Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Missing Isaac Asimov

It's been a while since I thought of Isaac Asimov, and one of my favorite quotes from his work came to mind, quite forcefully, this evening:
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
It's amazing how true that is, and getting truer every day.


benshlomo said...

I heartily concur. However, with all due respect to the late Dr. A, this unquestionably true statement could use a little polishing. Its phraseology is sufficiently ambiguous that the loony but intelligent Robert Heinlein was able to say some years later, "It's true. The competent resort to it much more quickly." Sigh.

rantingnerd said...

You're quite right; it does lend itself to ambiguity. I think the best rejoinder to RAH here is to quote Ambrose Bierce, commenting in The Devil's Dictionary on Samuel Johnson's claim that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel":

Patriotism, n.
Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.