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Samizdata quote of the day

“With the end of the year approaching, I have been thinking about which of my views have changed over the last 12 months. Here’s one: I no longer think Brexit is a bad idea. I’m not ready to endorse it, because I don’t feel comfortable with the nationalism and populism surrounding so much of the Leave movement, but I no longer wish the referendum had gone the other way.”

Tyler Cowen, writing in Bloomberg. This article is going to give some of its readers heartburn.

26 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • John B

    Nationalism is the slur the bien-pensant use to cast a slur on the feeling of inherited identity, culture, tradition and desire for self-government; populism the slur to demonise the wishes of the general population contrary to what the patronising elite have decided is good for them.

  • Plamus

    Well, the EU tried to moralize Poland and Hungary. Then folded and tucked tail.

  • Martin

    Stopped reading at the point he says Hungary is ‘non-free’ and that he hopes the EU pushes it around.

    Just typical neoliberal globalist slander. Hungary is a free country. And a lot safer than the likes of the USA, France or Germany.

  • Martin
    December 11, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    Hungary is a free country. And a lot safer than the likes of the USA, France or Germany.

    Today. And I remember when Lebanon was the Switzerland of the Middle East, one of the safer places in the region.

    Entropy never sleeps.

  • NickM

    Hungary is not exactly free if you are gay.

  • Mr Ed

    NIck M

    Hungary is not exactly free if you are gay.

    Can you provide some elaboration? I am more uncertain of what you mean than Heisenberg.

    England is not free if you are anyone.

  • Tedd

    I’m not ready to endorse it, because I don’t feel comfortable with the nationalism and populism surrounding so much of the Leave movement…

    I’m always astounded when somebody says something like that. Since when did bad arguments for something negate the good arguments for it? And which good ideas don’t have some idiots supporting them for the wrong reasons?

  • Alan Peakall

    Tedd, when someone says something like that, it should be treated as an encouraging sign that they are open to further persuasion. Gently parodying their position using the formula maybe it’s true, but I’m not the sort of person who believes it may push the process further with very little extra effort.

    Not forgetting, of course, that sometimes the converse (maybe it’s false, but I’m not the sort of person who doubts it) is more appropriate.

  • John Lewis

    Judging by the frequency of complaints, protests and statements of support across the western world, which are presumably indicative of ongoing issues, exactly which countries are considered free if you are gay?

  • Brexit was and still is a good idea but for none of the reasons Tyler Cowen mentions.

  • Paul Marks

    It is indeed a good thing for a nation to be able to make its own laws – rather than have them imposed internationally. The European Union is a terrible idea – as bad as Louis XIV’s (the Sun King) Chief Minister Colbert offering “free trade” with France IF a nation would accept all his detailed edicts and orders.

    However, to make independence a success the government must really be eager to deregulate – and I presently see no sign of that.

    Hungary – I think both sides are missing the point.

    Someone such as Joseph “Joe” Bide who calls Hungary and Poland “totalitarian states” (he actually said that – and it was not a “gaffe” he was clearly repeating prepared lines) are really guilty of “Projection” it is THEY who wish to impose totalitarianism and it is Hungary and Poland (and other countries) are resisting it.

    However, if Hungary was really a free country it would REJECT E.U. subsidies – not just argue over the strings attached to them.

    As with so many countries – business and government are lot too close in Hungary.

    By the way on Agenda 21 and-so-on.

    The establishment need to make up their minds.

    If it is a “Conspiracy Theory”, as they continually claim, then why the endless orders to CARRY IT OUT?

    If something does-not-exist then local councillors (and so on) would not have to OBEY that thing.

    It appears that Agenda 21, Agenda 2030, Great Reset, Build Back Better exist (and must be obeyed) if one is in favour of them – but as soon as some opposes the totalitarianism, then they are just “paranoid conspiracy theories”.

    This is part of a general establishment approach.

    Oppose any of their plans, on anything at all, and suddenly the plan does not exist – it is a “conspiracy theory”.

    But one still has to OBEY the “conspiracy theory” – in every detail.

    If it does not exist – why does one have to OBEY it?

  • george m weinberg

    If the EU had remained the free trade zone it was sold as, there never would have been a Brexit movement, let alone an actual Brexit.
    Back when they were trying to pass the EU Constitution by referendum, they stacked the deck by saying no matter how many times the people voted “no”, there could always
    be another vote, but a “yes” vote was “yes” forever. Between that and the state-controlled media clearly instructing the people which way to vote, the Constitution should
    have been a shoe-in, but when they were still unable to pass it, they simply decided a referendum was not required after all.

    I really don’t understand why there wasn’t a massive movement to disband the EU then.

  • Surellin

    Ongoing confusion between patriotism and nationalism. And God help us if we do anything “populist”, i.e. popular.

  • Alsadius

    The highest-circulation newspapers in Hungary keep getting shut down after not agreeing with Orban. Usually they blame financial losses, but the staff don’t seem to think they were actually losing money. And they always seem to shut down near-instantly, usually after reporting a story that’s embarrassing to Orban or one of his close allies. For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%A9pszabads%C3%A1g

    > The paper was suddenly closed by its owner Mediaworks on 8 October 2016. The journalists were preparing for a move to a new headquarters; on Friday they vacated their old office and were still planning a Sunday opening party in the new office; on Saturday they were told they were all suspended and not allowed to enter the building. Publication ceased and its website was disconnected. The departure of former Mediaworks CEO Balázs Rónai was announced on the same day. Mediaworks announced that the closure was a business decision due to the paper suffering losses.[14] The liquidation of the paper was performed by acting CEO Viktor Katona, who himself resigned (claiming health reasons) on the following Monday, making it impossible for the journalists to negotiate with anyone in charge.[15]

    Hungary isn’t North Korea. But they’re sure not America either. “Semi-authoritarian” is my usual moniker. And given that Orban seems to proudly bill himself as illiberal, I think this is pretty fair.

    > Orbán is seen as having laid out his political views most concretely in a widely cited 2014 public address at Băile Tușnad (known in Hungary as the Tusnádfürdői beszéd, or “Tusnádfürdő speech”). In the address, Orbán repudiated the classical liberal theory of the state as a free association of atomistic individuals, arguing for the use of the state as the means of organizing, invigorating, or even constructing the national community. Although this kind of state respects traditionally liberal concepts like civic rights, it is properly called “illiberal” because it views the community, and not the individual, as the basic political unit.[106] In practice, Orbán claimed, such a state should promote national self-sufficiency, national sovereignty, familialism, full employment and the preservation of cultural heritage, and cited countries such as Turkey, India, Singapore, Russia, and China as models.[106]

    That sounds like a nationalist breed of socialism to me, tbh.

  • Martin

    Hungary isn’t North Korea. But they’re sure not America either. “Semi-authoritarian” is my usual moniker. And given that Orban seems to proudly bill himself as illiberal, I think this is pretty fair.

    What would Hungary achieve by copying America? America’s liberalism has brought about anarchotyranny. Why would Hungarians want Antifa and BLM militias taking over their cities?

    It’s true that certain companies have been suddenly closed down under Orban. Unlike most countries though, in those cases the owners were leftists. At least in Hungary the woke do go broke. At this stage of the game with their utterly risible behaviour, would America really be any less free if CNN, MSNBC, NYT, Washington Post, Facebook and Twitter were all closed with immediate effect? Personally I don’t see how America becomes a free country again until these examples of a ‘free’ media go bankrupt or forced to close.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I know that Hungary and Poland are not even remotely authoritarian because the BBC, CNN, and NYT say that they are.

    Just as I know that we should be wary of Islam because the BBC, CNN, and NYT say we should not.

    (OK, i admit that the above should not be taken entirely seriously. Not entirely.)

  • Alsadius

    Martin: I’m not saying that you need to become a literal copy of the USA, or any other specific free nation. No country is perfect. But I like the fact that I can make fun of my government, and read newspapers that do the same, without needing to wonder how soon they’ll go away under “mysterious circumstances”.

    Snorri: I confess, that is a point in Hungary’s favour. But not a huge one, because stopped clocks are still right twice a day.

  • Paul Marks

    Alsadius – there is no America. There may have been once – but it is no more.

    “I can read newspapers that make fun of my government” – can you? The REAL government?

    Newspapers that expose the FBI and the “Justice” Department as the corrupt people they are? How about the people in robes – the “judges”? Would you buy a used car from the typical “judge”?

    How about the RACE racket – any American journalist who used certain blunt words would be out begging on the street.

    So would any person in any job – a “free country” where if you use the wrong words, or express the wrong opinions (even a cultural matter), you end up utterly destroyed.

    And I am NOT saying that Britain is any better in this respect.

    As for Hungary – Budapest (the largest city and capital) is controlled by the LEFT, do you think they come from no where, that no newspapers support them?

    When Mr Biden said that Hungary and Poland (POLAND!) were “totalitarian” countries – he was reading out lines from staff, those staff are the real “totalitarians”.

    They say fairly conservative countries such as Poland as a potential problem for their “Progressive” designs.

    In the name of reason – you live in a country where the election has just been blatantly rigged and you are lecturing other people.

    Do you think that Hungary and Poland allow hundreds of thousands of mail-ballots without any identification?

    Do you think that elections in POLAND are rigged as they are in America?

    Do you think that no proof of citizenship, indeed no proof of identity is needed to vote in Poland?

    In just over a month’s time the President of the United States will be Joseph Biden.

    Joseph Biden, Alsadius – Joseph “Joe” Biden, someone who has been a PAID SERVANT of the People’s Republic of China for many years.

    And he could not get away with that if the rest of “the system” were not SCUM – just as bad as he is.

    Please wake up.

  • Paul Marks

    If people want to see some of the old limited government spirit of America, they could visit somewhere such as South Dakota.

    Perhaps Lawrence County – Spearfish Canyon and so on. They have voted for the vermin since 1916.

    But the United States as a whole?

    That is gone – America is now just a memory, a lost dream. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion – all gone or going.

    And if anyone doubts that – wait for the “Climate Change Emergency” that Puppet Biden will be told to declare.

    The courts will say it is all fine.

  • Alsadius

    I confess, I’m not sure what you mean by “the REAL government” – bureaucrats? You don’t seem the type to use that as a euphemism for racial groups, and I doubt you’re so far gone as to mean the UN. But whichever of those it is, the answer is yes. I can read people who make fun of any or all of those, quite easily.

    I don’t like private censorship, but there’s a real difference between that and the public variety. Someone censored by Twitter can move to Parler – it’s a step down, but you’re still discussing in a way that’s just as publicly accessible as before. There’s competition, alternatives, and the right of exit – all that good capitalist stuff. Where do you go to find another government, exactly? The costs of private censorship are real, and I don’t want to discount them, but they’re way lower than government censorship.

    Also, FWIW, I live in Canada. I think the US is generally freer than we are on a lot of the A-list libertarian issues (speech in particular), but I can guarantee that there was no national election rigging here in the last year, because we haven’t voted nationally in the last year. Likewise, I don’t claim Hungary rigs elections by submitting fake mail-in ballots. (They just shut down opposition newspapers, and let nature take its course.)

    Regarding a “climate change emergency”, yes, Biden will likely use a PR slogan to that effect. And he’ll appoint a very fancy commission, who will kill countless trees producing a “groundbreaking” report that four people will ever read. And yes, the courts will say that this is fine, because it is. He won’t make any major policy changes through such an emergency declaration, though. Just like Obama talked big on issues like that and did very little. If Sanders had won, I might worry about that stuff. But Biden? He’ll be taking a nap instead.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Alsadius:

    I confess, I’m not sure what you [Paul Marks] mean by “the REAL government” – bureaucrats?

    You sound pretty naive.
    I cannot speak for Paul, but i bet that by “government” he means the minority that holds most of the power of coercion & persuasion, i.e. the ruling class. That includes both elected officials and top bureaucrats, but also the top people in media (old and new), the most influential political “intellectuals”, and politically active billionaires such as Soros and the Kochs. And i could go on: top admin at top universities, for instance.

    But perhaps Paul meant, more precisely, the majority faction within the ruling class. Trump is obviously a member of the ruling class, but equally obviously he is not a member of the majority faction. The same was true of Reagan and Thatcher.

  • Alsadius

    The way he phrased it, I took it to imply a single organization. For an amorphous class-warfare kind of argument, sure, I can accept the existence of a “ruling class”.

    I’d be hard-pressed to find a newspaper that doesn’t mock at least some large portion of the ruling class on a regular basis.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I’d be hard-pressed to find a newspaper that doesn’t mock at least some large portion of the ruling class on a regular basis.

    That might or might not be because you are unable to identify the ruling class. I don’t know, because i have never read Canadian newspapers. But there seems to be a single newspaper in the US that criticizes the majority faction of the ruling class, and that is the New York Post. In the UK, to my knowledge there is none.

    I’ll add that the majority of Americans are unable to identify the ruling class. They believe that the Republicans are the party of the ruling class … and even many Republican imbeciles such as the Bushes, McCain, and Romney seem to think so.

    In Britain, it’s more complicated: the Conservatives have long been the natural party of government, so the Brits can be excused for thinking of them as the party of the ruling class; even though that neglects the role of the “civil” “service”, the media, and public “intellectuals”.

  • Paul Marks

    Alsadius – I told you what a meant by the real government, I even gave you some examples of it.

    For example, the despicable people who make up the FBI and the rest of the “Justice” system. Anyone who thinks the elected President is charge of these creatures has been asleep for the last four years.

    Try mocking them, or their “Woke” Corporate friends – and see what happens to you.

    Or ask Roger Stone or General Flynn what happened to them. Roger Stone will tell you using some rather sharp language.

    As for Hungary and Poland – let me explain something to you.

    When Mr Biden called them “totalitarian states” he did not mean when they were under Marxist rule – he does not have a problem with Marxists, he was the Vice President of Barack Obama (a man from the Marxist tradition – even when he was a child he was taught by his mother and family friends) for eight years – and his “running mate” is Senator Harris (whose father was a leading Marxist academic and whose voting record makes Bernie Sanders look like Barry Goldwater).

    Mr Biden meant NOW – he was calling conservative Poland and Hungary “totalitarian” precisely because they are NOT and HE WANTS THEM TO BE.

    Marxism has not stayed static – it did not stop developing when Dr Karl Marx died in 1883 – it has developed.

    Modern Marxism is SOMETIMES closer to the ideas of Saint-Simon (who was very popular when Karl Marx was a boy – including in his home town).

    Big Business types are not going to be shot – they are going to be charge of the new totalitarian society.

    Many (although NOT ALL) modern Marxists are fine with Agenda 21 – Agenda 2030, “Sustainable Development” (Green totalitarianism), “Stakeholder Capitalism”, “Inclusive Capitalism”.

    They include most large “Woke” Corporations (including most of the media), the bureaucracy, and the education system (which produces this “manager class”).

    They are determined to utterly destroy liberty – and up against people like you (who do not even see the problem) I can not see them failing to achieve their objective.

  • Paul Marks

    The banks, credit card companies and so on (which are joined at the hip with government – they depend on the Federal Reserve and the other Central Banks) are open with their totalitarian agenda – they want a version of the Chinese “Social Credit” system, to exterminate Freedom of Speech and all other basic liberties (why? because that is how they have been EDUCATED).

    Under “Inclusive Capitalism” – the only people to be “included” will be people who AGREE with them.

    They do not hide any of this – it is not a “conspiracy”, they shout it from the roof tops (or they used to). Look at the film they (the World Economic Forum) made for “Agenda 2030” – ordinary people will “own nothing”, but will “be happy” (be happy, or ELSE…).

    The United States, the United Kingdom and so on signed up to “legally nonbinding” Agenda 21 as long ago as 1992 – and the ideas go back at least to the “Club of Rome” totalitarians of the 1960s, and Klaus Schwab’s book on “Stakeholder Capitalism” which came out in 1971.

    Mr Trump could have signed on.

    Instead he went to Davos in January 2020 and he MOCKED THEM – to their faces.

    I could not believe what he was doing – one does NOT mock them (they are the rulers of this world). Yet I watched the film of his speech where he essentially trolled them – to their faces.

    I am not surprised that the establishment replied by rigging the election – and if Mr Trump thinks his punishment stops on January 20th he is mistaken. The people he mocked are not forgiving – Mr Trump and his entire family will be made to suffer.

    By the way this reminds of Perry denouncing Prime Minister Alexander Johnson for this or that terrible policy.

    Does Perry really believe that Mr Johnson INVENTS these policies?

    Mr Johnson most certainly does not – the “Sustainable Development” Agenda was decided long ago.

    “But he could RESIST – Prime Minister Johnson could say NO!”

    And if Mr Johnson did that he would be made to suffer – just as Mr Trump will be made to suffer.

    One can indeed say “no” to POLICY (the policy decided by the establishment) – but only if one is prepared to accept very painful consequences.

    And what good does it do to say “no”?

    After all the United States of America will go down the TOTALITARIAN road anyway – just under a “President Biden” rather than a President Trump.

    Mr Biden does not say “no” – he says YES.

  • Paul Marks

    As for Poland.

    I believe it was the President of Poland (who managed to get re elected – it is much harder to rig elections in Poland than the United States) who was musing on the matter the other day.

    The orthodox Marxists were indeed a terrible thing for Poland – but they did not aim to WIPE OUT Polish culture and the Polish people.

    But the Frankfurt School Marxists (who bizarrely call themselves “liberals” – and include the “Woke” Corporations) aim to do that – the actual wiping out of Polish culture and the Polish people is their aim. Not because they have a special hated of Poland – but because they hate ALL independent peoples and national cultures.

    Even the family itself is not safe from these Legion of Devils

    “Stalin” never talked about turning eight year old boys into “trans” – Mr Biden did and the international media did not bat an eyelid.

    This is because Mr Biden did not invent any of these “policies” – he is just following orders, the orders of the “Woke” establishment (produced by the schools and universities and filled with ideas for the cultural extermination of the West).

    Mr Biden is a person who says YES.

    Tragically for Poland the man who sits on the seat of Saint Peter may well also be a person who says YES – he had an “Inclusive Capitalism” conference at the Vatican only a few days ago, many representatives of Woke Big Business and Big Government were there – pledging to get rid of what is left of liberty (in the name of Social Justice and so on).

    To be betrayed by the Pope is something that the Poles (and other sincere Catholics) are not prepared for (although, it must be stressed, Pope Francis has NOT yet crossed the final bridges – he has come close to the edge of the cliff, but he has NOT jumped off) – and many of the Protestant Churches are also in peril.

    As are rational atheists – for YES the international “Woke” establishment is coming for atheists (atheists who follow reason rathe than SOCIAL JUSTICE) as well as religious people.

    Do you accept the “Woke” agenda? Many atheists would say “no” – but if they say no and stick to it, there will be unfortunate consequences for them.

    The world of the future is not to include Objectivists – any more than it is to contain the sincerely religions (who are to be replaced with the fake religion of the “Social Gospel”).

    The economic side of all this was described by Ludwig Von Mises a century ago.

    In his book “Socialism” Ludwig Von Mises called what is now called “Inclusive Capitalism” (endless government spending and endless regulations – aimed at destroying free competition and especially destroying small business) “Destructionism”.

    Mussolini had a different name – the heretic Marxist called his form of Collectivism FACISM.

    “Fascism” is a harsh word, but “Inclusive Capitalism” is too soft – perhaps a neutral term should be used.

    The Corporate State – on an international (world) level. That is what they want.

    And Mr Biden says YES – to China, and the rest of the “international community”.

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