Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.Otto von Bismark (1815-1898) Prussian statesman
This and variants are attributed to Bismark, but this is the earliest known use of the phrase, attributed to John Godfrey, Saxe University Chronicle, University of Michigan (27 Mar 1869). According to Fred R. Shapiro, "Quote... Misquote", New York Times (21 Jul 2008), the remark was first attributed to Bismark in the 1930s.
Variants (usually attrib. to Bismark):
- "If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made."
- "Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made."
- "Laws are like sausages. It is better not to see them being made."
- "Laws are like sausages. You should never see them made."
- "Laws are like sausages. You should never watch them being made."
- "Law and sausage are two things you do not want to see being made."
- "No one should see how laws or sausages are made."
- "To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making."
- "The making of laws like the making of sausages, is not a pretty sight."
- "Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie nachts." [The less the people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep in the night.]