Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Exam Questions (choose one)

1.  "Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods." - H.L. Mencken.
    Discuss, with reference to the election campaign as it's shaping up.

2.  "If at first you don't succeed, you aren't bribing the right people." - Anonymous.
    Discuss with reference to the likely responses to the election campaign so far.

3.  "Democracy will fail when people begin to think they can vote themselves rich." - P.J. O'Rourke.
    Discuss, with reference both to this election and the trend from elections past.

4.  When politicians talk "substance," they invariably either lie or spin.  But when they insult each other, their insults are without exception true.
    Is this the only consolation of modern election campaigns?

UPDATE:  A late question for those wondering why the Red Team seem to have captured the electoral high ground, while the Blue Team is still playing catch-up:

5.  "In any conflict between two men or two groups who hold the same basic principles [in this case, that the State should manage everything], it is the more consistent one who wins." - Ayn Rand.
    Discuss with reference to the fundamental principles of both Red and Blue teams.  For extra marks, discuss the relevance of Rand's observation to the US elections as well.

6 comments:

  1. Will answers get real marks or not achieved/achieved/merit grades?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmm, how about this: If you spell your name right, you get a job in government.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The first two quotes are apt.

    1. "Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods." - H.L. Mencken.

    That is precisely what is going on right now. The government is already spending way past its budget and both parties are talking about major new spending and neither is talking about cuts.

    2. "If at first you don't succeed, you aren't bribing the right people." - Anonymous.

    Which describes what happened last week when the $700 billion bailout passed on its second attempt. The first bill was rejected by the Congress. So they made it even worse by adding a bunch of subsidies and protections for major businesses in the states of dissenting Congressmen. Then it passed. It was quite literally a case of bribing the right people.

    ReplyDelete
  4. HP, I think "not achieved" is, technically, "not achieved yet".

    --

    "If you spell your name right, you get a job in government."

    And if you have at least one Maori name, (two would be ideal), you qualify for more money as per Treaty requirements.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mencken's great: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." I've actually used this one before on exams in my public choice class...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I trust there were a few wry smiles from your examinees, Eric. ;^)

    ReplyDelete