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 they figure at all, it is as a group to be derided, reduced to a caricature framed by Boden, Waitrose tempered by Lidl, holidays in France, and a fondness for television box sets. Their dinner-party concerns about finding a good school, a decent house or a good hospital qualify for jokes, little else. The tributes paid to Richard Briers remind us that, at best, the middle classes are an object of gentle ribbing, but seldom to be admired as the shock troops of economic recovery. Instead, politics has been reduced to an argument over how best to clobber the wealthy in order to help the poor, two small groups who attract a disproportionate amount of attention from politicians.

Ben Brogan

Of course, it would be refreshing if we could just talk about people as individuals rather than as members of classes at all.

4 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I never know what social class I am, so all this talk of middle class, working class and “the wealthy” confuses me.

    I grew up in a lower middle class dormitory town. My father was variously a quality engineer, a company director and a business owner. There were times when we were “wealthy”. Then my father gave all that up to become a carer for my grandmother, and later when she developed terminal cancer, my mother. Then we were “poor”.

    Now grown up I live in a housing association property and am dependant on state handouts for approximately half my income. We have an OK place now, but I have lived next door to heroin addicts and drug dealers in the last 10 years. But, I have a masters level education and will shortly finish a PhD.

    If you could tell me what social class I am I’d be grateful, because I haven’t the foggiest.

  • veryretired

    When the world consisted of the rulers and the ruled, and all that anyone had was held subject to the whim of the king, including life itself, there was no middle class of any consequence.

    But, when trade and manufacture began to rival land as a source of wealth, and when that wealth allowed the non-aristocrat to buy political influence, as well as social and religious influence, at a level that threatened the elites, then one sees an explosion of interest in the newly discovered middle class, both positive and negative.

    As it turns out, regardless of all the disdain by artistic poseurs, alleged intellectuals and disgruntled aristocrats, the rising group of farmers, tradesman, and business owners who compose the commercial class soon show themselves to be a truly revolutionary element in society, just as their critics secretly feared all along.

    And by revolutionary, I mean needing, causing, and bringing about real societal changes, not just a violent group who replaces one tyrant with some other of a different flavor.

    The American experiment has long been derided, and underestimated by many opponents, for being an invention of farmers and shopkeepers, merchants and tradesmen, and, from the right, sneered at by the nobility for lacking the proper bloodlines, and from the left, hated because commerce was placed above heady political theorizing and utopian dreaming.

    The American public has traditionally identified itself as middle class by wide majorities, with 80 to 90% describing themselves that way, almost regardless of actual income. Whether the term has any true meaning anymore, such as the outdated use of right and left as political identifiers, most people here feel that it is a desirable place to be.

    A key element in the underlying definition of being a member of the middle class is an assumption of options available, and a capacity for independent choice as regards the path of one’s life.

    It is the latter, of course, which inspires such virulent hatred on the part of the stasis seeking nobility, and also from the collectivist ideologue, for whom individual choice is a sin that must be eradicated at all costs.

    Why do I use the term revolutionary?

    Because the middle class man is not satisfied with simply doing what has always been done, and the middle class woman demands continuous improvement, not only for her own life, but for her children and grandchildren.

    The middle class lives and breathes aspirations—in education, careers, living conditions, and every possible way they can envisage some room for improvement.

    The collapsing blue model is bringing with it a terrible lesson to those who agreed to trade their choices for the alleged security of being cared for by the collective. Their aspirations are collapsing right along with the model, and they see their own lives blocked by forces they cannot understand, and their children’s’ futures forfeit to a collectivist promise that cannot be kept.

    The utopian dream goes twinkling into the night, taking with it all the false hopes and promises that life could be lived in safety as a member of a herd, instead of the uncertainty of an independent entity.

    The greatest lie of all, that the individual is a threat, while the collective is benign, is once again being exposed for new generations to confront, and, hopefully, comprehend as the terrible falsehood that it is.

    There is the future of the human race, lying in the gutter where the bankrupt ideologues of the collective have discarded it.

    Pick it up.

  • Laird

    Well said, VR. Thanks.

  • Snorri Godhi

    It must have been only 10 to 15 years ago that I read in The Economist that most “social” spending is tax money from the middle class, going back to the middle class. Have things changed so quickly? In the US, apparently yes; but elsewhere?