Karl Kraus: Half Truths and One and a Half Truths: Selected Aphorisms on Progress

09 November 2019



  • The superman is a premature ideal, one that presupposes man.
  • When there were no human rights, the exceptional individual had them. That was inhuman. Then equality was created by taking the human rights away from the exceptional individual.
  • Democracy means the permission to be everyone’s slave.
  • Democracy divides people into workers and loafers. It makes no provision for those who have no time to work.
  • Parliamentarianism means putting political prostitution in barracks.
  • The secret of the demagogue is to appear as dumb as his audience so that these people can believe themselves as smart as he.
  • Social reform is the desperate decision to remove corns from a person suffering from cancer.
  • Anesthesia: wounds without pain. Neurasthenia: pain without wounds.
  • Since the day man first tried to conquer space, the earth has been mobilizing.
  • Technology is a servant who makes so much noise cleaning up in the next room that his master cannot make music.
  • The development of technology will leave only one problem: the infirmity of human nature.
  • He died, bitten by the Aesculapian serpent.
  • Progress celebrates Pyrrhic victories over nature.
  • Progress makes purses out of human skin.
  • The ugliness of our time has retroactive force.

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