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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

I’d rather be stuck in a lift with Abu Hamza than Zac Goldsmith

– Sean Gabb, at the Libertarian Alliance/Libertarian International conference today

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Nick M

    Well Hamza is ‘armless enough.

    But Zac Goldsmith,like so many other rich-kid greens really is a wanker.

  • JT

    To begin with, his conversation would have you hooked.

    But after a short while, you’d would be clawing to get out.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Wasn’t Sean Gabb the one who said at last year’s conference (“cultural revolution: culture war”) that all the autonomous institutions who might resist them had been either destroyed or co-opted by the ruling class, even the monarchy?

    I reckon someone should send a copy of the speech to Her Maj. I’m sure she’d be amused!

    I shall look forward to hearing what else he had to say this time.

  • RAB

    Well at least Abu could rip into the control panel with ease.
    Zac would be afraid of chipping his manequred nails

  • Steve

    I’d rather be stuck in a lift with Jemima Goldsmith.

    Also, re. Pa Annoyeds post above, does the Libertarian Alliances logo strike anyone else as a bit creepy? It looks like it should be on the armbands of a group of stormtroopers who are here to take you away for re-education.

  • Nick M

    Good point Steve. It looks fascist to me too.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Steve, not nearly as creepy as this blog with its firearm on the mast-head!!!!

    I must admit the LA might try out a few stylistic changes, although in no circumstances am I, a long-standing LA member and supporter, going to tolerate pictures of trees.

  • Shaun Bourke

    Johnathan pleeeease,

    Some of us do love trees, especially those large ones with thick lower limbs which provide convinent yard-arms that we land-based folk otherwise have no access to.

  • Freeman

    The Libertarian Alliance logo also reminds me uncomfortably of the nazi symbol. I wrote to them with my concerns a couple of years ago but had no reply. Maybe the several comments on this site will get a response? Anyway, I still enjoy reading Sean Gabb’s sometimes provoking views.

    As for the gun displayed on this site, it is quite bold but much more acceptable than the LA logo.

  • Nick M

    Well it’s actually a gun and a book by a philosopher. I’m surprised no one has pointed that out yet.

    Somehow it always reminds me of a quote famously missattributed to Goering:

    When someone mentions culture, I reach for my Mauser

    …or something like that.

  • hardatwork


    I like the Samizdata logo but it could be more accessible in my opinion.
    Sadly not every person who is superficially attracted
    to libertarianism would have heard of Mr Popper so wouldn’t ‘get it’.

  • Nick M

    I dunno hardatwork.

    (a) Karl Popper was one of the most famous philosophers of the C20th (probably not a falsifiable statement) and unlike, say, Wittgenstein (who was a beery swine) wrote non-technical stuff that sold to Joe Public. I had heard of Popper as a kid, though primarily as a philosopher of science.

    (b) Does it matter? If they hang around here for a bit they’ll certainly get the gist.

    (c) I kinda see the Popper book like the gun in the logo as almost a challenge – “Do you wanna find out more”.

  • J

    Regarding the Libertarian Alliance, their logo looks rather similar to the SA logo of the brownshirts. Um….

    The Samizdata logo is rather nice, although until I saw it I was unaware that Popper had any political writings – I’ve only read his other stuff.

  • As a USian, I’d rather be stuck in an elevator than a lift.

  • The Samizdata.net logo is the “eye in the triangle” – not the gun and books. See Samizdata merchandise(Link) for further evidence.

  • Paul Marks

    Pa Annoyed seems to be unaware that many of the monarchist titles (the “Royal” this, “Her Majesties” that) have been removed from government organizations and this is no accident. Also new governement security agenices such as S.O.C.A. do not require their people to sware an oath of loyality to the Crown – loyalty to the political class is enough.

    I often disagree with Dr Gabb – but on this he is correct.

    The role of the Queen is not (as many people seem to think) to act like a fairy on top of Christmas tree – something for the children to go gape at.

    The role of the Monarch is vital to the unwritten constitution of the United Kingdom (and I certainly would not want the sort of written constitution that modern politicians, administrators and academics would write) and it is this role that is being destroyed.

    Government employees are to be loyal to “the people” rather the than the Queen. But the term “the people” and the various “human rights” documents are hopelessly vague – so, in practice, the only loyalty of government employees will be to the political class – i.e.the government of the day and the various “great and good” that the government appoints to various bodies.

  • Julian Taylor

    Think I’d prefer Zac to Abu. Given how PC we’ve become I might be charged with abusing a minority if I wedged the door open using Hamza’s head and claws … I doubt that anyone would miss the odd Cameron luvvy if I used him instead.

  • Pa Annoyed


    I am fully aware, and I understood the point Sean was making. I just thought it very funny for someone to classify the monarchy as not part of the ruling class, but as a check on it. Since Parliament was originally intended as a check on the power of the monarchy, who are the real ruling class, this is a marvelously ironic role reversal.

    I also understand that the Queen’s power is not as degraded as you might think. She has connections throughout the political class, and exerts her power behind the scenes. She doesn’t make a big fuss and show about it – after all, she hold her position for life.

    Government employees have not seriously held any specific loyalty to the Monarchy for a long time – it is quite rare for her to send a memo round to your local council offices telling them what to do – but they do still hold to the civil service ethic, which may be characterised as loyalty to the nation and the trust placed in them. However, under that trust it is their duty to support the government of the day (and has been for centuries), so if you imagine they’re acting as some sort of check on Ministerial power, you are mistaken. The circumstances in which the Monarchy or civil service would openly rebel against the government are probably more extreme than for most people.

    Without civil servants, politicians would just be a bunch of windbags shouting at each other in a big room, and nobody would pay them any attention. Civil servants give politicians power. Always have, always will.

  • Nick M

    The original question puts me in mind of a very odd graffito I once saw in the gents of the George Green Library, University of Nottingham:

    “I’d sleep with Gerry Adams but I’d be thinking of Martin McGuinness”.

  • Midwesterner

    The circumstances in which the Monarchy or civil service would openly rebel against the government are probably more extreme than for most people.

    True, Pa. But my understanding is that the Crown has a great many powers that haven’t been exercised in any meaningful way since the time of Victoria or before. Yet, these powers have not been formally terminated.

    What this means is that if the Monarch ever has more popularity than the politicians, and had the will to, he or she could take many very consequential actions. Especially with cooperation from some of the civil servants. I think this is the key reason why politicians very much recently, are trying to formally destroy ancient institutions. Like HOL, etc. I think the politicians view the monarchy as a possible threat.

    Perhaps someone with better knowledge of UK legal tradition might set me straight if I’m mistaken.