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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

An open letter to The Economist

Paul Marks, as regular readers know, regards the Economist as a sort of bellweather of conventional (ie, frequently wrong) wisdom. The magazine recently carried this editorial on the supposed inadequacies of the US political Right.

He sent this letter to the magazine. Somehow, I think they are unlikely to run it, but we can:

Dear Sir,

In your current edition you have as the main cover story an attack upon the “American right”. In reality, of course, it is not the fact that the people you attack are American that causes you to hate them – you hate them (and attack them in the most abusive terms you can) because they commit the dreadful crime of not agreeing with you.

You hate the British “right” just as much as you hate the American “right” – with “right” really being defined as people who do not support endless bailouts, corrupt “stimulus” government spending, and corporate welfare (such as the Central Bank producing more credit money and issuing it in various sweetheart loan forms to politically connected financial sector enterprises).

I am not really interested in the fact that you use abusive language (“mad” and so on) and cartoons against people whose only crime is to have different political opinions to yourselves, after all I have used abusive language (such as “corrupt”) to describe your editor, Mr John Micklethwait, and the only reason I have never drawn an abusive cartoon of him is that I can not draw.

No, what interests me is your claim that America needs a “better opposition” to President Barack Obama – and your implied claim that you should be the guide to such an opposition.
I could simply say that your American sales do not really compare very well to those of the people you attack (such as Sarah Palin or, of course, the evil common-as-muck Glenn Beck), but you would dismiss that as “vulgar commercialism” the sort of thing the “corporate leaders” you claim to speak for in your article, despise. And I have no doubt that you would be partly correct – for example I remember the head of General Electric’s European operations sneering that in the past companies had been obsessed with “customers” whereas “we are the partners of governments”. Sadly I suspect there are many high corporate managers who are like this – although, hopefully, not a majority even in these times. However, my objection is a more basic one. What standing do you have to claim to be a guide to an opposition to President Barack Obama?

To make such a claim a person or organization would have to have the following things to show:

Opposition to the wild spending measures of President George Walker Bush – such things as the No Child Left Behind Act (yet more unconstitutional Federal government intervention in the sphere of State and local governments) and, especially, “TARP”. This being the vast (some 700 BILLION Dollars) in bailouts that was passed by Congress on a fraudulent basis (in that the money was not spent in the way it was promised it would be spent). All this wild spending having undermined any moral case that the Republicans were the party of the free market (rather than corrupt corporate bailouts) and paved the way for the collapse in conservative morale that led to the victory of Barack Obama.

Opposition to Barack Obama himself – to claim to be a guide to his opponents one would have to show how one wanted him to lose in the election of 2008, how much one fought against him, and so on. Otherwise why should foes of Barack Obama trust a person or organization?

Opposition to the “Stimulus” spending measure of Barack Obama – i.e. the 700 to 800 BILLION Dollars of additional government spending (on top of the wild spending of George Bush) designed by the “Apollo Project” – an organization dominated by such people as the unrepentant Marxist terrorist Mr Jeff Jones (the cofounder of the “Weather Underground” along with Barack Obama’s other friends Mr and Mrs Bill Ayers, both of whom are also unrepentant “we should have planted more bombs”).

Opposition to the health care takeover. More than half of American health care spending is already from government (Federal, State and local) and the imposing of yet more regulations and subsidies will have the same effect that imposing all the other subsidies and regulations of the last several decades has done – make American health cover even more expensive (just as subsidies and regulations have made higher education so expensive in the United States) and drive more and more people into dependence on the government, as business enterprises and individuals simply can not afford the higher and higher costs – an increase in costs caused directly (and intentionally) by the “Obamacare” Bill.

This may be a noble intent (from the collectivist point of view), but it is hardly something that pro liberty foes of Obama would support.

And Opposition to the new financial bill, which will enable the arbitrary control by the government (with very little ability to appeal to the law courts) of every financial sector enterprise in the United States – on the whim of politicians and officials.

How does the Economist magazine measure up to these tests?

You supported the wild spending and regulating measures of George Walker Bush – including No-Child-Left-Behind, and even the TARP bailouts (which totally undermined the moral basis of the free market – and made the Marxist case against “capitalism”, that it was just the corrupt subsidy of “capitalists”, seem true).

You actually supported Barack Obama to be President of the United States – even against the ultra “moderate” John McCain, a man who had spent decades trying to be the friend of the “mainstream media” (such as yourselves). You pretended friendship for Senator McCain, you eagerly printed his attacks on more conservative Republicans and then (at the hour of his greatest need – other than the times of his years of being tortured in a cage in Vietnam, or his fight with skin cancer) you stabbed him in the back. And you even had the bare faced cheek to say that John McCain had “changed” and was not the “moderate” you had once known. A claim that conservatives and libertarians could only read in utter astonishment – as we watched John McCain vote (against the will of the vast majority of voters) for the TARP bailouts, thus destroying conservative morale.

You then supported the vast “Stimulus” Bill of Obama and Jeff Jones – and you still do.

You also supported what may well turn out to be the last stage in the bankrupting of American health care.

The vast majority of voters opposed such things as the disgusting “Stimulus” Bill and fully understand that the way to deal with the results of debt is not to build up yet more debt – but you (the “free market” Economist) supported it and continue to do so, the same is true of the Obamacare Bill.

Lastly the Financial Reform Bill – if you do oppose the destruction of what little is left of the rule of law in the American financial services industry (and its replacement with the arbitrary will of politicians and administrators) then you have not made your voice of opposition a very impressive one.

In short you have no standing what so ever to imply that you can be some guide to the opposition to Barack Obama.

Your only case is based upon SNOBBERY – i.e. the fact you are wealthy and Oxbridge educated, and your foes are from poor backgrounds and did not go to elite universities (where Keynesian drivel is taught as holy writ).

On all the great matters of the subject of the struggle against Barack Obama and what he represents you have, as the above shows, been on the other side. The side of Obama and his Comrades – not of the foes of this collectivist movement.

Paul Marks.

P.S. Some libertarians and conservatives may note that I do not mention the various wars of George Bush in the above. However, whatever the merits or otherwise of these wars (and I do not doubt that defences of them can be written) I do accept that they helped undermine support for the Republican party and for moderate Democrats and helped in the far left take over of first Congress and the Whitehouse. For the record – the Economist supported all these wars.

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13 comments to An open letter to The Economist

  • g1lgam3sh

    That pretty much gets it said.

  • llamas


    I subscribe to “The Economist”, here in the US. Its take on matters purely-economical and -trade related is actually often quite instructive.

    But the sneering, condescending, snide and continual belittling of any and all Americans at any point on the political spectrum to the right of Ted Kennedy has become very tiresome.

    The repeated appearance of articles which explore the most insignificant extremes of US culture and gleefully present them as being mainstream (often in the South, always on the Right) is becoming monotonously predictable.

    As I’ve observed here before – it’s the last acceptable racism in the UK. “The Economist” treats every shoeless jackanapes and third-world ragamuffin with exquistely-tuned cultural sensitivity, and none more so than the Islamists – but they have no qualms at all about looking down their noses at 99.987% of the 320 million citizens of the freest and most-liberal nation on earth.

    This racism (for that is what it is, nothing else) is so deep-seated and so long-standing in the British chattering classes that I can’t conceive of what it might be that would casue it to change. Even the election of an African-American hard-socialist Democrat to the Presidency – surely their ultimate wet dream – was only enough to muffle the voices of sneering soi-disant superiority for a few months.

    Watch President Obama speak – and then watch Sarah Palin, or Chris Christie, or Rand Paul, or even Glenn Beck – and then ask yourself – which of these people demonstrates a clearer and fuller grasp of the culture and economics of the real world? Which is closer to reality – “drill, baby, drill!” or “we are the hope we’ve been waiting for”?

    “The Economist” is rapidy rendering itself irrelevant on most cultural matters, and entirely so when it comes to the US. Like most Britons, they just don’t understand the place – but the difference is, they hold themselves out as experts, just the same. And of course, confirmation bias being what it is, their idiotic and uninformed pronouncements about what goes on in the US are unquestioningkly accepted by many of their readers, precisely because they bolster their own prejudices.



  • llamas

    So I picked up Bogart, the new Doberman puppy, and I put him up on my knee, and I showed him the Blue Smite Screen of Death, and I said “Look, Bogie – that’s the Samizdata Smite Screen! Bad, Bad Screen!”

    And then I pulled up the fluffy-kitten Smite Lolcat for him to look at, and he barked immediately. Good Boy!

    This is operant conditioning at work – a few more smites and he will bark at the blue screen reflexively. A few more after that, and he will seek out the secret bunker of Samizdata, worm his way inside by dint of excessive cuteness, and lick you all to death. You have been warned!



  • llamas

    So that’s how you get a smite lifted – by threatening them with a puppy! I will bear it in mind.



  • jdm

    Nicely put.

    The editorial displays an amazing ignorance about Americans (especially those who don’t do the Economist), but this sentence

    Just as the party found after it seized Congress in 1994, voters expect solutions, not just rage.

    marked the nadir.

    … or nearly so. The afterthought about Cameron and the Tories seemed to double down on the stupidity.

  • Note that after the GOP takeover in 94 the US got a few years of budget surpluses and 4 percent unemployment.

    Not all their fault but still…

    Bravo Zulu Paul

  • cjf

    Seems to be a concerted(?) effort to alienate allies and antagonize opponents among nations. That would leave global elites and international corporations as the only powers. Good letter, hindered by covering so much at one time.

    The connects between public officials and corporate executives has been seen for a long time. Their actions
    as well. Coordinated?

    The people on the right are now getting rid of leaders on the right. Those on the left oppose leftist leaders.

    The three branches of government: corporations, organized crime, and their ‘government’.

    “Whenever God erects a house of prayer, The Devil always builds a chapel there. And, ‘t’will be found upon examination, The latter has the larger congregation”

  • Laird

    The fact that the Economist holds up David Cameron, a man who managed to snatch defeat (less-than-majority government) from the jaws of seemingly inevitable victory, as an examplar for conservatives everywhere pretty tells you all you need to know about its editors’ political perspicacity, doesn’t it? They seem to be just about 180 degrees off on everything. That may be a useful model to follow: read the Economist and do exactly the opposite.

    Nice letter, Paul. Pity that it will never see print. Llama’s post (not the puppy one!) would make a fine Letter to the Editor, too. Good stuff.

  • Millie Woods

    Okay I’m a Canadian who lived in England the first years of her marriage to an Englishman of the public school and professional classy class persuasion. The reason we left is because we didn’t want our children brought up in the class ridden environment of the UK even though father belonged to the top dog contingent – he happened to be something of a renegade – marrying a colonial and all that!
    I remember being at a dinner party once where one of the guests was rabbiting on about having been to a party hosted by the Duke of Edinburgh. As he mentioned all the notable non-entities present I asked in demure colonial fashion whose names the royals dropped to establish their superiority.
    I had a good time doing that sort of thing in England ans still enjoy pomposity piercing on my occasional return visits.
    Note to llamas – stop your subscription to the Economist. I stopped mine more than a dozen years ago. It was once a good mag alas.

  • Some Posh Bloke

    he happened to be something of a renegade – marrying a colonial and all that!

    Are you for real? Not many people in the “the top dog contingent” would bat an eyelid at someone marrying a North American.

  • Llamas: next time try throwing the puppy at the simtebot.

  • JDinOslo

    BRAVO to Paul Marks, to JP and to Samizdata!

  • Paul Marks

    Now listen people.

    I do not want any of you throwing puppies at staff at the Economist magazine.

    If you feel the urge grow up in you – just say to yourself “throwing puppies is wrong” five times.

    Think about it from the point of view of the puppy.

    And now, I can put it off no longer, I am going to check what horrors the British budget contained.