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

To paraphrase Hayek, then, the curious task of the liberty movement is to persuade citizens that our opponents are the idealistic ones, because they believe in unicorns. They understand very little about the State that they imagine they can design.

– Michael Munger

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so.

    The collectivists want the state to do nice things – things it can not do (even if controlled by the nicest and best people in the world).

    They might as well put their faith in invisible fairy castles held up by Moonbeams.

  • Gary

    The State that is big enough to give you everything you need is powerful enough to take everything away from you.

  • A curious task indeed! Has any task proven more fruitless? A rather more productive task for the liberty movement is to understand why it is that democracy and liberty are inherently incompatible.

    By any objective measure the liberty movement has failed to permanently shrink the size of any major Western government for decades (if not longer!)

    In slightly slowing the relentless expansion of government, the liberty movement serves a valuable function by rendering the general expansion of government appear rather less consistent than it really is over the long-term (in any democratic society).

    As a former (and long-time!) libertarian, this conceited writer can assure the reader that arguing for liberty is to put the cart before the horse. The horse is a long story – but figuring out how it came to be that Justine Tunney and Peter Thiel have basically come to agree on politics is a solid place to start.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    But they don’t believe in unicorns, they believe in selling unicorns to the gullible and pocketing the cash.

  • I (a secular Jew, so be unafraid of the religious lingo below) am feeling rather generous, so with the indulgence of our beneficent and all-powerful host, I relay a central insight of Joseph de Maistre (and Reaction):

    God has warned us that he has reserved the formation of sovereignties to himself by never entrusting the choice of their masters to the masses. Never do they get what they want; they always accept, they never choose. If the phrase is excused, it could even be called an affectation of Providence that the very attempts of a nation to attain its objects are the Providential means of frustrating it. Thus the Roman people gave itself masters whilst thinking it was struggling against the aristocracy following Caesar. This is the epitome of all popular insurrections. In the French Revolution, the people have continually been enslaved, insulted, exploited, mutilated by every faction, and these factions in their turn, playthings all of them, have continually drifted with the stream, in spite of all their efforts, to break up finally against the reefs awaiting them.


    Everyone who has written on or thought about history has admired the secret force that makes game of human plans…. But it is especially in the establishment and the overthrow of sovereignties that the working of Providence shows itself in the most striking manner. Not only do peoples as a whole participate in historical movements only like wood and rope used by a workman, but even their leaders are leaders only to inexperienced eyes: in fact, they are ruled just as they rule the people. These men who, taken together, seem the tyrants of the multitudes are themselves tyrannized by two or three men, who are tyrannized by one. And if this single individual could and would tell his secret, it would be seen that he himself does not know how he has seized power, that his influence is a greater mystery to him than to others, and that circumstances he was unable either to foresee or bring about have done everything for him and without him….

    No nation can give itself a government; only, when such and such a right exists in its constitution and this right is unrecognized or suppressed, some men, aided by circumstances, can brush aside obstacles and get the rights of the people recognized. Human power extends no further….

  • Well speaking of nice things. I didn’t know where else to put this. Lots of links and quotes:


  • Runcie Balspune

    The fantasy is that working together we can achieve more, the reality is that large groups of people can f*ck things up spectacularly when an idiot gets in charge, which they inevitably will. History has shown this reality to be the case over and over again but still people insist on the same, once the page turns and the piles of corpses is out of view. Didn’t Einstein say “insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results”.

    What libertarianism has to argue with is the “what if” doubters, yet the alternative is not a “what if”, we know it will end in tears, so an unknown is actually a preferable option. The goal of the libertarian is to show that it can be done another way – don’t be insane.

  • Julie near Chicago

    M Simon, thanks for the link. I find that that piece raises some real red flags for me, and I’ve left a not-too-short comment at Classical Values, if anybody cares.