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

“When government does, occasionally, work, it it works in an elitist fashion. That is, government is most easily manipulated by people who have money and power already. This is why government benefits usually go to people who don’t need benefits from government. Government may make some environmental improvements, but these will be improvements for rich bird-watchers. And no one in government will remember that when poor people go bird-watching they do it at Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

P.J. O’Rourke, All the Trouble in the World (page 199).

I love the punchline.

16 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • veryretired

    I remember reading an article years ago that argued that the actual point of the welfare system was to create an enormous jobs system for left thinking social workers and other middle class professionals.

    If you analyze the budgets of major welfare programs, it quickly becomes obvious that staff salaries and benefits are easily as important, if not more so, than any assistance provided to the welfare slaves who are purported to be the object of the program.

    It is long past time that analyses of government programs for any purpose be geared toward actual outcomes, not rhetorical flourishes and good intentions.

  • Wild Pegasus

    It’s Kentucky Fried Chicken!

    – Josh

  • Verity

    I thought at first that Kentucky Fried Kitchen must be an O’Rourkian pun, funny in the context, but I looked it up in my own copy of All The Trouble in The World, p 199, and it’s a Pearcian typo.

  • Starting a job as a welfare “financial assistance social worker” decades ago in Massachusetts, I was challenged to consider “who was really on welfare?” the recipients or the workers? Certainly the workers got more benefits from the system. And the workers were overwhelmingly liberal college graduates. They did, of course, have to show up every day and at least pretend to work. All the recipients had to do was whine convincingly. No, wait a minute, that’s right. The workers whined, too. And certainly the money spent on the system went mostly to administration, not to paying benefits. Years later, a program was started to give recipients jobs handing out benefits. It was universally noted that the ex-recipients were much harder on new recipients than the college kids ever had been.

  • Be sure to check out P. J. O’Rourke’s Eat the Rich sometime. It’s probably the best book ever written about economics.

  • TJ Jckson

    What government anti poverty plan ever worked? Why are the poor still here? Why do such program,s only increase in size and scope?

  • Verity

    Stormy Dragon – It’s probably the best book ever written about economics. And the funniest.

    “In Hong Kong, even the babies are too busy to cry.”

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Oh bugger, I got the link messed up. Will fix later.

  • Simon

    I thought that this might make a new quote of the day:
    We do think there’s such a thing as society, we just don’t think it’s the same thing as the state.” David Cameron


  • Midwesterner

    This link(Link), I think?

    Hope it works.

  • Midwesterner, it,s work! Great link – thanks!

  • Verity

    Scipio – Me too. I didn’t like the “CEO of The Sofa” as much, though. Not that it was bad, or anything … He had a new wife and a baby when he wrote it, though, and I think he was too contented. I realise that is a terrible thing to say.

  • Jake

    I went to listen to PJ talk two weeks ago. I even had my picture taken with him. His best line of the evening was this:

    When asked if the left’s domination of academia concerns him he replied, “I am too old to give a damn what they teach in college. They give you bad ideas for fours years. And you come away with the skill of being able to recognize bad ideas the rest of your life.”

  • I think my favorite line by the Peej is from Eat the Rich (best $4.00 I ever spent!), in the Albania section:

    “There is not, so far as I was able to discover, an Albanian Child Abuse Hot Line. `That’s because it would be jammed with how-to calls,’ said the wire-service reporter.”

  • Verity

    Scipio – I’d forgotten the Albanian section in that book! Isn’t that where he sees a father light a cigarette for his infant daughter?