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

“Liberalism was always counterintuitive. The less society is ordered, the more order emerges from the ground up. The freer people are permitted to be, the happier the people become and the more meaning they find in the course of life itself. The less power that is given to the ruling class, the more wealth is created and dispersed among everyone. The less a nation is directed by conscious design, the more it can provide a model of genuine greatness. Such teachings emerged from the liberal revolution of the previous two centuries. But some people (mostly academics and would-be rulers) weren’t having it. On the one hand, the socialists would not tolerate what they perceived to be the seeming inequality of the emergent commercial society. On the other hand, the advocates of old-fashioned ruling-class control, such as Carlyle and his proto-fascist contemporaries, longed for a restoration of pre-modern despotism, and devoted their writings to extolling a time before the ideal of universal freedom appeared in the world.”

Jeffrey Tucker.

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35 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Philippe Hermkens

    The real question is why people from all around the world ,more or les, hate freedom, hate capitalism and enjoy to be bossed around by petty civil servants ..

    Why ?

    Because they don’t know it would be better ?

    Give me a break

    One answer : envy …

  • Mal Reynolds

    I believe the jealousy of the academics is due to our education system (from primary school upwards). It is designed with the purpose of creating academics. These are the people who succeed at every year in school, top of their classes, top of rote learning etc. and then they keep it up, earning their degrees and PhDs. They then get the one job that this long history of achievement has earned them, and all it has trained them for, and find endless people who did not achieve so much in education: 1. Out-earning them, 2. Having more power than them, 3. Happier than them. To get over their misery and to maintain their long history in education of being “better” than everyone else they start wanting to control those not in academia.

  • the other rob

    Mal Reynolds hypothesis might explain the behaviour of academics, but does not explain why ordinary people vote for this crap in such large numbers.

    Philippe Hermkens attempts to address this, but “envy” is such a clear and simple answer that, in Menckian terms, it must be wrong.

    I am tempted to lay the blame on the perversion of education, but fear that that answer is equally wrong, for the same reasons as Phillipe’s.

    It strikes me as an important question, but I don’t know the answer – or even if there is one.

  • Stonyground

    There are a significant number of people who quite like the government taking other people’s money away and giving it to them. There are also people who think that it is virtuous to look after those less fortunate than themselves, as long as it is other people’s money that is used. There are people who don’t understand how high taxes effect the economy. Paying high taxes has also become such a habit that most people are not really aware of just how much the state is really costing them.

  • Fraser Orr

    I think the cause is not so much envy — I think that is limited to a small group of people, though that group is effective in stirring it up in others some of the time. (Most people have too much stuff to do to worry about it.)

    I think the real cause is simply laziness. Being self actualized is actually a lot of work, and takes a lot of drive. It is way easier, for example, to just go get a job and work for the man than it is to start a business and offer real value to customers. It is far easier to let the government reach into your paycheck every month to take your taxes than send them the money yourself. It is far easier to let the government give you a dreadful retirement return on your retirement investments than to take the time to do it properly yourself.

    I think that is one part of it. I also think another part is due to the very poor ability we humans have at properly assessing risk, and in particular the extreme difficulties most people have with understanding opportunity cost.

    For example, it is far better to have the government insure your banking deposits than to properly assess the risk, and it is far too easy to ignore that this apparently free service is extremely expensive. It is far easier to let the TSA grope you, search your bag, and tell you that you can’t take that tiny bottle of contact lens solution (Yup, happened to me), than it is to recognize that the risk of dying in a car accident driving to the airport is far higher than the risk of a terrorist blowing up your plane.

    I think that, along with the very human nature to herd, and the natural inclinations to religiosity that are exploited by these would be rulers that make people run from liberty into the golden cage, even when the gold is flaking off, and the cage has poor water and food supplies.

    Of course at the root of it all is education, and why would we be surprised that a school system run by the government would produce students compliant with the government? We hear all the time that this study by “Big Oil” is discredited because of who funded it, or this study by “Big Pharam” isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Why would we expect any less biased results from “Big Government”?

    I have said before that if you really want to bring liberty to your country the starting point is not the ballot box it is the nursery school. A country that privatizes its school system is a country that will be free in twenty years.

    And let me say that of all the schemes to bring liberty to the nation I think that one is feasible. People love their children and are almost always dissatisfied with their school. There is already a disquiet about the school system and attempts toward soft privatization. And here where I live in Illinois the whole state is pretty pissed at the teachers unions that are destroying the state. The teachers unions have pushed too far, and the people are pushing back at them. So who knows. With a lot of work I think it is doable.

  • Philippe Hermkens

    Another answer is the Ayn Rand answer : altruism .. The idea of altruism gives a moral ground to takers and crooks.

    Wrong or right to the point ?

  • Rob Fisher

    I think it is lack of imagination. Whenever I am asked about the EU, and I say “we don’t need it, it does nothing useful”, I get told about this, that and the other wonderful thing that could not possibly exist were it not for the EU.

    People see government all around and they think there can be no other way and the world would crumble without it.

  • PeterT

    Fraser mentioned a lot of good points. To that I would add that, both with and without government, we are not entirely authors of our own fortunes. Chance is a major factor.

    Some people are aware of this, and cannot stand the thought. The desire for control, both of events and outcomes, fosters growth in government.

    Others do not accept this, but believe that most things are the result of actions with purpose. This is conspiracy theory. In order to stop others taking control of your life, you need to take control of theirs.

    Let me also mention that this belief in the ability to effect positive change is in no sense confined to the public sector. Financial advisers, management consultants and their ilk have a similar misplaced sense that what they do is useful, when all is said and done for and the error term has made its contribution.

    People do not understand that if you exert force on one aspect of a system (via a regulation for example) then you get a reaction somewhere else. Unintended side effects. The end result may be no less certainty, but a less optimal solution = lower wealth. Maybe you just need more controls – I suppose mathematically it might solve…by the time GDP has dropped 50% and all colour has faded from the world.

    The effect of this desire for certainty is compounded many times by the fact that, for, as Fraser mentioned, people have an exceptionally poor understanding of risks. This often results in a zero tolerance approach applied in areas where the ability to exert control is good/costs low, even if risks are very low (e.g. terrorism). To be fair, if you are concerned about risks, then it makes sense to take comprehensive risk management subject to cost/benefit calculations (hence cars are not banned, even though that would save far more lives than any counter terrorism activity you could mention). The tragic thing is that loss of freedom (and dignity in the case of TSA groping) is not considered a cost by most people.

  • Paul Marks

    I do not know about “happiness” – promising that is a bit weird.

    The human condition (our mental and physical decline ending in death) is not a “happy” one – we are not Elves dancing in the Greenwood.

    As for a time before idea of universal freedom.

    Well that would be before Marcus Aurelius.

    “I received the idea of a polity in which there is the same law for all, a polity administered with regard to equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and the idea of a kingly government which respects most of all the the freedom of the governed”.

    The “Meditations” – which, along with Cicero’s “On Duties”, was the most read book (bar the Bible) in the Western world – before the 19th century when such works fell out of fashion. YES Thomas Carlyle and co would not have liked them – but then neither would the Hobbes loving radical “liberals” of the 19th century either.

    Then there is Lycrophon – who held that justice was the non aggression principle. Against Aristotle who (absurdly) held that the function of the state is to make people “good” (inner moral goodness via the Sword of State – where you drunk when you said that?, still John Jay had the same demented idea holding that government prisons could “reform” people and so could government schools).

    “Women and slaves Paul – women and slaves”.

    Saint Patrick did not hold with slavery or with abusing women – and I do not think he was a 19th century man (try 5th century).

    Even in the 15th century England (all those men in plate armour killing each other in the Wars of the Roses) you would have found it hard to find a slave or a serf.

    “Despotism” – does not square with Trial By Jury, or Parliamentary (“Feudal” Parliament) consent for taxation.

    Still J. Tucker is CORRECT.

    His central point is CORRECT.

    Humans (as Hayek was fond of pointing out) evolved is savage hunter-gather packs.

    Our instincts are collectivist – we look for the “Strong Leader” (step forward Donald Trump) who will “Get Things Done” and give us (his followers) a “fair share” of the kill.

    First Book of Samuel, Chapter Eight is a warning against this evil.

    We can use our reason (our Free Will) to rise above our savage instincts – but it takes EFFORT, a real effort.

    Look at those grinning apes (all white by the way) who voted for “The Donald” in the New Hampshire )Primary, or the ones (far more people) who voted for “Bernie” Sanders.

    They have not made an effort to rise above their primitive level.

    The are pack people (hunter gather pack) living in the 21st century.

    And they will eventually (unless they repent – yes that ugly word “repent”) turn things back to a new age of savage collectivism.

    A new age of savage hunter-gatherer packs.

    For despotism is a stage – a stage on the road to total collapse.

  • Alisa

    The human condition (our mental and physical decline ending in death) is not a “happy” one

    Of course it is, as it beats the hell out of the alternative.

    And, what Fraser and PeterT said.

  • RRS

    Someone in the PMO will know where this is coming from:

    It is all about individuality.

    There is anti-individuality in social orders (in the one we are now experiencing, in particular).

    There is the concept (Carlyle, e.g.) that there is a “specific or limited” function for individuality in a society.

    By suppressions of individualities, “Mass Man” has diminished or lost the source of its flourishing by exercising “complete social power;” displacing civil rights and civil obligations with social rights and social obligations.

    Those who gather here Byte by byte are constantly attempting to escape “mass man” (incapable of making choices, from dread of consequences) and its “leaders” who fill those deficiencies; all of which (at best, never attained) are but substitutes for, or imitations of, individualities.

    That is not “snobbery.” It is reality.

  • shlomo maistre

    The less society is ordered, the more order emerges from the ground up.

    False. What is meant by this misleading statement is: “the less society is ordered from the top-down, the more order emerges from the ground up”. This rephrasing is probably true in some ways, but the idea as originally phrased is patently absurd.

    The freer people are permitted to be, the happier the people become and the more meaning they find in the course of life itself.

    False. There is a plethora of evidence proving this is false in just this book alone:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paradox_of_Choice

    The less power that is given to the ruling class, the more wealth is created and dispersed among everyone.

    Maybe. Depends on how you define the ruling class (do most mainstream journalists count? professors?) and how you define power (de sure vs de facto)?

    The less a nation is directed by conscious design, the more it can provide a model of genuine greatness.

    True – more or less. Notice, for instance, how meticulously America was designed – enumerating precise powers, describing the exact limits of federal governance, carefully allocating abilities to certain branches of government, etc. And now it’s a shit show.

    Such teachings emerged from the liberal revolution of the previous two centuries.

    The misguided ideas, sure.

    On the other hand, the advocates of old-fashioned ruling-class control, such as Carlyle and his proto-fascist contemporaries, longed for a restoration of pre-modern despotism, and devoted their writings to extolling a time before the ideal of universal freedom appeared in the world.”

    Right. Because we don’t have a ruling class? Because there’s more individual liberty in the West today than there was 500 years ago? Because democracy isn’t despotism?

    Meanwhile, here in the real world, the national debt is about $20 TRILLION and little girls need permits to open up a neighborhood lemonade stand in the “land of the free”.

  • shlomo maistre

    Lets say that universal liberty is true (eternally right, pragmatically effective as an engine of economic growth). Would it be any LESS true if it were not named and blathered on about? Different governments, whether democracies, monarchies, dictatorships etc, have provided throughout history particular degrees of liberty to their subjects/citizens. Even if we blather on about it in the modern day much more than at any time previously (perhaps true) does not mean that we have more of that liberty in the modern day than at any time previously. Just a thought.

  • Because there’s more individual liberty in the West today than there was 500 years ago?

    Yes there is. We can do much better though and hopefully we will not have to wait until H+, but that remains to be seen.

  • Cristina

    “[..] devoted their writings to extolling a time before the ideal of universal freedom appeared in the world.””

    What is universal freedom?

  • Cristina

    “Even if we blather on about it in the modern day much more than at any time previously (perhaps true) does not mean that we have more of that liberty in the modern day than at any time previously.”

    We don’t.

  • Eric

    The real question is why people from all around the world ,more or les, hate freedom, hate capitalism and enjoy to be bossed around by petty civil servants

    Many people (I would even say most) are much more interested in security than liberty. If you don’t care who’s running things as long as you have medical care and your next meal is provided, you’re going to find some form of statism pretty seductive. Of course, in the end you’re not really going to be more secure, but that’s the promise.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Shlomo, you quote the “paradox of choice” approvingly to try and disprove the notion that more freedom = greater happiness. So presumably you think that we’d be better off in a world of state-run, monopolistic shops where people are forced to buy the same, drab crap as happened in, oh, such places as the Soviet Union? The “paradox of choice” argument is beloved of middle class academics who think that 40 brands of toothpaste is upsetting. But we can choose how we choose; if you want to avoid big choices, you can.

    We are largely freer in ways that count than 500 years’ ago; indentured slavery no longer applies in the Americas, for exmaple; women have, in Western, liberal democracies, the same rights over issues such as holding/transfer of property as men. As women make up 50 per cent of the world’s population, such a move is significant. It is intertwined with the key principle around equality before the rule of law.

    Bear in mind also that yes, we have taxes and regulations today that are irksome, but 500 years ago, someone such as my father, a farmer, would have been forced to pay over a large chunk of his earnings to the Church, or be forced into military service.

    So I say that on the whole, we are in a vastly better place. Heck, the fact that I can type these words relatively quickly on something like this is surely part of this.

  • thefrollickingmole

    Fraser Orr

    Pinched my main point, its laziness.
    We even have people here in Australia who pine for the old “Telecom” where phones were expensive and took weeks to get connected etc, because they dont like having to be responsible for the choice they make and having someone say later on “oooh you chose wrong”..

    And it may not be popular but Women are the biggest supporters of “no risk” via taxation of (preferably) other peoples monies to insulate themselves from bad decisions.

    To make a choice means taking responsibility and risk, if I can tax someone to remove the risk from my shitty choices (hello government health system!!) and at the same time bellow about how moral it is because it also supports cripples then all the better. Its win win for the statist.

  • As regards some remarks of Johnathan Pearce (May 25, 2016 at 7:15 am):

    1) “indentured slavery no longer applies in the Americas”: two hundred and fifty years ago, slavery existed all over the world, not specially in the Americas. Only in parts of western and central Europe had it been truly abolished. The first great wave of abolition came in the century from the late 1700s to the late 1800s, driven by the power of the west. Under the dictators it began to come back again in the 1920s-40s- slavery was once more practiced from the Bay of Biscay to Vladivostock in 1941. Once again, the power of the west beat it back. Today, the power of the west is shrinking and slavery is becoming less uncommon in the world – which is no coincidence but cause and effect.

    2) “We are largely freer”: much of this blog exists to note the alarming ways in which fundamental freedoms on which all others rest, such as freedom of speech, are being reduced.

    3) “500 years ago, someone such as my father, a farmer, would have been forced to pay over a large chunk of his earnings to the Church …”: have you done the relative calculations of tax freedom day then and now? Technology has advanced: the quality of medical care you get from the NHS for your taxes today exceeds what Brother Cadfael could have given you in exchange for your tithes back then; but as regards value for money in relation to what medical knowledge would make possible? In the UK, taxes were often lower in the past as means to collect them were much less efficient. They could be irregular and ill-considered, as today, and so, in a poorer world, they could be more onerous on particular people at particular times. The threat of them could also hinder growth, as now.

    4) “… or be forced into military service”: he could have been forced into military service 60 years ago. IIRC, national service was abolished in the late 50s. Such military service as I ever did was voluntary. Britain’s army today is smaller than it has ever been – which is not something that makes me feel my freedoms are more safe.

    5) “So I say that on the whole, we are in a vastly better place.”: John Adams said, “While all the other arts and sciences have advanced, government is practically at a stand, little better practiced now than three or four thousand years ago.” Since I see how things have gone backwards in the last decade and a half, I’m nearer John Adam’s view than yours.

    6) “Heck, the fact that I can type these words relatively quickly on something like this is surely part of this.” See the bit above about “All the other arts and sciences have advanced”.

    7) “women have, in Western, liberal democracies, the same rights over issues such as holding/transfer of property as men”: this is the only point where I must reach back to make even a partial and not really disagreeing qualification. Women had many of these rights in Anglo-Saxon society, lost some but not all when the Norman conquest introduced continental legal forms, regained some in some classes when trust law proved a way of evading the continental forms, etc., so (re)gaining a better status (in Beaumarchais’ late 1700s play ‘The Barber of Seville”, there is the line “We’re not in England, where the women are always right” which he clearly expected to get a laugh all across the continent at that time). What feminism’s current enthusiasms – and sinister silences, e.g. about Rotherham – will do for or to women, in conjunction with immigration patterns, is to be seen.

  • PeterT

    So presumably you think that we’d be better off in a world of state-run, monopolistic shops where people are forced to buy the same, drab crap as happened in, oh, such places as the Soviet Union?

    He didn’t say that so why would you assume that he did?

    The offending phrase should have said:

    The freer people are permitted to be, the more flexibility they will have to arrange their lives in ways that work for them.

    This is an obviously true statement. It is of course possible that such flexibility causes anxiety. In any event libertarianism is not really an ‘ism’ but an ‘isn’tism’.

  • Stuck-record

    Someone on David Thompson once said, “The reason that Intellectuals hate the free market is because they know that in a free market no one would pay for their ideas, and they would starve.”

  • pst314

    “Shlomo, you quote the ‘paradox of choice’ approvingly to try and disprove the notion that more freedom = greater happiness…”
    In my experience, leftists do find greater choice unpleasant: Some of they find it very difficult to make choices for themselves–it is traumatic to go to the grocery store and have to choose between various brands of soup or coffee or breakfast cereal. (And yet, ironically, these same leftists are pleased at the idea of taking away choice from other people.)
    Furthermore essentially all leftists resent it when other people have greater freedom to make choices.

  • Cristina

    “In my experience, leftists do find greater choice unpleasant”

    Mine, as well. There is no irony on that, pst321. Being the modern man “the measure of all things”, the logical conclusion is that what is not good for him is not good for anybody else. And he has a rather limited array of things he finds good for him. Hence, The Paradox of Choice (the book)

  • Rich Rostrom

    I think the reason lies in the counter-intuitivity of spontaneous order. In the short term, one can nearly always get better results by centralized action. Spontaneous order always has some visible inefficiencies that it seems possible to eliminate.

    This ties in with a Clay Shirky comment about developments in IT. Clay noticed that again and again, over time, evolvable, decentralized technologies won out over seemingly more rigorous centralized models. Unix over VMS; RFC-822 over CC:Mail; Ethernet networking over token-ring; HTTP over Gopher and WAIS. The money quote was “It’s mammals versus dinosaurs, and the mammals win every time.”

    But he also noted that “Whatever is, is wrong.” That is, at any given moment, an evolved protocol or technology “will always be partially incomplete, [and] partially wrong…”, even though “…ultimately better designed than its competition”
    (because “Evolution is cleverer than you are.” (Orgel’s Rule)).

    That means that very often there will be visible immediate benefits to created order. Sometimes these benefits will be very substantial. Or (mirror-image) a spontaneous order will have noticeable on-going costs arising from its unstructured development. (As when an evolved protocol has a known design defect that got baked into it early on and can’t now be fixed.)

    And these cases push people toward creating order, rather than waiting for order to evolve spontaneously. And sometimes, that’s necessary; and occasionally, a huge success which becomes famous and celebrated.

    The Panama Canal, for instance.

    Or here’s a set of rival cases. The Bolsheviks are still credited in some circles with industrializing Russia. And it is certain that they sought to industrialize Russia, and that much heavy industry was constructed by their orders. But China in recent years has industrialized more than Russia did – but who is credited for it? No one gave orders.

    Spontaneous order has no fathers. No one gets prizes for not acting.

    So the world is full of people who look for created order, who want to do the creating, or want someone to do it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Niall:

    1) “indentured slavery no longer applies in the Americas”: two hundred and fifty years ago, slavery existed all over the world, not specially in the Americas. Only in parts of western and central Europe had it been truly abolished. The first great wave of abolition came in the century from the late 1700s to the late 1800s, driven by the power of the west. Under the dictators it began to come back again in the 1920s-40s- slavery was once more practiced from the Bay of Biscay to Vladivostock in 1941. Once again, the power of the west beat it back. Today, the power of the west is shrinking and slavery is becoming less uncommon in the world – which is no coincidence but cause and effect.

    Indeed; the Second World War and the rise of facism/communism were massive reverses of liberty – which were beaten back, culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Yes, rising militancy in the Middle East and parts of the world (Islamism, mostly) has seen reverses, but on the whole the overall improvement since the end of Communism in particular remains substantial.

    It is true this blog notes lots of silly regulations and assaults on freedom; I write many of the comments about that. But just occasionally it is worthwhile standing back and looking over the centuries and decades to see where we are in the West, for example. Slavery has gone; women are, by and large, treated equally before the rule of law; compulsory military service is notable for its absence in most major Western nations. The freedom to read and write is – with some unpleasant exceptions – still pretty widespread. It is pretty rare – still – to be locked up without trial or cause. And so on. This is not a dewy-eyed Whiggish notion of “progress” but a statement of fact. Needless to say we will continue to note the reverses and the problems; the next few years in the US could be difficult, regardless of whether the joker or the criminal are elected to the White House.

    You say you do not feel safer because we have a smaller military. And then you note that military drafts were ended in the UK 50-60 years’ ago. Seems to me that is a contradiction. Having a smallish, voluntary army is designed for the times we live in, which are dangerous, yes, but not requiring mass compulsion. I’d say we are freer.

    I’d agree with the John Adams quote; freedom, bear in mind, is not just about the role of the state, but the general ability of people to benefit from a range of new choices and options in front of them that did not exist decades/centuries ago. That needs to be put into the mix.

    I am sure the Norman Conquest represented a period of reverse of some of the older Anglo-Saxon liberties enjoyed by women; as I said, the journey for women hasn’t been an even one.

    Of course, in our current era of students campaigning for censorship to create “safe spaces”, hate-speech laws, bans on smoking adverts, bans on this and that, nanny statism, obsessions with tax avoidance, etc, there is a lot to worry about. And of course the ability of governments to fuck with money is arguably greater than it has ever been. I think though, the broader point stands; Westerners are broadly freer than they were 500 years’ ago. And that certainly applies to the kind of bloke who would have been tied to the soil back then.

  • Westerners are broadly freer than they were 500 years’ ago.

    That anyone would dispute that seems bizarre, it is a bit like someone pointing at a down-blip in tyhe stockmarket on a 100 year chart and shrieking “capitalism is doomed!”

    A good summation JP.

  • I’d broadly agree with JP’s second summation (at May 26, 2016 at 6:06 am), which I am vain enough to think has benefitted from my critique of his first.

    Rich (May 26, 2016 at 4:05 am) makes good points about the worked examples in IT. The difference between his example of successful planning (the Panama canal) and the IT protocols is that the canal, like a bridge or a skyscraper, was easy to envision as a thing in the human mind before it existed, and would have been costly to revise. Building 20 stories of a 40 story building and then saying, “let’s jack these up to relay the foundations – I’ve realised we need 6o stories” , or completing two spans of a bridge and then saying, “I’ve just thought – we need to move this 200 yards downstream” is not a good idea. Thus advanced planning is (a) reasonably feasible, and (b) really valuable.

    By contrast, software is more like governing human beings. The cost of making incremental modifications afterwards is much reduced. The ability to envision, beforehand, what the system will look like and how it will work is much less than with a highly physical item like a bridge. That is why I have always found software engineering approaches borrowed from civil engineering (“plan what you’ll do, then do what you planned”) to be recipes for disaster, while agile programming approaches “make it run, then make it right, then make it fast” are much more often successful. Gradual analogies between these and the art of governing are one way to start weaning high-tech millennials off their SWJ ideas; as has been said, everyone’s a conservative about things they know.

    (Note that moving from software engineering methods to agile methods in building software means moving from “I’m a genius, so whatever I code will of course be right” to “I’m an idiot, so whatever I code will start by being wrong and need incremental correction”; this education must go hand-in-hand with forcing such millennials as can to confront their own vanity.)

  • Rich Rostrom

    shlomo maistre @ May 24, 2016 at 8:16 pm:

    Notice, for instance, how meticulously America was designed – enumerating precise powers, describing the exact limits of federal governance, carefully allocating abilities to certain branches of government, etc

    .

    I am surprised no one has called this astonishing fallacy out yet.

    The Framers did not design “America” – they designed the federal government of America, which is not the same thing. And they imposed strict limits on government, so that as little as possible of “America” would be “designed” by anybody.

  • Thailover

    He left out that the less one is (over) taxed, the more tax revenues are realized in government coffers. (See the Laffer Curve).

    And if you REALLY want to examine the counterintuitive nature of freedom, consider the fact that when two people voluntarily engage in trade, they BOTH PROFIT, they both grow richer at no one else’s expense. Both grow wealthier with no one the poorer. Not grasping this point is behind many if not most fallacies on the left, like the need for “equality”, the need for the successful to “give back”, and the idea that to become rich almost certainly implies that one robs the poor….and so on.

  • Paul Marks

    Perry – perhaps more liberty than 500 years ago in England.

    After all although taxes were lower (vastly lower) people were still being executed for religious differences 500 years ago in England.

    But NOT more liberty now than before the First World War, or two hundred years ago, or three hundred years ago.

    Sometimes pro liberty people feel obliged distort the past (to make the present look better) and that will not do.

    Liberty has been decline in the West (not just Britain – but the West generally) since at least the 1870s.

    And we here (in this land) a vastly less free place than we were in (say) 1700.

    Certainly we are more free in a few things (for example we now have the freedom to sodomise each other – and I agree that this should be legal), but in most things we have vastly less liberty than people on this island had in 1700 – more than three hundred years ago.

    By the way – anyone who comes up with the “we are better off, so we can do more things, so we are more free” “argument” – just go and bleep yourself.

    Wealth is not freedom.

    Although that does not mean I will not gladly accepted some wealth if someone wishes to give me some.

  • Paul Marks

    RRS.

    “The Revolt of the Masses” by the great Spanish writer. J. Ortega y Gasset (and other works).

    Brought to the attention of the English speaking world by M.J. Oakeshott and Hayek (amongst others).

    Do I guess correctly?

    Of course the Spanish writer (were he alive today) would see the “Mass Man” running riot.

    The supporters of “Bernie” Sanders, Hillary Clinton AND Donald Trump – all “Mass Man”.

    They do not support liberty – personal responsiblity.

    I remember watching the grinning apes (all white by the way) of the New Hampshire Primary.

    A population totally divorced from the people who wrote the Constitution of New Hampshire in 1784.

    And they (the people who wrote that Constitution) were fairly ordinary people.

    Now they look like Super Hero types.

    Not because they were Super Hero types (they certainly were not) – but because the level of the population has so declined.

    For example…..

    Warn them that the candidates they support (Donald Trump as much as the Democrats) are what the First Book of Samuel, Chapter Eight, was warning about……

    They do not understand the reference – they have not read it, they do not have a clue what you talking about.

    And the “Christians” of the South?

    Revealed as Elmer Gantry types – or worse.

    Worse being KKK types – the old ENEMIES of Republican liberty. As they hide behind their masks, rather than show their faces like honest men (till the moment they think they can take the masks off – for no one is in arms able to oppose them). And prey upon the weak and helpless – fleeing from armed opponents. And burn the Crosses they pretend to revere – as their service is really taken by the Dragon.

    The alternative….

    The individual standing against evil to the bitter end – if bitter if must be.

    That type was once quite common – they really were.

    But not any more.

    Now it is “mass man” versus “mass man”.

    The Red Flag versus the Black Flag – as in Germany long ago.

    And both, whether they know it or not, serve the Dragon.

  • Thailover

    Philippe Hermkens wrote,

    “The real question is why people from all around the world ,more or les, hate freedom, hate capitalism and enjoy to be bossed around by petty civil servants…”

    I think there’s a natural human tendency (I’ll refrain from saying instinct) towards tribalism.
    In a small tribe that hunts and gathers static resources in a zero sum world, doing things for your fellow tribesmen out of love rather than for profit is seen as good, and concepts like “fair share” and “equality” have relevance. These concepts simply don’t apply in any post-neolithic, post tribal context where valuables are created and traded, and the end product (like an iPhone for example) is composed of 99% innovation and 1% raw materials. (Innovation is not a finite resource).
    In a small tribe, being a loyal follower has it’s value, and let’s face it, having freedom and embracing capitalism involves assuming responsibility for oneself, and many fear that.

  • Paul Marks

    Thailover – yes humans evolved in savage hunter-gather packs (the old Hayek point).

    It takes an effort (an effort of moral reason) to raise above the “Social Justice” “fair shares” evil (for it is evil – when it leads to aggression against the innocent) doctrine of the savage pack.

    And most people seem unwilling to make that effort of moral reason.

    They prefer to act like children – of the worst sort.

    Shouting vile abuse and make obscene hand gestures – to shock for the sake of shocking.

    Again I watched this (via the magic of television).

    And I would have been far less calm about it than Ted Cruz was.

    If people choose to behave as beasts – treat them as beasts.

  • Thailover

    Eric wrote,
    “Many people (I would even say most) are much more interested in security than liberty. If you don’t care who’s running things as long as you have medical care and your next meal is provided, you’re going to find some form of statism pretty seductive. Of course, in the end you’re not really going to be more secure, but that’s the promise.”

    Many on the right end of the political spectrum are confused as to why leftists are more put-off by Hillary’s previously spoken endorsement of fracking rather than the fact that shes tied in with at least half a dozen scandals and probably some resultant deaths. They’re missing an important point.
    Leftists tend to view the world in zero-sum term, a world where “equality” and “fair share” have meaning. And as such, they view every rich person as an exploiter of the poor because they have more than their fair share of “the nation’s wealth”, and yes, this includes Hillary.
    So, no amount of talk about morality and (in)justice will phase hard-core leftists support of Hillary, as they see things like taxation as a NECESSARY EVIL. They see politicians as necessary evils to, so they just try to select the version of necessary evil that serves them.

    This is a crucial point in this election, because I suspect that talk of Hillary being evil will not do her much damage, but if one talks about her support of fracking, her support of the war(s), how she and Obama ignored or even betrayed women, the gays, blacks, and the transgendered…this will have more impact than raising questions as to her involvement in Vince Foster’s odd death for example.

    When she’s seen as not even a useful (necessary) evil, she’ll be doomed politically.