"A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?"
by:
Marcus Tullius Cicero
(106-43 B.C.) Roman Statesman, Philosopher and Orator
Source:
A Pillar of Iron, a novel based on the life of Cicero by Taylor Caldwell (1965), p. 451
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Reader comments about this quote:
Nice, but extremely unlikely this was ever said by Cicero. Once again, a "quote" with no documentation as to what work in which it was taken. IOW, immediately suspect as bogus.
 -- A.W. Schlaf, Des Moines, IA     
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    If Cicero did not say this, he missed his calling.
     -- T.M., Sacramento, Ca.     
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    Very advanced of Cicero to predate Max Weber's coining of 'bureaucrat' by 18 centuries or so. The Roman Empire didn't have a permanent civil service--they had slaves instead--so it would have been hard for him to make this remark even without the 'b' word. If you're including an 'I' in your quotation, it does make a difference who the 'I' is!
     -- Howard, London     
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    funny, cute and, hmm
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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     -- gdgca, windsor, on      
    Unfortunately,I agree with this quote.Although,IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY........WHEN WE CHANGE THE WAY WE LOOK AT THINGS,THE THINGS WE LOOK AT CHANGE....sigh.
     -- Guess Who     
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    A great compliment to bureaucrats. That is exactly the way they should appear to a wayward, shifty, dishonest public. Bureaus in the US Govt were established to overcome the problem of political appointees and the dishonesty of the spoils system. When a bureaucrat seems stern, or straight laced to you, he is doing his job to uphold and protect the populace at large. Have some love and respect for these people. If you have ever worked with the public you know that they are no prize either. Guess Who above is right on here, "If you change the way you look at bureaus and bureaucrats you and all of us will have a better life." Like the signs on the semi-truck trailers say "Compliant Driver"'; when the populace is in compliance with the laws that they pass the work of bureaucrats will not seem so harsh.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    If Cicero didn't say this, he should have. If he hadn't said it, Mark Twain probably would have.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    If bureaucrats were not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty, stupid, oppressors and thieves, they would get real productive jobs rather than becoming self important tax leaches. The only thing worse than an evil person is an evil person with political power.
     -- Bryan Morton, Stuart, FL     
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    I guess it is safe to say that Waffler is/was a bureaucrat when he considers bureaucrats "protectors" of the public and the public as "'wayward, shifty, and dishonest." Another reason majority rule of the public should never be able to trump our inalienable rights, no matter how many of them there are. A million ignorances do not make up one truth. I have never met a civil servant that did not look like the walking dead.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    They are indeed. I am appalled by whats going on in this country. We are shifting from capitalism and freedom to the utter government intervention in every aspect of our lives. How come we are at this? It is because, we choose these people. They showed us the dream of freedom, conservatism and liberty, and look where we are. I can not get my head around the two-face nature of our politics and bureaucrats. In our country, we bail out the rich not the poor. What is this, Capitalist Socialism???? I am fuming over this the more I ponder!
     -- RKA, Wasilla, AK     
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    RKA I am not sure who you mean as "THEY showed us the dream of freedom, conservatism and liberty", I can guess and I humbly suggest they are charlatans, liars and ninconpoops. Now you send us Sarah, what are we to think of her and her style?
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    The American people have it within their power to reduce the size of bureaucracy, police etcetera. All they have to do is to start obeying the laws and regulations that they have established for themselves to follow. It is a wayward people that do not follow their own laws. The only explanation is that a substantial number are nothing more than children, and I am not talking about the under 18 year old crowd.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    O Cicero, you hit the GOP on the head - now there'll send Rove after you.
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    Howard - what's the difference between slaves of the Roman Empire and Slaves of the Bush Empire
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    I am sorry Waffler, it's not me who sent Sarah. She was hand picked. Sarah does not represent all Alaskans and all Alaskans do not represent Sarah. I have no beef against her or her chooser. "THEY" are all the neo-cons and the pro-regulators, what a blasphemy! Here I toil every day to pay my bills and their crooks are in the process of bailing out the corrupts. What about me? What about my loan?
     -- RKA, Wasilla, AK     
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    RKA, we've become a Waffler nation, if you don't influence the majority, you're nothing. You sovereign individuals that want a government of laws are dinosaurs. We the Bureaucrats, funny money makers, Corporate elite, police state, contented slaves, etc. that have replaced God in ability to create law, will show you your place, just obey and be happy.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Indeed I do not influence the majority. Indeed I am nothing. Yet, I write and people read. Yet, I speak and people listen. When is it that God created law? I am utterly confused! And with due respect sir, where is my place?
     -- RKA, Wasilla, AK     
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    Right on RKA, you influence the majority as much as anyone else no more and no less and that is the essence of democracy. Mike's disappointment stems from the fact that he wants to dictate to the majority, this is why he cannot understand or appreciate or have patience with the concept of democracy.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Archer my ideal of the bureaucrat is that of Sergeant Joe Friday, just the facts mam just the facts. He kind of walked and acted like a dead stiff. Yup I loved Joe Friday and Boston Blackie too!
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    You never cease to amaze me Waffler. This has to be the most ignorant thing I have ever heard from you. Bureaucrats are typically people who can't function in the real world. Bureaucracy is the problem not the solution. They flock to those positions because they can screw things up to their hearts content without having to suffer the consequences. Government bureaucracy is the hiding place of the inept.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    There are good cops, there are bad cops. There are good officers, there are bad officers. There are good bureaucrats, there are bad bureaucrats. They all have some petty governmental power over regular people. The difference between the good ones and the bad ones is...do they use the power because they have to use it, or because they want to use it? Most people hate chemotherapy but most people choose to endure it. Chemo, like bureaucracy, it is better than the cancerous alternative. Most don't like to be told what to do but most don't want to live in anarchy. Eat right, exercise and smile at the nurse when he sticks in the needle. He probably does not enjoy it either. If you really think he does, be sure and fill out a customer complaint card. But first ask yourself hard if you're not just whining.
     -- brimstone, tampa     
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    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Cicero [edit] Misattributed The following quotes are sometimes wrongly attributed to Cicero. In fact, they come from a novel about Cicero by Taylor Caldwell, and are not found in any of Cicero's actual writings. A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures? Taylor Caldwell in her novel based on the life of Cicero, A Pillar of Iron (1965), p. 451 Antonius heartily agreed with him [sc. Cicero] that the budget should be balanced, that the Treasury should be refilled, that the public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of the generals should be tempered and controlled, that assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt, that the mobs should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence, and that prudence and frugality should be put into practice as soon as possible. Taylor Caldwell in her novel based on the life of Cicero, A Pillar of Iron (1965), p. 483 of the 1965 edition published by Doubleday (Garden City, NY.)
     -- Juanita, Palm Bay     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Our once best defense against bureaucrats and bureaucracy was once The U. S. Constitution.

    We no longer rule ourselves.

    Semper Fi.
     -- Bruski, Naples FL     
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    Waffler says: "The American people have it within their power to reduce the size of bureaucracy, police etcetera. All they have to do is to start obeying the laws and regulations that they have established for themselves to follow. It is a wayward people that do not follow their own laws."

    I would imagine that some people said the same thing in Germany in the late 1930s? Was it the American people who wanted the Obamacare laws passed? NO! They burned up the phone lines calling to say no but it was still shoved down their throats just like many other laws so Waffler don't pee down our backs and tell us it's raining, unfavorable bills are passed all the time and that doesn't even touch the unaccountable appointed bureaucrats and there regulations issued by unconstitutional bureaucratic
    agencies. Our founding fathers tried very hard to give us a Republic because the last thing they wanted was a democracy but over time and the workings of shiftless bureaucrats that have made our Constitution practically a dead letter as they swear an oath to it then turn around and ignore the plainly written limitations to their power.

    "Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few."
    -- John Adams, An Essay on Man's Lust for Power (1763)
     -- Mike, Pleasant Hill     
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    True, but not just of beaurocrats (sp ?) .. true of mankind in general. The list is so broad as to include everyone -- except ME, of course !
     -- Bobble, No. Ferrisburgh, VT     
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    Waffler, there is a huge difference between an individual wanting to control the masses and an individual not wanting the masses to exert control over the individual. There is no correlation or causation between the 2 concepts. Your premeditated lie about me does not take on a value of truth just because you keep saying it.

    RKA, your "When is it that God created law?" is an extremely stupid philosophical trammel that only works when being bantered around by an enclave of idiots. Law obviously existed pre-earth as it was by law that the elements were formed to create the earth. God is eternal therefore existed pre-earth. The laws of nature and of nature's God are eternal so, I would ask you; when is it that the law of gravity, physics, fiscal law, etc. were created? Your obvious ignorance of what the de jure Constitutional law (natural law) was to be and the current tyrannical application of 'legal positivism' and 'legal realism' makes your statement a substantiveless word salad.

    A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men when the body politic has become as corrupt, anti-natural law, contrary to justice and thoroughly despicable as the occupying statist theocracy now infesting this land is. A bureaucrat can become the most honorable of men, when as a statesman, he advances the realization of natural law, justice, liberty, freedom and the inalienable rights of the noble being - man.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Bureaucrats enjoy their security through " legalized Plunder ". Job security anyone ! What goes up must come down !
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    Thank you Waffler for making plain the difference between FASCISM and personal responsibility -- where you stand has been made clear. And yes it has become also known that Waffler is retired from a government service employee union (most likely the IRS), receiving a government pension, and a tireless supporter of bureaucratic rule over the common people as their 'authority.'
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Mike, Norwalk, strikes a great cord of interest. Pre-earth. There is always a set of plans before the house is built. Why, not only for containment of certain unruly elements, but also the saving of, those chosen before the foundation of the world. A great mystery pertaining to why this nation was formed. The mystery of the gospel. That is of course, Paul's gospel of Liberty and Freedom.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    Kudos Juanita, Palm Bay and to all the others who are great constitutional patriots and commentators that believe in restoring and upholding this sovereign nation's founding as a Limited Government Republic. Onward and upward to those who greatly believe in personal initiative and responsibility as well as preserving all of our natural born God given unalienable rights.

    As to Waffler and RK - You'll have to swallow and digest a lot of cheese to go along with your constant, persistent and ignorant pathetic whining.
     -- Mary - MI     
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