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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

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

23 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Emerson’s quote makes a good follow-on to the Guardianista that Natalie’s post quotes just below. Guess they don’t read Emerson at the Grauniad, him being a dead white male and all.

    Pity PerryM himself does not see it quite that way. I appreciate that not living here can make you vulnerable to ‘leavers are bigots’ propaganda, but bobby b and Laird and Julie from Chicago seem to see through it.

  • CaptDMO

    I agree with Mr. Emmerson.
    Whenever I’m contradicted by certain usual suspects I’m simply reminded of my “place” on The Bell Curve, my actual resume, my shear volume of experiential engagement, and my uninterruptible access-if-needed to ice cream bars in my home freezer.
    (Unless my Hunny Bunny has failed to admit she’s only left ONE behind in the box)
    Admittedly, If faced with a mob of anarchist “protestors”, at my home, I’m concerned that I no longer have a back hoe at my immediate disposal.

  • CaptDMO

    Oh goody, “my place on The Bell Curve” has afforded me the opportunity to publish my mispelling of Emerson, DESPITE a preview option, AND a 5 minute grace period!
    *sheesh*

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I am sure there were people back in 1776 who were worried that the 13 Colonies were “crashing out” of the British Empire.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    @Niall: ” I appreciate that not living here can make you vulnerable to ‘leavers are bigots’ propaganda,”

    I agree that not all leavers are bigots (and especially not the leavers on the Samizdata masthead), but for those who want to keep foreigners out, that would seem to be an issue, yes, and from what I can tell, that’s a motive for the bulk of leavers. But this is probably better discussed in the other thread.

  • Paul Marks

    The quote from Emerson is good – and Perry Metzger has done a good deed by reminding us of it.

    As for Perry Metzger’s opposition to the independence of the United Kingdom (I remember him once pretending that being under the rule of the European Union, with its ever increasing regulations controlling most aspects of life, was somehow akin to being a member of the United Nations), this is just an issue with which we will just have to agree to disagree.

    Perry Metzger is NOT the enemy of the British people – he is not actually going to do anything to prevent our independence. The enemy of the British people is a lot closer to home than New York – and she lives in Number Ten Downing Street.

    Indeed one of the most powerful arguments of “Remainers” runs as follows – “what is the point of independence from the European Union, if you have a Prime Minister who is support of all its ever increasing regulations (and would impose them herself – even if the country was not under the rule of the European Union), both on economic matters AND the European Union attacks on such things as Freedom of Speech. Getting out of the European Union, but with Mrs May still in charge, is like liberating Norway from the Germans in 1945 but leaving Mr Quisling as Prime Minister”.

    The logic of this means that one must oppose Mrs May – otherwise independence (real independence – not the phony independence-in-name-only that Mrs May is offering – with the United Kingdom pledged to accept all present and FUTURE E.U. regulations) would not advance the cause of liberty. After all such countries as Cuba and North Korea are independent – but they are most certainly not free.

    “But Mr Corbyn is worse” – YES he is. But it is like driving towards a cliff edge at 100 miles per hour rather than 50 miles per hour. Under both Mr Corbyn and Mrs May the car is still heading towards a cliff edge – the car needs to be stopped, indeed turned round.

    Independence from the European Union would give the British people the opportunity to stop the move towards tyranny and societal collapse – and to roll back at least some of the harm that has been done by ever increasing state regulation. But the British people would still have to choose to use the opportunity given to them.

    The same is true in New York City – after all no one can pretend that they do not know that the Mayor is a Castro loving ever-bigger-government socialist, this was reported on various Talk Radio stations, and on Fox News, and in the New York Post and Wall Street Journal newspapers – the people of New York City (at least the majority of them) CHOOSE to go down the path of liberticide. They made a free choice NOT to be free.

  • NickM

    I have to agree with Perry Metzger up to a point. I recall in 2016 a very large part of the leave movement was about “taking back control of our borders”.

    I disagreed with that at the time – essentially because I just didn’t believe it – and still don’t. In fact I thought (and still do) a lot of the Brexit stuff was utter drivel not because I disagreed with it in principle as much as because I thought (and still think) that no conceivable UK government would roll-back various obnoxious EU laws and strictures they thought useful. Brexit will change nothing except bollocking our most important trade relationships. I thought long and hard about this because that vote in 2016 was probably the most important I would ever cast. What finally pushed me over the Remainipice was the realisation that without the EU we would have probably enacted much the same laws anyway.

    OK. I’ve “come out” and it isn’t easy somewhere like here but there you have it. I have no especial axe to grind on this because I’m rather well set-up personally for Brexit. My wife is mainly paid in USD (she’s a translator) so that’s a hedge against the GBP tanking and I have dual UK/RoI nationality so that is my (our) ultimate hedge.

    I also knew the process would be shambolic. In that respect yeah, for sure, a proper Brexiteer would have been a better helmsman than May. But again that was very unlikely to happen.

    So that is my two Euro cents worth. Or some of it anyway. Brexit is essentially either nationalism or misplaced ideological purity and neither appeal to me.

  • NickM

    PS
    I edited what I wrote whilst Paul Marks was posting. So I hadn’t read the Sage of Kettering’s words addressing similar issues.

  • I also knew the process would be shambolic. In that respect yeah, for sure, a proper Brexiteer would have been a better helmsman than May. (NickM, December 3, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    You knew before it happened that Gove would make the ‘alternative leadership’ story fall apart just as it seemed well set?

    Maybe it could be argued that we’d had good luck to get to that point, so should not complain when an extraordinary mess-up of a leaver so soon followed the several errors of the remain leadership, without which we might well not have won. But even by the low standards of politics, for the avowed organiser of another’s leadership campaign so sneakily to betray them and launch his own expecting such a maneouvre to work is not something I foresaw.

    As to the UK government perpetrating many of the EU’s idiocies anyway, I am reminded of a famous quote about why the French abandoned Napoleon in 1814

    Discouragement was universal, not because of the dangers one ran but because the future promised no end to them.

    It is too obviously hard to make our own government do anything sensible, and our own political culture is weakening, but influencing EUrocrats is far harder and their structure and ethos is designed to defeat the attempt.

  • NickM

    “Independence from the European Union would give the British people the opportunity to stop the move towards tyranny and societal collapse – and to roll back at least some of the harm that has been done by ever increasing state regulation. But the British people would still have to choose to use the opportunity given to them.

    The same is true in New York City – after all no one can pretend that they do not know that the Mayor is a Castro loving ever-bigger-government socialist, this was reported on various Talk Radio stations, and on Fox News, and in the New York Post and Wall Street Journal newspapers – the people of New York City (at least the majority of them) CHOOSE to go down the path of liberticide. They made a free choice NOT to be free.”

    And Paul rather made part of my point here and better than I did (or could). For example criticism of the NHS in the UK is almost like criticising Catholic dogma in medieval Italy. And that is a very British institution (note the Brexit campaign’s claims for the extra GBP350m a week for it). I believe it is very dangerous to regard Brexit as a panacea because the disease does not originate from an external source but comes from the very bowels of the British body-politic itself.

  • Mr Ecks

    Nick M–regardless of your arguments–which were tripe then and are still tripe–Leave won and the price of attempted treason for May and any other remainiacs should be the noose.

    I agree with Paul Marks that PM is merely an annoyance rather than an enemy of any strength against Brexit. But any source of even minimal aid or comfort to one’s enemies deserves to be destroyed in war time.

    The sheer foolishness of Meths-ger’s mixture of snobbery and oh-so-superior “moral” stupidity in the face of mass invasion by ethnic leftists is being daily demonstrated in the increasingly scummy, thieving, dictatorial and parasitic shitholes that both Kalifornication and Noo Yark are turning into.

    Libertarianism has NO answer to mass invasion by left-leaning, left-voting gimmigrants who despise the very tissue of Liberty and will enable the scummy state to leave little of that blessed condition still standing.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . mass invasion by left-leaning, left-voting gimmigrants who despise the very tissue of Liberty and will enable the scummy state to leave little of that blessed condition still standing.”

    Congratulations. Just like me, you are a xenophobe. There’s no shame in it. It’s not racism, it’s not bigotry. It’s a rational reaction to forced societal change.

  • NickM

    “ethnic leftists”???

  • Julie near Chicago

    Then there’s this piece from today’s The Federalist, explaining “Why the Brexit Deal Has Become Such a Tangled Mess”:

    http://thefederalist.com/2018/12/03/brexit-deal-become-tangled-mess/

  • Mr Ecks

    It is a mess because May is, and always has been, a traitor. In alliance with a small group of other traitors and a hostile foreign power–the EU.

    End of story.

  • NickM (December 4, 2018 at 1:38 am), a possible reading of your comment is that the battle is lost, so one might as well eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow liberty dies (or do you think it was yesterday?)

    De Gaulle was a very unusual Frenchman in 1940. While many of his fellow countrymen (thought they) rationally adjusted to the new reality, de Gaulle made his first uplifting broadcast (thought so little of by the BBC that they kept no record of it), after which, as he wrote that night, he

    “felt like a man standing beside the Atlantic, pretending he could cross it by swimming.”

    Being British, I prefer Churchill’s more upbeat way of putting it:

    “For myself, I am an optimist. There does not seem much point in being anything else.”

    You may find it depressing that de Blasio is mayor of New York but de Blasio finds it depressing that Trump is president of the U.S. There are many bad symptoms, but we have less cause than Churchill or de Gaulle to despair of our chances.

  • Mr Ed

    bobby b

    Congratulations. Just like me, you are a xenophobe.

    But would you object, let us say, were the ‘xenos’ a bunch of German or Volksdeutsche Amish or Swiss farmers entering the United States to carry on with their way of life, not seeking higher taxes, changes to laws or anything other than to be left alone to lead their lives?

    So it is not ‘xenophobia’ but a discriminating choice of objecting to that which is on balance likely to be adverse to the United States as it was founded. It is only ‘xeonphobia’ if it applies to all strangers, it sounds to me as if there is an element of methodological individualism in your view, assessing the stranger on the basis of likely outcomes. Which is exactly why the Dems want the current situation to continue, it is just that their desired outcome is growth of their power.

    Enoch Powell said of mass immigration something to the effect that it was the fulcrum by which the liberties of England would be destroyed. It would provide a pretext for changes to laws.

  • NickM

    Niall,
    I can kinda see what you are getting at and yes, the thought had occurred. I now have to go out but I shall continue, later…

    But I think Bruce Springsteen (in a very different context) summed up my feelings on Brexit in his song, “The River”…

    Is a dream a lie that don’t come true or is it something worse…

    My problem from the start of this whole project is that I saw we’d wind up throwing the baby out and keeping the bathwater.

  • Just like me, you are a xenophobe. (bobby b (December 4, 2018 at 2:05 am)

    Bobby, I like the people in the five houses neighbouring mine well enough, but if an external authority passed a law saying my house was as much theirs as mine, I’d want to escape from that authority’s jurisdiction. Does that make me a periokoiphobe? (If that is the term for having a phobia about one’s neighbours.)

    One can define it so, but leavers always imagined post-Brexit Britain would have annual immigration, and Trump’s voters did not think that, once the wall was built, no-one foreigner would ever cross a U.S. border. So I think the term in ordinary parlance savours more of a lefty put-down than a meaningful description.

    That said, it may sometimes be better to embrace terms that will be flung at you anyway than to draw definitions they will just use against you, but would you think that embracing was the path of wisdom with ‘racist’ say? I ask this as one who certainly does say, whenever the subject arises, that anyone whose head is above the political parapet and who has not been called a racist is a liar or a coward.

  • My problem from the start of this whole project is that I saw we’d wind up throwing the baby out and keeping the bathwater. (NickM, December 4, 2018 at 11:32 am)

    AFAICS you may mean one or both of two things.

    1) Apart from my earlier specific argument that Prime Minister May was not in fact the most likely outcome at midday on June 24th 2016, I see the odds of influencing parliament in the UK as greater than the odds of influencing the eurocrats in Brussels, for a whole host of reasons to do with history and general political theory. You may think our odds are nevertheless poor – almost everyone in this thread will agree they are poorer than they should be – but to think them worse than their EU equivalent is to take a strange view of how politics has ever worked.

    2) To those of us who see the EU as a protectionist zone rather than a free trade area, there was never any baby to throw out – just a lot of very statist bathwater. However I do see that argument as less of a slam-dunk than (1).

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    Paul Marks said:

    (I remember him once pretending that being under the rule of the European Union, with its ever increasing regulations controlling most aspects of life, was somehow akin to being a member of the United Nations),

    Please cease making up things I’ve never said. Please also apologize for making up things I never said.

    What I have said is this: it is not obvious that the tyranny of Whitehall is less awful than the tyranny of Brussels. I am not a nationalist, I see no reason to inherently believe that I will be better off being oppressed by dictators that live closer to me or speak my language with less of an accent.

    If one could reliably presume Whitehall would provide for less oppressive government than Brussels then fine, devolution would be great, but my suspicion is that the average Briton is no more interested in liberty than the average European, will not vote libertarians into office (and might very well vote Jeremy Corbyn into office), and certainly isn’t interested in “independence” so that a dramatically less regulated society can be instituted.

    Given this, one loses the check on local insanity (see Jeremy Corbyn) provided by wider legal institutions, loses free trade and free migration with the rest of Europe, and gains nothing obvious.

    The problem isn’t that in theory an independent Britain couldn’t be a much freer place. It could. The problem is that for that to happen, the bulk of the British public would need to want that, and there’s no evidence that they do.

    It’s also certainly the case that some pro Brexit voters wanted a much freer Britain. However, in practice, most of them were upset that too many foreigners were coming to live in the UK and they wanted to stop that. So yes, I’ll assert again, most Brexit voters were not motivated by libertarian leanings but by bigotry, and so claims that mostly Brexit is motivated by bigotry are true. It might not be true of most of those who post to Samizdata and favor Brexit, but it is certainly true of the bulk of those who voted for Brexit, who are not libertarians, are not motivated by an interest in actual freedom, and mostly had nationalist and xenophobic sentiments.

    And one more time, Paul, quit making up statements by me.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    BTW, lets imagine that New York City decided to have a NYExit vote, largely motivated around the fact that the United States Constitution prevents the city from passing the sorts of laws it prefers. Would libertarians be well advised to support such a move? Clearly not, because the bulk of the electorate and politicians in New York City are on the far left, and given independence, within a short period there would probably be public executions of small business owners.

    Liberty is not best guaranteed by reducing the size of a polity. There is no particular reason to believe that if your state has five million citizens it will be freer than one that has fifty million or five hundred million. Independence for your particular city or county or province might mean an increase in liberty, or it might mean an enormous increase in tyranny.

    As a tactical strategy, if it so happens that a particular region that you happen to reside in is unusually libertarian (and there are perhaps only two or three regions on earth I could characterize that way, and none of them are parts of Europe, and certainly the United Kingdom is not one of them), then perhaps political independence is a valuable way to increase liberty. If, however, all you’ve done is remove the checks on a citizenry and politicians who have no desire for freedom whatsoever, then what have you gained?

    The problem with Brexit is, again, not that in theory that the UK could not be a much freer place than Europe. The problem is that in practice most of the support comes from xenophobes and that in practice more of the electorate wants outright communism than abolition of income taxes. There is no reason to believe Whitehall is more controllable than Brussels.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA) (December 4, 2018 at 3:00 and 3:19 pm), you appear to be making the case for a world government of all but the two or three areas you regard as unusually libertarian. If so, Paul’s statement surely understates, rather than overstates, your views.

    Within the area of a common single language and similarities of culture, there is a historical argument that increasing the size of a polity can enhance liberty rather than restrict it: events after both the union of the Scottish and English parliaments in 1707 and the union of the 13 states in 1787 offer some support to that thesis. But when it comes to large multilingual unions – China, for example, or the Holy Roman Empire – the case is lacking.

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