This Joke Is Older Than You Think

Jon Schwartz writes, Russian Oligarch Boris Berezovsky Wanted to Turn My Joke Into Reality. The joke is

One of my core political beliefs is that there would still be a Soviet Union if they’d been smart enough to have two communist parties that agreed on everything except abortion.

Obviously that’s a joke about the U.S., where we have two capitalist parties that largely agree on everything. The exceptions are issues that matter a lot to the regular people who make up the two parties’ bases, but are largely irrelevant to party elites who fund and run both of them.

I first heard a version of this in the early seventies, when someone told me what was already an old saw about Kwame Nkrumah being interviewed by an American reporter for the AP shortly after taking Ghana to a one-part state in 1964.

“Don’t you believe in democracy, sir?” the reporter asked.

“Oh you Americans,” Nkrumah supposedly replied, “You already have a one-party state, but with typical American excess you have two of them.”

Update: It seems I’ve blogged this joke before. More American excess?

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