Robert Conquest was a historian of note in the middle of the last century. He is best known for his books about the Soviet Union and the purges thereunto pertaining. He is routinely quoted by those on the right (of which he was one) for his Three Laws of Politics:
- Everyone is a conservative about what he knows best.
- Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
- The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.
I don’t know how serious the Third Law is, but it’s a pretty droll commentary on large institutions. The Second seems often to be dead-on-balls accurate (it’s an industry term).
I’m not sure about the First. It sounds nice, but I’ve always observed that on the things people really and truly care about, most people want a Big Government solution. But that’s fear, which is the antithesis of knowledge, so it’s not really a refutation. I shall have to ponder the matter.
One thought on “The Three Laws of Politics”
I don’t think he means “Conservative” in the typical everyday political sense. He means “conservative” in the sense of “resistant to change, not willing to consider differing ideas”