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

“In the anointed we find a whole class of supposedly “thinking people” who do remarkably little thinking about substance and a great deal of verbal expression. In order that this relatively small group of people can believe themselves wiser and nobler than the common herd, we have adopted policies which impose heavy costs on millions of other human beings, not only in taxes but also in lost jobs, social disintegration, and a loss of personal safety. Seldom have so few cost so much to so many.”

Thomas Sowell, the Vision of The Anointed, page 260.

His analysis applies – with the odd exception – to the political/intellectual elites responsible for the expansion of government for the past 100 years or so.

5 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Pedant

    Some people (not me, you understand) might say that the Samizdata forum could arguably be regarded as a common forum for such as these.

  • I actually do indeed think people who see the world my way are wiser and nobler than the herd, true enough. Moreover I do not care if that is ‘elitist’ or ‘whateverist’.

    However, Pedant, my kind of ‘Whateverist Thinking People’ are arguing against rule-of-the-elite. We despise the political class. We are arguing for an end to the nationalisation to civil society and thus our mistakes are our own, not everyone else’s.

    I may feel superior to the herd (and I credit myself hypocrisy-free for saying so) but I seek no rents at gunpoint from those who do not consent to do business with me.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I dislike people who talk about their fellows as a “herd”; it suggests a failure to regard people as individuals that sits oddly with an individualistic perspective on life. Of course we all occasionally despair of some of our fellows and their supine acceptance of whatever monstrosity has increased our blood pressure, such as ID cards or whatnot. But I try not to slip into reflexive disdain for the ordinary Joe. Quite the opposite.

    Samizdata contributors don’t down, or up, at anyone. We look at them, hopefully fairly accurately.

  • Midwesterner

    Darn it, Johnathan. You’ve put another book on my limited budget.

    I elect to talk about collectivists using ‘herd’-like terminology. They are (literally, not metaphorically) asking for it. For example, one person when asked what they ‘do’ will say “I drive a truck”, another will say “I’m a Teamster” or a less obvious “I’m a truck driver”. The first answer is from an individual but the second is from a self identified unit in a herd. Their choice and not often a conscious one. Cleaning up my own terminology is a big part of changing my own meta-context.

    To Thomas Sowell’s quoted statement, yes. He absolutely nails it. Eloquence can be a fine friend to idiocy. Eloquence can obscure. The more thought that I have put into one of my comments, the briefer and less nuanced it will be. The reason people attacked Palin but left Biden alone was not for the mistakes they made, Palin did make a few but Biden left no fact intact. What upsets her detractors is her inability to eloquently spiel off a convincing line of made-up bullshit. Biden is a model case of ‘often in error, never in doubt.’ Eugene Volokh brought up the topic of eloquence or its lack from Palin yesterday.

    Anybody who cannot make a succinct and easily parsed statement either does not know their material or is deliberately obfuscating. And, no. To her great credit, Palin did not understand the guiding principles of McCain’s platform and no, Biden did not understand Obama’s either. But Biden spouted an eloquent line of preposterous bullshit and is therefor labeled ‘smart’.

  • Laird

    “Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.” — Bertrand Russell

    “When ideas fail, words come in very handy.” — J. W. von Goethe