We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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

Samizdata quote of the day

“Oakeshott was an enchanting elfin figure, rather slight with a rather light but seductive voice. Men sometimes found him a little creepy, women never. He was married three times and was said to have various girlfriends scattered in boltholes in London and around the country. He was sceptical in his views, and not at all religious, thus conforming to my general theory that, as soon as British philosophers stopped believing in God, they started believing in sex. There is no more startling contrast between the celibacy, and indeed chastity, of Pascal and Locke and the insatiable appetites of Bertrand Russell and AJ Ayer and PH Nowell-Smith, the author of Ethics, who was said to have regarded it as a positive duty to sleep with other men’s wives.”

Ferdinand Mount, Cold Cream, page 273. Quirky, self-effacing and brilliant about its portrayal of Mount’s life as a journalist and Downing Street policy wonk and conservative intellectual, this is one of the finest autobiographies I have read in years. Among the details that startled me was Mount’s battle with a terrible asthma problem; I also loved his portrayal of his father and vignettes featuring the likes of Malcolm Muggeridge and Siegfried Sassoon.

I can also recommend Mount’s recent book about how we are becoming rather like the ancient Romans.

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3 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • chuck

    Ah, it wasn’t just the nookie socialists, then.

  • Paul Marks

    Oakeshott – well that is one way to describe M.J.O.


    In spite of all its brutality I must admit to having a love of the Roman Republic – even under the Empire the love carries on (now there is a confession that could be used against me), in spite of the end of all virtually all progress (even the setting in of cultural decline after the early Empire).

    It is only with Diocletian that I really start to fall out of love with Rome – he may have only carried the logic of tyranny to its natural conclusion, but it was a terrible conclusion.

    As for Constantine – he replaced Pagan tyranny with Christian tyranny.

    It was still tryanny -0and I despise Constantine at least as much as as I despise Diocletian.

    By the way in some ways we are more Punic (more Carthaginian) than Roman.

    A trivial example is that we (including me) prefer small private baths in own houses to communal bathing.

    Also we (at least some of us) do not look down on traders and manufacturers – as both the Greek and Roman leading people did.

    There is a nasty snobbishness in both the Greek and Roman world against manufacturing and trading.

    That was not the Punic attitude – and the leading Punic city was Carthage.

  • Guess that gives the lie to the old jape that an intellectual is a man who has discovered something more interesting than women.