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

The only thing I want a war on is a war on government wars.

Hector Dummond

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • I was quite keen on our waging and winning WWII. So I would slightly rephrase the OP rule.

    Governments waging war on other governments (more generally, humans using force to oppose other humans’ intentional use of force) can make a lot of sense.

    Governments waging ‘war’ against the perils of life (i.e. using force on their subjects ‘for their own good’) usually makes a lot less sense.

    A well-known example is what went wrong with the civil rights movement when it went north in the 60s.

    – In the old south, certain politicians were enforcing certain laws (e.g. separate rail carriages for negroes and whites, against the wishes of the white-southerner-run railway companies). It was well within the power of government to find those politicians and compel them to desist. In other cases, e.g. lynchings, certain laws were being enforced in an intentionally slovenly way, and it was in the power of government to address that.

    – When the movement went north, it found many statistics of negroes not being at the same level as whites in this and that area. But it was much less the case that intentional exercise of power had caused this. Instead of finding these actors and using power to make them desist using their power, the movement had a different problem on its hands – but preferred not to recognise this, instead asserting the these intentional actors existed, just more subtly hidden.

    Intentional power can in principle be used to solve the problems that intentional power creates. Such power is less useful, and far more likely to have side-effects, when it tries to solve problems that power did not create.

    So the OP’s war on these ridiculous ‘wars’ makes perfect sense – because the OP’s enemy is a government. It’s not whether a government is waging it, but whether the enemy is, that distinguishes wars from ‘wars’.

  • Roué le Jour

    I thought Hector meant the “war on drugs” and the “war on poverty”. Those kind of wars?

  • Mr Ed

    Now that’s a war to end all wars.

    Can we overthrown ‘Tsars’ as well? I don’t mean like with the Romanovs, forfeit of pay and pension would be quite enough.

  • I thought Hector meant the “war on drugs” and the “war on poverty”. Those kind of wars? (Roué le Jour, May 15, 2020 at 12:31 pm)

    That’s exactly what I thought he meant too – which is why I did not think his war against them silly in the way the ‘wars’ he wanted a war against were silly.

    Niall pedant Kilmartin therefore wrote a long comment justifying the distinction. 🙂

  • I was quite keen on our waging and winning WWII.

    WWII was a war on the German (and the Italian, etc.) government’s war.

  • Phil B

    Mr. Ed @ 1.24PM 15th May

    Can we overthrown ‘Tsars’ as well? I don’t mean like with the Romanovs, forfeit of pay and pension would be quite enough.

    Wimp! I would remind the readers that Napoleon did not hang his admirals because they were cowards. He hung them to stop the other admirals from being cowards.

    A salutary lesson with no chance of appeal and enriching the lawyers is the way to go. It would prevent other would-be do gooders and other assorted nanny state interfering busybodies from wanting the job too.

    Consider it like lancing a boil – painful at the time but the relief afterwards …

  • Stonyground

    I suppose that it is unlikely that anyone here has seen the TV comedy ‘Parks and Recreation’ which is a US show that satirises the workings of local government in the fictional town of Pawnee?

    The show has a character called Ron Swanson who is very down to earth and speaks very eloquently in favour of free market capitalism and minimal government. Although the writers are gently taking the piss out of all of the characters, including Ron, the fact is that Ron is consistently right about just about everything. Try googling Ron Swanson Quotes, he is a fictional guy but I think that he is one of us.

  • Paul Marks

    Niall has it correct.

    The metaphor of a “War On ….” has covered policies that have done terrible HARM, “the war on poverty” (which means that poverty is much WORSE than it otherwise would be), “the war on drugs” (that massive subsidy scheme for the most vicious criminal gangs on the planet), and-so-on.

    However, someone who takes the line of Murray Rothbard that Pitt the Younger wanted war with France (rather than having war forced upon him by the French Revolutionaries seeking to spread their “armed doctrine”, as Edmund Burke, put it), or that Prime Minster Asquith wanted war with Germany in 1914 (rather than having war forced upon him by the policies of the German government), or that N. Chamberlain wanted war with Germany in 1939….

    Well such a person would just be wrong.

    What the Rothbardian wing of the libertarian movement presents as “history” in relation to Revolutionary France in the 1790s, or Germany in 1914 and 1939, or the Soviets in the Cold War, or the Islamists over the last 14 centuries.

    It is just wrong – it is false history.