Tuesday 11 August 2015

Social Democracy: a Definition.

I'm developing a taste for aphorisms, funny anecdotes, one-liners, and such.

At the same time I've noticed that social democratic bloggers, having already re-defined Social Democracy and Socialism, are now intent on re-defining the meaning of capitalism. Well, monkey see, monkey do: I thought I could try my hand at this re-definition business, and so I picked Social Democracy.

However, given that formal definitions seem boring (at least, nobody who is somebody uses them), I tried to find a witty or at least funny way to convey the same idea. Luckily, searching quotes from famous (or notorious, depending on where you stand) characters I found this gem (my translation from the Spanish original):
"Former [Venezuelan Social Democrat] president Carlos Andrés Pérez, during his first government upon being asked whether his regime's political stance was capitalistic or communistic, uttered this phrase, already most famous: 'Neither the one, nor the other; just the opposite'."


Like Keynes' celebrated rebuke "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" the anecdote above seems to be equally apocryphal and is often attributed -- with somewhat different wordings and more or less details -- to a variety of Latin American politicians, well-known for their Bushisms.

However, the most believable version traces its origin back to Mexican comedian Mario Moreno (better-known as Cantinflas, his onscreen persona's name). For those not in the know: Moreno is to Charlie Chaplin, what Cantinflas is to the Tramp.

So, unlike Social Democracy itself, that quote was originally meant to be humorous.

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