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]

A lot of politics consists of politicians doing one of these two things


In case the video at the other end of that link disappears, what we see is a guy on a railway platform bringing a train to a halt, with great effort. And then he gets it going again, with even more effort. (Except that the train was doing all of this anyway, under its own steam.)

9 comments to A lot of politics consists of politicians doing one of these two things

  • Peter Melia

    It’s electric I think. The nearest steam to that train is probably from the drivers’ teapot.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Gosh! If I did weight training, do you think I–

    No, probably not. 😆

  • My younger sister, a consultant married to another consultant, once told me that medicine consists of rushing around finding people who are ill and curing them before they get better anyway. She was not being that serious and the claim is much less true for medicine than for politics but …

    She taught me the latinate terms doctors string together to give a diagnosis that translates as e.g “doesn’t show up in blood tests, presents spontaneously, don’t know the cause, treating with placebo” or similar. I could tell you these terms – but then I’d have to look up the terms for “lethal dose, patient knew medical secrets.” 🙂 (Seriously, if you know enough Latin you can probably spot them.)

  • Stonyground

    My impression is that the Government tends to make things worse by getting involved in stuff. So rather than a placebo that does nothing, it’s more like Galenic medicine that does actual harm. The radio news is reporting a sharp rise in cases of anorexia in school children just now. The same radio that constantly bombards us with government ads telling us we’re too fat and that every kind of food has too much sugar, fat or salt in it.

  • Have to agree with Stonyground, sure the government rarely gets a train going itself, but it can bring it to a halt. Or slow it down significantly. (Or, sometimes, blow it up and shoot all the occupants in the back of the head.)

  • Jacob

    Someone once said that what a doctor does is have a pleasant bedside conversation with the patient, calming him, while nature takes it’s course and the patient recovers naturally. So, doctors are not entirely useless. That is – except the pill-pushers.

  • Mr Ed

    The essence of politics is to reward failure, and for some, to penalise success. The politician is only needed by the voter for a way to leverage reward for failure or to punish success. The essence of modern politics is that the politician will get done that which you cannot do by your own efforts, be it raising taxes, spending others’ money on things or people, banning or restricting activity and so on.

    Few are those who promise to simply stay out of the way and let you keep what is yours, it is almost regarded in the UK as bad form to propose that in the political class.

  • neonsnake


    One wonders whether if the government hadn’t spent the last n decades distracting us with what a good job they do at getting the (metaphorical) trains to stop and start, we might have (metaphorical) flying cars by now.

  • Jacob

    “In 1980, the question of poverty and public policy arose, and you said the solution was to invite all the experts on poverty to a big conference on an island—and to keep them there for a few decades. When they were allowed to return home, they’d be very impressed with their work.”

    “you” = Thomas Sowell