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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

Journalism is something you do, not something you are.

– Glenn Reynolds

14 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks


    Indeed the transformation of society from what people do, to “Castes” where someone can only undertake a trade or profession with permission of the state or private associations, is how societies decline.

    See “The Rise and Decline of Nations” by Mancur Olson.

    The creation of “Schools of Journalism”, even if the had not been created to push “Progressive” government, which-they-were, indicated the decline of American society – as did a Press Club deciding who gets to ask the President (and others) questions, and who does not.

    The society that America once was, where (for example) a rail hand called Abraham Lincoln could argue cases in court (became a lawyer) without an expensive (and ideologically biased) “education” is dead.

    And the professionalisation of government (the creation of the Civil Service – the pet project of President Garfield – done in his memory after he was shot) was the first seed of the decline.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the distinction between a journalist and a political activist (such as a certain Australian who is being sent to the United States for alleged crimes supposedly committed OUTSIDE the United States) – Edmund Burke (and all the American Founders) would have seen no distinction – as a journalist was a person who wrote accounts of the news for a political purpose.

    For example, Burke’s “Annual Register” sometimes depicted Prussia in a very bad light – even when Prussia was a British ally in war. And it depicted the American rebels in a positive light – when Britain was at war with them.

    Think about that.

  • Paul Marks

    One of the things that “mainstream” publications claim to have is subeditors, who make sure that articles make sense – or at least do not blatantly contradict themselves.

    The Economist magazine this week – the idea that the Standing Stones in Georgia (recently destroyed) advocated “population control” is “fantasy” – the “fantasies” of Alex Jones and Marjorie Taylor Green. Earlier in the same article the stones are correctly quoted as saying that the population should be 500 million (to appease “nature”) – not six billion, 500 million.

    “population control” was a rather mild way of describing this – GENOCIDE might have been closer to the truth.

    Yet the Economist magazine described even the words “population control”, as “fantasies” – in direct contradiction to what had been quoted earlier in the same article.

    This is not an isolated incident – Economist magazine articles often flatly contradict themselves. A statement in one part of the article will contradict another statement in the same article.

    Is this the “professional journalism” that the “educated” CASTE of journalists produce?

  • Journalism is something you do, not something you are.

    Whereas propaganda is something you do, but don’t say you are, because openly calling yourself a propagandist does not help you sell your propaganda.

    Back in the 1930s, Orwell, when in Spain, commented on the bizarreness of journalists who swallowed and recapitulated the communist Minister of Propaganda’s ‘explanation’ of the Barcelona troubles

    “though you would have thought his very job title would be sufficient warning”

    (quoted from memory), and Dr Goebbels’ having the same title in Germany did not stop many Germans and others from swallowing large chucks of Nazi propaganda. But today – not unconnected with those facts and others – though propagandists masquerading as journalists are common, the word itself is avoided.

  • Paul Marks

    Niall – the propagandists have won on Spain. If one tries to give a balanced historical account of the faults of BOTH sides – modern academics just scream “FASCIST” and that is that.

    If the Marxists had won in Spain, MILLIONS of ordinary people would have been slaughtered (mostly by starvation – due to destruction of private farming). But this is a minor detail to the propagandists who dominate modern Western institutions and culture.

    As for modern Spain – its Fabianism need not be discussed at length, one need only observe its decline, including biological decline. A society where the government can not pay its bills (and must resort to begging the European Central Bank to create yet more money from nothing) and the population do not even replace themselves (have children) is not long for this world. Spain will change direction – or there will be no Spain.

  • Paul Marks

    A classic example of propaganda is “Dreams From My Father” by a person by the name of Barack Obama (at leas that is the name on the cover – if he really wrote it is hotly debated).

    In that book the mass killing of Communists in Indonesia in 1966 is implied to be the work of the “smart boys of the CIA” and the Communists (who were trying to take over the country, and had started the killing, they were one of the largest Communist Parties in the world) are described as not being Communists. In China tens of millions of human beings were being slaughtered by the Marxist Mao regime – to the indifference of the left (there is not a word condemning it in “Dreams From My Father”).

    Whoever wrote “Dreams From My Father” was a Marxist – so the people, in the education system and the mainstream media, who insist that Barack Obama wrote it – are making a troubling statement.

    Yes there is plenty of other evidence that Barack Obama was a Marxist for many years (and no clear evidence that he ever had more than a tactical change of heart) – but it is his own book (if it was written by him) that first showed Marxism to people who did not know his background.

    “Paul – such people as President Nixon and Prime Minister Heath were not Marxists, and they did not give a damn about the murder of tens of millions of people by Mao’s Marxist regime”.

    I have never denied that. The despicable “Pragmatism” of some “Conservatives” is sickening.

  • Paul Marks

    Gain a stranglehold over land and farming by such tactics as declaring government authority over any land with water in it.

    Get rid of freedom of speech – by poisoning the well at the very start, by crushing freedom of speech in schools and universities (the Herbert Marcuse line that freedom of speech hurts disadvantaged groups, that is it “repressive tolerance”, “Hate Speech”).

    And disarm the population – by such tactics by undermining locally elected sheriffs and volunteer deputies, and by using Tort Law (and other tactics) to prevent the sale of arms and ammunition to honest people – reserving it for the government and for “socially friendly elements” (criminal gangs) in the name of “Social Justice”.

    The plan of the left is fairly clear – and they do not really hide it anymore.

  • Paul Marks

    In case anyone does not know…

    The Communists in Indonesia in 1966 were not killed by “smart boys at the CIA” – they were killed by the Indonesia Army and peasant farmers (often with farm tools), and if the peasants had not killed the Communists – then then Communists would have killed them. The Communist take over of farming would have killed millions – and the survivors would have been slaves of the Collective.

  • Sam Duncan

    I wonder if you were reminded of that quote by Ron Coleman citing it during this Freedom Fest panel discussion. Well worth watching.

  • Mr Ed

    At some point in the 1980s, I read about the Indonesian response to the Communist uprising. It was clearly not a pleasant time. I read a quote attributed to an Indonesian Army General making a radio broadcast at the time:

    “Do not shoot the Communists. Bullets are too good for them, use knives.”

    I suppose that he had looked at mainland China before saying that.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Dr Goebbels’ having the same title [Minister of Propaganda] in Germany did not stop many Germans and others from swallowing large chucks of Nazi propaganda.

    Well … Goebbels was more reliable than the NY Times about the Holodomor, wasn’t he?

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed – knives, and other farm tools, were the only weapons that most peasant farmers in Indonesia had.

    “Bullets are too good for them – use knives” was making a virtue of necessity. There was a “cell” of Communist Party members in almost every village – plotting to destroy their own neighbours (just as the “Community Activists” had done in the Soviet Union and Mao’s China), but in Indonesia the neighbours killed them instead of waiting to be killed by them.

    By the way, the “Community Organisers” of Saul Alinsky are nothing to do with Self Help and Mutual Aid (as the, well meaning but deluded, Jacques Maritain seems to have believed), the “Community Organisers” were always about creating a new (COLLECTIVIST) society.

    Mrs Hillary Clinton should know that – as her thesis was on Saul Alinsky. And Barack Obama certainly does not need to be told that – as he was a Community Organiser himself in Chicago. Although Saul Alinsky was no longer in command by that time – leadership of the Collectivist movement in Chicago had been passed on to terrorists such as Bill Ayers (who Mr Obama almost certainly knew in New York – before they moved to Chicago, and with whom he served on various boards of “charities” the Collectivist had take over).

    By 2004 I think it is fair to say that the commander was Mr Obama himself – he was no longer in a lower position in the Collectivist movement in Chicago. By 2004 there was no one senior to Mr Obama – he was in charge of the Comrades in Chicago (I suspect he was in command for years before 2004).

  • Paul Marks

    Chicago is a picture into the evolution of the American left – and not just because it is the only American city to be mentioned in the song “The Red Flag”.

    In 1931 the Democrat Machine essentially took over Chicago (the previous Republican Mayor was a corrupt waste of space – so let us shed no tears for him), but it was NOT a Marxist Machine.

    The Chicago Democrat Machine was corrupt (“vote early and vote often”, “in Chicago the dead vote”) and sometimes brutal (get on their nerves and they might well break your legs or shatter your kneecaps), but it was NOT Marxist.

    Indeed as late as 1968 the Democrat Machine (Mayor Daley’s Police Department) and the Marxists fought each other on the streets at the Democrat Convention (no prizes for guessing that the media sided with the Marxists) – however, in the 1970s and 1980s things changed.

    Rather than fighting the Democrat Machine in Chicago, the Marxists gradually merged with it – the radical left were no longer the enemies of the centre left Democrat Machine, they became the machine.

    This had the price of some ideological purity, the people now in control of Chicago are NOT Marxists in the sense that Karl Marx or Frederick Engels were Marxists. But that was the price of power – and the radical left got POWER in Chicago.

    “If you want to see the future of America – look to Chicago” – sadly that remains true.

    If America still had real journalism then how radical Collectivists took over the Democrats would be big news – but sadly it does not.

    Indeed in 2008 the Chicago Tribune (once published by the great defender of liberty Robert McCormick) endorsed Barack Obama to be President of the United States – it was the ultimate betrayal.

    The betrayal of the principles the Chicago Tribune was supposed to stand for – and the betrayal of the very idea of Investigative Journalism.

    The world was supposed to believe that Mr Barack Obama had just appeared (from nowhere) at the Democrat National Convention of 2004 (where he delivered the key note address) and the 2008 primary campaign.

    Any investigation into his Marxist background was denounced as RACIST, RACIST, RACIST.

    Journalism was dead.

  • Steven C

    Journalism used to be called “reporting” which is a verb. Further reflection suggests that we should treat words such as “exercise” and “science’ as verbs only.