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 long quote of the day

“On the basis of economic theory and historical experience, the life expectancy of a societal model with 50 percent or more government control over the economy does therefore not look promising. The taxing, resources-consuming state-parasite must constantly weaken and sooner or later kill the productive and wealth-creating market-host. When does this happen? Well, we are about to find out, as we are now all part of some gigantic real-life experiment, bravely conducted by the current policy establishment in Europe and elsewhere at our own expense and that of our children. Across the EU, the share of government spending in the economy is already around 50 percent, depending whose numbers you believe. If we could account for regulation and interventionist legislation, the state’s grip on economic decision-making is certainly larger. To call such an economy capitalist is a joke, albeit perhaps not as cruel a joke as the one the economy itself, with its persistently anaemic performance, is playing on the Keynesian economists and their ridiculous clamour for ever more government spending to boost ‘aggregate demand’.”

Detlev Schlichter, making a point that needs hammering home. What we have in the West, right now, is a million miles from laissez faire capitalism.

7 comments to Samizdata long quote of the day

  • You could have simply quoted the whole article. It’s exceptionally clear and well argued, as are DS’s responses to his commenters.

  • It is often said that George Orwell wrote 1984 as a warning, whereas various governments have read it as a manual for the surveilance state.

    However, the great truth is that many of the parodies of government intervention, cronyism and theft portrayed in Ayn Rands “Atlas Shrugged” were considered to be far fetched, yet every day we see governments go out of there way to parody the government of “Atlas Shrugged”.

    I’m sure if we look hard enough we will find that the “Anti dog-eat-dog Act” has already been passed, except it will have been given some fancy acronym like “War Against Market Monopoly Operators” or WAMMO!

    Fortunately, government largess is a road which has an end as at some point the paper money collapse is inevitable. The downside to this is that lots of ordinary people who have put their faith and money in the government are going to realise how short-changed they have been.

    There will be deaths – unfortunately, the majority of them will NOT be those responsible for this situation.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes – when I hear on the BBC (or see on the front page of the Financial Times) about a “crises of capitalism” or “even the British right having doubt about laissez faire” – I think the same thoughts as J.P. and the comment people on this post.

    What “laissez faire”? This (the modern West) is intensely statist and interventionist.

    Historically no society has survived long (let alone prospered) with this level of statism.

    Even modern technlogy will not save the West for long.

    It has alweady fallen (ideologically) now we are just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  • veryretired

    I am a short term pessimist, as I believe we are clearly facing some very tough issues both socially and economically, but a long term optimist.

    If the reaction against the burgeoning debt and endless spending of the out-of-control state continues from the 2010 elections into the 2012 cycle, and beyond, then some of the damage might be ameliorated by new legislators at all levels who are actually committed to reducing the size and funding of the state.

    This will, of course, engender an outraged response from the statist/collectivist axis, and there will be all sorts of protest across the spectrum from symbolic to violent.

    It could very well be that the collectivist/green partnership has pushed out too far on the denying energy front, and will be injured by the keystone issue, as well as their other obstructive actions and legislation.

    I just read an article today that stated there is a new field in California that is bigger in potential than the Bakken field in the Dakotas. The continuing discoveries in energy production are devastating to the “peak oil” crowd, and the massive deposits of natural gas undercut much of their anti-coal/oil arguments when they claim the only alternative is subsidized solar et al.

    Energy, in the final analysis, is the key to all else. With it, the economy, and the technical advances necessary to maintain it, are not only possible but almost certain. If the coming elections are a severe enough reprimand against the anti-energy crowd, the pols who are obstructing any developments they can will wither on the vine.

    There is a lot of contemptuous CW about the American people, i.e., that they’re foolish and stupid and ignorant and so on, but a moment’s reflection gives the lie to these snide assertions.

    When the citizenry gets sufficiently aroused, as they are about the increasing debt, and high energy prices, among other issues, they will take that indignation to the polls and defeat anyone who gets on the wrong side of those issues.

    One more point needs to be made about the whole question of where we choose to go in these next few critical elections. The msm has expended any credibility they might have had, and their open, and increasingly hysterical, biases have greatly lessened their influence with the public.

    They, and the pols they serve, can no longer control the narrative as they once did.

    Finally, the recent fiasco over the SOPA legislation clearly makes the statement that the internet is now the heavyweight in the ring, and other sectors have much less clout than they have been used to wielding.

    The touchy individualism of those connected to the world through the web bodes very well indeed for the nature of their future reactions to the endless predations of the leviathon state.

    All in all, we have some real hope that the future holds solutions instead of political doubletalk and collectivist nonsense.

  • Paul Marks

    I hope you are correct veryretired.

    The resources are indeed there (including the “Rare Earths” that China now has de facto monopoly on – alternative supplies DO exist, they are just blocked by the Greens).

    The problem is POLITICAL – not resouce based.

    Indeed the problem is more specific than “political” – the problem is the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

    Without that – then crazy States like California would have to change their ways.

    Presently the difference in business taxation and regulation between California and (for example) South Dakota, is not so important as the vast weight of FEDERAL taxes and regulations imposed on enterprises (apart from politically connected ones of course) in BOTH California and South Dakota – and everywhere else.

    Get rid of the current Federal government (two thirds of the States could call a Convention and totally transform the Federal govenrment – WITHOUT the consent of Congress or the President) and everything changes.

    “What about Britain?”.

    Sadly there is no point is discussing the United Kingdom – apart from in historical terms.

  • veryretired

    Paul, politics are but a reflection of the state of the social culture, a symptom of a larger condition.

    Too many people who require liberty for their existence to function as they would wish have not taken the time to learn about and defend it in any sophisticated manner.

    We have allowed the collectivist camp to claim any number of roles that they have no natural right to inhabit, i.e., compassionate, intellectual, complex, etc., while never demanding that they own their extensive failures and falsehoods.

    I believe in the slow, generational movement of ideas through a culture. The founders of our nation understood how dangerous the imperious state could be.

    It took several generations for that concern to fade, and eventually be overshadowed by the progressive lie that the state was our friend.

    I believe that the evidence of how utterly wrong and foolish that latter fantasy was, and is, is finally coming to be understood by a significant and growing segment of the public.

    As I have said many times, the process of stopping the expansion of the state, and then reducing its size, power, scope, and revenue, will take an extended, disciplined effort by those committed to liberty.

    To paraphrase a very trenchant observation made some time ago regarding another cultural conflict, it may require one drop of sweat from those pursuing freedom for every drop of sweat shed over the decades by those pursuing the collective agenda, and just as much time.

    As for the idea of a constitutional convention, I am afraid I would not recommend any attempt to replace the current structure, regardless of its flaws, with something created by the attitudes and unformed good intentions of the current crop of alleged civic elites.

    I agree with Instapundit that the leadership group in our country, and the west in general, must be the worst we have seen since the 1930’s.

    And we all know how well that bunch arranged things, don’t we?

  • Paul Marks


    I agree that politics is (in the end) determined by ideas (not just interests).

    If most people have good ideas (reasoned beliefs) then, in the end (and with a lot of hard work) there will be less bad politics.

    People can understand what is for the best in the long term – their brains are capable of this.


    The education system and the media work to undermine the natural ability of the human mind – by filling it with nonsense (and undermining the very ability to reason).

    Show me a nation where most people have good reasonned beliefs and that is a place that will prosper.

    No matter if has no water – if it is just a barren rock.

    If the people there think rightly – they will survive and they will (eventually) prosper.

    Whereas a nation that has every natural resource in the world…..

    If the people there have bad beliefs – they will, eventually, starve.

    And Hayek was wrong.

    There is no subitute for actually understanding matters.

    A MINDLESS tradition will not do – for statist ideology (statist IDEAS) will sweep it away (by promising the Moon and Stars).

    Only reasonned beliefs stand any chance of defeating statism.

    Saying “that is not the way we have traditionally done things” is, in the end, no defence.