In his May column, Samuel Francis describes a famous passage about “defunct economists” by John Maynard Keynes as “perhaps the only wise sentence that [he] ever wrote.” May I suggest that in addition to that wise passage, there are others, among them the following from a paper on the politics of Edmund Burke which he wrote in 1904 while a young Cambridge undergraduate: “Our power of prediction is slight, our command over remote results infinitesimal. It is therefore the happiness of our contemporaries that is our main concern; we should be very chary of sacrificing large numbers of people for the sake of a contingent end, however advantageous that end may appear. . . . We can never know enough to make the chance worth taking. . . . There is the further consideration that is often in need of emphasis; it is not sufficient that the state of affairs which we seek to promote should be better than the state of affairs which preceded it; it must be sufficiently better to make up for the evils of transition.”

        —Arnold Beichman
Naramata, British Columbia