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

Of all the shallow, conceited and pernicious phrases to have emerged in political discourse in recent years, the term ‘post-truth politics’ takes some beating. Forget ‘unwitting racism’. Bin ‘glass ceiling’. Be gone ‘check your privilege’. ‘Post-truth politics’ surpasses them all in the stakes for fraudulent and fatuous self-importance

Patrick West

43 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • CaptDMO

    See, THIS is why I try to stick to well worn adage cliches from Aesop, Brothers Grimm, HC Anderson, (Orwell if I’m desperate)rather than competing for “innovative” new um….thinking.

  • Cal

    Yeah, it’s pretty galling coming from the side of politics that routinely lies to get it’s own way, and whose theoreticians sometimes even explicitly advocate lying for the greater good.

  • John Galt III


    Sounds like Islam – kitman – taqqiya, but then they are tied to the left like two scorpions in a bottle.

  • Thailover

    A prime example of post-truth politics is Nurse Ratchet telling Fox New’s Chris Wallace in a Sunday interview that Director of the FBI Covey told congress that she told the truth.

    She later found the urgent need to “clarify” (LOL) in another press statement, saying that “it’s true” that she told Covey what she told the American people (which, of course, was a series of blatant unadmitted lies).

    Of course what Covey famously told (and reuctantly told) Congress is that she lied, and lied and lied again.

  • Runcie Balpsune

    I am sorry but cultural appropriation takes some beating, and this is not it.

  • NickM


    When I was a kid it meant things like the SAS. Now it is truly nebulous.

    Of course with most things Borges got there first. One of his masterpieces deals with inventing reality.


    Really worth a read.

  • Gene

    I’m with you, NickM. If we can’t retire “elite” could we at least have a 1-month period of time during which anyone bitching about “elites” must name at least 3 specific people for each usage of the word?

  • TimR

    “Intellectual”, usually self identifying.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Elite – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George Soros

    Elite – Valerie Jarett, Maurice Strong, Evan McMullin (A Deep Stater who just mounted an anti-Trump Republican candidacy with support from Republican elites)

    Elite – Mark Zuckerberg, Fareed Zakaria, Jeb Bush

    These people invent reality every day. They keep slamming the same messages into the population (immigration is great for you! Globalism is great for you! Welfare is great for you!), but are insulated from the consequences of these policies and enjoy life in their gated communities.

    Well, as Mark Blyth said, the Hamptons is not a defensible position.

  • Veryretired

    Post-truth politics assumes a time when there existed “truth politics”.

    That era must surely have been a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    I can’t recall any hint of such a strange thing in my life time.

  • NickM

    I think the key point is it goes beyond politics and into the general culture for want of a better term.

  • For sheer Orwellian chutzpah, “social justice” has all of these beat.

  • JohnW

    So, Piketty would be “post truth economics” in support of “post truth politics?”

    Okay, I get it,

    In that case, care for some truth economics?

    “The purpose of this paper is very Popperian in nature: it tests interesting, logically consistent, and
    falsifiable hypotheses. Thereby, it contributes to the literature by checking the empirical veracity of
    a very influential theory regarding income inequality patterns.
    In doing so, I found no evidence to corroborate the idea that the r−g gap drives the capital share
    in national income. There are endogenous forces overlooked by Piketty —particularly the cyclicality
    of the savings rate —which balance out predicted large increases in the capital share. On inequality,
    the evidence against Piketty’s predictions is even stronger: for at least 75% of the countries, the
    response of inequality to increases in r − g has the opposite sign to that postulated by Piketty.
    These results are robust to different calculations of r −g. Regardless of taking the real return on
    capital as long-term sovereign bond yields, short-term interest rates or implied returns from national
    accounting tables, the dynamics move in the same direction. Additionally, including or excluding
    taxes does not alter the qualitative takeaways from the results either.
    Knowing if increases r − g lead to inequality is very important, not only for economics as a
    science of human action but also for the policy repercussions of such conclusions. Without knowing
    the underlying causes of such trends, it is impossible to design policy actions to counter them.
    Inequality is a complex phenomenon and its trends are very sluggish. It is certainly possible that
    the long terms relationships Piketty proposes exist and are simply not captured by the 30 years of
    data for the 19 advanced economies included in this sample. However, the best available data show
    that, if one is looking to potential solutions to increasing income inequality, one should not focus on
    r − g, but elsewhere.”

  • Paul Marks

    “Post truth politics” is actually ancient.

    For example Jefferson Davis pretending, after he had lost the war, that Civil War was not “really” about slavery.

    “Post truth politics” is actually just being a LIAR.

  • NickM

    I disagree Paul. It is much worse than that. A liar knows they are lying. “Post truth” is the serious belief that reality can be invented.

  • Veryretired

    Well, Nick, if post-truth means the same as perception is reality, an assertion which has been pushed relentlessly by collectivist progs for a century, then I agree it is nothing new.

    However, it is imperative that this assertion be resisted and refuted, for the fundamental reason that, if reality becomes widely defined as being mere subjective perception, then the entire chain of cause to effect is destroyed. And that would be a dream come true for the true believers, who are totally committed to the belief that their good intentions out weigh any other considerations, especially a measure able finding that collectivist policies actually cause the negative opposite of all their airy-fairy promises.

    Post truth then also becomes “post-reality”, a mental configuration which assures, as it always has and always will, that the resulting politics will also be “post-human”, I.e., created for some creature which doesn’t actually exist.

    A system which rejects the cognitive grasp of reality, and obscures the absolute need for that approach for human well being, is a system which is opposed to the full potential of the human mind.

    The anti mind is the anti life.

  • shlomo maistre


    humanity gets less wise overtime

  • The Wobbly Guy

    And that would be a dream come true for the true believers, who are totally committed to the belief that their good intentions out weigh any other considerations, especially a measure able finding that collectivist policies actually cause the negative opposite of all their airy-fairy promises.

    Case in point – Venezuela. We should rub the faces of libtards into pictures of the starving children.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    Another case in point- The Nazis and their belief that massive amounts of Will Power (some sort of drink, I think) were all you needed to win any and all wars.

  • Eric


    When I was a kid it meant things like the SAS. Now it is truly nebulous.

    1000x this.

    Elite is SAS. Elite is Olympic athletes. Elite is graduate students at MIT. Having a lot of money or getting elected to office or having a newspaper doesn’t make you elite. It may make you powerful, but that’s not the same thing.

  • NickM

    “Post Reality”. I like that! I linked to the Borges short story because that is exactly what he was driving at. Also Dr Johnson kicking his stone and the fact (yes, fact) that the word “Utopia” literally translates as something like “no place”. Even “Honest Abe” –

    How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

    It’s a tricky thing but the first part of escaping the Labyrinth is to realize it exists and you are in it. We all have our perception filters both personally and at a societal level. Did Thatcher cut NHS spending for example? Er.. No. But it is so widely believed she did it has become “fact”. Do we live in a “Neo-liberal” society. No, but the left think we do despite the figures on the level of state involvement in the economy. I will caveat that by saying maybe it does look very much that way because of the increasingly woeful inefficiencies of the state mean we get increasingly less for more.

    Myth and legend goes back to our ancestors huddled round camp fires 40,00 years ago and is still with us.

  • Rob Fisher

    Instead of “elites” what do we call them? “The political classes”, or “people with power and influence”, I suppose.

    JohnW: is r-g gap the same as recessionary gap?

  • I’ve always thought referring to politicians and members of the establishment as “elites” was done so in the ironic sense, same as “our betters”. At least, that’s how I’ve always used it.

  • NickM

    “Thieving Wankers?”

  • Alisa

    This is all so post-modern.

  • Stonyground

    “And that would be a dream come true for the true believers, who are totally committed to the belief that their good intentions out weigh any other considerations, especially a measure able finding that collectivist policies actually cause the negative opposite of all their airy-fairy promises.”

    Isn’t this the whole reason that lefties have come up with this post reality idea in the first place? It supposedly does away with the inconvenient fact that their brilliant idea is actually a really terrible idea. A fact that has been demonstrated over and over again to be correct.

  • NickM

    Sort of. Why do you think any country that has “democratic” or “peoples” in their name is neither democratic nor for “the people”?

  • Nemo


    “Myth and legend goes back to our ancestors huddled round camp fires 40,000 (?) years ago and is still with us.”

    And that would be an example of myth or legend?

  • JohnW

    No, the recessionary gap is an imaginary concern resting on the 1930’s myth that full employment is a legitimate policy issue.

    The r-g gap is neo-Marxist.

    Piketty argues that all other factors being constant, whenever the DIFFERENCE between the returns on capital (r) and the output growth rate (g) increases, the share of capital in national income increases.

    ‘Oh, great!’ you say.


    Piketty is French. He is an egalitarian like the French-educated Pol Pot and Chairman Mao.

    Because capital income tends to be more UNEQUALLY distributed than labor income, an increase of the capital share would likely lead to increased overall income (and, over time, wealth) INEQUALITY.

    So more and more rich people becoming very, very rich from their capital is “awful” news because that creates an “awful” gap between them and everyone else which somehow hampers economic growth [which it doesn’t].

    God for forbid that a higher standard of living should be considered a more important measure of economic success than GDP or equality, because a higher standard of living would be bad for the planet, obviously.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    Alisa, I think we might want to replace ‘post-modern’ with ‘post-now’, or post-avant-guard.

  • Greg

    Veryretired…glad to see you back!

  • Veryretired

    Ty, Greg—just had another birthday, so I’m happy if I’m able to be seen anywhere, back or front.

    I have decided to be 66 indefinitely, so I told all the family &a friends no more birthdays are necessary til further notice.

  • NickM

    I’d settle for “Rectumnal” (like “Autumnal”) because the practitioners are beyond being mere arseholes.

  • Thailover

    Actually, there’s nothing wrong with the phrase “post-truth politics”, as it means that the liar continues to lie after their lies are exposed, but people aren’t paying that much attention or are burned out with the lies and subject.

    It’s a phrase that could be used by critics as much as pundits. That Hillary Clinton is still polling well (Yes, they’re probably rigged, but anyway….) offers a prime example of this. Polls suggest that 2/3 of the American people consider her a rotten, corrupt POS, but other polls suggest she has a huge electorate following anyway.

    This fits in with my theory that leftists think that all politicians must be (a) rich and therefore (b) corrupt,* so they don’t care. They simply support what to them seems to be the most USEFUL corrupt politician.

    (* The “rich” have “more than their fair share” of “the nation’s wealth”).

  • “In a competition of cynicism between the voters and their representatives, the representatives will win” (Burke, quote from memory). Burke did not just or even mainly mean the representatives would be more cynical. He meant the most corrupt representatives would gain when the voters dismissively think “they;re all corrupt”.

    One of the disadvantages of running Trump instead of Cruz against Hillary is that the proven-to-be-criminal candidate relatively benefits when both candidates are held in unusually low esteem.

  • Julie near Chicago


    I’m glad also to see “your back” (double-entendre: Elsa Lanchester, “I’m Glad to See You’re Back, Heléne,” from Bawdy Cockney Songs, see archive.org to download).

    Also, Happy 66th! 🙂 I know exactly what you mean. Quite a few birthdays back I decided that 43 was the berries, and I have enjoyed being 43 ever since. 🙂 🙂

    To the immediate issue: Your comment of August 10, 2016 at 1:14 am: Very true, and well said indeed.

  • Laird

    Julie, for many years my mother was “stuck” at 39, until my wife attained that age at which point she gave up! 🙂

    Incidentally (wholly off-topic) at your recommendation I have been watching “Yes Minister” on YouTube and quite enjoying it. I’m up to episode 25 or thereabouts.

  • Alisa

    Laird, did you find clips of good quality? Because at the time the only ones I found were quite crappy…

  • Laird

    Good enough. If found a lot of them here.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird, Ah yes, 39. ‘It was a very good year,’ too. As I recall it, Jack Benny was 39 for quite awhile before he finally turned 40. :>)!

    I’m glad you’re enjoying Yes, Minister, et seq. Actually, I think it must have been llamas who first put me onto it, on these very pages. Anyway, it’s amazing how … pertinent … it all seems to our various present difficulties. (“Our”: including Brexit, of course.)

  • Alisa

    Ah yes, those were the ones, with the small screen… Thanks all the same 🙂