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

How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

– Ronald Reagan

16 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)

    I’ve met communists who understand Marx and Lenin as well.

    Despicable people.

  • RAB

    We had a kid in our A level Economics class called Maxim Ford.
    Yes, that’s what his parents christened him.
    They were both communist trade union officials.
    I grew up in a strange place and time when it was perfectly normal and respectable to be communist trade unionists.
    Anyway he was the only one in the class, to not just get a lower grade than expected, but to fail the paper completely.
    I always thought there was a lesson there somewhere…

  • veryretired

    Oh, RAB, it’s still very respectable to assert the same old cliche’s, chant the same old chants, propose the same old bromides, banner the same old slogans, rehash the same old hash, figuratively sign the same old non-aggression pacts (surprise!), and subvert any resistence to the wave of the future with all the same old subversions.

    Just change the labels on the package. Since history, critical thinking, and moral philisophy are no longer taught in our schools, hardly anyone will even notice.

    And for those few who object…well, that’s what media slander and character assassination are for.

  • Julian Taylor

    A very good Easter Day sermon from Rev. William Booth at the Chapel Royal this morning – on the subject of the Marxism, Leninism and the 70 years of Communist rule. He illustrated an attempt by the Leningrad Writers Guild in the late 1960’s to rule that God, Christ and the Holy Spirit can not be believed in and must be declared illegal. The counter to this was then delivered by the Patriarch of Leningrad who simply stood up and delivered the traditional Easter greeting of ‘Christ is risen’, which was resoundly responded to by the audience with the traditional “Yes, he is risen”. Turning to the Writer’s Guild members he asked, “are you going to tell them there is no God, Christ or Easter then?”

  • Sam Duncan

    RAB, vr: Round here, you don’t even have to change the labels. Both parties have members in the Scottish Parliament.

  • To the tune of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’;
    Bring back Maggie Thatcher,
    Ronald Reagan Too.

  • guy herbert

    God, Christ and the Holy Spirit can not be believed in and must be declared illegal.

    Sounds very similar to the modern British ethos, where departure from officially sanctioned modes of thought is also held to be dangerous. Christian and other thoeological modes are acceptable, indeed directly approved, however, as long as they assist and do not fight the state. In this our new masters are more sophisticated than Marx and Lenin: rationality and consistency are not to be invoked, because they are barriers to the malleability of popular sentiment.

  • om

    I grew up around Communists.Not one of them, ever, actually read Marx or Lenin, even when they had the “Collected Works” on their shelves (It was a status object).There’s a good reason for that:I dare you to try and read even one book by Marx all the way through.It is not humanly possible to survive shit that tedious.Even the scholars stay away from the originals.

    So, Ronnie got it half wrong.

  • Paul Marks

    The third volume of “Capital” was never really ready for publication (Engels had it published anyway), but the first couple of volumes are just about readable (although they are very low quality – both in their standard of writing and in their ideas).

    The early works (the German Ideology, Communist Manifesto and so on) are not actually badly written – although their ideas are false. In my experience Marxists tend to have read some of the early works (although they may have only read the abridged version of the German Ideology), but not the great “master work”.

    As for Lenin his “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism” is still read. It is a crib of the “radical liberal” Hobson and goes on about how “capitalist” nations need empires (formal or informal) for businessmen to invest “surplus capital” in and sell goods to (the advanced nations having supposedly satuarated markets).

    It is false, but readable (and very popular with activists interested in the “third world”).

    Oddly enough the thesis goes back to Edward Gibbon Wakefield (back in the 1830’s) who justified sending people to New Zealand on the above, false, grounds.

  • Ah old Ronnie, bless him. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he knew right from wrong, unlike our ever so clever sophisticates.

    They don’t make Presidents like that anymore, more’s the pity.

  • Michiganny

    I was a lad when Reagan left office, but last year heard his first inaugural speech. It was a very good speech astonishingly well delivered.

  • Nate


    wow…that’s a great quote. I remember back in my undergrad days, I obtained a copy of the Communist Manifesto, curious as to why some found it so exciting, motivating, etc.

    After having read it, I remember well my first impression…”and people shoot other people over this?!?!?”

    I think I’ll second Reagan’s quote. Most communists either don’t read Marx, or don’t understand it.

  • Jeff

    I wonder if Billy Bragg or the editors of the Guardian have seen “I’m All Right, Jack”?

  • I forgot where I found this, but I have an English translation of Josef Stalin’s “Problems of Leninism.” The title is a misleading translation; in context it should read “Problems That Leninism Must Address.”

    I’ve only skimmed through it myself. Maybe I’ll crack it open this May 1.

    (Heh, just noticed it was printed in Peking.)

  • Reminds me of:

    “The Communists gathered up all the corporate heads and took them out to be shot; the fascists gathered up all the corporate heads and took them out to lunch — where they were told to obey orders or be shot.”
    — Brad Linaweaver, quoted in “Why I Don’t Write ‘Islamofascist'”, http://biglizards.net/blog/archives/2005/09/why_i_donat_wri.html

  • Ade

    Reminds me if a joke-
    Demonstrator,being beaten over the head by policeman,’but officer,I’m an anti-communist’.
    Policeman,’I don’t give a f**k what kind of communist you are.’