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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

“But the only job that someone like Antony Flew would get in a mainstream university today is cleaning the toilets”.

If that is true – then cleaning the toilets is the only job worth having.

– Paul Marks

15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Tad

    Where does this quote come from? It’s not true. There are maybe a few Philosophy departments that are so stuffed full of lefties that they wouldn’t hire him, but most would. *Especially* these days, because academic publications are so important, and trump everything else.

  • Tad

    Where is this quote from?

  • It comes from Paul Mark of-this-parish’s finger tips.

    *Especially* these days, because academic publications are so important, and trump everything else.

    Yeah that would explain the torrent of pro-liberty publications flowing out of mainstream academia ;)

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    I met Antony Flew many times; towards the end of his life, he appeared to have renounced his earlier atheism.

    He was a tremendous person: intelligent, charming, very wise and helpful towards young pups such as me when I first encountered the classical liberal point of view. He is much missed.

  • M. Thompson

    Cleaning toilets is worth while work. Nasty, but in many ways quite fulfilling; there is a knowledge you are getting something done.

  • Tad

    Sorry for the double post.

    >It comes from Paul Mark of-this-parish’s finger tips.

    Then it’s rather strange that he presented it as though it was a quote from someone else that he was commenting on.

    >Yeah that would explain the torrent of pro-liberty publications flowing out of mainstream academia

    I can’t speak for Politics departments, but I can for Philosophy departments, and I don’t think that being a libertarian would be much of a bar to employment if you were publishing lots. Obviously there are other ways that the ‘wrong’ politics can be discouraged, though, and things would be different with a more traditional conservative who didn’t toe the line on sexism and racism — in that case, in many departments, excuses not to hire them would be found, no matter how well they were doing with their publications. So Paul is right if we’re talking about someone like that.

  • Then it’s rather strange that he presented it as though it was a quote from someone else that he was commenting on.

    Samizdata is not looking for additional editors, thanks

  • Paul Marks

    I was in error – being ex army Antony Flew could also have got a job as a security guard at a university.

    Never a full libertarian (he was a Classical Liberal – or free market Conservative) – but a lot closer to it that some people who actually call themselves libertarians.

    J.P. mentions Antony Flew’s changing opinions on theology – that is a complex matter and I will not (can not) deal with it in a comment.

    I miss Antony Flew – I miss him a lot.

    I miss his honesty and I miss his courage.

  • veryretired

    Nothing wrong with cleaning toilets. One of my jobs during college was as the night janitor at an art museum. I could spend as much time as I wanted looking at the art as well as make some money.

  • Mr Ed

    Under Socialism in Czechoslovakia (post 1948, not 1938-45), a certain academic, purged I think after 1968 (the fraternal Soviet/East German etc. invasion) was working as a window cleaner. Interviewed by a true Samizdata-esque reporter, he said that he was happier doing that than spreading Com-boasts and Com-lies, as his job actually helped people to see more clearly, the reverse of what had been required of him.

  • Fred the Fourth

    Toilets do not get the respect they deserve.
    The other day I read an article that remarked how amazing it was, that there were more mobile phones than toilets in Africa (or some such useless generalization).
    My reaction was: That’s because toilet technology is MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than mobile phone tech. Especially if you don’t want your toilet tech implementation to kill every 5th person in your country.

  • Paul Marks

    Fred the Fourth – you are quite right.

  • Julie near Chicago

    “In May 1666, thirty Puritan families from New England landed on the south bank of the Passaic River and established New Ark, named for the English town of Newark-on-Trent.”

    Here’s a history of the sewer system in Newark, New Jersey. It mentions how sewage was handled before the “sewer system” (as opposed to any “system of sewage disposal”) was built.

    http://www.usgennet.org/usa/nj/state/EssexNewarkSewer.htm .

    For a history of sewage disposal systems, including timelines, articles, photos, bibliography, and more, see

    http://www.sewerhistory.org/sitenews.html .

  • Paul Marks

    Private sewer systems were often prevented by the lack of PRIVATE PROPERTY – the government would declare that the streets (including waste problems) were its property, thus undermining any development of nonstate solutions.

    As for utilities generally – people in Britain think of 19th century Birmingham (and the radical Liberal, later Imperial Unionist, who kept toying with the idea of creating a Fabian inspired “Socio-Imperial” party – Joeseph Chamberlain), but actually the city that led the way in “municipal socialism” (the local council providing X,Y,Z) was the city of Manchester (so much for “Manchester Laissez Faire”) the city most known for private utilities (although not, I think, privet sewer systems) was the city of Newcastle.

  • Paul Marks

    For an example of a privately owned town that has not treated its inheritance well since private ownership was replaced by local council ownership – see, in Britain, the town of Huddersfield and, in the United States, the city of Gary Indiana.