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 fact that Chinese state media so widely shared a particularly credulous New Yorker article by Peter Hessler about China’s coronavirus response did not escape China expert Geremie Barmé, who cautioned its author that it reminded him of “another American journalist, a man who reported from another authoritarian country nearly a century ago … Walter Duranty …”

Michael Senger

21 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Mr Ecks

    “Authoritarian”? Murdering and tyrannical shithole is the correct phrase.

    Even shite like Stalin didn’t sell his victims organs onto the black market. Xi needs to be executed along with the entire top level of the CCP.

  • Paul Marks

    People who write for the New Yorker do not have low intelligence – they are not stupid, they are evil. And it is important to make the distinction.

    People who push the Collectivist line in publications such as the New Yorker know it is based on lies – their action is is not from lack of intelligence, it is a moral choice. They know it is evil – and they make a conscious choice to support evil.

    Thinking that morality is a knowledge problem is an ancient error in philosophy. See Harold Prichard “Is Moral Philosophy Based Upon A Mistake?” (in “Mind” 1912).

    I repeat – this is not an example of someone being “credulous” (i.e. stupid), the New Yorker is controlled by people who know this stuff is evil, and they support it BECAUSE it is evil.

    They are Legion – and they have massive influence over almost all institutions (public and private) in the West.

  • JBP

    Zactly. Spot on. Way too many folks think ‘wrong’ or ‘misguided’. Evil is the correct word.

  • APL

    As we look at China thinking our system is so superior their system, meanwhile in our own back yard* …

    *At least the US has a constitution, which for the time being acts as some impediment to the ‘progressives’.

  • Deep Lurker

    They project like World War Two searchlights. They are evil monsters but they don’t see themselves as evil; they see themselves as being just and righteous, as being virtuous and even heroic smiters of those other people who are the monstrous evil-doers.

    What makes them monsters is that they have monstrous ideas about what counts as guilt and wrong-doing.

  • Rudolph Hucker

    Walter Duranty (1884-1957) was a correspondent for the New York Times who violated the public trust by sending pro-Soviet stories home, pretending that all was well even as Russia starved 6 million Ukrainians to death. Bewilderingly, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for telling these lies. In the 1990s, The New York Times admitted that Duranty’s work amounted to “some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper.”


    Joseph Alsop and Andrew Stuttaford spoke out against Duranty during the Pulitzer Prize controversy. “Lying was Duranty’s stock in trade,” commented Alsop. In his memoirs British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, then The Manchester Guardian’s correspondent in Moscow, talked of Duranty’s “persistent lying” and elsewhere called him “the greatest liar I ever knew.”


    Plus ça change (plus c’est la même chose)

  • lucklucky

    Meanwhile in an example we are entering into a Totalitarian Democracy era :

    “Police launch hate crime probe after A4-sized posters saying ‘It’s okay to be white’ were plastered around Basingstoke.”

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Rudolph Hucker – Walter Duranty was not “credulous”, he knew what was happening. He made a choice to support evil – knowing it was evil.

    Nor is this an isolated case with the NYT – they (the supposedly “liberal” establishment) supported the lies of the American “Old China Hands” in the 1940s knowing it would mean mass death in China under the Marxist rule that he advice of the “Old China Hands” brought about – brought about quite intentionally. It was not an accident – it was on purpose.

    In that late 1950s the pretended that the Castro brothers were not Marxists – they were Marxists and the “journalist” of the NYT knew that very well.

    One could go on and on – but there is no need to do so.

  • lucklucky (November 8, 2021 at 4:48 pm), the Daily Mail article tells me “the ‘It’s okay to be white’ campaign was reportedly created on popular internet forum 4chan” (very plausible, albeit I think the sentiment could occur to others independently) and “was adopted by sinister neo-Nazi groups” (what remark do the un-sinister neo-Nazi groups use, I wonder?) “and politically-organized racists” (should the word ‘other’ not come between ‘and’ and ‘politically’?). Reportedly, the nefarious intent of the remark’s creators was

    to create a ‘left-wing media backlash’ in response to a ‘harmless message’

    Between those (reportedly) ‘shocked’ and ‘horrified’ residents of (88% white) Basingstoke who reported it, and the calling-it-a-hate-crime Hampshire Constabulary (and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, and the Highways Agency), I’d say 4chan must feel pleased with their success.

    The article has pictures suggesting that shocked, horrified Basingstokians also scored out ‘white’ in some of the posters, replacing it with terms such as ‘gay’ or ‘trans’. That they did this scoring out, instead of adding a comma and additional term(s), clarifies, I guess, what precisely it was that so shocked and horrified them. Surely they could have transformed the posters into acceptable ‘un-hate’ speech by just squeezing in a penultimate “anything but”. 🙂

  • lucklucky

    So the United Kingdom attacks people with harmless messages. What that makes United Kingdom be?

  • Snorri Godhi

    this is not an example of someone being “credulous” (i.e. stupid), the New Yorker is controlled by people who know this stuff is evil, and they support it BECAUSE it is evil.

    ‘Credulous’ is certainly not equivalent to ‘stupid’. The credulous can alternatively be delusional.

    Take Einstein. Surely he was not stupid, was he? and yet, he was credulous, because he favored socialism after a century of socialist antisemitism.

    Of course, it is possible to be both stupid AND delusional.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I also like this comment from Deep Lurker:

    They are evil monsters but they don’t see themselves as evil; they see themselves as being just and righteous, as being virtuous and even heroic smiters of those other people who are the monstrous evil-doers.

    What makes them monsters is that they have monstrous ideas about what counts as guilt and wrong-doing.

    My summary would be: they do not see themselves as evil, because they are moral idiots.

    NB: it is not inconceivable to be both delusional AND a moral idiot. But Einstein was not a moral idiot afaik.

  • Paul Marks

    Snorri – Walter Duranty knew.

    Most people who do bad things know they are bad.

    That includes me – oh yes, I have also done bad things (and I knew they were bad, when I did them).

    I understand the evil because I have a lot of evil in myself.

    I suspect that everyone chooses evil (knowing it is evil) sometimes – but some people choose evil (knowing it is evil) a lot of the time. And there are not a few of these people – they are Legion.

    That is life 101. And these people have influence over a lot of things now.

    In psychology some people talk about “wolves” and “sheepdogs” – who have a lot in common, as well as an important difference. At least I tell myself there is an important difference.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Oh yes, from what i have read, Walter Duranty knew.

    But not everybody evil is Walter Duranty. (Who, incidentally, was a British, not American, journalist — I say this purely for the sake of accuracy.)

    And even wrt Duranty, can we say for sure that he was evil **by his own standards**?

  • lucklucky

    Marxists think almost everybody is evil, so doesn’t bother them if the trade off is murdering millions if that puts them in power.

  • John

    The Basingstoke constabulary has decided that it’s NOT ok to be white and will use the full force of the law against anyone who believes otherwise.

    As a white person that disturbs me greatly.

  • Paul Marks

    Snorri – people (human beings) face the choice between good and evil every day of our lives, and all of us choose evil (knowing its evil) at least in some small ways – this is what religions call “sinning” but it does not depend on there being a God or an afterlife. Doing bad things is often FUN (it often gives people pleasure) – good as in moral and good as in “gives pleasure – feels good” are not the same thing (not at all). That is a weakness of the English language – I do not know if the Dutch language has the same problem. Indeed part of the pleasure of doing bad things is the knowledge that they are bad.

    Even people who choose to do evil often and in very big ways are normally NOT “mentally ill” or “morally ignorant” – they know what they are doing, and they know it is evil. That is the basis of the criminal law – and that basis (foundation) is correct.

  • Paul Marks

    Thinking of the Dutch language, I was recently told that one of the big problems of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands was the catechism of 1966 – that what was supposed to just be an updating of the work into modern Dutch, instead turned out to be a work that made basic errors. Errors so basic that it was hard to believe that the two authors (one of whom was a Jesuit, the other was from a different order) were not doing it ON PURPOSE. That they were not making some intellectual error when translating the catechism into modern Dutch – they were deliberately trying to CHANGE it, to change teaching (basic doctrines).

    However, I am not a Roman Catholic (indeed I only have a layman’s knowledge of theology) and I can not read Dutch, so I can not tell whether what I have been told (by several different people) is correct or not. Other people will know much more of this subject than I do.

    I have also been told that Calvinists in the Netherlands were hit much less badly by people in their church seeking to undermine its teachings from the inside – but again I do not know.

    Calvinists, as is well known, face their own great philosophical problem – trying to show that Predestination does not undermine Free Will (Moral Agency). Such philosophers as James McCosh most strongly denied there was any link between Predestination and Determinism or Compatibilism – but efforts to prevent any link (for example by taking God outside of time) do seem a bit desperate.

    Dr Martin Luther solved the problem (to his own satisfaction) by embracing Determinism (see “The Bondage of the Will”) – and when it was pointed out to him that this made God the author of sin (i.e. if people could not choose NOT to do various terrible things, because God made them do it, then the moral evil was in GOD), he replied that reason was a “whore” – i.e. denounced reason. The Lutheran Church, over time, moved away for Dr Luther’s position on these matters. Although there are several Lutheran Churches (and their positions may not be identical with each other on these matters).

    One is reminded of Dr Luther’s response to the argument that, even in his own (perhaps rather self serving) translation, the Epistle of James (one of the books Dr Luther left in the Bible – so it is not a contested book of the New Testament) contradicted his salvation-by-faith-alone position (and remember, to Dr Luther, people do NOT choose to have faith – it is the decision of God whether they have faith in Him or not) – rather than an argument to show that the Epistle of James did not contradict his position, Dr Luther replied that it was an “Epistle of Straw”.

    One additional problem is that Dr Luther seems to have regarded both Free Will (Moral Agency) and justification by works (not just faith) as “Jewish”. And it can not honestly be denied that he was correct about that – but for something to be “Jewish” does not automatically make it “wrong”. One could turn round and say that Dr Luther’s own position on these matters was close to that of Sunni Islam. Again saying that something is Sunni Islam is NOT the same thing as proving it mistaken.

    It is often been said (and I suspect correctly said) that the philosopher Thomas Hobbes is Martin Luther without Dr Luther’s deep believe in God. Although Mr Hobbes denied being an atheist, God certainly does not play the role in his system of thought that it plays in the system of thought of Dr Luther. Hobbesian doctrine being sort-of Dr Luther WITHOUT the supernatural element.

    Anyway – one can be an atheist and still understand that people do bad things (knowing they are bad things) every day. We all face the choice between good and evil, if only in small ways, every day – and we all fail sometimes (we do bad things – knowing they are bad).

    Indeed many of the people I have learned from in moral philosophy (and in philosophy generally) were atheists. And very strongly atheist.

  • Geremie Barmé, who cautioned its author that it reminded him of “another American journalist, a man who reported from another authoritarian country nearly a century ago … Walter Duranty …”

    So, does this mean Hessler is going to be put up for a Pulitzer prize?

  • Paul Marks

    John Venlet – good point.

    The New York Times claims not to support the lies of its reporter in the 1930s – yet does not renounce the Pulitzer Prize.

    It is now clear that other awards of this prize were also for tissues of lies – for example against President Trump.

    Yet the prizes are not returned.

    One of the great mistakes that Hollywood films (and the media generally) make is in relation to “Confession”.

    In a film or book a murderer or a child rapist will confess their sins and the priest will give absolution – whilst keeping the sins secret.

    Under basic Canon Law no priest can do this without sincere repentance – and that INCLUDES seeking punishment for one’s crimes (not just saying “Hail Marys” or “Our Fathers”).

    What a priest (or an atheist for that matter) should do is say “if you seek forgiveness – first submit to punishment, hand yourself over to the secular law and confess your crimes”.

    Of course that would ruin the Hollywood film or the popular book – and it would also require priests (or non priests – including atheists) who have a clue about basic principles (which are right there in traditional Canon Law).

    “I will not reveal what you have said, but if you seek forgiveness, YOU must reveal what you have said – and if you refuse to do that, then LEAVE-THIS-CHURCH-AND-DO-NOT-DARKEN-ITS-DOORS-AGAIN till you have sought out punishment for what you did”.

    To be truly repentant someone must seek out punishment for what they did – and if they are not truly repentant then they have no business being in the Church, and (if they will not leave) it is the duty of the priest (or Protestant minister or Rabbi) to physically remove them.

    “But what if the unrepentant criminal is themselves a cleric?” – that is even more reason to physically remove them from the place of worship, if they will not leave voluntarily.

    “I raped a child, but you can not tell anyone because this is a Confessional – Ha, Ha, Ha”.

    No – but I can grab you by the throat and throw you into the street, and people are going to raise questions as to why I did that.

  • Paul Marks

    As Aristotle put it – righteous (righteous) anger is not vice, it is virtue. And it is vitally necessary.