The untapped natural resources of crackpottery in this country…would astonish you. There is a Gresham’s Law of the mass intellect: muddle-headedness inevitably drives out clear thinking. And the political science of the future lies in the control and the application of that law to purposive ends.
That’s Anthony Boucher, from the Nick Noble murder mystery short story “Rumor, Inc.” (1945). A bit prescient, no?
This WWII-era story concerns a group of agents spreading anti-US propaganda in Southern California to subvert the war effort: No real need for West Coast gas rationing; Onion shortage due to government bungling. Mid-twentieth century fake news.
Here’s one more, from Nick Noble himself:
Fascist thinks he’s too strong for democracy. Makes his own laws. The hell with justice; do what’s expedient. The hell with debts; cancel ’em by force. Us, we like justice. We pay debts. Our kind of strength.
The debts under discussion here are “debts to society” — as in “if you commit a crime, you must pay your debt to society.” Let’s hope that is indeed our kind of strength.