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Seriousness Has Its Limitations

You can hardly defeat an enemy that you can’t laugh at.

We often warn against the dangers of taking our enemies too lightly, but we all too infrequently warn against the perils of taking them too seriously.

When you refuse to laugh at something, you make it sacred and it becomes powerful like a god.

Tyrants do not become tyrants because too many people take them too lightly. They become tyrants precisely because too many people take everything they say and do as if it’s a matter of life and death.

A free society must allow its members to not only extol the virtue of its heroes, but to also mock the silliness of its villains.

And lest we fall prey to the illusion that our heroes are made of a different kind of substance than the rest of us, we should work very hard to retain our ability to laugh at them as well.

There is an unheralded power in silliness. And fewer things are more dangerous than an attitude that equates seriousness with significance.


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