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

If the Left could see themselves through the eyes of neoliberalism, they would see people whose motives might be laudable, but whose methodology is not. They are seen not only as economic illiterates, but as ones with no sense of history, no knowledge, or even concern, with what has happened before. They appear as people whose fixation with theory lifts them above the practicalities of the world as it is. Their proposals are just as impractical, error-strewn and doomed to failure as they were the last time they were tried. Human nature as it is, not as it might be, often thwarts their intent. It exists in the real world, where neoliberalism has its roots and works with the grain of human nature, not against it.

Madsen Pirie

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    If we look through the eyes of the past, we see that Socialism is a variant of tribalism, where everybody had a say in everybody else’s lives. So the recurrence of Socialism might be a genetic return to historical precedence. Perhaps we will always need to fight it, as people always want to go back to what worked in the past. Perhaps we could label this the Past-Projection fallacy?

  • RRS

    What’s “neo” about liberalism?

  • People become socialists when they’re young. Seeing something (some small part of a bigger thing) and disliking it, they think “Why not have a law?”, as if acts always have the consequence intended and never have other consequences as well or instead.

    Some people remain socialists through ignorance: “Everyone is conservative about what they know best” (Conquest) is something I’ve often observed in my wider acquaintance.

    Some people remain socialists through arrogance. When reality first comes gently knocking – when a step they shouted for (and silenced for) first shows a side-effect – they train themselves to ignore the sound rather than eat the humble pie of noticing. When a more socialist step shows a higher adverse effect, that earlier training helps them not to hear too loudly this louder knocking, and to ignore harder. Thus step by step it goes. Not all socialists at 20 are conservatives at 40. Some socialists at 20 are still socialists at 40 – and much viler people than they were at 20.

    So it is not quite true that, where socialists see conservatives as evil, conservatives see socialists as mistaken. For the young, that is often true enough – though even the young are evil when they knowingly suppress free speech. In the old, ignorance can be wilful, and long-indulged arrogance is usually culpable.

  • Kevin B

    It may be that there is an altruistic element in some of the younger socialists, but as I observe the left’s behaviour I become more and more convinced that their actions are motivated by destructive nihilism.

    The majority of them are far less interested in building a new tomorrow than they are in smashing the present system. It isn’t capitalism they want to destroy – that’s just a means to an end – they want to smash civilisation.

    Misanthropy seems to me to be at the heart of socialist dogma and yet more and more people are embracing the foul creed and fewer and fewer of us are even attempting to fight it.

  • Bharata Vishwanath

    ‘neoliberalism’ is just an ugly way of saying ‘classical liberalism’. I would rather see the term ‘actual liberalism’ used as what many call ‘liberalism’ is ‘illiberalism’

  • RRS

    @ Bharata

    Please explain.

  • The Incredible Lurk

    @RRS

    I think he’s said it pretty clearly to be honest. In fact, I assumed that your initial question was a sarcastic way of saying the same thing.

  • Nemesis

    I’ve only recently found out from talking to hardened lefties that they don’t actually believe human nature exists. Presumably they think people can just be programmed to behave the way they want.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Years ago it occurred to me that people are just like cars: Same basic frame, same general appearance, with a heckuva of a lot of difference in between.

  • Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

    “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice they are not” -source unknown.

    Applies to Marxism, the death penalty and many many other political regimes.

  • Bod

    In response to Nemesis, I’d say he’s entirely and demonstrably right.
    The fabians were openly and unapologetically advocating to hammer society and its constituents into the fabians’ desired shape over 100 years ago, and they’re still alive and well and on the project.

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