If, though unjust, I acquire the reputation of justice, a heavenly life is promised to me. Since then, as philosophers prove, appearance tyrannizes over truth and is lord of happiness, to appearance I must devote myself. I will describe around me a picture and shadow of virtue to be the vestibule and exterior of my house; behind I will trail the subtle and crafty fox...-Plato, Republic, as excerpted in Interface by Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George.
But I hear someone exclaiming that the concealment of wickedness is often difficult; to which I answer, nothing great is easy....With a view to concealment we will establish secret brotherhoods and political clubs.And there are professors of rhetoric who teach the art of persuading courts and assemblies; and so, partly by persuasion and partly by force, I shall make unlawful gains and not be punished.
Speaking of, Interface is a must read to get a handle on modern politics. You'll find it in the Sci-Fi section at your local bookstore, and the back cover makes it sound Sci-Fi, but that seems to be a lie- but I'm no worse for being mislead. Like Quicksilver, it is shelved in Sci-Fi because it is written by a Sci-Fi author, but there is very little Sci-Fi to it. Oh, there's a minor plot about putting chips in people's brains, but it's not nearly as pivotal as the back cover makes it sounds. What Interface is about is the modern political arena, and what makes people electable and unelectable, and how having the proper sense of drama and the understanding of looking good on TV can destroy your enemies more than anything you ever could do through direct action.
Viva la Bush, may his ass leave the Presidential seat as soon as possible.