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

These fanatics are fond of pissing our money up the wall on their insane schemes. And I am not going to buy an electric car. These monstrosities are not remotely environmentally friendly. Smug, self-righteous arseholes in developed countries get to feel all self congratulatory about their lack of emissions while in developing countries child labour is used to destroy the local habitat, but who cares about brown people and wildlife if you can virtue-signal in your latest electric motor, eh?

Although I always thought Boris Johnson was something of a lightweight probably unfit for high office, even I have been surprised by just how bloody awful he has been since getting into Downing Street. We might just as well have elected Jeremy Corbyn.


11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Partly it is a matter of politicians not really making policy – officials (and so on) have a massive influence over policy. But it is also true that Mr Johnson has never really been strong resisting demands for government spending – after all no one thanks you for NOT spending money, on the contrary you get screamed at as a “murderer” and so on (I have some experience of this).

    Someone who admires Pericles (indeed has a bust of the man in their room at Oxford) is not likely to be a keep down government spending man – they are not likely to be, say, a Roger Sherman (who rightly argued that the key to an honest polity is sound money, physical gold or physical silver, and keeping government spending DONW). Edmund Burke and William Gladstone would be British examples – most British Conservatives think they know about Mr Burke (they do NOT as what is taught about the man is horribly distorted).

    But there is a also a strong tendency in British (and other) economics to make the utterly false assumption that some forms of government spending are “investment” – that the benefits of such government spending balance out the costs of it (they do not).

    This goes all the way back to Adam Smith – who in his old age really started to lose the plot (I am not sneering at him – I am a similar age and I certainly know what it feels like to go into a room and think “why did I come in here – what was I planning to do?”) – for example as a young man Adam Smith understood there was no “paradox of value” as one never exchanges (for example) ALL water for ALL diamonds, one exchanges a particular amount of something (in a particular time and place) for a particular amount of something else. Just as F.A Hayek understood as a young economist that a price index is just a theoretical construct – one should NOT try and create a form of money to keep a price index stable, and even if one should then bankers are the last people who should have anything to do with it (as all the incentives in their line of business are towards pushing Credit Expansion and playing fast and loose with honest accounting) – but by the 1970s F.A. Hayek was pushing index money and saying that bankers should produce such nonsense money (not that the money of governments is not also nonsense – of course it is).

    Anyway – by the “Wealth of Nations” (1776) Adam Smith was, at times (not at other times – like all of us who are getting older he seems to have had good days and bad days, even when writing the book) pushing the absurdity that certain forms of government spending are investment and, somehow, balance out their costs.

    “Infrastructure” is a classic example – Sir Thomas Telford built the various projects (roads, harbours and so on) he was asked to build in Scotland very well, but they in no way “paid for themselves” the government infrastructure schemes in Scotland were an economic failure – and when various American States tried similar schemes (and canals and ….) in the early 19th century, these schemes were also an economic failure.

    As for treating government health, education and welfare spending as “investment” – there are plenty of economists who will push, with a straight face, such nonsense.

    The “Green Agenda” is something else again – as that is part of a modern religious movement (the language is not too strong), if resisting more government health, education and welfare spending makes someone a “murderer” (as if all the endless government spending in places such a New York, California, Illinois and-so-on had reduced poverty rather than INCREASING poverty), then opposing the Green agenda spending and regulations would make someone a heretic – out to destroy the world.

    One only need to look at the aggressive children in Amazon advertisements to know the likely fate of anyone who openly opposed such spending and such regulations.

    The only reason not to burn the heretic would, in the minds of the “educated”, be that burning heretics produced C02 emissions.

    As for actually doing things that really would reduce world C02 emissions – such reducing taxes and regulations to bring home manufacturing back from China (and thus get rid of transport C02 emissions), or radical deregulation to both reduce the costs and IMPOVE the safety of nuclear power (as the regulations actually undermine safety by preventing better designs) – do not hold your breath.

    What we will get is lots of taxes, government spending and regulations – and these policies will not reduce world wide C02 emissions (the policies will, over all, increase world wide C02 emissions).

    I think most people around here know that the policies (on just about everything) that are now being followed in the Western World were laid out in Agenda 21 (now called Agenda 2030 – or just Sustainable Development) at the start of the 1990s – essentially gradual Collectivism (quietly agreed just after we thought we had won the Cold War), so there is no great need to go into the details of that yet again.

    “You will own nothing” as the World Economic Forum and the rest of the government and corporate people say, “and you will be happy” – at least you will have to pretend to be happy or they will “cancel” you, and that will mean no job and no “Basic Income” either.

    The future will be a boot coming down on a human face – for ever, or rather till the system collapses.

  • Buzz Lightbeer

    One only need to look at the aggressive children in Amazon advertisements to know the likely fate of anyone who openly opposed such spending and such regulations.

    No idea what that means. Link to examples, this is the internet, not a pamphlet.

  • John Lewis



    You are fortunate to have been spared this.

  • Buzz does make a useful point. The whole point of blogs is links to what you talk about, because do not assume your obsessions, your reading lists, what you keep track of, is shared by the reader. Link to it so (1) they know what the hell you are talking about (2) they know your characterisation of the source is accurate.

    If we have re-learned ANYTHING since 2020, it is what we knew in 2001: be sceptical when people tell you about something, do not take anyone’s word for anything without some meaningful supporting evidence.

    This is doubly difficult (& important) now as you can find data & peer-reviewed papers to support *any* position you want to take on a huge variety of issues.

  • Stonyground

    I’d like to know who the 108 businesses are so that I can make sure that I don’t give them any of my money.

    Also, hasn’t farming been sustainable for about 20,000 years? But it’s a thing now?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Although I always thought Boris Johnson was something of a lightweight probably unfit for high office, even I have been surprised by just how bloody awful he has been since getting into Downing Street. We might just as well have elected Jeremy Corbyn.

    Blaming the player not the game. The game is the problem. The players are not the problem.

    These elections are indirectly destroying western civilization.

    More Viktor Orban please.

  • Paul Marks

    As Amazon is an American company I assume it also has similar advertisements in the United States – many of the “Woke” (Frankfurt School) Corporations do. Before anyone jumps in saying “Jeff Bezos does not personally believe any of this stuff” I have never said he does – although how Mr Bezos being a despicable coward who endlessly pushes agitprop stuff he does not believe in (in order to get the far left to spare him – and they will NOT spare him, no matter how much money he gives them) makes things better, I do not know. And it is naught to do with “he just hates Trump” as Mr Bezos bought the (Agitprop) Washington Post years ago – a newspaper that prints nothing but what “he does not believe in”.

    Still back to other matters.

    There are various problems with Adam Smith (at least the Adam Smith of the Wealth of Nations – if not when he was a younger man), the nonsense of the Paradox of Value (there is no paradox – see my previous comment) which leads to his absurd Labour Theory of Value, and Smith’s bizarre view of LAND (at least on bad days – yes, in know we all have bad days) – all this made horribly more damaging by David Ricard and the Mills (James and John Stuart), with John Stuart Mill adding something of his own – his dislike of factory and mine owners (not just landowners in his case) and his worker co-op stuff (the worker co-op stuff is not there in Smith or in Ricardo or James Mill).

    French economics, at least the Liberal School of French economics (the Say family, Bastiat and others) was largely free of all these absurdities – but English language economics was NOT a dead loss in the 19th century.

    For example, Richard Whately and Samuel Bailey refuted the Labour Theory of Value back in the 1820s – long before Karl Marx and Frederick Engels had heard of it, and in the United States A.L. Perry and then Frank Fetter brought the work of the French economists (who influenced Perry) and the French and Austrian economists (who influences Frank Fetter) to the English speaking world.

    Frank Fetter in particular tore apart the world-view of the World Economic Forum and other modern bodies more than a century ago.

    For example their hostility to private ownership of land (a central part of their agenda is to use property taxes and endless regulations to strangle private ownership of land – making land either government or corporate) – this is based on the land economics of Ricardo, J.S. Mill and (even) Henry George – but Frank Fetter tore all this apart more than a century ago.

    By the way in case anyone is wondering how someone like William Gates reconciles their Collectivist politics with being a massive private landowner – the solution is simple, he sees himself as a steward for “the community” and intends that his land comes under collective (either government or corporate, charitable foundation) control on his death.

    The super rich Collectivists have very little trouble “squaring the circle” – opposition to INHERITANCE of private land (or factories – or whatever) is how they reconcile their personal wealth with their egalitarian collectivist politics.

  • Paul Marks

    Shlomo Maistre – Prime Minister is a democrat (Americans please note I used the small d – not the capital).

    He convinces people to vote for his party – and insists that he and his fellow elected politicians are in charge, NOT the unelected officials.

    This makes Hungary more democratic (not less) than countries where the officials are in charge – and the role of elected people is to act as entertainment to distract attention (and get blame for policies that they did NOT create).

    This, the elected politicians (not unelected judges and other officials) being in charge is why Prime Minister Orban is considered “against the European values” – “European values” (like American ones) being that the officials are in charge.

    Remember President Trump – helpless in a government he was supposed to be in charge of, unable to stop it persecuting his friends for FAKE crimes, whilst ignoring the very real crimes of the his enemies (such as the Bidens).

    What is the democracy S.M. – a nation where the elected people are in charge, or a nation where the unelected officials are in charge?

    My view is that the FORMER is the democracy.

    To leave the European Union but still be governed in a European Union way (i.e. have the unelected in charge) is not good.

  • Paul Marks

    As for whether real democracy is possible without what the Greeks would have called a Demos – a people with a common history, language, culture, kinship….. I will now shock some people by saying I think that it is possible.

    It is possible where common BELIEFS (PRINCIPLES) of limited government and individual freedom can be found – in such a society people of very different races, religions, cultures, can live together (and prosper together).

    I would point at Florida as a reasonable example of this – partly due to the limited government Constitution of 1968 (which limits taxes and borrowing) and partly because of the beliefs of the people – a Cuban immigrant may seem to share nothing with a “Redneck” or “Cracker” (not race, not language, not culture, nor religion, not a common history or kinship), but they share a hatred of “Progressive” politics and its logical endpoint – Marxism.

    Of course Prime Minister Orban takes more of an Ancient Greek (specifically Athenian) view of this matter than I do – to him the common culture and history are incredibly important, and nothing can really substitute if they are lacking.

    This makes Mr Orban more, rather than less, of a classical democrat than I am.

  • Rudolph Hucker

    @Paul Marks

    By the way in case anyone is wondering how someone like William Gates reconciles their Collectivist politics with being a massive private landowner – the solution is simple, he sees himself as a steward for “the community”

    I realise you are quoting Gates (& Co), but it may be useful to clarify one thing : Does “the community” mean “our community” in the sense most of know? Like the friends we know, and the people we know in our own neighbourhoods, and the local shops? (some of which are just about still in business)

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer is NO.

    The “Gates community” is no ordinary community. This is a “WEF” community, that flies around in private jets, that owns the charitable foundations and the trust funds in tax havens. That own the shell companies that own large chunks of the shares in the corporations that help policy makers “guide” the politicians.

  • bobby b

    Shlomo Maistre
    August 15, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    “These elections are indirectly destroying western civilization.”

    I think you confuse cause and effect.

    Elections are the foundation of Western civ.

    We The Voters are just doing a supremely poor job of making informed decisions that are based on something other than ignorant fashion.

    If your company has a bad CEO, you don’t abolish the position. You fill it more competently. We ought not abolish elections. We need to make voters more informed, and thus more competent. Most under-30’s view socialism as desirable. We paid for their education but failed to supervise it.