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Samzidata quote of the day

So that’s it. The argument is over… Low tax-low spend economics is finally threatening to become not just irresistible in terms of rational debate and empirical evidence – which, in fact, it is has been since at least the 1980s – but something far more devastating in electoral terms: it is poised to become cool. It will now be unthinkably unfashionable at dinner parties to defend the notion of the state as the monopoly supplier of virtue and fairness.

– Janet Daley in a Telegraph blog

19 comments to Samzidata quote of the day

  • William H. Stoddard

    God, I hope she’s right. If your political climate shifts that way, maybe it will catch on over here, in one of those cultural waves where the US imitates the UK because everything British is cool. God knows we could use a bit of that political sensibility here.

  • The Lib Dems appear to be talking a more revenue neutral line, by gerrymandering the tax bands. I would not be surprised if their plans end up hiking up local income taxes instead.

    They won’t dare target the Qangocracy, as I suspect it is stuffed with their parasitical membership.

    Clegg: That is why the Liberal Democrats will focus all our attention on cutting taxes – from the bottom.

    “from”? Don’t you mean “out of”, Nick?

  • Ian B

    Bear in mind that this is the woman who slavered all over Gordon Brown after his coronation, just because he managed to call a flood committee meeting and not trip over his shoelaces on 7/7. I’m not quite sure she’s a reliable indicator of the political pulse, you know.

    We also need to remember that for the likes of Cameron or Clegg, a daring tax cut is just growing the state a bit less rapidly.

  • Mark G

    I’ll have a bong of whatever she’s smoking.

    The entire bloated apparatus of UK bureaucracy will not vote away its own livelyhood.

  • Frederick Davies

    That’ll be the day!

  • Janet is of course completely wrong.
    We will need to learn the lesson that socialism does not work again in 10-15 years time when the Socialist Worker students of today become convinced that it will work if only they are doing it.

  • My first though William got in there first. My more cynical reaction, I fear Lurch is correct.

    Either way, there is a good chance to demonstrate what people can do when feed from the yoke of excessive statism.

  • Cool? We are so far in advance of cool we’ve forgotten what it was. Cool is no longer cool.

  • joe

    Lurch you are so right.
    Comment of the year for mine.

  • Rob

    When I was a child, I lived in a very old house surrounded by an ancient hawthorn hedge. Embedded deep within the hedge was a damson tree. The hawthorne and the damson tree had, over the years, become one; the two organisms having grafted themselves together. It would be nice to be able to share Janet Daley’s optimism, but I fear that, like the damson and hawthorne, there are too many people living in Britain today whose lives are so deeply grafted to the state that without “root and branch” reform of the welfare state we will return to old ways. Janet Daley has come in for quite a lot of critisism of late, but on the whole her instincts are sound. I think she should be forgiven for her comments about Brown, (I’m sure she wouldn’t repeat them now) I beleive they were motivated by a deep mistrust of Cameron’s Conservative Party. The jury is still out on him, but I don’t see him or his party being the people to deliver a low tax and low spend economy even if they wanted to.

  • I don’t live on the same planet as Janet Dailey.
    The U.S. apparently needs another British Invasion.

  • Paul Marks

    I have not noticed this change of attitude in Britain – but then I do not attend many London dinner parties, so perhaps Janet Daley is correct – I certainly hope so.

    But in the United States ultra collectivist Senator Obama seems to be standard of “cool”.

    Ever more taxes and ever higher taxes, ever more “entitlement programs” and ever more regualtions – all cool.

    “Change”, “hope”, “yes we can”.

    Change to even more collectism.

    Hope for the Marxist utopia (whilst being careful never to use the word “Marxist”).

    Yes we can gain total power – not just over Congress (via Speaker Nancy P. and the rest of the Class of 1968), but over the Executive branch also (although the senior Civil Service people are already on side), and over the Courts.

    The Federal Bench will end up looking like the Californian courts (both the 9th District Court of Appeals in the Federal system, and the State courts).

  • veryretired

    So far no one has mentioned the two obvious reasons why Ms Daley is almost certainly being unrealistic, in spite of any good intentions she might have.

    “Rational debate” in the context of modern political discourse is nearly non-existent.

    Remember the lady at the party who challenged Francisco—“I don’t have any arguments to refute you, of course, but I feel you are wrong, so I know you are.”

    “Empirical evidence” is routinely replaced by prevarication and fanciful ideological assertions, which are then furiously defended as if, once stated, they immediately become the equals of the laws of thermodynamics.

    If any lesson is painfully clear from the history of collectivism’s results when put in practice, it is that the prosperity and well-being of the populace is the very least of the concerns of the “enlightened vanguard.”

    Ideological purity is all that matters. Who cares how many kulaks starve, or gypsies and homosexuals and jews, among others, are gassed and shot, as long as one is up to date with the latest gyrations of the “party line”.

    “So that’s it.” Yeah, right.

  • Who cares how many kulaks starve, or gypsies and homosexuals and jews, among others, are gassed and shot, as long as one is up to date with the latest gyrations of the “party line”.

    VR, I think that you have it backwards. It’s getting rid of the kulaks and the Jews, and all those “others”, that are “not like us, and are the source of all of our problems” that is at the roof of these ideologies, which only exist to provide rationalization and legitimacy to that basic hatred of “the other”. That is why rational consideration and empirical evidence are irrelevant.

  • veryretired

    Alisa—I understand what you are saying and, to a certain point, I agree. I just think the situation is more complex than “hatred of the other” explains it all.

    Collectivism turns to hatred of scapegoats because its failure to be all the things it promises is inevitable, and begins to show up as soon as ideology comandeers more and more of the social/economic/cultural activity of the nation.

    This pattern has occurred over and over again.

    Remember that the great collectivist experiments of the 20th century were in reaction to the collapse of the relatively stable autocracies of imperial Germany, Russia, Japan, and China. Of course scapegoats—“the others”—were demonized and attacked, but it was the emergence of a new faith, a new ideology that explained everything and resolved all doubts and fears, that brought about the horrors of the camps, the wars, and the famines.

    The reason ideology trumps reason and empirical evidence is fear, not hatred. The irrational mind lives in constant fear of a universe and a reality it cannot comprehend, thus it turns to the mystical and faith driven “perfect ideology” to explain all and resolve all.

    Question the perfection of the promised utopia, and all those fears come pouring back out again. The most common human reaction to extreme fear is to strike out at the perceived cause—the others.

  • veryretired

    Somehow a compliment, even as it is much appreciated, coming from a source called “Whited Sepulchre” is quixotic in an unnerving way.

    I am not competent technically nor skilled in the type of debate required for a blog.

    I am gratified that the members of Samizdata allow me to comment here on occasion, and I appreciate even more the overall atmosphere here regarding important questions of political and social life in the West and the world at large.