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

People tend to believe things that further their personal interests, and universities are no exception. Wokification succeeded largely because it gave a lot of different people a lot of different things that they wanted. It gave the increasingly powerful university administration a reason to hire more administrators to manage diversity and ensure its forward march. Self-propagation is the highest goal of administrators everywhere. Wokeness also became a useful tool in ongoing turf wars between administrators and faculty. Diversity is a simple metric via which the administration can interfere with faculty hiring and academic operations; new diversity hires know who is buttering their bread and remain loyal to the administrators whose policies brought them in. For the increasingly mediocre and incapable faculty who now teach at even the most august American schools, the woke circus has its own attractions. It provides distraction from the unrelenting demands of objectivity and originality, and permits a pleasing, self-righteous indulgence in moral scolding. In Woke Studies, the answers are always predetermined and it is very easy to get anything published, provided you say the right things. For students, Wokeness has still other attractions—as a font of easy coursework, as an opportunity for social networking, and as a locus for the periodic ritual entertainment of false moral outrages and protests.

– The indispensable Eugyppius

23 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Fred Z

    A very nice description of the perversity of the perverse incentives arising when market forces are not in effect.

  • Eugyppius’ post is well-written and informative. However I understand why the earlier, more focussed post it links to – the one specifically about ChiComCold containment as an ideology – prompted some strongly-disagreeing emails. Eugyppius’ only allows one exception (China) to his belief that the insincere, self-interested enforcers are (nevertheless) motivated by the idea of “suppressing a virus”. I would suggest there is obviously another: the USA, where the very marked switch between early dismissal (Trump the travel-banning racist, masks are pointless, come mingle with your Democrat representatives in Chinatown) and later enthusiasm was intimately related to the (publicly-declaimed) realisation that the virus could be “Trump’s Katrina” (and far more) in the upcoming election.

    There is also the need to go deeper than Eugyppius did in places like e.g. the UK. The aim of “suppressing a virus” does not explain the intense preference of authority for containment as against treatment. Eugyppius’ analysis has its place but needs to be underpinned with understanding of how it was that a conscious aim, even when not very strongly infected by an ulterior motive (in the UK there was – by just three months – no longer an election available to steal) expressed itself in such a preference for publicly-controlling as against privately-liberating health approaches.

    – In the USA, desire to defeat the virus cannot explain why Ivermectin was ‘horse-medicine’. While most commenters would not know (and could not guess to within millions) how many humans have been given it since its first deployment over three decades ago, it is hardly possible for any genuine searcher of the name ‘Ivermectin’ not to learn that it got a Nobel prize in 2015 (the first for an anti-infectious-diseases drug since streptomycin in 1952), which was unlikely to denote the Nobel committee’s compassion for our equine friends.

    – In the UK, the very fact that so many enthuse over containment makes it needless for the BBC so often to front the idea with Susan Michie, while concealing her communist party membership and the volume of wildly-wrong predictions made by her ‘Independent SAGE’ committee.

    So while I read both articles with interest and profit, I see them as only a stage towards a deeper understanding, and the virus-specific one at least as able to benefit from a bit of a rewrite.

    My 0.02p FWIW.

  • pete

    The middle class must have well paid and amenable jobs even if there are no real jobs for them to do.

    That’s the main reason behind the huge growth in the higher education industry, and of bureaucracy generally.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Pete, 01/12.21 5.56pm: “The middle class must have well paid and amenable jobs even if there are no real jobs for them to do.”

    The late Keith Waterhouse wrote a novel called ‘Office Life’ on this theme. A redundant fortysomething finds a new job with a mysterious company, British Albion, which occupies an entire building in central London but which curiously is not listed in the telephone directory. Nor does it have any sales staff, production facilities, warehousing or any of the other accoutrements of an active trading company. What it does have is a mass of inflexible internal bureaucratic procedures and endless complex paperwork which, our fortysomething gradually comes to realise, consumes the whole of the working day for the entire staff. The company literally does nothing but make pointless work for itself, completely disconnected from the wider economy. Puzzled, he investigates further to try and find out what’s going on at British Albion and why…

  • Paul Marks

    I do not know how many people really believe in the “Woke” Frankfurt School Marxist doctrines. I can not estimate the numbers – or the proportion.

    I do know that some people who claim to believe in them publicly, privately tell me they do not believe in the doctrines.

    Sometimes the fake belief may be ambition (pretend to believe X and get promotion) – but there is a lot of FEAR out there – people are terrified of what will happen to them if they oppose these doctrines, how they will lost their jobs, their homes, their families.

    As someone told me only a few days ago – I do not really understand their life. “You are too hot tempered to know what it is like to be afraid all the time”.

    He was right – I have no right to judge such people, it must be just horrible to be afraid all-the-time. To have to live like that – all the time. I have known fear (many times) – but not all-the-time. I suffer from despair more than the fear – the feeling of hopelessness. My release from that is RAGE – as the hard drinking Welsh poet put it “do not go gentle into that good night – rage-rage against the dying of the light”.

    If you fight you might win – and that is good. And if you lose – you are dead, and the evil can not torture you anymore. Either way it is a win.

    As for American and British education – yes it is very hard to teach people difficult subjects (hard for the teacher or lecturer – and hard for the students), but teaching “Wokeness” is easy – and giving out jobs on the basis of “Wokeness” is easy to.

    “You mean the bridges are going to be designed by people who know nothing about engineering”.

    Yes – that is is what is going to happen. Indeed in things such as medicine it is already happening – and with terrible results.

  • William Dooley

    “Self-propagation is the highest goal of administrators everywhere.”

    Jerry Pournelle called that The Iron Law of Bureaucracy.


  • bobby b

    Paul, I’m not sure how much of all of that is fear, and how much of it is only the easiest way.

    It’s been drummed into society for decades that “progressives are the nice people”, and most people simply want to be counted among the Nice, and most of them don’t think it through in any more detail than that.

    Conservatism’s biggest wins come about when more people question whether the progressive view is really the nice view. But it’s still the default view, taught in school and through the media.

    (Note that I’m speaking of the 98% of humanity that doesn’t read political blogs or think of politics daily.)

  • Stonyground

    “The company literally does nothing but make pointless work for itself, completely disconnected from the wider economy.”

    Isn’t that a pretty good description of the bureaucracy at the heart of the EU?

  • lucklucky

    Internet development and other technologic evolution made a giant step in acceleration and intensity of social relations. The resulting several fold increase in social competitivity made people need to finding a language tool where they can never be wrong. People, companies, universities can present themselves as anti racists being a racists for example. Even if you don’t believe it you might need to buy its indulgence. Corrupting you.

    What is the better tool for that? what narrative you can buy that allows you to defend one thing and doing its contrary and you are never wrong: Neo-Marxism . There you can be racist and present as being anti racist. That is the reason for its perennity. Notice no “respectable” media said the recent attack against pedestrians in USA parade was racist despite the author having written lots of racist posts?

  • APL

    Paul Marks: “He was right – I have no right to judge such people, it must be just horrible to be afraid all-the-time. To have to live like that – all the time.”

    You don’t, not many people HAVE to live like that. Just those who have overextended themselves, have £75,000** of the most expensive credit card debt, hire purchase of the newest most prestigious car, and increased the mortgage on their home for an upgrade or home improvements. Their own student debt, and the student debt of their partner.

    Having had a taste of that for the first third of my life, I decided it wasn’t the way I wanted to live.

    Then again, if you have a toe hold in the public sector, and manage to scrabble off the bottom few rungs, you are pretty much in clover.

    **The BBC did an programme on such people with Alvin something or other Hall, sailing through life with phenomenal debt.

  • Paul Marks

    booby b and APL.

    Some of the these people really are afraid (horribly afraid) – all the time. But I do not know what proportion it is.

    After all someone who really was Frankfurt School Marxist (“Woke”) would be unlikely to talk to me. People who seek me out to talk in private are people who are pretending to be Frankfurt School Marxist – out of fear.

    I am very sorry for them – I wish I could help.

    By the way – it is not just Frankfurt School Marxism that denies the existence of objective truth. French “Post Modernism” is also radically relativist.

    The idea of such people gaining control of such things as engineering is horrible – and it is happening.

    In medicine we watched “public health professionals” (with lots and lots of medical qualifications) supporting lockdowns – till the Marxist Black Lives Matter riots (called “protests” by Mr Putin’s RT and other media outlets) – then they came in SUPPORT of this looting, burning, and murdering.

    The looting, burning and murdering, was “public health” in action as “racism is a public health emergency” – a bobby b says, this is not nice. Not nice at all.

    One thing I have learned over the years is that the Hayek assumption, that people have good motives for bad policies, is often mistaken. Often the motivations for bad policies are not good at all – the motivations are bad, horribly bad.

  • Paul Marks

    Although sometimes I do not know whether bad stuff is lying – or just ignorance.

    For example, I just watched some news presenters on “GB News” condemn President Trump for not answering a question (yesterday – when interviewed by Nigel Farage) about his supporters “storming the Capitol” on January 6th and killing “four people”.

    President Trump was not asked about four people killed – as only one person was killed (the “four people killed” thing was media lies – surely the GB News people must know that bey now?) and the person who was killed was a Trump supporter, Ashli Babbitt (an unarmed small business owner from San Diego) who was shot dead by black police officer. Where is the media “White Lives Matter” campaign, and black people being forced to “take a knee” in front of white people (although I would be AGAINST all that anyway).

    Trump supporters were waved into the building by the Capitol Police (I watched it happening – via the wonders of mobile phone technology) and the only damage to the building was caused by obvious Antifa types (even wearing their trade mark clothing and masks – FBI stooges).

    I know this – how can the GB News people not know, when they are PAID to know the background to news stories?

    But, perhaps, they do no background research at all – and just get their “news” from the far left “news” agencies. In which case what is the point of these GB news presenters?

  • Paul Marks

    The DA of San Francisco is the child of two Marxist terrorists. Not “blood guilt” – but information on where he gets his opinions from.

    When he adopted policies to encourage stealing in the city he did this because he is against private property – and so sees stealing as “Social Justice” (which IT IS – Social Justice means looting, either by the state or by private criminals).

    Trying to talk to someone like the District Attorney of San Francisco as if he had a good motives for his bad policies, is a terrible mistake. People like that, and they are LEGION, have evil motives.

  • Paul Marks

    I also remind people that many (MOST) medical people made no effort to go against the official line against Early Treatment of Covid 19.

    It was known that Early Treatment (with a combination of long established medications) would save many lives – but saving lives was “problematic” as it would remove the supposed justification for lockdowns and other policies that the international leftist establishment wished to follow. And their bureaucracy would PUNISH doctors who went against their “There Is No Early Treatment” (TINET) mantra.

    Think about that. The leftist establishment could have saved the lives of these people, but they choose not to – and they made that decision for political reasons. Indeed they actively smeared Early Treatment – they actively discouraged people from getting the treatment that would have saved their lives.

    Yes, O.K., they have a utopia in mind (Agenda 2030 and all that) and “sacrifices must be made” to break down opposition to policies designed to get to that utopia. “You can not make an omelette without breaking eggs”.

    But I am not very happy about all this.

    And in case anyone thinks Mr Putin is some sort of Saint George against the Dragon…. – all these policies are being pushed in Russia as well as other countries. Vaccine passports, people being pushed into cities and Russian villages being undermined (very Agenda 21 – Agenda 2030), and all the rest of it.

    I found out yesterday that local government pension funds in the United Kingdom are signed on for the American “Environment and Social Governance” (ESG) Collectivist agenda, this stuff is all over the world now.

    ESG – just casually dropped into what someone was saying, I checked and it was indeed the Environment and Social “Governance” Collectivist agenda.

    Perhaps it would have better to have died some years or decades ago (I often think so) – but we are still here and it is our duty to oppose the totalitarianism as best we can.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    It’s not furthering my f***ing interests!
    Ah yes, that’s right. I don’t believe these things.

    I am supposed to report what I’ve done for furthering “Diversity” every year now.
    Thank God I’m approaching retirement age.

  • Paul Marks

    Clovis – I hope your retirement is well financed. And retire somewhere warm – it really does make a difference.

    Of course the “Diversity” you have to push has nothing to do with intellectual diversity (diversity of opinion), as that is not allowed now.

    As for race and sex (and so on) – as you know, a conservative black person is “not really black” indeed is “the black face of white supremacy”, and a conservative women is “not really a woman” and is really an enforcer of “capitalist patriarchy”.

    The Frankfurt School Marxists are not really hiding things now – it is out in the open, even getting into the dictionaries. In Britain the Diversity and Inclusion agenda (which normally means the uniformity and exclusion agenda) is part of the law – for example the 2010 statute.

  • the other rob

    Then again, if you have a toe hold in the public sector, and manage to scrabble off the bottom few rungs, you are pretty much in clover.

    Until you’re in lavender.

    In other news, I got a new tattoo. If my rusty HTML works, it should appear below. If it doesn’t, I apologise for the apparent non sequitur.

  • Snorri Godhi

    What Niall said. Well, i agree with Niall on the issues (although i admit that i read only the article at the link) but my feeling is that he is just a teeny weeny bit too harsh on Eugyppius.

    Sometimes i (over)simplify my position for clarity (reserving qualifications for follow-up comments) so i am not in a position to blame Eugyppius.

  • Snorri Godhi


    Self-propagation is the highest goal of administrators everywhere.

    William Dooley:

    Jerry Pournelle called that The Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

    Perhaps an even better reference would be to Parkinson’s Law.

  • Paul, I’m not sure how much of all of that is fear, and how much of it is only the easiest way. (bobby b, December 1, 2021 at 11:51 pm)

    It is both at once – see the start of my post on The gullibility of cynicism and the whole of my post on Why they fear their lying eyes.

    One of the most basic forms of double-think is to think the ruling power are the ‘nice’ people up at the top of your mind while being intensely aware how afraid of them you are down at the bottom of your mind. Cancel culture is not just for its victims. It is also (mainly?) to educate its perpetrators – and take from them the strength to resist that a guilt-free conscience can give.

    Hatayevich looked weary. His face was pasty and deeply-lined and his voice seemed to come from far away. His speech followed the main lines of the Moscow letter [party still full of traitors and wreckers, purge harder] but he could not conceal his misery. I recalled the scene … during the collectivisation drive when this same Hateyevich had … urged me to understand the need for “strong” policies… He had then been so robust, so self-assured. (Kravchenko, ‘I chose Freedom’)

    Or, as Hannah Arendt pithily put it, a fundamental goal of totalitarian rule is to organise the guilt of the people under its dominion.

  • […] Perry de Havilland in London reminds us of a quote from Eugyppius […]

  • Paul Marks

    Niall – excellent point, and links to excellent posts.

    bobby b also made an excellent point – it is just easier for people to go along with all this madness and evil (for it is both – both insane and a conscious choice for evil).

    The “double think” goes all the way back to Plato – for example the idea that for the purposes of navigation the people in his regime would know that some bodies in the sky (the planets) move, whilst (at the same time) the same people would teach that the bodies in the sky do NOT move.

    They would hold two contradictory opinions at the same time – punish (viciously punish) anyone who pointed out the contradiction, and hold themselves to be morally good for behaving in this disgusting way.

    Plato was the father of the left (the father of “Double Think”) – in places such as Cambridge University it was a short step (for the “Apostles Club” and so on) to go from Plato to Karl Marx.

    And note the disdain (indeed the hatred) for ordinary independent businessmen (traders and independent manufacturers) in both Plato and Karl Marx.

    Sadly this disdain is in the 19th century liberal John Stuart Mill as well – it is not just the false Labour Theory of Value, and the false (David Ricardo) theory on LAND, it is also a cultural sneer – the idea that freedom of ordinary High Street trade (say a baker or a butcher) is a “different principle” from freedom of speech and so on – it is NOT a different principle, it is the same principle.

    Nor is there any truthful distinction between the freedom to buy and the freedom to sell – they are the same. People who think they have a right close down shops or take over manufacturing enterprises and landed estates, will end up inventing justifications for violating freedom of speech as well.

  • This review of Scott Atlas book (h/t instapundit) tells me things I did not know in one sense, while in another telling me nothing I did not already know about such ‘science’ bureaucrats as Fauci, Birx and Redfield.

    Applying this information to the earlier Eugyppius article (the one that ended by claiming that insincere, self-interested enforcers were and are nevertheless motivated by the idea of “suppressing a virus”), my take is that “suppressing a virus” did not control their actions and was only, as the cant phrase has it, “emotionally true” in their minds: they could be relied on always to react with much anger and zero introspection if anyone doubted that it did.

    (It was not even emotionally true when writing the Wuhan Lab and the gain-of-function research out of the narrative – some things require the clarity they could afford to avoid the rest of the time.)