Quote of the Day

If it’s true that a rich man leads a sad life
Then what do all the poor do with their lives?

–The Clash

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

11 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. Lord who mad the lion and the lamb,
    You decreed I should be what I am.
    Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
    If I were a wealthy man.

    –Fiddler on the Roof

  2. That’s easy: the poor man works like a slave for the rich man until he is so old, so weak or so sick that he can no longer work; then he dies and reduces the surplus population.

    1. Mitch, I think you need to up your dosage. Your anti-depressant has lost its potency.

      As I recall, the poor get together, get a bunch of torches, and march on the bank with murder in their hearts.

      The rich banker buys an eclipse, which deflects the angry mob, who then march on the observatory.

      1. In New York, the rich bankers did deflect the mob but simply bought the NYPD and turned them loose to beat, harass and pepper spray the Occupy Wall St. movement until it collapsed. The was actually a humanitarian gesture in comparison with previous actions by bankers and industrialists in the sense that they didn’t order the police to line the protesters up in a forest and shoot them down like dogs.

        Any if that’s not enough to get you on my sour wavelength, read this: http://preview.tinyurl.com/Wall-Street-versus-the-Poor

        1. In 1968 the Science Fiction Writers of America selected “Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov as the greatest SciFi short story written prior to the establishment of the Nebula Awards in 1965. IMO, it’s still the greatest SciFi short story ever written.

          Unfortunately, the back story I cited above was missing from the Asimov account–how the folks had become dissatisfied with the bankers, and the bankers therefore caused the nightfall to deflect the anger of the mobs, not realizing the horrifying side effect they would engender.

          Your story does not depend on a solar system with six suns, and I suppose it has the additional advantage of being true, but I like Asimov’s story better.

          1. One point of Asimov’s story, however, is blindness to science, denial, how we never learn anything, etc. I know this story well because I use it at the telescope when looking at Gemini, so I’m confused as to the point…

  3. I think the complete quote is more understandable:

    “… then what do all the poor do with their lives on judgement day — with nothing to say?”

  4. I’d suggest that the Clash know what the poor can productively do with their lives. Keep listening…

    Among the most desired objects of trade between gringo tourists and young Nicaraguans on a trip made there were T-shirts of the The Clash’s “Sandinista!” album cover. If I was only more a capitalist, I could’ve made a fortune the next few times…
    Ahem, I had other work to do.

  5. Doesn’t really add anything. The poor man will tell God still how he worked for the rich man all his life but was paid only a pittance because every effort to build a better life for himself and his family was crushed by the rich man and his union busting goons. He’ll ask god why there is so much suffering in the world that created to amuse himself.

    Maybe the poor man will ask his question of the day: When God looks at what he’s done to humanity for his own glory and amusement does he feel proud or ashamed for all that’s been done in his name?

  6. “They offered me the office, offered me the shop
    They said I’d better take anything they’d got
    Do you wanna make tea at the BBC?
    Do you wanna be, do you really wanna be a cop?”

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