Fake Quote Of The Day

I TiVo'ed the Libertarian Party Presidential Debate this afternoon on C-SPAN. The first candidate to speak is Michael Badnarik, and he begins his speech with a quote he attributes to George Washington:

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.

If the Libertarian Party wants to be taken seriously, it should make sure its candidates hire better fact checkers before giving televised speeches. The quote, like all quotes which are too good to be true, is fake:

"Attributed to George Washington.--Frank J. Wilstach, A Dictionary of Similes, 2d ed., p. 526 (1924). This can be found with minor variations in wording and in punctuation, and with 'fearful' for 'troublesome,' in George Seldes, The Great Quotations, p. 727 (1966). Unverified. In his most recent book of quotations, The Great Thoughts (1985), Seldes Says, p. 441, col. 2, footnote, this paragraph 'although credited to the 'Farewell' [address] cannot be found in it. Lawson Hamblin, who owns a facsimile, and Horace Peck, America's foremost authority on quotations, informed me this paragraph is apocryphal [fake].'"

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That's too bad. It's a good

That's too bad. It's a good quote.

But come to think of it, why would Washington, a Federalist who let Alexander Hamilton lead him around by the nose, ever have expressed such sentiments?

Any idea where it originally came from? It's still an edifying thought, if it could be properly attributed.

Michael Badnarik did wind up

Michael Badnarik did wind up winning the party's nomination. The convention began with a three-way race for the candidate nomination between Badnarik, Gary Nolan, and Aaron Russo. As it was, Badnarik was my least favorite of the three.

Gee. I wish I had caught the

Gee. I wish I had caught the debates. We have tivo also but we have yet to get cable. I had to watch American Idol at BilLee's parent's house. So unfortunately I didn't get to watch or Tivo the debate this year. I've been rooting for Badnarik all along, but haven't had any hope of him winning the nomination since, well, probably since last summer when I first saw him speak on C-span. In any case I'm very pleased that he was nominated. I think he was absolutely the best candidate of the selection they had to choose from.