Herb Stein's Unfamiliar Quotations
Herb Stein's Unfamiliar Quotations
May 16 1997 3:30 AM

Herb Stein's Unfamiliar Quotations

On money, madness, and making mistakes.

(Continued from Page 2)

--Henry C. Simons, Economic Policy for a Free Society, 1948


What fascinates me about this sentence is the word "unlovely." It is a candid declaration that feelings on this subject are "feelings," not matters of efficiency or justice but matters of taste, of aesthetics, of emotions.


There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.

--Adam Smith, in a letter to a friend who, after the battle of Saratoga, was lamenting that the revolt of the colonies was going to ruin Britain, late 18th century

This is a comfort when one is listening to politicians or editorialists describing the ruin that will follow if their pet policies are not adopted.


If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.

--Stein's Law, first pronounced in the 1980s


This proposition, arising first in a discussion of the balance-of-payments deficit, is a response to those who think that if something cannot go on forever, steps must be taken to stop it--even to stop it at once.


If a plank creaks in the floor, he [Ernesto IV] snatches up his pistols and imagines that there is a liberal hiding under his bed.

--Stendhal, The Charterhouse of Parma, 1839

A comment on many of today's pundits.