November 23, 2014

The Circumlocution Office: Containing the whole Science of Government


“The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office.

“This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving--HOW NOT TO DO IT.

“Through this delicate perception, through the tact with which it invariably seized it, and through the genius with which it always acted on it, the Circumlocution Office had risen to overtop all the public departments; and the public condition had risen to be--what it was.

“It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office. It is true that every new premier and every new government, coming in because they had upheld a certain thing as necessary to be done, were no sooner come in than they applied their utmost faculties to discovering How not to do it. It is true that from the moment when a general election was over, every returned man who had been raving on hustings because it hadn't been done, and who had been asking the friends of the honourable gentleman in the opposite interest on pain of impeachment to tell him why it hadn't been done, and who had been asserting that it must be done, and who had been pledging himself that it should be done, began to devise, How it was not to be done.” -- Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens


Posted by Vanderleun at November 23, 2014 1:01 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I always did like Dickens' writing. He keeps me up on proper language usage.
And his characters' names, I like that too.

Posted by: chasmatic at November 23, 2014 10:15 AM

One of those observations on human governance that's timeless. There really isn't anything new under the sun when it comes to human nature.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at November 23, 2014 6:09 PM

Those of us today railing against the corruption and uselessness of the Republican party forget that the character of our governors and the complaints of the governed has changed little from the beginning of civilization only we did not previously know it except what is written down by historians. The (relatively new) wrinkle is the desire (by leftists) to control the minutia of the lives of the individual. Previously the peons could starve in the streets without excessive attention of the rulers. They had liberty if not abundance. At the end of our road we will have neither.

Posted by: Andy Texan at November 23, 2014 8:40 PM

I am employed as a circumlocution enabler. Pay's decent and so are the benefits.

When you folks come with the pitchforks, I will hand over a list of people to be dispatched.

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