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

“While dictators usually lie about everything they do, they are often candid about what they would like to do.”

Gary Kasparov

21 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Yes – for example Mr Hitler wrote “My Struggle” in the early 1920s explaining what he wanted to do.

    And if a dictator says that another nation has no right to an independent existence, that it is “really” part of their nation – then please do not be surprised when they later invade.

  • “There is a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime … a flexibility … that I find quite interesting.”

    Trudeau said that in 2013 – and demonstrated he meant it (insofar as he still needed to) early this year.

    When he closed people’s accounts for trucker donations that were legal when they they were made, I do not recall him drawing parallels with China’s social credit system as explicitly as he did when merely admiring it in 2013. So it makes a good example of Gary Kasparov’s point.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Niall – what other Western leaders (government and corporate) say privately, Justin Trudeau blurts out in public.

    His totalitarianism, support for tyranny, is out in the open.

  • JohnK


    You might almost say, like father like son.

  • Bruce

    See also:

    “When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – You may know that your society is doomed.”

    Ayn Rand

  • Stonyground

    Should that be grift rather than graft in this quote? In my part of the world graft means hard work. This would go against what the statement appears to be saying.

  • Alex

    Regarding “graft”, I have run into that particular transatlantic difference myself before. Apparently the British meaning of hard work is only archaic in the US, Canada and even Australia; in all those places it has a primary meaning of corruption. Grift is apparently derived from graft.

    Many Americans have become aware of the British meaning (still others were already aware from their local dialect retaining the original meaning) and it appears “grift” is replacing “graft” for the American sense though some publications use the two words to distinguish between political corruption (“graft”) and the tricks of general conmen (“grift”).

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    I thought grafting involved plants, with strains of different plants being grafted onto another plant. Saint Paul, in Romans, Chapter eleven, talks about gentiles being grafted onto the Jewish true vine. And I have heard of ‘grifters’ used in the sense of Con-Artists.

  • NickM

    I have read “Mein Kampf”. It is quite a short book and disturbingly honest. Say what you like contra Herr Hitler he was up-front and honest in his evil.

    Now, how did I come across this vile tome? My girlfriend, now my wife, had it on loan from Leeds University. She was a student of Russian and, oddly enough, the subject of totalitarianism came up during her studies. What is really odd is the looks she got checking it out. She never got that for “Das Capital” or the assorted works of Mao.

  • Deep Lurker

    She never got that for “Das Capital” or the assorted works of Mao.

    That was due to the success of the biggest fraud of the 20th century: Making “International Socialism is completely totally utterly 100% the absolute opposite of National Socialism” into an established part of the conventional wisdom.

  • Y. Knott

    “What is really odd is the looks she got checking it out.”

    NickM, I read somewhere that the only real difference between Nazism and Socialism is that nobody has EVER said, “Yes, but that wasn’t real Nazism”. However if one must pick-and-choose, at least Hitler didn’t go around calling everybody who he disagreed with “Nazis”…

  • I have read “Mein Kampf”. It is quite a short book (NickM, June 20, 2022 at 10:17 am)

    It is over 700 pages. That’s not what I call short. In ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’, William Shirer says that quite a few Nazis in the 30s quietly admitted to him that they’d never managed to finish it.

    What is really odd is the looks she got checking it out. She never got that for “Das Capital” or the assorted works of Mao.

    She should have followed Orwell’s lead and checked out Stalin’s pamphlet ‘Ways of Liquidating Trotskyists and other Double Dealers’ at the same time. That would surely have reassured the Leeds University librarians somewhat, as it did the Republican Spanish (communist-controlled) secret police when they searched his room in 1937.

  • Snorri Godhi

    William Shirer says that quite a few Nazis in the 30s quietly admitted to him that they’d never managed to finish [Mein Kampf].

    I seem to remember reading that his fellow travelers sneered at GB Shaw for not having read the first book of Das Kapital.
    So, he put in the effort to read it.
    Afterwards, his fellow travelers were mightily impressed that he did it.

  • Snorri Godhi

    [Mein Kampf] is over 700 pages. That’s not what I call short.

    You would do well to get started by reading The Doctrine of Fascism. It is much shorter than that, perhaps not even 70 pages; and quite readable.

    Mussolini is credited as the author, but i understand that G. Gentile (the “philosopher of fascism”) is believed to have written about half of it.

    Later on, Mussolini attempted a recall. It was obviously a delusional attempt, but it would be of much interest to know exactly which parts he wanted to change. But i don’t know that anybody knows.

    NB: if you read a translation in which fascism is said to be “of the left”, be aware that it is a mis-translation by an English twit: Mussolini/Gentile wrote “of the right”.

  • NickM

    You’re right! OK. This was 1999 and maybe I skipped a bit because wrt the woman I would eventually marry a systematic study of national socialism was not first on the agenda. A date… Yeah… That was a much higher priority than the Sudetanland. Or maybe, just maybe the ‘net has got me and my definition of “long” when it comes to reading has changed. Bloody Hell! For my tenth birthday I got The Lord of the Rings and did that in like a week. I guess I’m just not the reader I was.

    I didn’t know that about Mussolini. He wrote only half! Hadn’t he been a journalist? That seems a bit lazy to me.

  • Snorri Godhi (June 20, 2022 at 9:55 pm), I would not “get started” studying national socialism by reading about fascism because there are many ideological statements from Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels that fascism and national socialism are very different, while, in a filmed public statement at a rally soon after Hitler came to power, Mussolini declared that Italian fascism was not going to be taking lessons

    “from people who were living in mud huts when our ancestors were building the colosseum”

    (I may be mis-recalling the exact words but I am not misrepresenting the contempt that oozed from the statement.)

    Later, the two dictators discovered a common need, and during the war Hitler was diligently supportive of Mussolini because he recognised that only Mussolini guaranteed Italy’s loyalty to the Axis, but except at these highest levels, the Germans and Italians did not get on, ideologically or otherwise.

    It did not help, of course, that the Germans despised the Italians for their reluctance to kill Jews and other ‘inferior races’, while the Italians increasing suspected that ‘inferior races’ was a category into which their German allies were now placing them, but, racism apart, various ideological gulfs were noticeable.

    One obvious difference was that, while Fascism can be called a socialist heresy, as Mussolini himself started as a red-hot socialist whose beliefs evolved step by step into heresy, fascism did explicitly repudiate socialism whereas national socialism never did.

    (Thanks for the warning about the mistranslation BTW, which makes an interesting contrast to the possibly not-so-accidental inversions Thomas Sowell describes – see his essay on writing on his web-page. I was also reminded of the King James bible print run of the 1630s that missed the rather important word ‘not’ out of the commandment on adultery. 🙂 )

  • NickM (June 21, 2022 at 9:35 am), an abridged version was produced in the 1930s – maybe you read that. Or, as you suggest, maybe you read the chapter on propaganda (generally reckoned the best written), skipped the chapter on syphilis (frequently described as ‘unreadable’) and so on, which would be very understandable.

    Mussolini. He wrote only half! Hadn’t he been a journalist?

    In spades.

    Before turning 30, Mussolini was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party, and made editor of its daily paper, Avanti! The paper’s circulation and Mussolini’s personal popularity grew by leaps and bounds.

    Mussolini’s election to the Executive was part of the capture of control of the Socialist Party by the hard-line Marxist left, with the expulsion from the Party of those deputies (members of parliament) considered too conciliatory to the bourgeoisie.

    (Excerpted from ‘The Mystery of Fascism’ by David Ramsay Steele, a libertarian alliance pamphlet that is on the web, is indeed quite short, and is well worth you and your wife reading if the prior study of fascism did not include it.)

  • Snorri Godhi

    Niall: Richard Pipes (as quoted by Jonah Goldberg) wrote that “Bolshevism and Fascism were both heresies of Marxism”.
    Inspired in part by A. James Gregor, i have proposed a few times on this site that there were/are, in fact, 5 heresies of Marxism:
    Social Democracy, Bolshevism, Italian Fascism, German National Socialism, and Wokeness. (All except perhaps Bolshevism had also non-Marxist influences.)

    Certainly i do not confuse Fascism with Nazism, since i know that only the latter reached tens of millions of victims. Even in number of political assassinations, there is no comparison, at least not until Mussolini became a Nazi puppet in the Italian Social Republic.
    Still, sometimes it helps to look under lamp-posts, even though you know that what you are looking for, is not there 🙂
    It was in this spirit that i recommended “getting started” by reading The Doctrine of Fascism.

  • Snorri Godhi

    In reply to NickM: although Mussolini had quite a reputation as a Marxist intellectual, Gentile was more of an academic philosopher (and more Hegelian than Marxist) so it is perhaps not surprising if Mussolini sought his help. I must re-read the Doctrine to see whether the 1st half, written by Gentile according to the Wikipedia page, is more philosophical.

    BTW the statement that Fascism is “of the right” appears in what is supposed to be “Mussolini’s half”. “The right” is explicitly defined as the party of authority, as opposed to individualism, liberalism, socialism, and democracy. (Never mind that socialism is necessarily authoritarian.)

  • Paul Marks

    Fascism – nothing outside the state, everything for the state.

    National Socialism is the same on this – no individual rights against the state.

    The difference between the two is that National Socialism was obsessed with “race” (even though the National Socialists did not understand DNA and had no real scientific definition of “race”). Fascism, at least at first, was not obsessed with race.

    National Socialism is rightly described as “Racial Socialism”.

    Fascism is Collectivism without (at least at first) racial obsessions.

    Marxism is also about Collectivism – but the Marxists, falsely, promise that the state will “wither away” over time.

    As for the false idea that Fascism and National Socialism are culturally (if not economically) “on the right” or are “conservative” – this was refuted by Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn who showed that they are radical, indeed revolutionary, movements – that undermine the basic conservative distinction between state and civil society, and (of course) undermine all traditional limits on state power.

  • Paul Marks (June 22, 2022 at 9:25 am), a key difference was that fascism merged with the state. Mussolini ruled as the head of the Italian state, for which the Fascist party, of which he was also the head, acted as publicity agent and recruiting service, not as distinct power source. By contrast, the Nazis, like the Bolsheviks, held their party separate from the state. IIRC,

    “The party dictates to the state”

    was the formula, and the state apparatus was often made to feel its secondary status. The party was a distinct power source, and with the (partial but considerable) exception of the police, a true unification of the duplicate apparati was deliberately not attempted. Hitler liked competing functions, from which he could chose the winner on a given issue, but he also thought that letting the party merge with the state would cause the movement to lose its dynamism. The communists ran the party as a cell inside each state unit, almost literally dictating to it even when not always holding the nominally highest post in most units, and acting as a “conscience” (in Marxist terms) in the very highest units when a large majority or even all staff in the office might be party members.

    Keeping the state as a sort of front for the power source of the party does indeed seem to have made the Nazi and Communist movements more ‘dynamic’ than Mussolini’s Fascist state.