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

So who are these people, these soi-disant progressives who keep flogging this swill?  They are quite obviously the people who profit  most from it in a variety of ways. Well, I’ll tell you, since I was once one of them.

They are the “Soros Socialists,” successful people who want to stay rich and powerful.  They do this by espousing social programs and making pronouncements, few of which affect them even minimally.  But they have the image of being generous egalitarians and the image is all.  It prevents them (their power and greed) from being scrutinized by others — and even more importantly it can prevent them from scrutinizing themselves.

Roger L. Simon ends his piece (“Back when I was a kid, I used to think Republicans were the party of the rich” is how it starts) whacking the “really rich” people who now spout, and pay for, the continuing progressivist ruination of America.

Let us all hope that there is enough ruination in America for the stupid opinions (personally I have nothing against their “greed” if all that this means is them earning mountains of money by making mountains of great stuff) of this latest generation of plutocrats to be shrugged off.

19 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • M. Thompson

    These days, the ‘rich’ want to ensure they stay rich and nobody else can get there, so they get the state to defend them.

  • Regional

    There’re felchers

  • Julie near Chicago

    I am tempted to say that there are the Naïve Rich, like Mr. Gates, who’ve gotten big heads as a result of their business success and enjoy using their position and their clout according to the canons of their class, to swim in a school of similarly-minded and -status-bearing fish.

    And there are the Amoral Preditors, like Mr. Soros, who see the world as comprised of two types: the eaters and the stock, and became as children one of the former.

    Smart boobs and smart raptors.

    But this is very-long-distance psychologizing, and I’ve never actually dated either one of them.

  • Laird

    Your loss, Julie!

  • Snorri Godhi

    I’m a big fan of the Burton Folsom thesis, that successful business people divide into market entrepreneurs and political entrepreneurs. (“The rich” include in addition people who inherited their wealth.)

    Combined with the folk-Marxist thesis that we all rationalize our class interests, the implication is that the divide of the rich between free-market liberals and social-liberals, largely reflects the divide between market entrepreneurs and political entrepreneurs.

  • John K

    The USA, like all western democracies, has been living beyond its means for decades now, borrowing from the future and issuing fiat currency to pay for a welfare state which cannot be afforded, but cannot be reformed in any meaningful sense. Disaster cannot be avoided, unless millions of people receiving free stuff from the state can be persuaded to vote against their own short term interests, and I cannot see that ever happening. Modern industrial society is only some 200 years old, and the welfare state is only about 100 years old. That is not a long time in the great scheme of things, but the mindset of most people is that they have always existed and always will. I expect many Roman citizens around 400 AD thought the same way. Sad really, it was fun while it lasted.

  • Regional

    The very rich are going to have to hire a lot of goons to protect them and shooting a goon from half a mile away with a high powered rifle, no problem.

  • Paul Marks

    The Soros socialists (the Tides Foundation crowd such as Mr and Mrs Kerry) are dangerous – it is bad enough that taxpayers are forced to subsidise the left (via the education system and so on) without private subsidy as well.

    Are they sincere? Well people like Warren Buffett are not sincere. Mr Buffett is a whore (he will play with anyone who pays – a political “entrepreneur” ), but someone like Mr Soros is a perverted sort of idealist – he really is not in this for the money and will cold blooded lose money for the cause.

    Mr Soros and co are more dangerous. And I repeat that they do not care if they lose money – as long as the cause of evil is served. This sort might as well wear dark cloaks and grow tashes to twists as the tie young ladies to railway tracks.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird, We all have our cross to bear. Fortunately, neither of those two is mine! :>)!

  • Rich Rostrom

    The Soros crowd are not really socialists. They are classical liberals gone bananas.

    One must remember that a large part of early classical liberalism was hostility to oppressive tradition. This included Christian religious supremacy*, white racial supremacy, hereditary power and privilege, and male supremacy.

    Since socialists were also against these things, some liberals decided they were allies. Over time these liberals have absorbed a dose of socialist sensbility, though they reject outright redistribution. This process has been even stronger for those liberals that morphed into “progressives” and embraced the welfare state.

    Many liberals are still intensely phobic about cultural or social tradition. Jews, for instance. Thus they remain wedded to the “progressive” program (and reflexively hostile to anything “conservative”) and sympathetic to socialism.

    *Clayton Cramer has examples of early-U.S. state laws criminalizing blasphemy and requiring every household to have a Bible.

  • Mr Ed

    Rich R you may have a point, explaining what is otherwise hard to fathom. ‘I don’t like, say, the Catholic Church. This Great White Shark just killed a priest paddling at the beach. Sharks are my friend.’

    It is remarkable how rarely people think things through.

  • Rich, that’s very interesting – could you point me to some links on the subject?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Combining Julie’s 1st comment, Paul’s comment, and my 1st comment, the result is a 4-fold classification of the rich:

    * market entrepreneurs faithful to their class interests, eg the Koch brothers.
    * market entrepreneurs who are traitors to their class (and our class), eg Bill Gates (though i don’t know of conclusive evidence in his case).
    * political entrepreneurs who cynically adopt an ideology suiting their class interests, eg Warren Buffett.
    * political entrepreneurs who are also committed ideologues, eg George Soros.

    I note that, first, it is difficult to distinguish between the last 3 groups: how do we know what Bill Gates’ class interests really are? and how do we know whether Soros really believes what he preaches?
    Second, the cynical point of view is that, if Soros really believes what he preaches, then it might be nothing more than a case of believing one’s own propaganda.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Rich: afaik what you say only describes, to a first approximation, the case of the British liberals.

    On the continent, social-liberalism has never really taken off. The market-liberals have had to soften their stance to avoid becoming irrelevant, but in general they have remained the most pro-market parties. EG the lib-lab coalition which governed the Netherlands when i was there, although led by Labor, significantly liberalized the economy.

    In the US, “liberal” is just a label that Progressives found convenient to adopt in the 1930s. It does not imply any continuity from Euro. liberalism; though some continental & British liberals, like the original US progressives, have been influenced by Hegel — i have no idea why.

    Still, this is just my narrative, based on scant information: mostly Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism for the US, mostly wikipedia for Britain if i recall correctly.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Snorri–If it helps, when I said “class,” I meant it in the sense of “our crowd, our bunch, our circle.” Not anything so intellectually-defined as “class” in the Classic Marxist or politico-economic sense.

    Frankly, the Kerryite types (speaking of Tides) strike me as wannabe élites, which is to say, as being among the Nouveau Riche. Trying to be more aristocratic than–than who? I guess I’m running with the wrong crowd myself. :>) Anyway, “more Catholic than the Pope.” Of the Kennedys, I would include Teddy, as a minimum, in this bunch.

    That’s as distinct from my impression of Bill Gates, who I always thought was a bit ethically challenged (assuming the stories are true that he cheated its inventor when he got the original Microsoft OS — which by the way is said by some NOT to be the case with Jobs and the Xerox GUI) but who doesn’t strike me as evil in the sense of “hating the good because it is the good.”

    But I agree absolutely that not one of Mr. Simon’s “Soros socialists” (as he defines them) is really a socialist. They just pretend everybody else should be one.

    Bill Gates, by the way, has expressed the opinion that what this planet needs is the depletion by around 90% of the humans that infest it. (I think he actually said “90%,” I but haven’t got a source.) I wonder if he still thinks so.

  • Julie near Chicago

    And now, pertinently, my nomination for SQOTD:

    “Liberalism isn’t really about making the world a better place. It’s about reassuring the elites that they are good people for wanting to rule over it.

    Sultan Knish, a.k.a. Daniel Greenfield

    Italics in original; H/T to CCiZ commenter Andrew.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Aww Julie, there you go spoiling my neat little scheme 🙁
    For now i’ll just say that, though i have been influenced by Marxism by osmosis, the version of class analysis that i favor is Gaetano Mosca’s.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, cheer up, Snorri, you sure got back at me with that comment. Don’t you know I can’t spend the whole livelong day looking to find out about people I’ve barely heard of? 🙁 yourself! 😉

  • bobby b

    Especially in the USA, you can now buy much more government for your dollar than ever before. It would be irrational for the truly rich not to be long on government power at these prices.

    Socialism? Hardly. These are pure market forces at work. The irrationality is provided by a ruling administration that massively undervalues and underprices its inventory.