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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

You know what, I’ve finally understood what this whole “live 8” nonsense is about. I twigged when I heard a quote on the news, something like “this is all about you, the leaders of the G8, because you make the decisions”. Recognise the instinctual pattern: singing and dancing, mass ecstatic rallies, high moral cause, loud appeals for attention and for aid from on high – they’re praying, to the only gods they know.
– Julian Morrison

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19 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • You might be interested in my analysis of statism as black magic. Praying is exactly what the statist mindset is about.

  • Well certainly statists seek to replace the state for God.

  • John

    The Japanese(Link) have spoken about Live8:

    Added to the Live 8 list at the last minute, the concert in Japan drew only about 10,000 people, all of whom were selected in a lottery. The venue in this Tokyo suburb normally holds about 20,000.

  • James

    “loud appeals for attention and for aid from on high – they’re praying, to the only gods they know.”

    And like any attempt to cure a problem by using prayer….

  • veryretired

    Collectivism has always been a religious movement. Once you see it that way, the fanaticism, the unrelenting belief in ideas that have never worked, the demand for doctinal purity, the demand for sacrifices now in hopes of achieving the “other world” to come, and much, much more, become comprehensible.

    It is attempting to apprehend collectivism as the rational, scientific theory it pretends to be that causes so much confusion and moral distress among both adherents and opponents.

  • guy herbert

    Yes it is a ritual of sharing, akin to religion; Harold Bloom in The Closing of The American Mind noted the extraordinary attachment of US youth to music (though he, typically, went nowhere interesting with the observation). The same is painfully obvious to the unmusical among us–it is a mystery to me why anyone should want an i-pod–in every shared building, street and tube-train.

    For myself, some bastards keeping me awake by playing loud music in the park outside is liable to make me cranky and less sympathetic to the world’s poor. But they (the bastards, not the probably oblivious poor) probably think they are doing me a favour.

  • It’s more reasonable to pray to the G8 than to any God; after all, the G8 world leaders exist, and there is no evidence God does.

  • Verity

    Makes a good post, but false premise. Yes, the left is as fanatical as a religion, but it’s not a religion except in that it glorifies the self to be the judge of the universe and make the rules.

    Look at these ridiculous self-reverential (sic) people clasping hands tightly with strangers as though this MEANT SOMETHING. Look at their tortured faces, their Soviet-esque heroic determination to strive forward and create a new consciousness that no one in human history has thought of before.

    But they worship nothing but their own exquisite sensibility and “feelings”. I can’t buy the premise of this post.

  • mike

    If they really loved themselves, they’d forget about pissing their money away, get rich and think about investing in some of the poor countries they want to save.

  • B's Freak

    No, James, it’s not ” like any attempt to cure a problem by using prayer”, a lot of praying ends up turning one inwards where the real solutions lie. These prayers by their very nature are incapable of that.

  • wf

    “But will their voices be heard / or will they break like the wind”

  • It’s more reasonable to pray to the G8 than to any God; after all, the G8 world leaders exist, and there is no evidence God does.

    Jenna Jameson also exists. Is praying to her a more reasonable proposition for curing the world’s woes? The point is that when it comes to un-reason, it hardly matters what you are praying to.

    And speaking as an agnostic, actually there is lots of evidence God exists, I just do not find it all that convincing and so my theory at the moment is “probably not”.

  • Verity

    There’s a very well thought-out, well written piece by Simon Jenkins today. Several good quotes, but this one gives a flavour: “Make poverty history is a cliché. It’s not a programme.” (Link) He makes some well-observed comments about Geldof.

  • Pedantry: Literature critic Harold Bloom is not the same person as The Closing of the American Mind author Allan Bloom.

    This post is unfair in one respect, because Bono is indeed a sincere Christian, animated with that religion’s charitable impulse. This should be acknowledged before any criticism of his actual activities.

    I don’t expect any good from this concert. A steady rain is better than a cloudburst, and this big lump sum of money is liable to just run down the drain. What the Presidents-For-Life don’t waste, the big NGOs will. Live Aid didn’t do any good. Hell, I didn’t even get my T-shirt for my donation. >:^

  • guy herbert

    Sorry, wrong Bloom. I think Allan is a bit more interesting if only because you can see he’s on to something, but it is hellish difficult to see quite what.

    (Note to self: never, ever quote from memory in writing.)

    But isn’t Bono idol and not worshipper in this context?

  • James

    No, James, it’s not ” like any attempt to cure a problem by using prayer”, a lot of praying ends up turning one inwards where the real solutions lie.
    The post referred to outward prayer, as did I. Inward prayer is perhaps more analogous to meditation than religious prayer for godly favours.
    These prayers by their very nature are incapable of that.
    Agreed.

  • James

    This post is unfair in one respect, because Bono is indeed a sincere Christian, animated with that religion’s charitable impulse. This should be acknowledged before any criticism of his actual activities.

    What is this “get out of jail” card of “sincere faith” that Christians seem to think gets them off the hook for crappy thinking? Why is it ok for the god-botherers to get away with statist bunk while the lefties dont, for example? So the “sincere Christian” gets an “acknowledgement” (whatever that is), while the (literally) filthy atheist can be hammered at will, his sincerity be damned?

    Have we forgotten what the road to (Christian) hell is paved with?

    Let me remind you; good (Christian) intentions.

    Bono’s faith is no excuse. More PC* bullshit.

    *PC – Properly Christian

  • Chris

    I was in Edinburgh on Saturday and I, and the other 200 plus thousand there, know exactly what the problem is. Part of the problem is those who pray to the great god of the market, that will solve all problems as long as we let the market decide everything. Wasn’t that tried in the 20’s didn’t it go tits up. Wasn’t that tried in the 80’s didn’t it go tits up. What developing nations need is the ability to compete on a level playing field with the ability to protect their fledgling industries in the short term – US cotton farmers get more subsidies than the GDP of Burkina Faso. Aid should be without strings attached – 70% of US aid must be spent on US goods. Who exactly is getting aid there? The Live 8 concerts are a means of raising awareness and if you take a look at the UK press…. On the whole concert as religion thing. How many stadium gigs have you been too? I’ve lost count of how many I’ve been too and they are all like that.

  • Part of the problem is those who pray to the great god of the market, that will solve all problems as long as we let the market decide everything. Wasn’t that tried in the 20’s didn’t it go tits up. Wasn’t that tried in the 80’s didn’t it go tits up.

    See: Markets, cyclical nature of.