Monahan's Law


Everyone knows Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will. Two quotations to set the stage:

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.” ~ Lord Acton

“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” ~ Samuel Adams, Father of the American Revolution, brewer of beer in Boston at the time, which is still sold with his name on it.

Robert LeFevre embellished the results of Paul Revere’s famous ride at one of his 1960s Freedom School seminars by claiming that after Revere had roused the Minutemen, they met at Buckman’s Tavern across from Lexington Green on the morning of April 19, 1775 (the Boston Marathon is run annually in remembrance of the event). Because it was a cold morning, they downed a series of rum flips. When the British Redcoats finally arrived, Captain John Parker announced, “If they mean to have war, let it begin here.” Problem was the Minutemen were weaving so much from imbibing rum that they couldn’t hit the Redcoats with their muskets, and the Redcoats couldn’t hit them! The Redcoats went on to Concord* looking unsuccessfully for the cache of arms and ammunition John Hancock had stashed and were chased all the way back to Boston with minimal bloodshed.

The consequence of LeFevre’s teachings led to Monahan’s Law: Productive Work Accomplished is inversely proportional to the Political Effort Expended or, expressed mathematically, PWA = 1/PEE, and the ultimate corollary is POLITICS = COGNITIVE DISSONANCE (defined as engaging repeatedly in the same activity and expecting different results each time), a sufficiently succinct phrase for a bumper sticker.

*Henry David Thoreau resided in Concord seventy years later, and in the Conclusion of his book Walden he wrote, “If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far way.”

December 26, 2008