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

It’s not an energy crisis any more than our wrecked economies are the result of an actual economic crisis – these problems, and many more, are the intellectual and moral bankruptcies resulting from the fraudulent ponzi scheme the tranzi political class have been running for most of the last century. The progressive claim at end of the 19th century was that an expert ruling elite could manage the diverse elements of a modern society and construct a paradise of progress, equality, and freedom from want, both material and spiritual.

For the past century, we have endured one variation of “planned utopia” after another, and it has been a grotesque carnival of incompetence, corruption, repression, violence, and shattered dreams. We are now approaching the end game of this pathetic charade, and the desperation of the imploding elites is palpable, and ominous. They cannot admit, or accept any hint, that their ideas are irrational, their policies counter-productive, and that their promises are not only unfulfilled, but impossible to ever succeed.

Therefore, the venom and viciousness of their scapegoating and evasions of responsibility will only increase, and their urge to resort to extra-legal measures will become irresistible to them.

These are perilous times.

- Samizdata commenter ‘Very Retired’

17 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • lemonADE

    Well said, VR.

    I feel the future in the instant.

    ADE

  • CaptDMO

    “They cannot admit, or accept any hint, that their ideas are irrational, their policies counter-productive, and that their promises are not only unfulfilled, but impossible to ever succeed.”

    I know, let’s appoint a female Kensian for keeper of the monitary “policy”, because wise equality.
    Soooooo…..double or nothing?

  • Paul Marks

    Traditionally people had a realistic view of government in the English speaking world – i.e. that that the state was NATURALLY awful at doing stuff (that the state should be kept out of things – as it tended to make things worse).

    In the 19th century (especially the late 19th century) this view was increasingly challenged by “intellectuals” (of various sorts).

    Their counter example (people today would be surprised to learn) was PRUSSIA.

    If someone claimed that (for example) that the statist policies Philip II of Spain or Louis XIV of France were a success – they would attract laughter.

    But if someone claimed “Bismark is a success in the present – just as Frederick the Great was a success in the past” they were met with a respectful hearing, because there seemed to be a lot of evidence for the truth of their statement.

    The “success” of Frederick the Great in the late 1700s is the first “success” of statism widely cited in the English (English – not just German) speaking world.

    The word “state” starts being used as a POSITIVE term in English from the early 1800s – because of the “success” of Frederick the Great.

    “Freedom” come to mean “freedom for the Enlightened state”.

    Freedom from religion and old traditions.

    Freedom for the state to “do good”.

    In the political, EDUCATIONAL, cultural, and economic spheres.

    The older I get the more I wish that the Empress Elizabeth had lived just a few months longer – long enough for her semi sane Cossacks to burn Berlin to the ground.

  • Lee Moore

    I feel that Very Retired is over-gloomy. It’s true that the planned collectivist utopias have been charnel houses, but the muddle along democracies have been materially very pleasant places to live for most of the last 100 years. Yes, the democracies are now up to their eyeballs in ponzi debt, but even if there’s a full hyperinflationary wipeout, that doesn’t have to be the end of civilisation as we know it. Even if living standards are knocked back to 1970 – which is highly unlikely – things will still be a lot lot better for most people, materially, than they were a hundred years ago.

    I think the real economic lesson of the last 100 years is that capitalism and free markets are amazingly wonderful. Even when stomped on, and over taxed, and over regulated and politically buggered about with to the nth degree, as in the democracies in the last century, they’ve been able to produce HUGE gains in living standards.

    The peacock’s tail is for showing off to peahens. But for day to day survival purposes it’s shocking burden. It says to peahens – look if I can survive and strut my stuff carrying this enormous, expensive, ludicrous tail about, I must be a pretty amazing fellow, and well worth shagging. The panoply of political crap – heavy taxes, regulation, ponzi debt, and all that – is like the peacock’s tail. If free markets and capitalism can survive all that and still deliver massive gains in living standards, then free markets and capitalism must be pretty amazing things.

  • things will still be a lot lot better for most people, materially, than they were a hundred years ago.

    Problem is, none of us compares our personal conditions to that of a century ago, and rightly so, because we were not alive then. And it is our very personal conditions that are going to change dramatically in the very near future.

  • Lee Moore

    Alisa : Problem is, none of us compares our personal conditions to that of a century ago

    I was referencing VR’s remark :

    The progressive claim at end of the 19th century was that an expert ruling elite could manage the diverse elements of a modern society and construct a paradise of progress, equality, and freedom from want, both material and spiritual.

    And concluding that if you had asked pretty much anybody in a western democracy at the end of the 19th century, and described fairly and accurately the material conditions of the average person in a western democracy at the beginning of the 21st century, pretty much everyone would have said that modern society was a paradise of progress, equality and freedom from material want. (Spiritual perhaps not so much.)

    I would say that that is a construction of free markets and capitalism, despite the efforts of progressives, rather than because of them, but that’s a separate question from whether there is now freedom from material want. There is, pretty much, in the lands where the progressives have roamed.

  • Mr Ed

    A century ago life was tough, but people knew how to get by and in the main, they expected that they would have to do so themselves or through their support networks, in the UK anyway.

    One of the problems, if not the problem, that Western societies would now face in the event of an economic collapse that was simply barely present a century ago is that if (or when) there is a collapse of welfare, then there is now a vast segment of the population that has not had, for some time, to act economically and provide for itself in some economic way, which would be facing much reduced or minimal support, and there would be lots of hungry, angry people around with a sense of entitlement and that they had been wronged.

    Whether that scenario of a collapse in welfare would manifest itself in muttering, rioting, looting, voting for collectivisation on a bigger scale or cutting-out-the-middleman-cannibalism, or any combination thereof, is the great unanswerable for now. Reducing people to cannibalism is perhaps the vilest ‘achievement’ of socialism in the 20th Century.

    My hope is that I live too far from most of them for them to walk up to me to attack. They would eat each other before they got to me. I’m sounding a bit more optimistic that Paul Marks.

  • Rob

    “there would be lots of hungry, angry people around with a sense of entitlement and that they had been wronged.”

    Plus an opportunist section of the political class eager to fan this resentment and use it to obtain power.

  • Lee: sure. My only point was that individually, we compare our life today to that of yesterday or last year. From that POV (which is the only practical one, as far as I can see), a great number of individuals will see their lives worsened quite drastically, even without the extremes described by Mr. Ed.

  • Just to clarify, Lee: I was specifically referring to your describing VR as ‘over-gloomy’ – personally, I wish he was.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Even the tranzis aren’t wrong all the time. They believe in free trade.

    For all the rhetoric about evils of ‘globalization’ and all the rent-seeking interventions, international trade is just about totally untrammelled, and there is no serious move anywhere to adopt 19th-century style “protective” tariffs.

    Free trade was one of the foundational goals of the EU project, and by and large has been achieved. Over this side, we have NAFTA – passed on the initiative of President Clinton, a tranzi to the core, despite complaints from the Democrats’ supporters labor unions.

    The volume of international trade is staggering.

  • Tedd

    Paul:

    Your comment about Prussia puts me in mind of something P.J. O’Rourke wrote, about a conversation between the Governor of Minnesota and some minister in Sweden. The Swedish minister was lecturing the Governor about the relative merits of the Swedish social-democratic model, and how there were almost no poor people in Sweden, compared to the U.S. The Governor countered that there were almost no poor people of Swedish descent in the U.S., either. His point being that in any given example there is more at work than just the political-legal-economic system.

  • Jim

    Mr Ed has it spot on. There are now vast swathes of the population now who lack any concept of supporting themselves beyond the State providing everything for them, on a plate, and for free. If that provision fails they will be cold and starving inside weeks. This is the reason that those in charge are desperate to keep the plates spinning – they know if they don’t all hell will break loose. Think of Gordon Browns ‘army on the streets’ suggestion during the 2008 crisis – he knew what no money in the cash machines meant.

  • Veryretired

    I’m sitting in the apartment SWMBO and I have taken for the first part of our sojourn in Lalaland, watching the baseball playoffs on 2 computers while I type this on a third. I can’t imagine predicting this ten, or even five, years ago, not the multiple computers or the location.

    I mention this to point out the unpredictable nature of our lives, both individually and collectively, pace Senden, which turn on so many elements each day that our possibilities are nearly infinite.

    I agree that this little essay as quoted, (and thank you again for your many kindnesses, oh beneficent Illuminati), is fairly gloomy when taken in isolation. However, I have posted many times, and at much too great a length far too often, that I believe the future is available to be fashioned by the advocates of a free society, if we dedicate our energies to that task, and not allow the collective mentality to twist and turn every development to it’s purposes by controlling the public narrative to obscure the damage cause by their own ideology.

    The very best example of this was the establishment of the Federal Reserve banking system as an alleged remedy to the periodic “bank panics” that occur among private banks when they get stretched out too thinly by bad loans or other poor decisions. The panic of 1911 was the proximate cause for the drive to the federal system established a few years later, which was supposed to monitor the monetary system and prevent any such future problems.

    Within two decades, after a frantic decade of bubble speculation fueled by very low interest rates, set by the fed, the monetary system of the US collapsed into the Great Depression. The first moves by the fed and the congress were both not only wrong, but toxic, and higher interest rates strangled any recovery, while trade was disrupted by a punitive tariff bill.

    All of this utter mismanagement and political chicanery was covered up by scapegoating “unregulated and greedy bankers”, and the narrative that the economy needed the careful management and oversight of elite political technocrats was firmly cemented into place.

    Since that seminal event, or series of events, we have witnessed a continuous parade of statist actions, always intending the best for everyone, whose net effect is invariably both negative and entirely predictable.

    Have our lives improved? Yes, and greatly in many, many ways. But in every area, our activities have been warped and twisted into unintended directions by the demands and influences of collectivist ideologies, not only here in the US, but around the world.

    The two world wars, and the cold war, are obvious examples, and the current current struggle with a malicious form of theocratic fascism is another.

    We have allowed the pernicious tenets of collective ideology to become the default positions in our political and economic lives without ever holding these assumptions to any firm critical standard, or requiring any consistent rational examination of their onerous effects.

    My consistent position during this transitional period, which I believe will result in a fundamentally transformed society, has been that we must seize the opportunity the collapse of the “blue model” presents to us, and do the dirty, grinding, political, social, and educational work the will determine the direction our societies take in future generations.

    As a great man once said, a house divided against itself cannot stand, and our civilization once again faces an existential choice as to whether we will become a free society, or an enslaved one.

    We are in perilous times because we cannot go on as we have, and we will become one or the other.

    We will continue to advance in our well-being and technical progress as we become more free, or we will deteriorate into lesser living standards and a more dysfunctional society as we allow incompetent and corrupt political elites to direct our future.

    If I seem gloomy at times, it’s because the challenge is so very great, and the consequences of failure so dire, but if I may also be allowed some optimism, it is because of my unfailing belief that free men and women will not accept a return to the kind of serfdom from which so many have escaped, and toward which the policies of the collective mind are leading our society unless we stop them.

    Come Watson, the game is afoot!

  • Paul Marks

    Very Retired – as you know the real game starts when breakdown really gets under away.

    Tedd – there are plenty of poor people in Sweden now, and not just because of Third World immigration (plenty of blond haired, blue eyed people have fallen into dependency).

    Even in Minn (now collapsing before our eyes – I think the latest tax increase will make Minn the third highest taxed State in the United States) it was really the Third World immigrants that destroyed the State – back in 2010 the Republicans were cost the Governorship by a RINO standing as an “Independent” thus splitting the Republican vote. In 2012 the Obama victory gave the “Democratic Farm Labor” party the State Legislature also.

    Minn was always a bit like Sweden – and now it is Sweden. All anti big government people can now really do is go over the border to South Dakota.

    All that being said…….

    It is Third World immigrants (and their children) who make places like the Twin Cities (just like Malmo in Sweden) a dangerous place to be identified as a Jew (what about the supposedly powerful Jews of the media and Hollywood why are they not making television shows and films about this? the answer is that they are not really Jewish at all) and even to own a dog…..

    “No dogs in my taxi – dogs are unclean animals the Prophet said so” – before they send their children to be suicide bombers in Somalia.

    But it is not race – it is their IDEAS their BELIEFS.

    When Justice Pierce Butler (of Minnesota) ruled (writing for the majority of the Supreme Court) ruled that an immigrant could be kicked out of the United States in the 1920s it was not the man’s race that concerned him.

    It was that the man had sworn loyalty to the Constitution of the United States and had proved to be a leftist activist – i.e. to have SWORN FALSELY (not to that dim bulb Chief Justice Roberts – the Constitution of the United States of America is a POLITICAL document, if the Supreme Court is to “stay out of politics” and not be “ideological” it might as well NOT EXIST).

    If someone believes in liberty it does not matter if they are black, white, or green with purple spots.

    And if someone is a Red it does not matter if their forefathers came over with the Mayflower.

    Why did those crusty old German Lutherans come over to the savage plains of South Dakota in the 19th century?

    They came because they sensed something was going rotten in Germany – including in their own Church, that philosophically the basic ideas of the nation were being corrupted.

    God reduced to a philosophical manifestation of “the people”, and “freedom” becoming the “freedom of the State to do good” (very Frederick the Great).

    That is happening again – and it is happening in the United States.

  • SC

    >Even the tranzis aren’t wrong all the time. They believe in free trade.

    Well, they believe in free trade as managed by them, and preferably undertaken by EU companies that have been semi-socialized by endless regulations.

    But yes, the value of free trade is something they have had to accept, thank goodness.

  • Paul Marks

    A correction Rich (and no disrespect meant) – the E.E.C (now the E.U.) was not really about “free trade” – that was the European Free Trade Area (EFTA – a totally different organisation).

    The EEC was not a free trade area (like EFTA or NAFTA – tried to be) it was a “Customs Union” a very different sort of animal.

    More than 50 years of propaganda have tried to obscure this point – so I am a bit sensitive about it.