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Samizdata quote of the day

How did Socialists light their homes before candles? Electricity.

Conscious Caracal

19 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • James Strong

    With jokes like that he’s never going to get a gig on a BBC ‘comedy’ programme.

  • The OP’s comparison of Botswana with Zimbabwe is telling. The late Sir Seretse Khama, elected president and traditional kgosi (king) of Botswana, had a lot to do with Botswana’s post-independence success. Not letting corruption embed itself in government, keeping marginal income tax rates low and assuring low stable taxes on foreign companies (e.g. mining), refusing to replace qualified expat officials with unqualified locals (instead waiting till qualified ones gradually appeared) – all this makes quite a contrast with Mugabe. So does 18% poverty versus 80% poverty. And comparing their relative start points makes the contrast even greater. Mugabe’s policies were called socialist – till the resulting disaster caused lefties very belatedly to decide it was “not real socialism”. Khama’s policies were called market-friendly by friends and foes alike – and are still being called that by his friends. Maybe their success will cause lefties very belatedly to decide it was “not real capitalism”. 🙂

    A while back, I also met the suggestion that, once his people (after a bit of black racism – well matched on the other side from africaaners in South Africa) accepted his marriage to an English woman and she became popular, it guided Botswanans towards defining themselves as relatively relaxed about black-white racial tensions. This was described by white visitors to Botswana as a contrast with some other African countries.

    (I’m not an unqualified fan of Alexander McCall Smith, but I can see why he set his stories in Botswana.)

  • JadedLibertarian

    If we believe the crabs-in-a-bucket sociological model, I suppose we should be expecting Botswana to be attacked by a coalition of all the failed states they’ve embarrassed fairly soon.

  • “How does a jazz musician/restauranteer/movie-maker make a small fortune? Start with a large fortune.” Socialism is basically that joke on steroids.

  • rapscallion

    @Niall Kilmartin
    “till the resulting disaster caused lefties very belatedly to decide it was “not real socialism”

    To paraphrase President Trump “It’s not because real socialism wasn’t implemented, but because it was implemented”

  • A.K.

    What does a socialist answer to “Sir, how are you?” after falling into a creek upon coming back out?

    “I am not wet!”

  • terence patrick hewett

    The internet is cruelly exposing the fact that our leading intellects are dragging us to perdition. That predisposes the proposition that there are any intellects around. If there are any, I don’t see them. Where are the G K Chestertons, the Hilaire Bellocs, The Bernard Shaws, the Rudyard Kiplings, the Cardinal Newmans, the Huxleys, all slugging it out? There aren’t any. Very few scholars any longer, read primary texts in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, where once it was commonplace. And it certainly shows in their work. If you really want scholarship, you have to look at the Sciences.

    What is loosely called the Humanities have gone backwards. Why? Because they no longer have precise moral ideals, coherently and rationally thought out. The problem is not that these people are highly educated, the problem is, that they do not have enough.

  • Although I did study it when a spog, I must admit my Latin is rather rusty after all those years & is mostly used for pithy rejoinders such as “de gustibus non disputandum est” and “eis libenter epulamur qui nos domare velint” (the latter being the correct Adams family motto 😆 )

  • Derek Buxton

    tph, certainly has a point!

  • terence patrick hewett

    Oh Tempora Oh Mores! Oh Times! Oh Daily Mirror!

    Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus – False in one thing False in everything.

  • terence patrick hewett

    What is worse they can’t even insult people properly: we have to go to Chaucer for a real insult:

    Ye, for a grote! Unbokele anon thy purs,
    “Nay, nay,” quod he, “thanne have I Cristes curs!
    Lat be,” quod he, “it shal nat be, so theech,
    Thou woldest make me kisse thyn olde breech,
    And swere it were a relyk of a seint,
    Though it were with thy fundement depeint.
    But by the croys which that Seint Eleyne fond,
    I wolde I hadde thy coillons in myn hond
    In stide of relikes or of seintuarie.
    Lat kutte hem of, I wol thee helpe hem carie;
    They shul be shryned in an hogges toord.”
    This Pardoner answerde nat a word”

  • terence patrick hewett

    And even, even worse – they don’t realise what has been done to them:

    “Inde etiam habitus nostri honor et frequens toga; paulatimque discessum ad delenimenta vitiorum, porticus et balinea et conviviorum elegantiam. Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset”

  • terence patrick hewett

    Mind you Henry Fielding’s sporting Squire Western didn’t do too badly:

    “…Lards! Lards! that pack of Hanoverian Rats”

  • terence patrick hewett

    We reserve our most vicious bile and malice for our own. British politics, with its tradition of satire, scandal and sedition, is about settling old scores, real or imagined and we can hardly wait to put the boot in. However, not being a cynic, I am more inclined to the view propagated by Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. “L—d! said my mother, what is this story all about? —A Cock and a Bull said Yorick—And one of the best of its kind, I ever heard.”

  • Indeed. If you are the sort that tells lies in a Fiat Uno, you’ll as likely tell more lies in a bus.

  • Paul Marks

    Exactly – socialism does not just mean stagnation, in the end (eventually) it means REGRESSION.

  • socialism does not just mean stagnation, in the end (eventually) it means REGRESSION. (Paul Marks, May 24, 2018 at 4:06 pm)

    Paul, I never thought I’d accuse you of being too kind to socialists. 🙂 But I must question your “in the end (eventually)”.

    Did Russians under communism ever eat as well per capita as they did in 1913? Khrushchev in 1956 admitted that grain was down per capita and the numbers of cattle lower absolutely than in Tsarist times. Did they ever have the same disposable income? Kravchenko’s father (in a central chapter of I Chose Freedom) details the marked reduction of real income for Russian factory workers between pre-WWI and mid-1930s. The answer is less certain but the question may be asked: was that regression ever wholly cured? And Zimbabwe did not drop from 300,000+ tons of grain per annum to 20,000 tons of grain per annum all of a sudden at the very end of Mugabe’s rule. Etc.

    If you can penetrate behind the fog of fake figures pushed out by new socialist regimes, it often emerges that production is down from the start, concealed only for a time by looting from the past, present and future.

  • Mr Ed


    The rush of loot that can accomapny socialist theft might give rise to a transient impression of higher general living standards (and relatively higher and longer for the vanguard) as capital is consumed for current income, it might last days or months or perhaps years. I suspect that the Sage was referring to the gradualist approach, e.g. price controls, tax hikes, especially obscure and effectively invisible ones like Mr Gordon Brown’s pension grab (estimated at £67,000,000,000) from reforming Advance Corporation Tax etc.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    The only motto for all politicians should be ‘Bastards by Choice!’.