It\’s fairly standard practice that over time good little phrases, sayings, witticisms, get attributed to the wrong people. As who actually said what to whom disappears into the mists of history it\’s as if there\’s a form of gravitational force attracting the attribution of this or that to just one or two historical figures.
Which figures it is depends on the country: Twain* never said many of the things that Americans attribute to him and even if he did, some of those were repetitions of points made by others.For us in the UK it seems to be Churchill.
It could have been either of them who originated the \”two certain things in life, death and taxes\” and it could have been one of myriads of other people**. I really don\’t know: but I would bet that a likely attribution in the US would be Twain, in the UK, Churchill. Similarly, I\’ve seen Disraeli\’s*** \”lies, damned lies and statistics\” attributed to both.
Which brings us to this:
In the words of the famous political theorist, JCR Clarkson
\”Socialism is such a crap system, it took a nation populated by Germans… and made it poor\”
He may have said it but the original is actually PJ O\’Rourke. Who himself, I\’m told, is actually the most quoted person in the modern dictionary of quotations. It is always acceptable to quote the Peej, on the basis that if you\’re going to nick jokes make sure you nick good ones.
But one should actually quote him….
* Twain obviously did say some very good things original to him. But more gets attributed than he actually said.
** Oscar Wilde is a very different case as he made a point of repeating others\’ quips.
*** Was it Dizzy?