Schuschnigg’s Constant

“The answer to difficulty never lies in theatricalism. The dilemma cannot be solved by anything but intelligent action, which means not intelligence or action by itself, but both working together at the multitude of particular problems that constitute the total difficulty. In a democracy, of all places, we must not pretend that “intelligent” is a term of praise and despise it in our hearts. If the economic realities I spoke of before are increasingly hard to get at, the political problems with which they are entangled are even more complex, and no machinery other than the human brain can cope with them. It matters little whose brains it is, provided we do not all abdicate responsibility in our neighbor’s favor. Shortly before Austria went fascist, in 1938, Schuschnigg is reported to have said that 25 per cent of the population were for him, 25 per cent for Hitler, and that the rest would go the way the cat jumped. This principle deserves the name of Schuschnigg’s Constant. The only doubt is whether he did not grossly exaggerate the number of those having opinions.” (Jacques Barzun, Of Human Freedom)