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

“I keep telling you fellows I don’t like to do this sort of thing.  I can think of nothing more boring, for the American public, than to have to sit in their living rooms for a whole half hour looking at my face on their television screens…  I don’t think the people want to be listening to a Roosevelt, sounding as if he were one of the Apostles, or the partisan yipping of a Truman.”

– Former President Eisenhower, via PowerLine. That whole paragraph is deadly.

It is hard to imagine a less narcissistic POTUS than “Ike”. It is often the way with those who have boasted genuine achievements. As for the current occupant of the White House…

13 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Tedd

    A key moment in the development of my political thinking was when I discovered that Ike was the creator of the phrase “military-industrial complex” (or the popularizer of it, anyway). That intrigued me, as it did not seem to fit the image of Ike I had gleaned from the media, which lead me to re-examine my impressions of political figures, in general. It did not take long to realize that my impressions of political figures of the past were largely based on how they were portrayed by the media and entertainment industry, and that there was a very strong correlation between the party the politician represented and how he or she was portrayed. I know this seems obvious now, but it was a long time ago, and I was young and naive.

    So I have a soft spot for Ike, not so much for who he really was, but for what he represents to me: the lifting of the veil through which the media and entertainment industry wanted me to see the world.

  • RRS

    Ah! But we have progressed since then.

    We have progressed to the point that we now have “phony scandals” from a phony administration headed by a phony president.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    One of the interesting things about Ike is that in high school he was renowned as a bare-knuckle brawler. After he was commissioned he spent his post-commissioning leave in Abilene, and went around offering to give his vanquished high school opponents another shot at beating him (nobody took him up). Not exactly the avuncular fuddy-duddy of popular lore.

  • Paul Marks

    It is always the same speech.

    Real scandals (with dead human beings) described as “phony” scandals – and then the nonsense economics.

    Rising inequality denounced – without any mention of the monetary expansion by the Federal Reserve that has caused it (that a “cheap money” policy creates rising inequality has been known since at least the tine of Richard Cantillon in the 1700s), and demands for yet more government spending – on every refuted idea (from “Head Start” to an “Infrastructure Bank”) that collectivist idiots always come out with.

    Does Comrade Barack really believe in this stuff? Or is it just a game?

  • RickC

    I remember years ago reading a bio of Jim Thorpe, the Native American athlete (still the all time greatest in my mind). One of the chapters that stuck with me covered the game in which Carlisle, Thorpe’s school, went up against West Point, which in those days was a powerhouse. If I recall correctly, Ike was the team captain for WP. IIIRC though, Thorpe’s team pulled an upset, mostly through Thorpe’s heroics.

    Ike seems to be one of those rare men who mostly let his actions and accomplishments speak for him. What need for posturing would someone who lived life like Eisenhower require?

  • Pat McCan

    I grew up in San Bernardino, CA. After Ike left public life, he lived summers in Gettysburg, PA and wintered in Palm Springs CA. Ike would fly to LA, then take a train to Palm Springs and the train would go through town. Even in the late ’60’s, large crowds would great him at the stop over.

  • veryretired

    Ike was President when I grew up, and I always felt very favorably towards him, as children commonly do toward public, heroic figures.

    However, my family was blue collar FDR democrats, as was I until LBJ destroyed any illusions I might have had about politicians.

    Looking back on the shambles of the last half of the 20th century, and the first decade plus of this one, Ike’s reasonably calm and successful administration stands out even more starkly in comparison to the truncated, scandal ridden, and outright failed terms of his successors.

    If I am cynical about politics and pols, it is not because a less than perfect general once sat in the Oval office, but that the usual occupants, including the leader of the current regime, are so pathetically corrupt and crazed with lust for power, among other obvious lusts which have been so well documented.

    When all these lust-filled weasels have been cleared from the hen house, then, perhaps, one might have some confidence in the political process and its practitioners.

    Sadly, it will require the labors of Hercules over generations to achieve that worthy end.

    The book says, “You will not know the day, nor the hour…”

    Each of us, man and woman, will face a moment when we will have an opportunity to advance the cause of liberty another step, and reduce the siren’s song of collectivism by one more note.

    An unknown electrician with a bullhorn climbs up on a car, or a mild-mannered playwright composes letters from his captivity, or a black minister sends letters out from his jail cell, and somehow, they change the world.

    The threats to individual rights will always be a fact of life, like storms in the spring, or blizzards in the winter, dangers and challenges to be overcome.

    Be ready, and composed in your mind and heart, for you do not know the day, nor the hour.

  • Laird

    “When all these lust-filled weasels have been cleared from the hen house, then, perhaps, one might have some confidence in the political process and its practitioners.”

    I hope you’re not holding your breath, because our political process essentially guarantees that this type of weasel will always hold the Presidency. It’s similar to Groucho Marx’s famous epigram: anyone who wants the job, and is willing to do what it takes to win election, isn’t worthy of having it.

    Ike was an aberration, much like Washington. He was swept into office basically by public acclamation (the Democrats wanted him, too, but in the end he accepted the Republican nomination). And he had nothing to prove, but merely wanted to serve. That can’t be said about any of his successors except, possibly, Reagan. It will be a long time before we see his like again.

  • Jacob

    Eisenhower was also lucky.
    Stalin just died, and Soviet Russia was busy in the succession fight, and disoriented. Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard led Germany on the right path, ignoring the advice of American advisers. The US post-war economy worked fine when Truman canceled all wartime limitations and some of the New Deal era’s too.
    The big problem in the US, racial discrimination, was swept under the carpet, and left for another day.
    The two big foreign policy crises, Hungary’s revolt and the Suez debacle were handled in a very mediocre way.
    So, Eisenhower was lucky, an essential ingredient of any success story. His basic strategy of “just sit there and do nothing” also happens to be a good strategy. I wish the US had more Presidents like him.

  • PersonFromPorlock


    Not really: Regarding racial discrimination, Brown v. Board of Education was decided during his term and Eisenhower sent troops into Little Rock to enforce school desegregation. That’s hardly “swept under the carpet,” even if it didn’t settle the matter.

    Also, Eisenhower was a major player in the development of the Interstate Highway System, one of the most economically significant American government projects in the last sixty years.

  • RRS


    And, if you want see where the term “Affirmative Action” came into use, look for the original directive in the armed forces and who issued it.

  • Rich Rostrom

    RRS: “Affirmative Action”, in its original meaning, was a respectable idea. The point was that institutions had systematically excluded various groups for generations. That exclusion had inertia. So it was not sufficient that these institutions just stop active exclusion. They should take “Affirmative Action” to bring those groups in: publicizing opportunities, soliciting members of those groups, etc.

    Not just unlocking the door, but opening the door and yelling “Come on in!”

    Such measures changed much, but they did not produce equality of outcomes. Thus the malignant transformation to racial and gender quotas.

    Ike was changing an institution where for a century blacks had been automatically consigned to menial duties and enlisted ranks, and which was infested with racists who loathed the idea that a black might ever have authority over a white. “Affirmative Action” was required to break down those entrenched habits.

  • Paul Marks

    Rich Rostrom – “affirmative action” was a mess from the start.

    Look (for example) at what happened in Cornell in the 1960s. Inviting criminal thugs into universities does not stop them being criminal thugs (CONSERVATIVE blacks were not invited in – why not?)

    As for modern times…

    No Michelle Obama did not deserve to go to Princeton.

    Her grades did not warrant it – and the work Michelle produced at Princeton (a hate filled racist piece of garbage) proves the point.

    As for Barack – he certainly did not deserve to go to Columbia or Harvard Law (it was all wire pulling). As for his work at Columbia – we are not allowed to see it, so it can not be judged.

    Walter Williams sums it up.

    “I am glad I got my education before it became fashionable to like black people – because it means that people know my qualifications are real”.

    The qualifications of people like Barack and Michelle Obama are not real.

    And the qualifications of many white people are not real either.

    The education system (at least in the humanities and social sciences) has become corrupt (utterly so) – in both intellectual and moral terms.