In Reply to: If you can't beat them... posted by Sarah-Jane on June 17, 2010 at 20:01:
: Does anybody know the origin of "if you can't beat them, join them"? I'd really like to the to the bottom of it. Thank you!
If you can't beat (lick) 'em, join 'em. "There is an old political adage which says, If you can't lick 'em, jine (join) 'em," wrote Quentin Reynolds in 'The Wounded Don't Cry' ." "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Page 159. William Safire calls it a "frequent bit of advice, origin obscure, given in areas dominated by one party. The phrase, akin to the Scottish proverb 'Better bend than break,' carries no connotation of surrender; it is used to indicate that the way to take over the opposition's strength is to adopt their positions and platform." Page 352. "Safire's New Political Dictionary" Random House, New York, 1993).