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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

If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

– attributed to James Madison, as quoted here by Rand Paul

9 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • I am unable to find, in the linked text by Rand Paul, the quote of James Madison, nor (even by computer search) the text





    foreign enemy.

    Has the original article been edited since the Samizdata link? Or am I suffering from (triple) ‘finger trouble’?

    Despite this, I am strongly supportive of the concerns raised, both by Perry and by Rand Paul.

    Best regards

  • Andrew

    Nigel, it’s a two page article – the quote is on the second page.

  • Thank you Andrew. I am caught out in careless reading. Though I think my mistake was helped by the last sentence on the first page: “The Bill of Rights became an afterthought.”. That seemed suitably final.

    Going totally off topic, I note the following.

    The text of the first page of this article, authored by Rand Paul (including title, bye-line and spaces), comes out 4,720 characters (bytes). However, a download of the HTML page of the article (including photos, advertising, layout, etc) comes to 4,808,798 (including the 2 Unix/Linux sub-directories occupying 4KB each). Thus, Rand Paul’s words in the article represent less than 0.1% of the total bytes downloaded.

    This reminds me of a long-ago irritation, though for somewhat different reason. That was irritation with the home web page from the (UK) Engineering Institute, that included 78KBytes of ‘wallpaper’. This was, IIRC, in the late 1990s – when I had a dial-up modem with a maximum dates rate of around 28kbits/sec, the wallpaper download therefore taking (assuming no automatic compression within the modem) not less than some 22 seconds.

    And back. Clearly there is no austerity in computer communications bandwidth, and has not been for some time. One must pity NSA and GCHQ in having to sift it all (and the taxpayer funding it): for meaningful enhancement of security.

    Best regards

  • Paul Marks

    The statement is factually incorrect.

    The tyranny of gold confiscation (and the voiding of private contracts) happened in time of peace (although old World War One legislation was used as a pretended cloak of legality for lawless tyranny).

    Nor is the coming bankruptcy really caused by the burdens of war.

    It is caused by a situation where such things as the housing market are government play pens (witness Comrade Barack’s “free market” proposal – end Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and MAKE private banks hand out loans to people who will not pay them back – Community Reinvestment Acts revisited).

    A situation where half of all households have someone on government benefits.

    This is not the 1950s – the United States is not a “functional” society with terrible problems.

    The United States is a radically Dysfunctional – as is Britain and most other Western nations.

    Government actively seeks to CORRUPT people (witness the vast efforts in the United States to get people to sign up for “Food Stamps” and other benefits – with such things as “Mountain Pride” being presented as BAD).

    And it is this coming de facto bankruptcy that will be used as a excuse for tyranny.

    With the cause (statism) being presented as the cure.

    This is what Senator Rand Paul must face.

    He must face people on dependent on government benefits (who will be the clear MAJORITY of voters by 2016) and convince them that the very schemes they depend on are unsustainable.

    It is possible to get people to reject the dependency culture – it really is.

    But only by a fundamental moral restoration – as unlikely as that seems now.

    Only by people really trying to change – not just change laws and taxes, but change THEMSELVES.

    More John Wesley than James Madison.

    Although Randian Objectivists claim the same moral restoration of self reliance and looking reality in the face, without God.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Yes, Paul, I agree. And to pick up from “Only by people trying to change … THEMSELVES”:

    People will NOT work to “change themselves” unless somewhere deep inside them there is a belief in themselves, in their moral worth, and also in the worth of the group of people that they think of as “their society.” A person who truly believes to the depths of his being that he is no damn good, INTRINSICALLY, by his own personal cast-in-stone NATURE, only puts on a hair shirt of shame if he contemplates trying to become “better,” because he feels (not “thinks”) this impossible. The only surcease lies in learning to ignore the stain on his soul and “go with the flow” and try to quit caring at any level beyond (with luck) the most superficial.

    Most of us have blemishes of some sort, but if we realize that they are not the whole Story of Us, we can use our Better Selves to try not to act on the blemishes, and indeed to diminish their blackness and their scope.

    Self-esteem is, if it is anything, the sense one has that one is a sufficiently worthwhile person that there is some point in taking care of oneself.

    And one does pick up a part of that estimate of self-esteem from one’s social interactions and from the surrounding culture — whether some subset of Objectivists*, as well as other “-ists” or “-ans” of various sorts, want to acknowledge that or not.

    This is well understood by Marxoids. “You didn’t build that!” is a direct attempt to undercut the self-valuation of the individual American persons. (Among other things.)

    Thus, people will not act morally unless they believe it is both desirable (self-interest, meaning “enlightened self-interest”) and possible (for them themselves) to do so.

    Though a person may meet a deadly threat with force, lethal force, even if he has no sense of himself as worthy — out of animal instincts for self-preservation. And the same goes for whatever he feels is “his.”


    As Jean-François Revel and many, many others have pointed out, a society that has no moral self-confidence has already been defeated.

    Hence the ongoing propaganda to vilify and shame the U.S., Britain, and Western Civ generally. –Hell, this is pure Alinsky. (Not that he invented it.) “Make the enemy live up to his own principles [and shame him when he, as is inevitable, fails].” It’s practical psychology. Machiavelli understood it and so did Lenin.

    This is why I get very, very angry when I hear alleged “friends,” people who claim to be “libertarians,” engage in tarring the above-named groups of people, whom they indict as proppers-up of rogue or terrorist or worse regimes, for the purpose of pronouncing them No Damn Good. Such people may claim to be in favor of the American project as a great many Americans, at least in “flyover country,” believe it to be; yet they accuse these same people of being insufficiently ideologically pure, and beyond that, they have a loathsome tendency to vilify “America” or “the United States.”

    Although I myself at this point dislike referring to myself or my country as “the U.S.” The U.S. started leaving America behind — so to speak — well over a century ago.

    *Not a swipe at Objectivists per se. In many ways I think of myself as a fellow-traveller.

  • Valerie Smyth

    The statement is factually incorrect.

    Given the context of this, your interminable reply is baloney. The odious Patriot Act is what be being used to hang all the latest shit on to “protect us against the A-Rab terrorists”

  • Julie near Chicago

    Pardon my butting in, but Paul starts thus:

    The statement is factually incorrect.

    The tyranny of gold confiscation (and the voiding of private contracts) happened in time of peace (although old World War One legislation was used as a pretended cloak of legality for lawless tyranny).

    The statement that is “factually incorrect” is, obviously from Paul’s next sentence, the original quote: that “If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

    Paul then points out another, non-foreign-enemy-fighting example of a pretext for tyrannical, illegal governmental action.

    He describes the what he sees as the overriding dangers facing us, and ends by summarizing:

    [I]t is this coming de facto bankruptcy that will be used as a excuse for tyranny.

    The rest is a very brief addendum, which was the springboard for my own near-interminable remarks.

  • mike

    Actually it is both bankruptcy and terrorism (and plenty of other things besides those, e.g. drug-abuse) that are being used as excuses for tyranny. Although the gold confiscation order was signed by Roosevelt in 1933, let’s not forget that this happened more than a decade after Congress signed the Volstead Act.

    The hydra has many heads.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Julie – I tend to prefer the French pro liberty thinkers (few though they are) to the English and German ones, as the French pro liberty thinkers get the basics about the human mind right. The English and German thinkers tend to move on too quickly to the wider world – leaving the individual agent (the individual PERSON) behind.

    Of course Ayn Rand is a great exception to this rule – but then this lady was not a native of the English speaking world.

    I doubt that Hobbes or Hume (Hobbes undermines personhood, agency, with the club of his FALSE reasoning – Hume does it with a polite SNEER) were much liked by Rand.

    And I know the German philosophers were not.

    Somehow the idea of agency (of personhood, of the “I”, – in its Aristotelian form or its Common Sense form) seems to have survived among a few French thinkers.