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

And even if the Greek populace remained blissfully oblivious when all that debt was being piled up, they certainly are aware of it now. But judging from the riots in the streets their only thought still is that they want the party to continue, at someone else’s expense. They deserve what they get.

- Commenter ‘Laird’

19 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Siha Sapa

    Well said, except perhaps for the assumption that some faceless Eurocrat won’t keep the party going, deserve notwithstanding. As the mythical future Sen Blutarsky famously observed, ‘Don’t cost nothin.’

  • Dishman

    Bah.

    Let the rioters have their scorched earth.

  • RRS

    As an American, how would you apply that same judgement to the U S electorate, and what they are about to undergo?

  • Laird

    Sorry, I missed the “how” in that sentence, RRS. But my point was, yes, when all our chickens come home to roost we’ll deserve what we get, too.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Good quote. The “cradle” of European civilisation needs to do a bit of growing up.

    Welcome to reality, folks.

  • Yes, as Laird says. Still, I’d like to point out that at least according to the reports, the ones rioting are the unions – WI anyone?

    Which leads me to a question I’ve been struggling with for a while now: how much responsibility do individual subj…sorry, citizens, bear for their governments’ conduct (in any area, not just economy)?

  • In terms of responsibility, it is the blame of the Labour politicians for spending recklessly and the blame of Conservative politicians for not reining the spending back in.

    However, ultimately it is the fault of the voters for electing Labour in the first place back in 1997, knowing that their track record is to hose the entire economy, which they’ve done every single time they’ve been elected since 1945.

    If you want to see whose to blame then look in the mirror. Sure, we can make excuses, but since no British government since the war has operated a fiscally balanced economy, we’re run from boom to bust time and time again. Nothing was ever saved, nothing was every invested (that’s spending Gordon), every penny that was squeezed from the poor taxpayer went into some new largess.

    The problem is that the only thing that will actually force the government into ACTUALLY CUTTING SPENDING is when no-one will buy it’s bonds anymore. This is why the IMF exists, to try and keep the plates of continuous expansion turning, because when they stop everything is in danger.

    Too much cheap money looking for somewhere to hide from the next stage of the great financial collapse. I strongly suspect that the time for the next hyperinflation is due and it looks like we might have a fair dose of it across the West.

  • John B

    It is all too easy to set people up to entertain their more venal or “free lunch” instincts.
    Ask any competent con man.

  • mose jefferson

    Can anyone verify a rumor I’ve heard, that the “Hellenic rioters” are actually being bussed in, similar to Wisconsin, and that everything off camera is actually fairly hum-drum?

    I heard it from a caller on Michael Savage’s radio show, so it’s not the most trustworthy rumor I’ve ever spread.

  • Paul Marks

    Alsia.

    If someone does nothing – does not write, does not speak in the face of evil then they have some responsibilty for it.

    And the wild out-of-control government spending is an evil.

    And what if the people actively vote for it? Surely they have a greater responsiblity. They did not just stand silent in the face of evil – they actively helped evil.

    It would take a minute (at most) to have done enough background research on Barack Obama to know he was a wild spender.

    So no one who voted for him in 2008 can (truthfully) claim “this is not my fault”.

    The people who voted for George Bush in 2000 and 2004 might be able to claim that they voted for the “lesser evil” – but not the people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008. John McCain was (and is) a middle of the road person (not my cup of tea at all) so they do not even have the excuse to say they rejected an “extremist”.

    I repeat one did not have to much research – going into Obama’s life history was not needed (although that was not difficult either), just a few seconds looking at his voting record in the United States Senate.

    Someone who is not prepared to check someone’s voting record before voting for them as President of the United States can not (honestly) claim lack of responsbility.

    And what of the people in the recent Congressional election in a district of New York State.

    Again – a couple of minutes research would have shown them that Congreeman Ryan does not really push old ladies off cliffs.

    In reality he is a devout Catholic full of concern for the poor – whose plan was (and is) about trying to avoid the bankruptcy of Medicare.

    No change for those people over 55 and modest changes for those under 55.

    And the people turned out to vote – to vote AGAINST the Ryan plan (for that, de facto, was what the election was about) and FOR bankruptcy.

    “But we did not know”.

    Sorry – the information was easy to find, you deserve what you are going to get.

    The trouble is that the majority (the people who still nod at the evening news – even though they know it is biased, they ADMIT that they know that) drag down the minority.

    The people who can be bothered to do a couple of minutes research before they vote.

    That is why the Founders said two things (in relation to this).

    First that America was NOT a democracy it was a Republic – i.e. there would be formal limitations on what politicians elected by the people could do (limitations now mostly destroyed).

    And secondly (but not less importantly) that the Constitution would only stand if the most people were of “virtue” (which most of the Founders believed came from religion – but need not come from there).

    In short if the people were of virtue the Constitutional Repulic would stand – and if they were not, it would fall.

    “Virtue” did not mean “virginity” (people like Ben Franklin were hardly prudes – not with his “air baths” and bastard children) it made something a lot more “adult” – a rational, thinking, human being. Neither stupid, lazy or corrupt.

    It meant (for example) finding out stuff about people before voting for them, reading Bills before they were passed as Acts (and throwing out of office any politician who did not) and so on.

    In short being a grown up human being – not a silly child chanting “give me, give me, give me”.

    Brian (and others) argue that when a child stops being like that they deserve the freedom of an adult – regardless of their biological age.

    But this can also work in reverse.

    Just as child can be an adult (in mind and behaviour), so an adult (in years) can act like a child.

    And such “child people” lose their freedom, and drag everyone else down with them.

    There have always been wicked folk plotting to take freedom away and reduce people to slavery – but their plots are not difficult to see, only a corrupt (in the above sense) people will fall for them.

    They have already lost their “inner freedom” (their control over their passions – their full reason), so losing their outer freedom is just the next step.

  • “Which leads me to a question I’ve been struggling with for a while now: how much responsibility do individual subj…sorry, citizens, bear for their governments’ conduct (in any area, not just economy)?”

    Alisa, the problem you’ve got here is that by saying something like “We’ve had a whole load of bad governments and it’s only the electorate to blame” you are essentially treating the “electorate” as a collective.

    Which I think is something libertarians must at the least feel very uncomfortable with.

    I can honestly say I’ve never voted for anyone who got in so it ain’t my fault… My last ballot I spoiled.

  • Kim du Toit

    Maaybe this is a big deal Over There, but over on this side of the Pond, the Greece thing is a non-event (as long as US.gov doesn’t step in to the charity pool — oh wait, Obama’s President, of course he’ll add some dollars that we don’t have to bail out spendthrift Greece).

    So we’re all clear on the magnitude of the thing: Greece’s population is roughly equivalent to that of Ohio, while its GDP is a little less than Maryland’s. Hence the relative lack of excitement on the topic, Stateside.

    Wait till the same implosion happens to California

  • RRS

    Maybe this is not the place (time?) to be saying this again – still here goes:

    No “Budget Proposals,” not Ryan’s, nor any others so far mooted (or even dreamt of politically) will even begin to stop the U S decline now underway.

    The functions of governments (3 levels) must be reduced, drastically, and where necessary be replaced by civic organization divorced from governments.

    We can no longer have any of those social welfare functions masquerading as “insurance” which in fact are not transfers of risk, but do generate risks far beyond the benefits of purported “welfare.”

    If we don’t begin to transition out, out, out
    rather than make attempts to “save” social welfare through governments, the spine of such governments will break and begin the rupture of Western Civilization.

    Radical? You Betcha.

  • Laird

    Here is an interesting article on the history of the Greek debt problem, and a proposed solution. Looks pretty sensible to me.

  • John K

    Paul:

    An even greater problem than citizens not reading legislation is that legislators don’t either. Do any senators or congressmen ever read 1000 page bills? They seem more concerned about how much pork they can attach to them. However, the problem will soon be moot. The 120 year experiment of the modern welfare state is rapidly coming to an end. Reality shows that it eventually devours the wealth creating sector it relies on. The interesting question is what will replace it?

  • Tedd

    Alisa:

    Which leads me to a question I’ve been struggling with for a while now: how much responsibility do individual subj…sorry, citizens, bear for their governments’ conduct (in any area, not just economy)?

    I think there are two sides to the question.

    The first concerns who supported what, whether that support is in the form of votes, vocal support, complicity, or even inaction or apathy. As others have said, those who supported the conduct of their government (in whatever way) bear responsibility — if not them then who else, at least in theory, does?

    That’s all predicated on the assumption that democratic government responds to what the people, in general or on average, want. Which is the second aspect of the question of who’s responsible: If the game is rigged then the players (who don’t know it’s rigged) can hardly be held responsible for the outcome.

    My opinion is that, where I live, democratic government does more or less reflect what people want, so long as you allow apathy and ignorance to be considered a form of complicity. I know people who think the whole game is rigged, at least in my country. But I’m not one of them. Not that I don’t think lots of people are trying their damnedest to rig the game, just that I believe there are too many players with too many competing interests for it to be actually rigged, in any important sense.

    So, in my mind, each person in a country who is in some reasonable way eligible to participate in the political process is responsible for the policies of the government of that country to the extent that they supported (or did not oppose) them.

  • Paul Marks

    Good comments – by all.

    Yes – the Ryan plan was much too moderate.

    My point is that even this led to defeat – due, in part, to a tidal wave of lies (as Neil Cavuto pointed out – if you googled “Ryan” or “Ryan plan” or “Ryan medicare”, you would get lie, after lie after lie). But also due to most voters not bothering to go and look up the plan directly. They could.

    And Fox News (inspite of endless attacks – for example I switched on BBC radio today and there was an attack on Fox News) still exists – there was Congressman Ryan explaining his ideas (to anyone who would just switch on a listen). Of course the collectivists were there also – but he was given a fair chance.

    It is much the same in GREECE.

    The people wanted the out of control Welfare State – they voted for it (starting in 1981).

    Even now they will not face up to the consequences of their own folly.

    The blame “corruption” instead.

  • Paul Marks

    “I as an individual am not to blame for this stuff – because I did not vote for it”.

    In moral terms that is totally true Nick.

    However, as modern nations do not have the political system of the old Kingdom of Poland (where a “no” vote by a single noble could stop many things), the practical use……

    Nor would I even advise having the old Polish system – for it led to Poland being carved up by surrounding states (it did not have a government that could take strong action).

    A political system depends upon the virtue (not the virginity – that is not what political virtue means) of the majority.

    If they are corrupt, or lazy (or…..) then the nation falls.

    Of course it is not fair on the decent minority.

    But if only a minority are responsbile – then the nation falls, the system fails (however well designed the system).

    See John Adams on how the Constitution would stand only as long as most people understood their responsbilities in the defense of freedom (personal reponsibilty).

    Paradoxically that is why people like his kinsman Sam Adams favoured public education – to teach future generations the value of freedom (of personal responsibilty).

    The absurdity of entrusting the teaching of freedom to statism has been shown up in modern times (and not just now – after 1936 showed that most Americans did not really care about the Constitution, not enough to vote to defend its principles, they already looked to the government for X, Y, Z, they had been TAUGHT to do so).

    But it is easy to be clever after the event.