On the Crook-Or-Fool Dilemma
The spectacle of politics often provokes me to ask; are the people in charge crooks, attempting crime, or are they fools, blundering into disaster? I call this the “crook-or-fool dilemma”.
My father liked to say, “If you have to choose between a crook and a fool, then hire the crook. You can police a crook but a fool is a force of nature.” But on the other hand, you just might be able to teach a fool, but you don’t want to tell a crook anything.
If you go by results, then crook-or-fool makes little difference to the victims of the crimes and the follies. What’s more, everyone lies to a crook, so they tend to become fools; and fools lie to themselves, so they tend to become crooks. So in the end the two are one.
You could flip that equation around, and say (with Plato) that the wise have no choice but to become virtuous. To this I add that the virtuous had better get wise.