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A functionary, when he really is nothing more than a functionary, is really a very dangerous gentleman.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
Interview with Joachim Fest, Das Thema, SWR TV, Germany (9 Nov 1964)
Added on 1-Apr-21 | Last updated 1-Apr-21
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SIR HUMPHREY: Well, Minister, if you ask me for a straight answer, then I shall say that, as far as we can see, looking at it by and large, taking one thing with another in terms of the average of departments, then in the final analysis it is probably true to say, that at the end of the day, in general terms, you would probably find that, not to put too fine a point on it, there probably wasn’t very much in it one way or the other. As far as one can see, at this stage.

Jonathan Lynn (b. 1943) English actor, comedy writer, director
Yes Minister, S1E5 “The Writing on the Wall” (24 Mar 1980) [with Anthony Jay
Added on 3-Mar-20 | Last updated 3-Mar-20
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There is a role for bureaucracy; it’s very useful for certain tasks. In particular, it facilitates standardization and interchangeability. Bureaucracies excel at performing tasks that must be done consistently whether the people assigned to them are brilliant performers or bumbling fools. You can’t always count on having Albert Einstein in the patent office, so you design its procedures to work even if you hire Mr. Bean by mistake.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Apocalypse Codex (2012)
Added on 11-Apr-17 | Last updated 11-Apr-17
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Your public servants serve you right.

Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965) American diplomat, statesman
Speech, Los Angeles (11 Sep 1952)
Added on 18-Dec-15 | Last updated 18-Dec-15
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A bureaucrat is one who has the power to say “no” but none to say “yes”. Bureaucrats can find an infinite number of reasons for rejecting any proposed change, but can find none for accepting it.

Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
A Little Book of F-laws (2006)
Added on 1-Apr-15 | Last updated 1-Apr-15
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Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Look, “What They Are Saying” (1954-02-23)

This column was a regular feature quoting notable comments by notable people. The actual source of the quotation, presumably made around this time, is unknown.
Added on 22-Apr-08 | Last updated 14-Jun-23
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The great atrocities of our civilization have rarely been the acts of generals or presidents or kings. They have been the doings of petty bureaucrats acting within the strict confines of the law.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Alain Simon
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Nov-21
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