There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting.
Wisdom, itself, is often an abstraction associated not with fact or reality but with the man who asserts it and the manner of its assertion.
Good writing, and this is especially important in a subject such as economics, must also involve the reader in the matter at hand. It is not enough to explain. The images that are in the mind of the writer must be made to reappear in the mind of the reader, and it is the absence of this ability that causes much economic writing to be condemned, quite properly, as abstract.
None of this excuses anyone from mastering the basic ideas and terminology of economics. The intelligent layman must expect also to encounter good economists who are difficult writers even though some of the best have been very good writers. He should know, moreover, that at least for a few great men ambiguity of expression has been a positive asset. But with these exceptions he may safely conclude that what is wholly mysterious in economics is not likely to be important.
One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.
Much literary criticism comes from people for whom extreme specialization is a cover for either grave cerebral inadequacy or terminal laziness, the latter being a much cherished aspect of academic freedom.
It has been the acknowledged right of every Marxist scholar to read into Marx the particular meaning that he himself prefers and to treat all others with indignation.
Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.
Wealth is not without its advantages and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive.
Economics is a subject profoundly conducive to cliche, resonant with boredom. On few topics is an American audience so practiced in turning off its ears and minds. And none can say that the response is ill advised.
In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.
Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.
Meetings are a great trap. Soon you find yourself trying to get agreement and then the people who disagree come to think they have a right to be persuaded. However, they are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.
Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative.
It would be foolish to suggest that government is a good custodian of aesthetic goals. But, there is no alternative to the state.
It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.
Power is not something that can be assumed or discarded at will like underwear.
If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.
The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.