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Samizdata quote of the day

“In terms of technology I hate to sound ridiculously optimistic, but I am ridiculously optimistic”.

– Terence Kealey

Speaking today at the Liberty League Freedom Forum.

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • I was personally quite surprised at the level of optimism from all 3 panel speakers. I could understand it from Doug Carswell a little, as he needs to show he can “make a difference” as an MP. I see the trends as very negative from a liberty point-of-view, and can’t quite see technology overcoming this. Long term I think we’ll be ok, but I think the financial mess we are getting into will create opportunties for state repression for many years yet.

  • veryretired

    While I agree that there are plenty of black clouds cluttering up the horizon, this has always been the case, and numerous times in the past the storm was ferocious indeed.

    I’m sitting in a nice, middle class condo surrounded by technology so pervasive and efficient that my quite ordinary life would be a fanciful dream of a magical paradise to any of my thousands of ancestors down through the millenia.

    My major concern is our utter failure in transmitting the fundamentals of western civic culture to our youth, thereby throwing them into a turbulent world unmoored to any solid base of principled belief.

    The book asks us, “Who among you, if your child asked for bread, would hand him a stone?”

    I’m very afraid we have fed our children a poisonous brew instead of the truths of our culture that we should have passed on.

  • Paul Marks

    It was indeed a good talk.

    By the way the Professor did not deny that de facto bankruptcy (covered by the printing press) is going to happen – his position was that scientific development would continue (indeed might actually speed up) even with all the horror.

    For example, 1930s in the United States (when academics went unpaid at some Southern universities and were reduced to teaching Greek to farmers in exchange for food) was also a time of great technological development.

    As for veryretired question.

    I would suggest we do not bother Sir.

    People will come to understand for themselves – or they will not (there is nothing we can do about it).

    Get “hyped up” and full of hope (a very rare emotion for me) as I was at the start of the conferene just sets one up for a fall into depression.

    Leave the young to their own doings.

    Even when they say they want to use a gun on you (and ……) they do not really mean it.

    The threats are not real (that is just a game) the TECHNOLOGY is real.

    I wish I was not so utterly ignorant about it.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    I saw something that gave me a smile. A British company has invented a glass that lets ordinary light through, but turns infra-red rays into electricity! That’s useful, surely?
    And didn’t a British company invent a new type of jet- one that supercools air even as it travels through it?
    What are you worried about?
    These make my own invention (a new type of button) seem lightweight, but it all helps make the future seem brighter.

  • bloke in spain

    “As for veryretired question.

    I would suggest we do not bother Sir.

    People will come to understand for themselves – or they will not (there is nothing we can do about it).”

    And thus we deny them the accumulated wisdom of millennia. Leave people to understand for themselves & they are destined to repeat the same errors for eternity. Teach them where their predecessors succeeded & most important, where they failed & let them contribute their acquired wisdom for their successors’ benefit.

  • Paul Marks

    bloke in Spain – you are right, and I was wrong.

    But one can one do about it?

    Sit for an hour being tortured by some person who should not be in the position he is in?

    For the wonderful chance to “ask him a question” (so he can repeat what the collectivist academics have taught him – evil nonsense that I heard before he was born).

    Even leaving aside the supporters in the crowd (who, shamelessly, turn informer when they come off worse), I am not going to put myself into that sort of situation again.

    Give me a chance to “teach” and I will – to the best of my ability.

    But no such opportunties are open to me.

    I am not going to walk into a trap again.

    I will leave them to their own doings.

    Unless I can actually do something WORTH DOING.

    And it is no different in Spain.

    Your vision of higher education has (as I think you know) not been true since the time that people such as James McCosh (President of what is now Princeton) were in charge.

    That is long ago.

    They do not get taught “the accumulated wisdom of millennia” and they are not going to be – not till the present system goes bust.

    Then they will find out how far their “Social Justice” and “Positive Freedom” takes them – and the smug little smiles will get wiped off their self satisfied faces.

    Of course I will be rather dead at the time – but there we go.

    Bloke in Spain – I repeat I am prepared to help (to my limited ability) anyone who sincerely wants to be helped.

    But I am NOT going to flog myself over people I CAN NOT help.

    Leave them to their own doings.

  • bloke in spain

    There’s an old saying. The devil has all the best tunes.
    The collectivists have sung a siren song. The lyrics have never been good but it’s the melody that people hum along to. There’s few opposing them can carry a tune let alone play an instrument.

    And the times, they ain’t-a changin’

  • Paul Marks

    bloke in spain.

    You have a point.

    Even people who do manage to roll back some statism (I could mention some American State Governors) tend to be very “square” types (not song and dance men).

    Of course I am a square myself.

    And it is the song and dance men who are popular – and that has always been so. Not the kid that got a slide rule for Christmas (and was pleased).

    Pericles was crap – his policies messed up Athens (turning allies into enemies).

    But he has been admired for two and half thousand years.

    Because he was good a making speeches.