Herr K's Thought for the Day
Mr Keuner ran into Mr Muddle, a great fighter against newspapers. ‘I am a great opponent of newspapers. I don’t want any newspapers’, said Mr Muddle. Mr Keuner said ‘I am a greater opponent of newspapers. I want better newspapers.’
‘Write down for me on a piece of paper’, Mr Keuner said to Mr Muddle, ‘what you demand so that newspapers can appear. Because newspapers will appear. But demand the minimum. Because I would prefer, for instance, if you permitted corruptible men to produce them, rather than incorruptible men, because then I would simply bribe them to improve the newspapers. But even if you demanded incorruptible men, then we should start looking for them, and then if we didn’t find them, we should start making some. Write down on a piece of paper what newspapers should be like, and if we find an ant that approves of what is on that piece of paper, then we should start right away. The ant will be of greater help to us in improving newspapers than a general clamour that newspapers cannot be made better. Because a mountain is more likely to be moved by a single ant than by the rumour that it is impossible to move.
If newspapers are a means to disorder, then they are also a means to achieving order. It is precisely people like Mr Muddle who through their dissatisfaction demonstrate the value of newspapers. Mr Muddle thinks he is concerned with the worthlessness of today’s newspapers. In fact he is concerned with their worth tomorrow.
Mr Muddle thought highly of man and did not believe that newspapers could be made better, whereas Mr Keuner did not think very highly of man but did think that newspapers could be made better. ‘Everything can be made better’, said Mr Keuner, ‘except man.’
Brecht, 'Stories of Herr Keuner'