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

“Dear incompetent ninny …” No. “Dear complete imbecile …” I suppose not. “Dear feeble-minded simpleton …” I’d better not. Well, fine, then. “Dear State Representative …”

- Here via here. (I must declare an interest however. Another of the quotes in that second “here” was from here.)

This is actually quite profound. We are often tempted to get angry with state functionaries. But since we are usually begging things from them, rather than demanding them in the manner of one who could take his business elsewhere – with the state there is no elsewhere, we usually choose to remain polite. And if we finally get what we are begging for, we tend to be effusive in our thanks, if only because so pleased that the ninny did something less than completely ninny-ish. The result is a world in which state functionaries genuinely imagine themselves to be loved by almost all of their victims and hated by hardly any of them.

2 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Steven

    The result is a world in which state functionaries genuinely imagine themselves to be loved by almost all of their victims and hated by hardly any of them.

    Nonsense. The politician class might be true believers in their cause and actually think we love them, but the rank and file paperpushers know they aren’t respected by anyone. They know they are punchlines and that some of them would starve in the streets if not for a government job. The difference is that they just don’t care. It’s nigh on impossible to fire them, their paychecks will never bounce, and have a guaranteed pension coming. They don’t need to be loved. Beyond that, each of those petty functionaries will have horror stories about the people that come to them and bitch them out about their taxes, why they are being cut off from this program, where their welfare money is, how come the government is doing X when they’ve only been getting notices for the last 6 months, so on and so forth.

    The reason we don’t open out letters with “Dear Useless Drain On Society,” is because it is far easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar. When I was a cog in the corporate machine, I went out of my way to not assist people who were nasty to me. Why would someone working for government be any different? Treat me like crap and see how far that gets you when I have power, however slight that power might be. Write me a letter that starts with “Dear Leech On The Taxpayer” or “Dear Government Sponsored Anal Fissure” if you want, but don’t be surprised if your form never quite reached the appropriate office in time or that the regulation can be read in such a way as to screw you or that you have randomly been selected to be audited every year.

    Besides, it costs nothing to be nice to someone. I might not like that the DMV exists, but that doesn’t mean I have to be a dick to the lady at the counter.

  • I wouldn’t dismiss Brian’s post as ‘nonsense’, but Steven does make a very good point. Especially the last sentence.