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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

Andrew Keen: Are you comparing the Instapundit, the idiotic crazy libertarian ex-law professor, to Polly Toynbee and Robert Fisk? They are my heroes!

Adriana Lukas: No, I am not comparing Instapundit to Polly Toynbee or Robert Fisk. That would be unfair to Instapundit.

– Adriana Lukas, speaking at a debate at the Front Line Club.

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23 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Go girl!

    Even if I were a creature of the left, I think Toynbee would be an unlikely choice of hero, perhaps due to her obsessive inclination to take boring statistics we know already and to pretend that they support her argument.

    But if a leftie, which heroes to pick…….

  • Kevin

    EX law professor? Whenever that happened, UT-Knoxville’s website doesn’t seem to know about it.

  • The quote is exactly as he said it, Kevin. Keen has been writing and speaking on a subject he knows surprisingly little about.

  • dover_beach

    Oh, Adriana, if only I could have seen their faces.

  • Fred

    Keen doesn’t seem rational.

  • ben

    Apparently Professor Reynolds doesn’t know about it either.


  • Strictly off-topic, but …

    Editor’s note: indeed, comment deleted. We can tolerate a bit off-topic or kinda tangential, but strictly off-topic is a no-no.

  • Julian Taylor

    He didn’t mention George Monbiot as well? The man obviously does not know his barking moonbat heroes very well.

  • Ed Thomas

    Unbelievably unfair to Instapundit. He’s a clever man.

  • The Last Toryboy

    The idea that “Bonkers” Toynbee could be someones hero, I actually find quite worrying…

  • Or that anyone would actually admit to having Fisk and Toynbee as heroes when confronted with anyone of the calibre of Adriana.

    Sheesh – the guy must be a half-wit.

  • Cleanthes, thanks! I like calibre. 🙂

    Seriously, Keen’s ignorance is astounding but he’s been doing very well with his ‘polemic’ book the Cult of the Amateur and has had more than fair share of exposure, debates and blog posts.

    So he may be a half-wit but certainly a dangerous one. Nothing new then. 🙂

  • Of course he’s doing very well. He’s telling old media people what they want to hear, so naturally he gets lots of positive reviews. But for the MSM to praise an anti-blog book is rather like buggy-whip manufacturers endorsing a polemic against the motor car.

    As for Jonny’s question, the obvious lefty hero would be George Orwell. Great writer, serious thinker, and as well as talking the talk better than anyone else he also walked the walk by fighting in the Spanish Civil War.

  • Paul Marks

    It is normally a waste of time to talk to anyone who regards Polly Toynbee and Robert Fisk as heros.

    However, as it was a debate I suppose Adriana was really talking to the auidence.

    On Fred Thompson:

    Well he has been a Goldwater conservative all his adult life. And certainly the Federal “entitlement programs” he has always warned people about are now so huge they are dragging the Republic to destruction (and the entitlement programs continue to grow like the cancers they are).

    Still none of the above means that he will win the nomination. The Republican party has never nominated a conservative Southerner for President (George Walker Bush, born and schooled in Connecticut and responsible for the biggest expansion in Welfare State spending since President Nixon, is neither a Southerner or a conservative).

    And no southern conservative has been elected President of the United States since James Knox Polk in 1844.

    Still, times may be changing.

    On George Orwell (Eric Blair):

    He was an honest reporter – but did not really think about what he reported.

    For example, Orwell reported his surprise that the peasants tended to support the Nationalists in the Spanish civil war. But he did not really think about WHY this was so. It was not just religion – it was because the Nationalists did not tend to steal the peasants crops (they allowed markets).

    Also Orwell honestly reported the Hellish socialist regmies that existed in his day (opposing Stalin’s Soviet Union and its supporters in the West) and he rightly guessed what sort of Britain those people who talked about life “under socialism” would be likely to create (hense “Animal Farm” and “1984”).

    HOWEVER, Orwell just thought that what was needed was better people.

    The idea of questioning socialism itself never occured to him.

    Capitalism was wrong and socialism was right because…… well because it was. And he did not see the great expansion of government over his own life time (the much higher taxes and greater weight of regulations – for example the 1906 trade union Act that built on the evil foundations of the Act of 1875) as linked to the decline of British industry and the rise in unemployment that he so deplored.

    An honest man yes, a good thinker no.

  • RAB

    Well the less said about Mr Keens “Heroes” the better.
    His choices are the mark of Cain as far as I am concerned.
    Well done Adriana! Mind if you were wearing “Those” trousers, It’s a wonder he could breathe let alone talk dribble!
    Quite right Andrew. The MSM is in desperate trouble and they dont know what to do about it.
    In the 4 years or so I have been on the Internet, already the effect on the MSM has been enormous.
    The newspapers who got the idea of an online version the earliest, first just put up the articles. Now because of Blogs they now have a comments section below, just like blogs.
    In the old days if you agreed or disagreed with the piece, you had to write a letter. That would be published or not, on the whim and bias of the letters editor. Now everyone can have their say instantly.
    This is very disconcerting for the “Professionals” as they are finding that the “Amateurs” are better writers than they are!
    I would bet that Toynbee, Monbiot, Fisk, Keen et al have never been anywhere near a Journalism course. So what’s with this “Professional” nonsense? They all got their jobs via their Political views and personal connections.Not because they are gifted writers or even competent fact finders.
    The penny is beginning to drop that we dont need them anymore. It scares them shitless.
    Slightly tangential. Anyone know about this Wikibusiness idea, I caught a bit of on a news programme this week?

  • I noticed that he mentioned Glenn Reynolds as an ex-professor, and Fisk as a hero in his book, but there were so many other things to criticize about his book that I didn’t get around to mentioning his factual error in my Amazon review. In the book, he also referred to Charles Johnson of little green footballs as “a rabidly pro-Israel blogger.”

  • Well done Adriana! Mind if you were wearing “Those” trousers, It’s a wonder he could breathe let alone talk dribble!

    These? Yes, very nice indeed but it was this outfit that left me a bit short of breath… but why waste such splendours on the likes of the dismal and inappropriately named Keen?

  • Yes, the “Cult of the Amateur” has been destroying our civilisation for about 10 years in the UK – All those MPs and political wonks who have not done a days work§ outside “the machine”.

    § 1 year in PR does not count.

  • Bit ironic that he’s named “Keen”, isn’t it?

  • R. Riley

    Bit ironic that he’s named “Keen”, isn’t it?

    Indeed. “Dying is easy, Comedy is hard” – but this argument died, and he is so pathetic he’s funny. (Edmund Kean reference, for those who are lost)

    My daughter’s hero of the moment is Fisk, because she thinks it would be wonderful to have one’s name turned into a widely recognized verb.

    Of course, she’s three. She’ll get over this phase in a few weeks.

  • The Last Toryboy

    I doubt many here would argue Orwell/Blair was a “great thinker” – after all, he fought in a communist outfit, the POUM militia, so his political viewpoint was obviously completely at odds with the thoughts of those who come to this site (well, most of them anyway).

    On the other hand, he was an honest man, and I think in some ways he was a smart guy, or at least a man with the will to make up his own decisions rather than have them dictated to him by peer pressure or propaganda. Which is a quality rarer than being smart all too often, it seems to me.

    He wasn’t taken in by Stalin, unlike the rest of the left wing world pretty much. He was one of a very small (about a dozen from memory?) group of British socialists who avoided the Stalinist International Brigades after all. He knew what was up in the 30s USSR, that tells me he had a certain independence of mind that set him apart from practically everybody on his side of the political spectrum. He certainly didn’t mouth platitudes for less honest publishers, either, and lost work as a result.

    I suppose it’s that very thing that means he’s not revered by the Left, in fact he seems almost forgotten by the Left to me. I personally hold him in great esteem, I always mention his name when asked the rhetorical “Who from history would you invite to the dinner table for civilised conversation” question, although my politics are very different from his.

  • hovis

    on the Orwell tangent: He may not have been a great thinker but his honesty makes up for much – he may have been a socialist of sorts but his description of after the revolution (the Lion and the Unicorn I think) shows a great affection for his own country and even patriotism. He was definitely not a follower of the herd – a very rare commodity.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes indeed.