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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samidata quote of the day

It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. […]
I don’t believe the majority always knows what’s best for everyone. The fact that the majority thinks they have a way to get something good does not give them the right to use force on the minority that don’t want to pay for it. If you have to use a gun, I don’t believe you really know jack.

Penn Jillette

10 comments to Samidata quote of the day

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    This is not compassion, it’s ersatz compassion. you can sound righteous whilst still using state power. the weak point of democracy is that politicians need to identify ‘problems’ and promise to ‘fix’ them so as to get elected. Then they either get accused of breaking their promises, or they keep their promises, and expand government power. If only political selection was by totally random lottery, we wouldn’t have this problem!

  • JadedLibertarian


    Leftists are very generous with other people’s money.

    If you care about the poor, give unto the poor. Don’t force your hands into other people’s wallets, cream off a share for yourself and then call it generosity.

    I always find it interesting that those on the statist-left consider themselves morally superior, and yet they are the ones with the incredibly dismal view of humanity. They are the ones that believe that the ends of “social justice” can only be met with recourse to violence.

    So what I see are bitter, envious, cynical people who believe violence is the way to get what you want. That doesn’t strike me as morally superior. That strikes me as criminal.

    Before the welfare state, Britain had a very sophisticated system for caring for the poor. It was funded entirely by voluntary donations. The poor of Britain had the best access to healthcare and education in the world. Leftists love to trot out figures about how short life expectancy was and how poor literacy was, but of course the 1870’s would look bad compared to the 21st century. Compared to other developed nations of the time, Britain was leagues ahead.

    The justification for the welfare state simply does not wash.

  • Jaded, your first two paragraphs just went straight to my Facebook page. Very well said.

  • guy herbert

    They aren’t quite true however. In the 19th century the workhouses, and before them outdoor relief of various kinds were not funded by voluntary donations. They were paid for by local taxation.

    There was however much more charity, relatively speaking. And a good deal of mutual aid.

    It were truer to say that the development of the welfare state in Britain is a long and complicated story, and that the trouble didn’t really get started till it had recruited and started to serve the interests and aims of the various various professional cadres of social, educational and health policy.

  • Jaded Libertarian

    I stand corrected, Guy. Truthfully I was thinking more of free hospitals founded by the wealthy, or the free schooling provided by some mill owners. But you are right, state workhouses took (some) of their income from tax.

    Taxation was definitely a much smaller part of the picture however.

    Many 19th century philanthropists voluntarily took it upon themselves to care for the poor and the sick, frequently doing a better job than the state ever could.

    Charity voluntarily given always goes further than taxes forcibly extracted.

  • Guy, I wrote ‘the first two’, not ‘the last’ – I don’t know nearly enough history to even contemplate commenting on it.

  • John W

    Yes, the Entitlement Crisis(Link) is a moral crisis not an economic crisis.

  • Brad

    People can’t face the harsh realities of the function between production and consumption. So they hire middle men into whom they can invest faith. Once that faith is invested, double standards blossom between what a citizen can do and what the hired agent can do (like use offensive Force). It’s not so amazing, just disheartening how much evil is unleashed because people can’t face the basic realities of life.

  • Paul Marks

    Penn Jillette is correct.

    And Guy Herbert has done well to point out his words.

  • Laird

    Good quote. Leftists have what I call “a political philosophy based on theft”. They hate hearing that.