A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“A man is washing the car with his son. The son asks, ‘Dad, can’t you just use a sponge?‘“ (6/23)
“Don’t waste a moment of your life trying to be normal” (6/23)
“Dance like no one is watching. Because they are not. They’re checking their phones” (6/23)
“Dance like no one is watching. Because they are not. They’re checking their phones” (6/23)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/23)
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Entry from May 14, 2010
“Socialism is workable only in heaven, where it isn’t needed, and in hell, where they’ve got it”

Canadian economist and humorist Stephen Leacock (1869-1944) wrote this in 1935: “But this socialism, this communism, would only work in Heaven where they don’t need it, or in Hell where they have it already.”

British author Cecil Palmer repeated the line frequently in 1949 (giving credit to Leacock): “Socialism is workable only in heaven, where it isn’t needed, and in hell, where they’ve got it.”

The line is used often in politics, sometimes incorrectly attributed to a conservative politician such as U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan (1911-2004).


Wikipedia: Stephen Leacock
Stephen Butler Leacock, FRSC (30 December 1869 – 28 March 1944) was a Canadian economist, writer and humorist.

Google Books
The Canadian journal of economics and political science: Revue
Volume 1
“What is left of Adam Smith?” by Stephen Leacock
1935
Pg. 51:
But this socialism, this communism, would only work in Heaven where they don’t need it, or in Hell where they have it already.

17 July 1949, New York (NY) Times, “Utilities Combat Public Ownership; London Publisher’s Criticism of Nationalization Is Cited by Power Companies” by John P Callahan, pg. F1:
Palmer expressed his conviction that “socialism will work I only in heaven, where they don’t want it, or in hell. where they have got it already.”

20 July 1949, Chester (PA) , pg. 6, col. 1:
Cecil Palmer, British author, told the Economic Club of Detroit the other day that he is a “100% Englishman” who hoped he was “talking to 100% Americans.”

Here’s his opinion of socialism:

“It is my conviction that socialism will work only in heaven, where they don’t want it, or in hell, where they have got it already.”

22 July 1949, Florence (SC) Morning News, pg. 4, col. 4:
As Cecil Palmer said at a conference in Atlantic City, “Socialism can work in only two place: in Heaven, where they don’t want it, and in Hell, where they already have it.”

27 December 1949, Council Bluffs (IA) Nonpareil, pg. 4, col. 1:
‘Perhaps, after all, the late Stephen Leacock was not so greatly wrong when he facetiously observed that socialism will work only in heaven, where they don’t want it, or in hell, where they have got it already!”
(Spoken by Cecil Palmer—ed.)

Google Books
Reader’s Digest Service
By De Witt Wallace
v. 55 - 1949
Pg. 52:
Cecil Palmer, London publisher: Socialism is workable only in heaven, where it isn’t needed, and in hell, where they’ve got it.

Google Books
The British socialist ill-fare state:
An examination of its political, social, moral, and economic consequences

By Cecil Palmer
Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers
1952
Pg. XXI:
... planning usually creates a state of affairs that forces the planned painfully to realise that the late Stephen Leacock was right when he suggested that “socialism will only work in heaven, where they don’t want it, or in hell, where they’ve got it already.”

Google Books
Stephen Leacock, humorist and humanist
By Ralph L. Curry
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1959
Pg. 8:
Leacock, the political scientist, explained, “Socialism won’t work except in Heaven where they don’t need it and in Hell where they already have it.”

Google Books
The American Mercury
v. 92 - 1961
Pg. 79:
Two Places
The conservative is a sworn enemy of Socialism for, as someone once put it: “Socilism will work only in two places—in Heaven, where they don’t need it, and in Hell, where they’ve already got it.”—SID FULLER.

Google Books
On the front line of life: Memories and reflections, 1935 - 1944
By Stephen Leacock
Edited by Alan Bowker
Toronto: Dundurn
2004
Pg. 142:
But this socialism, this communism, would only work in Heaven where they don’t need it, or in Hell where they have it already.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Friday, May 14, 2010 • Permalink