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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

Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.

– via Bernard Goldberg

17 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Linda Morgan

    – nor to the intellectually remote who cheered their folly as an expedient to America’s systemic collapse. (Scroll to 02:55 comment, if you are so inclined.)

  • I think anyone who voted for Romney or Obama was voting for collapse, so I am very much inclined to Mencken’s take on the joys of democracy.

    If you think a vote for the absurd Romney was any less of a vote for the darkness than a vote for the ghastly Obama, then allow me to direct you to the closest mirror and invite you to coldly stare your enemy in the face.

    Please report back who blinked first.

    People were given the choice between statism and statism and so they voted for statism, all the time pretending it actually matters what kind of bread you serve with a shit sandwich. The fact this seems unclear to perhaps the majority of voters means system has probably entered the stage of terminal decline and I can only hope that system’s decline does not also indicate the terminal decline of the civilisation. I am in two minds on that score.

    So I think all that remains to trying to see how things might best be arranged to improve the chances of a better world on the other side of the collapse of the greatest Ponzi scheme in human history… and a Romney win did not strike me as one of those things, hence my preference for the Greater Evil so that Mencken’s adage might get applied as fully as possible to as many people as possible with hopefully salutary effects.

  • “The sounds that now came from the dock-worker’s lips were as follows: Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah-nagl fhtagn.

    This Dr. Shrewsbury readily translated as: “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.

    For why choose the lesser evil…

  • Regional

    The sheeple have to feel morally superior when receiving largess otherwise they’d be twitter and bisted

  • Jaded Voluntaryist


    I viewed the latest election as an indication of a rather worrying threshold being crossed in the United States. It is a threshold that was crossed in Britain at least 30 years ago.

    The consumers finally outnumber the producers. Once any nation enters this demographic mode democracy becomes a liability rather than an advantage.

    The consumer class is now large enough to continually vote itself free stuff paid for by the producing class. This in turn will cause the consuming class to grow ever more while the producing class shrinks, accelerating the trend.

    The election of Obama marked the beginning of a chain reaction which if left unchecked will result in the total destruction of everything that made America great. Obama is not the cause of this reaction, he is the symptom of the underlying disease.

  • Richard Thomas

    Jaded, unfortunately, a Romney win would not have helped since he made it quite clear during one of the debates that he had no intentions other than to rearrange the deck chairs on the titanic. The failure here is really in the GOP selection process or the voters who selected him.

    With that said, I think the GOPs failure to attain the presidency was more about social than economic issues. The GOP is, rightly or not (and I suspect rightly, to a large degree) perceived as the party of rich old white straight(publicly) men. That’s a hard hole to dig yourself out of and may not be possible at all. Cleaving themselves to the Christian coalition was a long-term strategery failure.

    The big shame is probably that the GOP didn’t implode immediately after the election, leaving room for something with a friendlier face to take its place. I’ve no idea what that might be though, the Libertarian party has attracted enough nutjobs to have serious credibility problems of its own.

  • Richard Thomas

    Oh I dunno Richard. Until recently white conservative Christians pretty much were middle America, so it’s not unreasonable for a party to use them as its core. The old fashioned protestant work ethic did a lot for America, but that no longer seems to be the dominant ideology inside or outside of the Christian community.

    I’m troubled by the fiscal profligacy of both presidential candidates being an indication that America has crossed the bridge from “let me keep what I earn” politics to “where’s my free stuff” politics.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Huh that’s weird – the above post was by me in reply to Richard……

    Probably my fault, been working late.

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  • RRS

    Did somebody recently post here:

    it’s the electorate, dimwits

    But beyond that, is a more serious consideration of what forces have led to the changes in the motivations of the American electorate over the past 100 years.

    Has it been ever-increasing urbanization; the increased difficulties of protecting individual interests without coalitions of interests; the failures of assimilation in immigrations; the general stagnation of Western civilization following a period of extensive conflict without reason?.

    Perhaps Nietzsche was onto something when he observed that “death” of the concept of God, or of some prevailing ideology that supports principle over interest, can be a prevailing factor in the decline of the social orders that make up a civilization, and therefore predict the decline of that civilization.

    What we are observing today is a continuing evidence of what began over 100 years ago.

  • veryretired

    Huge topic, obviously, so this is thumbnail only—

    People are not obsessed with politics. They worry about what is in front of them every day, not esoteric questions, even those that are critical in the long term.

    Also, most people believe what they have been taught in church and school, they believe the nightly news is really factual and informative, they believe the talk around the shop or market or bar and want to fit in.

    They can’t imagine that these apocalyptic predictions about the economy should be taken seriously anymore than all the other “sky is falling” stuff they have heard for decades.

    I reject the snide, condescending tone of so many who refer to the citizenry as fools or sheeple or some other snotty characterization, especially as the name-callers always carefully distance themselves from their fellow citizens, who are always beneath their lofty position.

    Finally, it is painfully obvious that the selections of candidates from the allegedly conservative party are not conservative at all, but part of a long line of big government east coast “rockefeller republicans” who are just as afraid of, and hostile towards, the small government ethos of the tea party element as the current regime and its followers are.

    The missing numbers in the vote totals for this election are very much a part of the reaction from grass-roots conservative/libertarian people that there just wasn’t anyone at the national level to vote for, so they didn’t.

    The major element in this election, and much of our cultural/social life, is the extreme political influence of the traditional media and education, both of which heavily favor statist/collectivist positions on nearly every significant issue.

    When you bombard ordinary people with a continuous message every day, from all sides and on every issue, they will begin to make the elements of that message their default positions on political and social issues.

    The most important elections, from that perspective, are school boards, and state and county offices that fund and monitor education.

    Anyway, that’s enough. The world has not ended, and tomorrow is another day in the fight. I am not interested is despair or surrender, only liberty, and its preservation and renewal.

  • Richard Thomas

    I would suggest that anyone that blames the electorate spend a few hours trawling the Wikipedia articles on the various different electoral schemes and the wildly different outcomes they can produce. Not that I’m advocating any in particular (Though I do have a favorite) but consider the implications.

    The systems we have are flawed, perhaps inevitably. They work, after a fashion, for a while but they have certain factors in them which operate as a positive feedback loop causing parts to grow out of control like a cancer. We have no immune system to deal with this, no solution no answer. The prognosis is not good. The host can only die.

  • CaptDMO

    “…spend a few hours trawling the Wikipedia articles..”
    Now that THC is O.K. (in some places), can’t I just learn what to think from Twitter (et al.) on my iPad IX, while I drop off the kids at school on the way to my job at the Nuclear Power plant?

  • RRS

    V T R & Sir Richard,

    it’s not a question of “blaming” or demeaning the electorate.

    It is the issue of how this situation has come to be and what it portends for the future of the forms of representative governments that exist in the “developed” world.

    The changes in the composition of the electorates, the past 50 year history of constituency builders, who have parlayed the separation of interests from principles to build a political class, and all the elements which contribute to the detachment of so much of the public from which the electorate is drawn from the exercise and control of political power, all need to be considered frankly and disinterestedly.

  • veryretired

    RRS—I agree, which is why I specifically mentioned educational reform, and the corruption of the media from an independent critical force to a group of advocacy agents and syncophants kissing up to the current regime.

    This will be a long, dirty, difficult task. We need a long term view, and a determined, long-term strategy.

    Politics reflect culture, and education and mass media have an inordinate influence on how the culture views important questions of public policy, especially economics.

    The progressive viewpoint has been building its dream country piece by piece over the past century, and we are approachig the critical end phase of the blue social model, as has been so keenly described by Prof Mead in a series of articles.

    The idea that this election, or any event, somehow closes the door on any possible reform or recovery is delusional nonsense.

    I get tired of all the drama queens and their endless laments about the stupidity of people and that all hope is lost now that this election didn’t go the way they wanted.


  • Paul Marks


    The numbers (the cold pityless numbers) indicate that reform is close to impossible NOW.

    The liabilities are simply too large and the number of dependents too many.

    Perhaps if Romney was a saint and hero (and a Perry has indicated he was not) he might have pulled off reform.

    But Cloward and Piven Obama does not even want to roll back government and restore traditional civil society – quite the opposite.

    This is the first time I can remember disagreeing with you – but to expect reform in after January 2017?

    No the numbers will have gone too far into the red by then – and so will everything else.

    As for the people?

    So they voted for Comrade Barack in 2008 because they thought he was “cool” (without doing any real research into the man) and now they have RELECTED him in 2012.

    That shows a population that is such a low intellectual and cultural level…….

    Well the government schools and the mass media (Hollywood, pop “music”, the television networks…..) have clearly done their work.

    Why should anyone care about this modern population?

    They are not the children of the Founding Fathers.

    They are the children of the Frankfurt School.

    “Turn on, tune in, and drop out”.

    That is their motto.