we can imagine a time of rebellion among the unbonused masses. LR 389

248. It is not simply that in the long run we are all dead, as John Maynard Keynes said. It is that in the short run we all have to live and there is nothing to say that a Goldman bonus is necessary to do that well. LR 389


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