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Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Foreign Secretary

George Canning
British Foreign Secretary
March 25, 1807 to October 11, 1809
The picture is of the actual British Foreign Secretary from the time in question, which happens to be during Britain's war with Napoleon. The following quote is from a fictional story which also has a war going on with Napoleon at this same time. Imagine that.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, first page of Chapter 6.
Change a few terms: substitute the 'voting public' for 'country gentlemen', pick some other bogeyman to replace Napoleon, and this could apply to our current state of affairs.
     Suspicion of cleverness puts me in mind of the phrase 'too clever by half', which is an English expression which I take as a slight against anything most people cannot easily comprehend, which is why most good ideas are never implemented.
    There are situations where a clever person comes up with a solution to a problem, but the solution either is so complex that it cannot be successfully implemented, or it fails because of some unforeseen side effect. Hence, the preference for simple, understandable solutions, even if they are crude, inefficient and expensive. Some people have other, incorrect ideas of the meaning of this phrase.

P.S. Previous post on this book.

P.P.S. Notice how Napoleon is spelled with two O's, not two A's which was my tendency. I'm not the only one to get it wrong.

P.S. #3 Wiki pertaining to this book.

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