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

“Orwell was right. It was Wells who made it respectable, even before World War I, for liberals in England and America to demean their own native democratic culture in the name of an imagined antidemocratic World State. And it was Wells, with his stature as the prophet of the future, who taught upper-middle-class liberals that they were entitled to govern in the name of social evolution.”

Fred Siegel, writing on HG Wells. It is fair to say that the Fabian movement of which this man was such a key part deserves to go down in infamy, given the damage it has done in so many ways.

17 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    It was not just H.G. Wells (although he was the biggest name) – it was the rest of the Fabians in Britain and the Progressives in the United States.

    And it goes back a long way – the techocratic elite goes back to at least the “New Atlantis” of Francis Bacon (1610 if my brain does not fail me) the patron of William Petty (whose decendants later created the Bowood Circle) and Thomas Hobbes (the hater of princples of the Common Law of England).

    And the world state (among American writers) goes back to the various 19th century religion of humanity Massachusetts writers (if not fully formed in the mind of the “father of American public education” H. Mann – it was by the time of the Bellamy brothers Francis and Edward). ALl were full of not-so-hidden contempt for the United States and its tradtionial principles.

    But it is not just Progressives (i.e. socialists) allied with the Republican party (much though the sneered at Republican stuffed shirts and longed for the day when Republican businessmen would be exterminated) it was also Progressives allied with the Democratic party.

    “Philip Dru: Administrator” (written by President Wilson’s “other self” Colonel E. M. House) is much the same as the writings of Edward Bellamy some decades before.

    Rule by a administative elite with utter contempt for traditionial principles (and thus accepting world government) was a common thing in fantasy writing.

    As for its philosophical basis – German.

    Going back well before Kant.

  • RRS

    There are always amongst us the ” Know Betters,” those who conclude that some among “them” have the adequate information from which to extract knowledge thus to know better how all others should act, relate, exist or even perish.

    It is executed in many ways: terrorism, charisma, deceit, arrogance, “expertise,” etc., etc.

    In the U S, we are undergoing another spate of that resurgent response to disorders and “difficulties” (things being less than smooth) such as motivated Plato.

    That is, as Hayek’s labeled, The Fatal Conceit, even though that work, as edited, may not have been excatly his.

  • Idiots,” “drunkards,” “criminals,” “lunatics,” “congenital invalids,” and the “diseased” would “spoil the world for others,” Wells again argued.

    The same thinking is alive and well today, among “progressives” and “liberals” and “conservatives” and, yes, many who purport to be “libertarians”. Except now we have moved on from such terms as “the residuum” or “the undeserving poor” to “chav”. Always the same moral panic- that we, the wise and worthy- are being overwelmed by the seething mass of scum at the bottom of the social scale.

  • Nothing Left

    But there is a higher conceit – that I know the mind of God, and you don’t.

    The priestly class.

    Always been there, always will be.

    Of course as Gods change, the subject of the priests’ adoration changes – yesterday allah, today Global Warming. But the objective is the same – the priests will control you, because we understand.

    It’s all about control.


  • Patrick B

    And don’t forget the “Vanguard of the People”, and the nomenklatura.

  • Paul Marks

    I do not want to murder “chavs” Ian B. – or to steralize them, or to murder their babies.

    I do not know any conservative (at least in the American sense) who does. Or any libertarian for that matter.

    However, I do not wish to pay for them either.

    H.G. Wells had no such excuse – under the Poor Law (1834 till pensions of 1908) someone had to go before a local Board of Guardians (elected by the ratepayers) if they wanted welfare. And whilst twice as many (at least) were always on “out relief” as “in relief” the local Board could always say “you are able bodied – if you want welfare you will have to go to the workhouse” (and if they never said that the ratepayer voters would turn them out at the next Poor Law election).

    Perhaps that is one reason why so few people were on welfare a century ago.

    In 1904 there was a “dramatic increase” in the number of people on welfare (due to a crises in trade). 800 thousand people were on welfare – of which 250 thousand were in Workhouses.

    In short (even in a crises) the vast majority of poor people had nothing to do with the welfare system .

    Men like H.G. Wells hated people who did them no harm (not financially – not in any way).

    And the worst of it is that Wells and other Fabians pretended to be the friends of the poor.

  • I did not accuse anyone of wanting to murder chavs, Paul. I simply observed that the same belief system and moral panic drives many people on all sides of the political divide today.

  • John K

    Rule by a administative elite with utter contempt for traditionial principles

    That’s the EU in a nutshell. They won on the quiet. Whoever had the idea to call it the “Common Market” was a propaganda genius.

  • pete

    Wells was a lefty idealist who believed in a world government aided by a card index system to ensure its success.

    I get the feeling he’d have been in favour of ID cards.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes H.G. Wells would have been in favour of I.D. cards – although not I think of “just” fines for those who refused to carry them.

    I suspect he would have wanted at least sterilization for such “anti social” folk – if not some form of execution (without much pain of course).

    My own comment has got me thinking (vanity I know) – I wonder how peopl in 1904, who were so shocked by the increase in the government support rolls to 800 thousand, would react to being told that today most people are dependent on government support.

    And it is tens of millions of people – add it up, the people dependent on government pensions, the people who claim one form or another of income support (including the welfare payments falsely called “tax credits”) the government employees………..

    This country (indeed most Western countries) is in so much trouble it is hard to know where to start.

  • Kim du Toit

    I have little difficulty in identifying with modern government with the Wellsian Morlocks (the Eloi, of course, being individual liberties).

    And I don’t want to kill chavs (as much as many may deserve it). But I would like to take a cricket bat to the heads of people who think that “the intellectual elites” are going to make a better job of governing than, as William F. Buckley once described wonderfully, the first hundred names out of the Boston phone book.

  • mike

    Still, gotta love Time Machine and War Of The Worlds.

  • Nuke Gray!

    Let’s put Wells into perspective. If you had grown up in an oppressive class-ridden society that called itself ‘Capitalist’, you might have reacted to it by becoming a socialist. All men are moulded by the times, and his books, like ‘The time machine’ and ‘War of the Worlds’, reflects these social concerns. (What else is The time machine, but a projection of class warfare into the future? And what else is War of the Worlds, except an attempt to update imperialism for the British Empire?)
    Wells would have had less to write about, if he hadn’t been a socialist!

  • Paul Marks

    H.G. Wells did not grow up in an “oppressive society” – it is true that late Victorian Britain had some restrictions that we do not have today (for example on homosexual acts), but it also did not have many restrictions that we have – for example on firearms or drugs.

    As for “public opinion” being “oppressive” (the J.S. Mill dodge) that is a pathetic line of attack (I am NOT say Nuke Gray is taking that line, I am simply shutting it off).

    It is true that some people would not talk to you if you did stuff they did not approve of (although that did not stop some people being very eccentric indeed), but that is NOT “oppression”.

    As for poverty – Britain had less poverty than any other major nation in Europe. And it was not povery that made H.G. Wells a socialist anyway.

    It was lust for power that made him a socialist.

    I am sick of this “first they kick your face in, and then they say you were always ugly” stuff.

    Late 19th century and early 20th century society (especially in Britain) was, in spite of all its faults, the finest society that had ever existed in the history of the world. With LESS poverty and so on than there had ever been before – and more literacy and more high culture among a greater percentage of the population.

    The “history” that is taught in most modern schools and colleges is a collection of lies.

  • Nuke Gray!

    By oppressive, I meant class-laden. Things have improved since then, but it is still true that not every man can aspire to be Queen of Britain.
    And I still think that his socialist beliefs gave him a starting point for his ideas, in the same way that Heinlein’s individualism and libertarianism imbued his writings, and gave him things to write about. I wonder if both were instinctive contrarians, reacting against the trends within their societies? Heinlein grew up when the New Deal was being touted as the future, after all.

  • Paul Marks

    I doubt there is any more social mobility now than there was a century ago.

    As for equality of opportunity – that is a myth (in any period). And a dangerious thing to promise, as it is a false promise.

    As for contarian – sadly no.

    Statism was on the rise in Britain when Wells was born – especially among the cultural elite. If anything his collectivism helped him, it did not hurt him (remember Shaw in theatre)

    This was no longer the land of writers like Addison or Daniel Defoe.

    Ruskin with his “everyone should be paid the same”, Morris, Oscar Wilde (an ardent socialist), and so on, and so on.

    True there was still dissent (for example J.K.J. did not just write “Three Men in a Boat” he also wrote satircal attacks on the socialist literary estabilishment with their obsession with an “equality” they certainly did not practice in their own lives).

    However, the above may be skewed by the power the left have over literary history and the study of English literature.

    It is quite possible that there were best selling authors who we know nothing of today – because their politics do not suit the people who control the universities and therefore much of the historical memory of literature.

    The late Chris Tame was fond of pointing out that every socialist or socialistic “classic” in every field had been contradicted (either before its publication by another work on the specific subject – or after its publication by a refutation) and that the anti collectivism works often sold better (at the time) than the socialist works.

    But we know nothing of the anti socialist works – because the schools and universities do not teach them.

    As for literature ………

    For example, the biggest selling works of American literature after World War II were the works of Ayn Rand – yet I noticed in University College Library (which claimed the “finest collection of American literature in Britain”) that there was not one work by Ayn Rand.

    How many literature course teach her work?

    Nor is this an isolated example.

    If a writer opposes collectivism the establisment try (over time) to gradually push their works into the memory hole.

    The “Economist” magazine last week had an article reviewing works on the financial crises.

    Which works were NOT reviewed.

    Thomas Woods “Meltdown” and Thomas Sowell’s “Housing Bubble: Boom and Bust” of course.

    Both works are selling well, but they (and the other anti collectivist works) will not be pushed in the mainstream media or taught in the schools and universtiies.

    So, over time, the forces of evil (for that is what they are) hope that such works are forgotten. And so works on the American Great Depression such as “The Great Crash” by the fanatical leftist J.K. Galbraith are pushed (for example this weeks Economist plugs the work) whereas works that tell the truth about the Great Depression (such as Murry Rothbard’s “America’s Great Depression”) are carefully not taught or even mentioned.

    Including by the so called “free market liberal” part of the establishment. These so called “free market” collectivists are actually more dangerious than the open socialists – they are basically a “false flag” organization seeking to usurp the position. So it can be said “we have taught both sides” when was has been taught is Karl Marx and J.S. Mill or Newsweek and the Economist. Real free market folk do not get a look in.

    As for H.G. Wells:

    Make no mistake – H.G. Wells was evil to the core.

    If hundreds of millions of people had to be murdered to achieve collectivism he would not have batted an eyelid at it.

    No “contarian” he.

  • Nuke Gray!

    Dear Poor Marks,
    I have trouble with your declarations about HG Wells because you do not give any examples to justify your statements. You say he was evil, as though that settles the matter. Judge-God Marks speaks, and it is so!
    Can you give us some examples of him being evil? I know he treated his wife badly, but what else did he do? (My standard of evil is the reverse of the Golden rule- it is evil if the initiator of an action would not like done to him/her what he/she does to others.)