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

The argument for collectivism is simple if false; it is an immediate emotional argument. The argument for individualism is subtle and sophisticated; it is an indirect rational argument.

– Milton Friedman (via Ilana Mercer)

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Nick M

    I’m just listening to Radio 2. There is a discussion on banning smoking at bus stops and office doorways.

    A geezer from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation was put on the ropes by a rather feisty Geordie lass (Sue Carole) and he resorted to the old saw about a “majority” supporting the ban and that in a democracy the will of the “majority” is sacrosanct…

    His idea of democracy isn’t mine. It isn’t Tom Paine, John Locke or John Stuart Mill’s…

    I’m a smoker but that isn’t the point. The real point is the collectivisarion of not just public but private space. This is wrong.

    Passive smoking is not good but it isn’t proven that it’s bad, certainly not that bad… but to raise Cain over someone having a crafty fag at the bus stop but to ignore the Hiroshima of fumes that comes out of the 30 year old 192 that you eventually get on is hypocisy of the highest order.

    And buses are so good for the environment…

  • JT

    That is quite a patronising assertion from Friedman.

    It is probably fair to say that some (perhaps many) socialists are attracted initially to socialist ideas as an emotional response to appeals for ‘equality’, ‘fairness’, ‘economic justice’, etc.

    But no human can realisitically live their entire life on an emotion alone; people like Tony Benn have clearly employed reason to advance their beliefs as much as emotion to appeal to people’s hearts.

    Socialism may be incredibly flawed and its adherents may be mistaken but Socialism has just enough rationality in it to fool a good many people who consider themselves to be thinkers or intellectuals.

  • I’ve always seen Benn as being very emotional and angry. He used to wave his hands about to make a point but because they shook so much in recent years he has taken to keeping them hidden under the table when interviewed.

    Socialism starts off as an unfocused emotion and is then rationalised afterwards intellectually. Besides, looking at the results and ravages of socialism any rational person would accept that it is a disaster.The fact that so many do not acknowledge the failure of socialism would suggest it has a quasi religious element to it as well.

    ( File under the bleedin’ obvious)

  • hardatwork

    Socialist junk reasoning continues to fool generation after generation. Its perplexing why some otherwise intelligent beings can believe in something so ridiculous.

  • veryretired

    It is no accident that the progressive, social justice movement inspires such a strong semi-religious fervor in its followers—it IS a religious movement and always has been.

    Socialism is a faith-based belief. It replaces god and heaven with a future utopia in which everyone is happily equal in all respects, everyone is cared for and taken care of, no one fails, no one is forgotten or left behind, and, most importantly, it is based on the belief that this paradise will be brought about when those who have the secret knowledge of how the world really works overthrow the devils of evil capitalism and individualism and usher in a heaven on earth of collective joy.

    Until one realizes the underlying power of all these utopian fantasies is faith, not rationality or emotion or science or some other, weaker bonding power, but the very essence of that which has motivated millions down through the ages to resist every form of persuasion, proof, torture, coercion, rational argument, and failed dreams anyone has ever devised, the devotion of the collectivist to these beliefs is a mystery.

    Once the motive force is understood, then the ability to blank out any failures, mistakes, atrocities, broken promises, unfulfilled dreams, and the oceans of blood that have been spilled becomes comprehensible.

    Individualism isn’t subtle. It says, “You’re on your own. Whatever happens to you is most likely your own fault, for good or ill. Figure out how to live, what work to do that will support you and any family you might have, and be prepared to live with a constant uncertainty that, even with your best efforts, you might fail and have to start all over again.”

    Compare the attraction of that to the cooing of collectivism’s lullaby—“There, there, it’s not your fault. We’ll take care of you. Just leave everything to us. It’s ok of you didn’t quite make it this time. We’ll cover for you until you’re able to try again. It’s not your fault, it’s those mean, greedy capitalists. They don’t care about you and your family, but we do.”

    Cults employ a method of recruitment called “love bombing”. It is a well documented and very powerful psychological approach which disarms and ensnares the new recruit in a web of good feeling and illusions of comradeship. Slowly, the tenets of the belief are explained in the best possible terms, and the genius and divine status of the “leader” are revealed.

    When the recruit is wrapped in a web of warmth and sincerity, good feelings and a sense of being one of the bretheren, then the necessity of absolute obedience and a divorce from anyone and anything which might interfere with the new devotee’s devotion are introduced, and the recruit becomes a believer, impervious to any reality which conflicts with the “truth” that has been revealed to him.

    The orange robed Hare Krishna chanting on the street corner, and the blue jeaned revolutionary marching for the cause d’jour, are brothers under the skin. This is the reason that supposedly modern, tolerant collectivists can so seamlessly align themselves with the most intolerant and murderous Islamic facists.

    They are brothers and sisters, joined in their hatred of the one true devil—the individualist, capitalist westerner who does not believe, and will not submit.

    This is not a war about economics, or politics, or who did what to whom. It is just what they keep saying it is, but we do not listen—it is a struggle to overturn everything we know and care about, and replace our world with whatever the “prophets” decide it will be.

    This is a holy war. Didn’t you know what was really at stake was your soul?

  • Yes, the cultic hypnotic potency of Socialism.It explains why it stilll has all the seductive pulling power despite the oceans of blood it has engedered.Just as every day there is a new cult: same act,different actors and victims.

    But what of the hypocrisy of its exponents who have a portfolio of houses and are millionaires – Meacher who was once described as ‘Tony Benn’s representative here on earth’, Prescott, Mandelson, ad nauseam?

    So it is a Religion of Hate also.The Left have to have their Hate Figures. At present it is Bush. Before it was Thatcher -(and the BBC are still excercising over her, having just made yet another play depicting her as a drunken lunatic

    So much for the idea that the Left are more caring and compassionate.Their hates are always more all- encompassing than their loves.

  • dearieme

    However much you may admire the chain of logic in Socialism, you can’t avoid the defect that its premises are bunkum.

  • Admin

    This is an administrative test. Please disregard.

  • Steve P

    Is it just me, or does anyone else frequently find veryretired’s comments more compelling than the original topic?

  • Jonathan

    It’s not just you.

  • @Steve P

    Just so.