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 my views are considered controversial is a reflection of how mad society has become:

I want maths teachers to teach maths, history teachers to teach history, literature teachers to educate children about the best English writers, poets and playwrights.

I want the police to investigate actual crimes like rape, burglary, stabbings and muggings, not paint their cars rainbow colours and police jokes, banter in WhatsApp groups and offensive tweets.

I want the media to tell me the facts of what is going on and let me decide what to think about it. If I want a journalist’s opinion, which I mostly don’t, I’ll read opinion columns. Just tell me what’s happening.

I want banks to provide bank services, ice cream makers to make ice cream and razor companies to make razors. I want transnational corporations to pay their taxes. I don’t want them to tell me what to think – I don’t need a moral lecture from Mr Burns off the Simpsons.

I want doctors to help me *choose* the best treatment for me and my family, not enforce a one-size-fits-all solution on me because of Government diktats. I don’t need scary advertising campaigns that misrepresent the threat to encourage me to look after my health.

I want the military to spend every waking moment working to get better at killing people who want to kill me, my family and my fellow citizens. I don’t care how diverse, progressive or inclusive they are. And I am outright hostile to this if it affects performance. /6

I want the legal system to reward productive, lawful behaviour and deter unproductive, unlawful behaviour. I want psychopathic, evil and dangerous people to be kept away from me, my family and my fellow law-abiding citizens.

I want politicians to implement the democratic wishes of the people of this country, even when I don’t personally agree with them. If the majority of my fellow citizens vote for something I don’t agree with, I can campaign against this while accepting the democratic outcome.

I want Government to interfere in my life as little as possible, while recognising that Government is necessary. I want to pay as little tax as lawfully possible, but enough to fund the things only Government can do.

I want an absolute meritocracy. Hard work, dedication and talent must always be rewarded. If you are lazy, don’t apply yourself or aren’t contributing, you don’t deserve to be rewarded as much as people who work their arse off.

I want people to be treated equally. Not as inferior OR superior. Just equal. There is no such thing as positive discrimination, just discrimination.

Konstantin Kisin, who would be a truly splendid fellow but for the fact he dislikes Marmite.

37 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • William O. B'Livion

    I’ll drink to that.

  • Phil B

    But … but … nowadays, that’s crazy talk. Crazy, I tell you!

  • John

    Views which, if expressed online, would cost the writer his job in the public sector and probably in many private sector companies. They would also result in a visit from the constabulary and a non-crime hate incident being permanently logged. Finally, since yesterday, the writer could wave goodbye to his Halifax account.

  • Roué le Jour

    I want politicians to implement the democratic wishes of the people of this country, …

    Something that irks me. Britain is a representative democracy, therefore Boris and his chums represent Conservative voters, they don’t get to write them off as “swivel eyed loons and fruit cakes” and then act against their wishes.

  • Tom G

    This. Brilliant.

  • FrankH

    I agree with everything apart from one small modification:
    Change “I want to pay as little tax as lawfully possible, but enough to fund the things only Government can do.”
    to
    “I want to pay as little tax as lawfully possible, but enough to fund the things THAT NEED DOING that only Government can do.”

  • pete

    Maths teachers do teach maths, and only maths.

    Other teachers teach maths too because it is extremely difficult to recruit enough maths teachers as the pay is far too low.

  • Jacob

    I want politicians to implement the democratic wishes of the people of this country, …

    That’s more or less what they do, and is how we landed in the mess we are in.

  • Peter MacFarlane

    It’s worth saying that this applies only in the declining “West”.

    Most of the RoW would regard your statements as completely unexceptionable, indeed obvious. Apart from the democracy bits of course.

  • Paul Marks

    I generally (generally) agree with what Konstantin Kisin says here.

    I do not understand why Mr Peter Hitchens called Konstantin Kisin a “twit” – although perhaps it is just that the general atmosphere of Twitter leads people to insult each other, even if they agree on most things.

    As for Konstantin Kisin’s Victorian position on drugs (his moral disapproval for their use – whilst not wishing the state to ban them by law, a Gladstonian position) – presently we live in the worst possible position. It is illegal to buy recreational drugs at legitimate business outlets such as Boots the Chemist – (both my parents could remember when one could do this) so the sale of such drugs is in the hands of vicious drug gangs – with all the mess that means. HOWEVER, the laws against drugs are not really enforced – there are no hangings for drug selling as there would be, for example, in Singapore.

    If I understand the position of Mr Peter Hichens correctly, he wishes to move to the position of Singapore and so on – where the laws against drugs are actually enforced (a real crackdown – the war on drugs being an actual war, rather than a metaphor), the position of Konstantin Kisin (again if I understand him correctly) is that we should move back to the position my parents could remember – for example where people were asked “gas or coke” (cocaine) at the dentist.

    Surely it should be possible to have a civilised debate between these two opinions.

    Certainly the present situation, drugs being illegal – but the laws not really being enforced, is a mess.

  • Paul Marks

    Peter MacFarlane – I partly (partly) dissent from what you are saying.

    For example, in the People’s Republic of China (the greatest non Western power) every enterprise (including those that are privately owned) is political (pumps out political and cultural messages) – and the people are controlled by a totalitarian “Social Credit” system which is envied by Western leaders (both government and Corporate leaders) indeed the Western “ESG” system (Environment and Social Governance) is inspired by the example of the Communist Party Dictatorship of the People’s Republic of China.

    It is true that the political messages pushed out by the Chinese corporations in China are different to those of the West (for example no “Gay Pride” month, and no obsession with praising other races and attacking one’s own ethnic group), but there is no Civil Society in the People’s Republic of China – everything is politicised and totalitarian control is exercised, just as the “Davos” World Economic Forum types (government and corporate) wish to create in the West. Indeed President Xi has long been held in high reverence by Dr Klaus Schwab and the rest of them.

    It is true that the FBI may arrive at your door, or attack you in a public place, waving firearms and arresting you for “crimes” that are not crimes at all – but that is also quite likely to happen in the People’s Republic of China (it is not better).

  • Roué le Jour

    Jacob,
    Not quite. Lawyers act in the interests of their clients, businesses act in the interest of their shareholders, and politicians should act only in the interest of those who voted for them. (That’s what the left does, after all) It’s allowing the get out of “I have to think of the country as a whole” that got us into this mess because who judges the best interests of the country? They do. It’s just an excuse to do as they please.

  • Jacob

    It’s just an excuse to do as they please.
    Sure, that’s what politicians do. And they get reelected. What can you do?

  • Alan Peakall

    RleJ: The flaw in politicians should act only in the interest of those who voted for them is that it takes too static a view of politics; it neglects the need to maintain and renovate a political coalition as material conditions change. To see this, compare Tony Blair who saw his share of the popular vote drop from 44% to 36% over eight years (and saw his successor, Brown, dip below 30%) with Margaret Thatcher whose starting popular share of 44% suffered very little net erosion to the first election fought by her successor (and even he, Major, got over 30% when he lost power).

    Indeed, you might argue that any politician who fails to recognise that selfish interest as a motivation for framing a strategy for government is implicitly admitting that he will subtract from, rather than add to, the public welfare. Which, of course, is not to deny that many politicians with strategies for government are (to be generous) sincerely deluded.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Lawyers act in the interests of their clients, businesses act in the interest of their shareholders, and politicians should act only in the interest of those who voted for them.

    But then, only those who voted for them should pay taxes.

  • Further to Alan Peakall (June 30, 2022 at 3:57 pm), IIUC Margaret Thatcher got 44% of the popular vote in 1979, 43% in 1983 and 42% in 1987. The significant increase in her parliamentary majority in the 80s was due to the opposing votes going mostly to Labour in 1979 but much more equally (28% to 24%) to the LibDems in 1983 and Labour only getting back to 33% in 1987.

    It is worth noting that the turnouts in her elections were always high: people thought it mattered whether she won or lost, though they could not agree on which was preferred.

  • TMLutas

    If you want journalists to tell you what is going on, pay for that. The problem is that there’s no convenient place to deposit your money.

  • bobby b

    Alan Peakall
    June 30, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    “The flaw in politicians should act only in the interest of those who voted for them is that it takes too static a view of politics; it neglects the need to maintain and renovate a political coalition as material conditions change.”

    But they can still be faithful representatives of their constituents at all times, by not merely striving for their own changing conclusions, but by honestly attempting to answer the questions “what would my constituency wish me to do here if they knew what I know? – how can I best represent them?”

    Too many don’t. They’re leaders, not representatives. I don’t want a leader. Not what I choose them for.

    (ETA: I do grant some leeway in this regard for Executive Branch people, of course. For leading others that need a CEO.)

  • I do not understand why Mr Peter Hitchens called Konstantin Kisin a “twit”

    Peter Hitchens is himself a twit, a vastly overrated one, so to be honest I could not care less why Hitchens thinks that.

  • Martin

    I want an absolute meritocracy. Hard work, dedication and talent must always be rewarded. If you are lazy, don’t apply yourself or aren’t contributing, you don’t deserve to be rewarded as much as people who work their arse off.

    ‘Absolute’ meritocracy? I don’t think he’s really thought that out. I suspect you would need a pretty grim bureaucratic apparatus to enforce such a state of affairs.

  • bobby b

    “I suspect you would need a pretty grim bureaucratic apparatus to enforce such a state of affairs.”

    That or a Wild West culture, which was indeed a meritocracy, but not of the sort of merit one imagines or really wants.

  • Stonyground

    I would suggest that free market economy, with as little government interference as is practical, would be as close to a meritocracy as can be acheived in practice.

  • Stonyground (July 1, 2022 at 12:03 pm), + 1 – your proposal would certainly get closer to meritocracy than any “grim bureaucratic apparatus” ordered “to enforce such a state of affairs”, which would be swiftly filled with people who thought their professed devotion to the meritocratic ideal was exceptionally meritorious.

  • Snorri Godhi

    That or a Wild West culture, which was indeed a meritocracy, but not of the sort of merit one imagines or really wants.

    As a matter of fact, i consider the ‘Wild West’ a very good example of emergent, spontaneous order; comparable to the Sagas of Icelanders, but more accessible to modern folk.
    (And i did partially read a couple of histories of the American West: I did not just watch Westerns:)

    That leads to an interesting question: why is it that men taking justice into their own hands led to better results in Viking Iceland and the American West, than in Sicily?

  • bobby b

    Snorri Godhi
    July 1, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    “As a matter of fact, i consider the ‘Wild West’ a very good example of emergent, spontaneous order . . .”

    There are two disparate aspects of that “Wild West” scenario. I will agree with you – strongly – as to one aspect, but disagree as to the other.

    The idea of stout and resolute men stepping up to produce law and order when government has failed to do so is wonderful. The idea that productive capacity will out – that the West was settled by people devoted to work and reward – is all good.

    But the “merit” in the Wild West upon which some were judged worthy or unworthy wasn’t always productive capacity or intelligence or hard work. It was, who was better with weapons?

    I think “meritocracy” is capable of multiple understandings. A Randian example – many people hear “meritocracy” and think of Galt’s Gultch. But James Taggert was also in a meritocracy, and rose because he was very good at one specific type of behavior that was valued highly in his society. In an “aristocracy of pull”, “pull” has merit. In the Wild West, the best shot had merit. Not sure that scenario is worth emulating.

  • Snorri Godhi (July 1, 2022 at 8:14 pm), both Viking Iceland and the 19th Century West were by definition populated by people willing to take risks in hope of gains. No population is average of course, but Mr Will Putup-With Anything must have been disproportionately absent from those two in their early stages. (However some wild west history indicates they would sometimes put up with a lot of sharp practice – and a lot of capture of the emerging proto-state by criminals – before being driven to revolt.)

  • Snorri Godhi

    Bobby: surely you realize that being good with weapons was also to one’s credit in Viking Iceland? 🙂

    It is, indeed, a necessary condition for being free from arbitrary power that one is able to defend himself (or herself, although that was less often the case when upper-body strength played a larger role than it does after the development of personal firearms).
    This is something that i fully realized only after reading Quentin Skinner’s essay on A Third Concept of Liberty.

    At the same time, in Viking Iceland (or Viking Scandinavia, before unifications under the Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian crowns) there wasn’t a Hobbesian “war of all against all”. Nor were women totally subjugated to men.

    For a man to remain free, it was also necessary to (a) make friends, (b) know the customary law (or be friends with people who do), and (c) have male sons who can fight with you (or for you, when you grow old).

    For a woman to be free, the important thing was to know how to manipulate men, which Icelandic women were pretty good at. Male sons were also important, of course.

  • bobby b

    “For a woman to be free, the important thing was to know how to manipulate men, which Icelandic women were pretty good at.”

    That whole drop-dead gorgeous thing didn’t hurt, either. 🙂

  • bobby b

    Ooooo, that was sexist. Sorry. I denounce myself.

  • Snorri Godhi

    🙂
    Actually, the main concern of Icelandic women (in the Sagas) seemed to be that their husbands be avenged by reluctant relatives or friends. In one case, by a son from a previous marriage, whose father was killed by a maternal uncle. (In this case, the reluctance seems justified to me, since his father was a bully, and unkind to his mother.)

  • bobby b

    ” . . . seemed to be that their husbands be avenged by reluctant relatives or friends. In one case, by a son from a previous marriage, whose father was killed by a maternal uncle.”

    When we act that way here, they call us redneck hillbillies, but they do it up there and they get included in the Sagas. Not fair.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b – the key is for a person not to be isolated. And the state has managed to isolate people – “atomise” society.

    Imagine, for example, that when the FBI came to arrest someone for “crimes” that are not crimes at all, they did NOT just face that person – but all the (armed) neighbours of that person, and all their (armed) “brothers” in a fraternity (most American men used to be members of adult fraternities – there is a reason the left spent a lot of time and effort undermining that), and by the locally elected sheriff with his deputies (all armed). Remember the locally elected sheriff can swear in the neighbours and fraternity brothers as officers of the law.

    “We do not want you here FBI people – please go away”.

    No isolated individual can do that – they would be killed. Only a united community can do that, backed up by the locally elected sheriff (again there was a reason that then Senator Biden especially wanted to undermine the authority of locally elected sheriffs) and the State Governor – backed by the National Guard (volunteer and unpaid – but armed).

    Getting the States addicted to Federal subsidies also had a purpose – and not a good one.

    Remember the FBI (and other such Federal “law enforcement” – the Federal Government should NOT be involved in law enforcement outside Washington D.C. and military bases) did not use to exist – indeed the paramilitary gear (that one sees on FBI people so often now) only dates from the 1970s.

    The idea of Federal law enforcement goes back to “Teddy” Roosevelt – but in the early decades it was insisted they were just there to provide “information and help” to local law enforcement.

    And it is not just the FBI that are totally corrupted – ALL the Federal Government agencies are.

    “Who will protect us from the bandits?” – what if the servants of the government are also bandits, indeed in league with the local bandits (who they regard as “socially friendly elements” pushing “Social Justice” and other “Progressive” goals).

  • Actually, the main concern of Icelandic women (in the Sagas) seemed to be that their husbands be avenged by reluctant relatives or friends. (Snorri Godhi, July 2, 2022 at 9:23 pm)

    That was one reason why a woman might instigate violence in the sagas, and perhaps the most common, but far from the only one.

    The most extreme counter-example I know is that of Freydís Eiríksdóttir. The way she led the last expedition to Vinland a.k.a Newfoundland suggests she inherited her father’s temperament but expressed it in reverse. Erik the red explored ever westwards because every few years an insufficiently-justifiable death or so would make it prudent and/or legally necessary for him to head west from his current location. Freydís’ went to Vinland with her own men and two other captains and an agreement to share the profits. She came back east to Greenland with all the profits and property, minus the other two captains and their men (and five women whom she killed with an axe after her own men baulked at her order to slay them too).

    It has been claimed that Freydis was the last Greenlander who knew her family’s sailing rutter to Vinland, and the route was not abandoned for fear of the natives (as some historians have interpreted the sagas’ account) – Freydis had no trouble from Native Americans, who may have fled the area after their earlier encounter with the northmen – but lost because, despite the potential for gain that Vinland offered, others feared to go with her on a fresh expedition.

    N.B. the rutter from Greenland to Markland a.k.a Labrador was more widely known and remained in use – it seems the Greenlanders (and other Norse using Greenland as a way-station) continued visiting Markland for shipbuilding-quality wood till late in the colony’s life.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Niall: I must admit that i had forgotten all about Freydís Eiríksdóttir. From the Saga of the Greenlanders, right? I’ll re-read it tonight or tomorrow. Thank you for reminding me.

  • Snorri Godhi

    BTW I should have mentioned Gunnar of Hlidharendi, from Njals Saga, when i mentioned that proficiency with weapons, alone, is not enough in a stateless society.

    Gunnar was considered the best warrior in Icelandic history. Once he ambushed 6 men, alone (although one of his brothers showed up a bit later, to speed things up). But when he had made too many enemies, they put together 40 men iirc and attacked his longhouse when he was alone. He still killed 6 or 7 of them, thanks to the home advantage, but he died in the end.

  • Snorri Godhi (July 3, 2022 at 6:38 pm), ‘The Saga of the Greenlanders’ is indeed the account of her which I have followed above, leavened by works of historical research on norse seafaring techniques and exploration. IIRC she also figures in the Saga of Erik the Red, where she is called a half-sister, not (full) sister, of Leif (which I am inclined to agree with as regards her genealogy though I expect ‘The Saga of the Greenlanders’ is correct to show her called simply sister at the time). Also in the Saga of Erik the Red, though she remains a formidable character, her ruthlessness is less emphasised (here I am inclined rather to agree with the Saga of the Greenlanders). But of course all this is part of the ‘argument without end’ that history has been called.

  • […] a political interview show and partly a comedy show. His thoughts have even been referred to a couple of times here on Samizdata. Kisin is also a Russian who moved to this country when he was eleven to […]

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