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

If conservative Republicans can’t understand that fewer people want to associate with them because they lied when they said they favored a government that did less and spent less, nothing can save the party of Lincoln from eventual receivership. And if liberal Democrats can’t fully grasp that voters are turned off not by the color of Obama’s skin but by the failure of his presidency, they too will continue to see fewer and fewer people marching under their banner.

Nick Gillespie

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Perry Metzger

    I think that’s incorrect. Tribalism seems to be the primary force behind political affiliation, not reason, and the parties need not have even remotely reasonable positions to have large numbers of followers. Even if the parties have no positions whatsoever they’ll get adherents. For those that don’t believe this, I suggest reading up on the Nika Riots, in which vast numbers of people were killed and the Byzantine Empire was nearly brought down by partisans of different chariot race teams.

    The first species just barely smart enough to be able to start a technological civilization was going to do it. Our minds are still, in most ways, best adapted to living in small hunter gatherer bands, where there is no need to think very deeply about large scale economic or political issues. Perhaps, someday, our successors will do better.

  • Demographics is destiny

    What’s killing the GOP is demographics. The Democrat party has defined its foundation as non-white. As America becomes less white the Democrat party wins. Look at California. That’s the future of America. A one party state. A one party non-white state.

    Its not the first time demography has fundamentally changed a society. It won’t be the last.

  • Alisa

    Heh – wrong thread, Demographica.

  • Robert

    “Our minds are still, in most ways, best adapted to living in small hunter gatherer bands, where there is no need to think very deeply about large scale economic or political issues.”

    It is our ability to identify with abstract ideas that makes the rule of law, and markets involving millions of participants possible. Very few people think these things through systematically, and nobody thinks them through from first principles. In everyday life people obey the law because of a feeling that it would be wrong not to, and we want to see criminals punished because of a visceral desire to hurt those who offend the ideals we identify with, not because of a reasoned consideration of the trade-offs needed to form a stable society. This is exactly the same instinct that makes people have a tribal identification with a political party, or a sports team; or a religion or a race.

  • veryretired

    The US is long overdue for a major political re-alignment or restructuring.

    Several political parties have risen, been important players for a time, and then faded away as their relevance to changing issues became unclear.

    During the 20th century, there were shifts in the demographics of the major parties, and several minor parties have flirted with elements of the electorate, but the main parties have been able to reinvent themselves enough to stay in control.

    My personal feeling is that the next few elections will result in a remaking of the republican party as an ever more tea party influenced entity, while the democratic party becomes more and more openly social democratic in the european style.

    The extreme economic problems that loom on the horizon, and have been building under both parties for decades, will eventually cause the type of political crisis that will disintegrate one party or the other.

    I do not, as some here have in the past, hope for calamitous times, as I do not believe the fear generated by catastrophe will result in a freer and more open social structure, but will probably produce a more statist and authoritarian system, as our past experiences have demonstrated, especially in the depression/WW2 period.

    The legacy of the great society is bankruptcy and tribalistic identity politics.

    These are the two great threats to a recovering classically liberal society. The only path that can lead to national survival is the rediscovery of individual liberty as the primary component of the social order.

  • RRS

    VR comes closest to expressing the underlying nature of the developments.

    The functions of parties (composites of “factions’) in the U S, and from what I can understand, in the U K as well, has changed at an accelerating rate since 1913 – 1918.

    One way to consider the changes and their effects is to ask:
    What are now the functions of political parties?

    Do parties still function to provide representation of principles in representative governments?

    Or; do parties now function to aggregate the representation of particular interests?

    That is, “Through which party, organized on what basis, can we best advance our particular interest through the mechanisms of government?”

    Is there any remaining concern to organize parties on the basis of what principles might best serve our particular interests?

    Probably not.

  • Westrelyman

    The only path that can lead to national survival is the rediscovery of individual liberty as the primary component of the social order.

    I agree but unfortunately the last time it happened there was a revolution and a war. The USA was born and they only just won their independence. Over time their wonderful experiment has been destroyed by competing vested interests. Are we ever likely to see another revolution in a modern western nation? Not unless people are actually starving and have no TV to watch.

  • Laird

    If the economy truly collapses, as many of us believe is inevitable, we will have another opportunity to press the “reset” button and start over. Disasters tend to produce that result, as discussed here. The real question is whether we will move in the direction of more freedom or less. History tends to favor the latter direction.

  • Paul Marks

    To be fair to George Walker Bush he never did promise a government that did less and spent less.

    Actually he promised the opposite – a government that did more (Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind….) and spent more. This was the new (actually rather old – because Richard Nixon did also) “Compassionate Conservatism”.

    In office Bush also showed (after 9/11) his Woodrow Wilson side (under the prodding of Mr Blair – who had the idea first, yes it was more Bush as Blair’s poodle than the other way round…), by assuming that spreading democracy to the Middle East would solve all problems.

    Democracy does not always work very well – if it did then Roosevelt would have been swept from office in 1936, instead he was relected by a landslide (hard to blame that mess on “demographics” it was an overwhelmingly white population, indeed I think that Alfred Landon took the majority of what black vote there was).

    It also ignores the Islam factor – but those noted Islamic theologians (Blair and Bush) say that Islam is wonderful, so that is O.K. then.

    Back to domestic policy….

    As Senator Demint (a Republican who really was elected on a lower spending, less regulating government platform) pointed out (in his book “Saving Freedom”) it much harder to say “no” to a President of your own party than it is to a President of the other party.

    For a start the media can (and do) play the “even Bush” card.

    “Even Bush supports……… so how can you oppose it?” you must be a heartless space monster who eats poor people for breakfast.


    Well DeMint actually likes him (no accounting for taste) – and he does have a record for trying to cut costs, both as a manager and as a (one term) Governor.

    Paul holds head in hands and tries to think of something else nice to say, fails, and moves on….

    The Dems?

    Of course they know they that opposition to Comrade Barack as not based on his race – but they are LIARS so that is what they say.

    Lying is hardly confined to Dems – after all a noted “Free Banking” economist recently wrote that ALL banks do is “put the savings of people to work” (all borrowing is 100% from savings – no credit expansion) and the ONLY reason that interest rates fall is if there is a rise in savings (people do not resort to credit expansion to offer “money” at a interest rate lower than savers would demand – oh dear me no, perish the thought).

    A paid propagandist for the banks would hesitate to lie so blatently, but that did not stop George Selgin. And none of his young students turned their backs on the man (at least, not as far as I know).

    Lying WORKS – as long as a person lies BLATENLY (big lies work better than little ones) and WITHOUT SHAME.

    A Dem complaining about racism against poor Barack will look you straight in the eye (he or she may even squeeze out a tear from their own eye and crack their voice with emotion).

    Does it work with someone who is paying close attention to the facts?

    Of course not.

    But elections do not depend on people like that.

    Anyway let us turn to more optomistic matters…

    The polls have closed in Texas Primary – and Ted Cruz is going to win.

    I am as hostile to the pro subsidize illegal immigrant court judgements as anyone.

    I detest things like the 1982 Supreme Court judgement that somehow produced a right to “free” (taxpayer financed) education for people who were not even in the United States legally.

    Of course the obvious way round that was to get rid of “free” education for anyone at all – then one could not be accused of “discriminiation”, but that is just me getting on my libertarian….. (but then I am a libertarian – so why should I not do that?). Ditto for all the other government benefits….

    Be all that as it may – the United States is more hispanic by the day.

    And even if Texas left the Union tomorrow, it would still be more hispanic by the day.

    But why should hispanic mean Californian leftist hispanic.

    After all in Mexico itself the candidate of the left (the Obama type Obridor – or whatever his name is) has lost election after election.

    “That is because it is rigged against him” – both sides in an important election do whatever they can to win, it is not my fault if the Reds in Mexico are not so good at rigging things as their foes.

    In the United States there are plenty of conservative people of Mexican ancestry (the Governor of New Mexico springs to mind – and, on some days, the Governor of Nevada).

    So why should a hispanic future mean a leftist future?

    After all if it was GENETIC that Anglo Saxons are conservative and hispanics are leftist, then F.D.R. would have got nowhere (and neither would Johnson in 1964).

    And Chile (to give an obvious example) would have a bigger government than the United States – rather than the much more limited government (which is what it has got).

    “But California”.

    Calfornian government is indeed a pile of excrement (even by government standards) and it is a bigger pile of excrement than in most places.

    But although the Governor name is “Brown” actually he is white (and he was white when he messed up California back in the late 1970s – and it was not hispanic votes that gave him the election back then) as are most of his fellow senior Dems.

    Perhaps Californian Republicans should actually try some hispanic candidates.

    Not the white “moderates” (read big business types) they put up for U.S. Senate and Governor last time.

    The average hispanic voter (if there is such a thing) is deeply religious, hostile to feminism (even if female) and hates abortion.

    These do not appear to be automatically Dem voters to me.

    What have they got in common with the San Francisco crowd (Nancy Pelosi and co) that run the Dems?

  • veryretired

    We are in the midst of a significant series of changes in political/military/economic alignments around the world.

    Trends so deeply transformative don’t happen quickly, but build over time, even if the final step seems sudden, as in the fall of the soviet empire.

    In much of the world, a variation of feudal autocracy is emerging as the primary organizing principle, with Russia, China, and Venezuela as the most prominent current examples.

    The EU is attempting to move down this path, but has not consolidated it’s power over the constituent states sufficiently to gain the level of control the ruling tranzi elites desire.

    In the US, we have been flirting with an oligarchy of the connected, which is a more amorphous group than the party members and factional elements in the countries mentioned, but which has all the desires toward autocracy of any committed feudal aristocracy, but has been blocked here and there by legal and social restraints built into the constitutional republican system of federated states.

    Part of the fundamental transformation the current regime and its collectivist supporters are seeking is to circumvent all the safeguards and institute a totally national system in all significant policy areas, cutting out any other power centers, either legal or regional.

    When the traditional aristocratic order that had ruled much of the world collapsed in the early part of the 20th century, an extended period of experimentation with other forms and ruling ideologies circled the globe.

    We are approaching the end game of the blue statist model so artfully described by Prof Mead in several of his articles, and analyzed elsewhere from various viewpoints running from the progressive to the strict constitutionalist.

    The future will belong to that organizing idea which is the most consistently articulated by its proponents, and which can bring the most positive results to the average citizen in order to lead people out of the chaotic upheavals which are almost certain to follow the looming economic problems that the over-extended social welfare state cannot hope to resolve by maintaining the conventional political wisdom of the new deal/great society mindset.

    Liberty and respect for individual rights is the only organizing principle which can deliver what it promises, i.e., increased freedom and expanding economic well-being.

    Collectivism, no matter how prettily wrapped and enticingly sold, can only result in what has already occurred around the world—declining economic well-being and increasingly restricted human freedom.

    An apple tree cannot suddenly grow oranges, and the poisonous fruit of collectivism cannot suddenly transform itself into a nutritious meal.

    Reality will not be denied. It is up to those who understand the meaning of human liberty, and its necessity for human prosperity, to make the case which will prevent the re-imposition of another century of social calamity based on collectivist illusions and inhuman ideologies.

    We hold the future in our hands, as surely as we hold our children and grandchildren in our arms, and they will live or die based on our success or failure in this critical task.

    What other issue is so worthy of our dedication, our total devotion, as this?

  • Paul Marks