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Samizdata quote of the day – Libertarian MIA edition

For three years, I’ve been reluctant to say anything about the elephant in the room, the near-complete failure of libertarians to stand up to the lockdown and mandate regime. It was a moment in history that was tailor-made for them. Everything in their training taught them to be suspicious of government power and relentless in the defense of liberty.

Instead they mostly went silent. Worse, they became the Praetorian Guard of the lockdown Caesars, giving them cover when they deserved it least. The “radical” libertarians defaulted to a completely conventional careerism, even to the point of manufacturing rationales for terrible attacks on the most vulnerable.

Jeffrey Tucker

27 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – Libertarian MIA edition

  • Billions have suffered unspeakable pain. The so-called “libertarians” might have made a difference. Those chose instead their class privileges, the safety of their jobs, and rhetoric and opinions no better than the CDC. Let’s put a fine point on it: they have betrayed us.


  • lucklucky

    Same here in Portugal. Here they are almost like social democrats that just want less taxes.

  • bobby b

    Some libertarians.

    There was a lot of anti-lockdown sentiment expressed – loudly – for quite some time. Liberty-based sentiment. Perhaps there was a failure on the part of some big-name libertarians, but the true new libertarian cohort was loud and based.

    There’s been a reversal of sorts in the lib ranks. Used to be a higher-end philosophy. But now it has spread more to the lower ranks, and the higher ranks are doing so well in this new wealth-disparity-laden society that the high-end libertarians just quietly enjoyed their own wealth and liberty, selfishly, as libertarians are wont to do. Which, at root, is why libertarians suck at social movements.

  • Kirk

    I’ve been Libertarian-adjacent since the 1970s. That said, I sadly have to conclude that whatever it is, it is not an ideology of action. I have never once seen them do anything at all effective, aside from electing Bill Clinton by abandoning the imperfect Bush for the “perfect” Ross Perot, who was anything but.

    I have come around to the idea that many in the Libertarian party are perfectly fine with serving as a spoiler for the Democrats, which forces me to consider them objectively on the Democratic Party’s side.

    Not like the mainstream national-level “Republicans in Name Only” are any better; I can’t make out an effective difference between McCain and, say, Schumer. It’s all oligarchy, all the time, all the way down. I’m not saying they’re necessarily crooked, and fraudulently playing the Republican base for fools, but… Effectively, has there been a difference?

    We were up in arms, back when they took the national debt up over a trillion dollars, that first time back during Reagan’s administration. Today? LOL… They’re blithely spending that much over actual tax revenue every year. None of which I’ve voted for, in terms of who I’ve chosen as my representation to Congress… They just keep making promises about fiscal sanity, and then keep right on spending, spending, spending when they get to DC. While sending me nice letters (for FREE!!!!) about how much loot and lucre they’re bringing our district!

    It’s like the morons can’t seem to connect that to cut spending, you have to CUT spending. Brought that up with our local Republicrat when he came around canvassing, and he looked at me as though I were quite mad… “Don’t you want your new ice-skating arena…?”

    I’m not sure that this isn’t the least bad form of government, but I’m damned certain it ain’t the best, either.

  • Anything called a Libertarian Party is pointless at best. Libertarianism is useful as a vector, not as a party.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Having looked at a few of Jeffrey Tucker’s articles about covid in 2020, my opinion is that he would have done a favor to the libertarian cause if he, too, had kept his mouth shut.

  • Ken Mitchell

    Kirk: Exactly so. Very well said. I was an actual Libertarian, dues-paying, card-holding, and they have NEVER actually accomplished anything.

  • Andrew

    That was why I stopped calling myself a libertarian.

    They talk a good game but won’t do anything.

    Though you could argue that’s still a step up from the Conservatives who actively work against us.

  • Paul Marks

    Jeffrey Tucker is an exception – he opposed the tyranny as much as he could.

    As for me – I patted myself on the back for posting a few comments on this site, and posting a few things on Twitter and Facebook (stuff that essentially no one got to see – as the Social Media companies were shadow banning dissent).

    I did not go on a single demonstration – telling myself “protests are not my sort of thing” and “they are being led by people I disagree with politically – such as Piers Corbyn”.

    I am ashamed of my conduct – basically I did nothing.

  • Stonyground

    Isn’t the problem that libertarians are a tiny minority? During the Covid insanity pretty much everyone I know was on the side of the Government. Every bit of propaganda was swallowed whole and me not believing marked me out as a nutjob who would recklessly endanger people’s lives. In my lifetime I have never known a government as incompetent as this one. I have certainly never known a government whose actions are so completely contrary to my interests. Yet the vast majority that supposedly hate them only do so because they are Tories, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are about as far from being Tories as it’s possible to be without actually being Labour. I’m wondering what it is that I could be doing better?

  • Paul Marks

    The true heroes of the last several years were the few American State Governors (all Republicans – but only a few of the Republican State Governors) who refused to have a lockdown in their State.

    Officials in Sweden refused to impose a lockdown, and the dictators of Belarus and Nicaragua also refused to do so (although, in the case of Belarus and Nicaragua, from indifference – rather than concern for liberty). Other nations had short lockdowns – such as Denmark, which stopped the lockdown when they realised it was medically useless (indeed harmful) and was economically crippling (that is not “just money” – poverty-costs-lives and lockdowns push up poverty).

    Uruguay did not have a lockdown – the only country in the South American continent to refuse to have one. Uruguay did not have a higher Covid death rate than other South American nations (if anything it had a lower Covid death rate).

    People think of the Governor of Florida – but there was a lockdown in Florida, it just did not last very long (Governor DeSantis realised just how much harm the lockdown was doing – including harm to public health).

    The person who took the most heat for refusing to “cooperate with the Federal Government” (really the international bureaucracy, corporate as well as government) was the Governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem – but such people as the Governor of Nebraska were also savagely attacked for refusing to crush liberty in their State.

    Sadly no State Governor understood, at first, the dangers of the Covid injections (the so called vaccines) – that the international government and corporate bureaucracy would actually push toxic medications was too much for most people to grasp at first.

    However, at least both President Trump and many Republican State Governors stood against the “vaccine mandates” – the “take this injection or lose your job – and lose XYZ as well” blackmail that the “international community” engaged in.

    By the way…..

    Mr Putin was no Covid hero – he pushed a lockdown in Russia, and he was the very first political leader to push a “Covid vaccine”. Although vast numbers of Russians (perhaps half the population) ignored his “vaccine” edicts – resorting to such things as fake vaccination certificates, and so on.

    Russians often have a more realistic view of the State than people in Western countries do – the State is not your friend, it does not have your best interests at heart. And Mr Putin is the head of a State.

  • Paul Marks

    The other scandal is the smearing of Early Treatment for Covid – Early Treatment could have saved the lives of most of the people who died. There are several different generally effective Early Treatments – see such sites as “America’s Frontline Doctors” for details.

    Such people as President Trump and the President of Brazil tried to speak up for Early Treatment – but were overwhelmed by a tidal wave of abuse from the bureaucracy (both government and corporate) which wanted excuses for both lockdowns and (later) for “Covid Vaccines” – Early Treatment would have radically reduced the Covid death rate, thus denying the international bureaucracy (government and corporate) the deaths they needed to justify their agenda – think about that, think about the extent of misconduct that indicates.

    Some countries, such as the Dominican Republic and some (some) of the states of India did go in for Early Treatment – with great success (as did some African countries), but the “advanced West” did not.

    This included Sweden – not only did Sweden not engage in Early Treatment, a lot of elderly people were not treated at home at all (they were not even given oxygen). This is a policy in Sweden that goes back long before Covid – a policy of neglecting the treatment of the elderly as the elderly are seen as a burden on society.

    So although Sweden deserves high praise for refusing to lockdown – it also deserves blame for other aspects of policy.

  • JohnK


    You may have read Robert F Kennedy’s book “The Real Doctor Fauci”. It’s not an easy read, but everything in it is properly backed up and supported by published sources. As such, Fauci has not responded to it in any way, much less with a lawsuit.

    Kennedy makes the point that it was vital that early treatments, such as HCQ and Ivermectin, were suppressed. This is because under US law, if there is effective treatment for a disease (and there was), then vaccines cannot be fast tracked, they have to undergo the full regulatory process.

    In the 1980s Fauci pulled much the same trick with HIV, when he suppressed doctors using existing medicines to treat the condition. This allowed him to press ahead with a new “treatment”, AZT, which killed everyone who used it. But of course they would have died anyway, so who cared? Big money for big pharma, but also Dr Fauci, who was allowed to benefit too, even though he was a government official. Quite the sweetheart deal.

    So in 2020, if he had not suppressed early treatment for Covid, then Pfizer, BionTech, Moderna et al would so far have made zero dollars and zero cents from their “vaccines”, and Fauci would have made just about the same.

    It all boils down to the money. Public health? Not so much.

  • Alex

    Similar to Stonyground, I am at a loss on how to make things better. The actions of the majority in recent decades leave me baffled. In the early 00s I went out and canvassed, and stood for election as an independent, and later as a UKIP candidate. To little avail. I worked much harder as an independent candidate, and collected a few hundred votes. I worked much less hard as a UKIP candidate, yet still harder than my fellow candidates or my opposing candidates, and collected a much larger vote. IIRC, both times I came in third. Besides the two times I actually stood for public office, I also helped many other candidates in more than a decade. I listened attentively to the concerns of ordinary people. I was at times horrified by the views I heard, but went away and thought about them. I was also intrigued and puzzled by other views I heard.

    Through it all I held to personal convictions that most people are, basically, “good” whatever that nebulous concept actually amounts to. I held to the view that increasing freedoms would yield better outcomes, given enough time. I believed that most people have a good enough sense of personal responsibility that when given opportunities and freedom to do things they would do so with integrity and responsibility, that only a minority behaves poorly. I wore myself out long before the EU referendum, and largely sat it out. I watched in horror as partisanship prevented meaningful debate. How neologisms were formed that meant a different thing to what we’d all campaigned for all those years. It became about the sainted NHS and immigration, neither of which were particularly close to my emotional or intellectual motivations. The acrimony after the result was horrible. The astonishing lack of ability of so-called self-described “liberals” and “democrats” to empathize with the desire for freedom, the desire for political independence. The increasing suspicion that many, if not all, really did perceive the referendum as a plebiscite on continued mass immigration.

    I really do still believe that the majority of people, if put the simple unmuddied question of whether our laws should first and foremost be made in our own Parliament (whatever form that takes) would vote for it to be so. Everything else is secondary, we can enter into migration pacts entirely separately – and retain the ability to suspend such pacts if they prove disastrous for any party. We can adopt sensible ideas from the EU by MPs proposing them as private members bills. It was always a massive trick on the public to present the idea that membership of the EU was necessary to have any or all of these things. But this so-called conservative government has been very slow to build any alternatives, which I find increasingly suspicious.

    To the question of lockdowns and the COVID response, again we were sold a package deal. Most people would see the common sense in not exposing yourselves unnecessarily to a new and unknown pathogen. But of course our government didn’t do most of the things that would actually make a difference. Closing the borders, and restricting travellers to quarantine would have been a sensible initial policy until such time that treatment protocols were well established, and a realistic understanding of the risk could be had. The actual response of the UK government virtually ensured massive deaths from COVID, by introducing it where it would do most damage as quickly as possible. Of course the majority of people are not angry about actual policies undertaken, but about parties had in government buildings during lockdown. However other things became apparent in lockdown, the mass buying, the “I’m alright, so bugger the rest” attitude, the narrow-mindedness and bizarre police responses to hikers on remote hillsides presenting no public health risk at all. All largely supported and gone along with by the general public. What can a libertarian do in such circumstances? Argue for the fundamental liberties – via their webcams, of course – but at risk of losing their jobs? Boycott retailers? Some threat; most sold out of everything they had anyway and could barely restock quickly enough. Family and friends, on the drip-feed of propaganda from HM G, would roll their eyes at claims such actions were unnecessary, and get on with life as normally as possible under the new regime. This, of course, shows that the UK’s historical exceptionalism to the extremism of other countries is well and truly dead. We acted just like any other country taken over by an authoritarian government.

    But is it truly irrational? Libertarianism is fundamentally based on two things, an ideological and likely emotional attachment to liberty, but also on rational thinking and empirical evidence. We mistrust models, and prefer well-reasoned argument backed up by data. In an emergency situation, like a devastating new illness, the data is not yet available and the public health officials will of course rely on models extrapolating from fragments of low quality data. I’d suggest that libertarianism is not very well-equipped to deal with emergencies. Most adherents of libertarianism realize this to some degree. The libertarian impulse is vital for dealing with overreach by authoritarians, but the authoritarian impulse to restrict what they don’t understand is not always wrong. Once data allows, well-reasoned argument might be effective in dealing with the overreach or rolling back restrictions found to be unnecessary. What is preventing that from happening today? To me it seems that despite the extraordinary freedoms today to indulge in many kinds of self-indulgence, a very libertine state for personal gluttony and sexual proclivity, we lack more fundamental freedoms. The new prudishness is an instinctive hostility to anyone who questions the new doctrines, highest of which is that “Science” has all the answers, but only when presented by a trusted “Scientist”. Rational thinking died a long while back outside a slim minority. The writing has been on the wall for a long time.

  • Paul Marks

    JohnK – I do not deny any of the charges against Tony Fauci, but I think the blame goes much further than one man. And I also think that money is not at the root of this – yes money is important, but the desire for power (to “build a better world”) is, in my opinion, at the root of these terrible international policies. For example, both the leading figures in the World Health Organisation and in such British bodies as “SAGE” (an advisory medical body) make no secret of their totalitarian “social justice”, “equity” beliefs.

    Stonyground – leadership is essential.

    Nearly everyone will agree, in the sense to submit to, a policy if no leading political figure denounces it.

    The average person, even subjected to a totally insane policy, will submit to it – if he can see no leadership against it (the thinking being “what do I know?” or “I am certain this policy is insane – but there is nothing I can do to stop it”).

    But if a political figure has the courage to oppose the policy – then that political leader will find that they are NOT alone.

    It is courage that is essential – for example Prime Minister know that the policies being followed in Britain were insane (utterly insane), but he did not have the courage (the grit) to go against very powerful forced, both nationally and internationally.

    It was the same on other matters – such as HS2 (a lunatic railway scheme that will cost about 100 Billion Pounds “not much if you say it quick”) and higher taxes.

    Mr Johnson is not a stupid man, on the contrary he is highly intelligent (contrary to his public image) – but sometimes intelligence is not enough, a man must have moral backbone as well. And it is there, nerve-courage, where Mr Johnson failed.

    Perhaps (perhaps) it is not a coincidence that the few State Governors in the United States who said NO to lockdowns are people of deep religious faith.

    They did not believe themselves to be alone when faced with very powerful forces – and believed that even if they died, that would not be the end.

    Their beliefs may be false – but they do seem to have strengthened their resolve.

  • Paul Marks

    Alex – it is a matter of the “leaders of the tribe”.

    Politics, for most people, is tribal – they know there is more than one tribe, but it takes a very long time (generations) to really establish a political “tribe” in the public mind.

    The anti Collectivist “tribe” in the United States is the Republicans – that has been so since at least 1920 (Warren Harding’s campaign against Big Government staying even after the First World War was over) – but even then the Republican Party was already one of the two great “tribes” in American politics.

    In British politics this anti Collectivist role is taken by the Conservatives – you may laugh, and indeed the record of the “Conservative Government” is certainly not one I would wish to defend, but the fact remains that this is the anti Statist “tribe” in British politics – so if it does not oppose statism, then the statist policy (Covid lockdowns, Net Zero – all the rest of it) of the international bureaucracy will not be opposed much among the general public.

    People will say “even the Tories agree we have to…..”

    If a statist (Collectivist) policy is proposed – people look to the Conservatives to argue against it, and if they do not, then people assume that the policy must be correct as “even the Tories” are pushing it.

    So the question is – how do Conservatives gain the courage (the moral courage) to oppose the policies of the bureaucracy – both national and international?

    For people of real religious faith the answer would be “God is with me – even if you smear me as a monster and my own family believe your lies, God will know the smears are lies, and even if you kill me death will not be the end”.

    For someone who has no real hope of an after life perhaps the “Meditations” of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius are a good work to really study.

    Someone can be “all alone in the dark” and without any belief in a God that will help or save their soul after suffering and death, and yet still do their utmost against even the most powerful forces of evil – even knowing that it is likely that the struggle is going to end in defeat, torment and death.

    If Prime Minister Johnson had studied Pericles rather less and Marcus Aurelius rather more – things might have gone rather better.

  • Kirk


    Mr Johnson is not a stupid man, on the contrary he is highly intelligent (contrary to his public image) – but sometimes intelligence is not enough, a man must have moral backbone as well. And it is there, nerve-courage, where Mr Johnson failed.

    I see here another opportunity to point out that what we have been using as a proxy for determining “general intelligence” is almost certainly inaccurate. I don’t think that all the tests we’ve been using as discriminators down these long years since Benet first came up with the idea have been doing the job we popularly conceive them to be doing.

    Boris Johnson could be a perfect poster child for what I’m talking about; he’s glib sort of wight, presenting as intelligent. Yet, his work product is shiite.

    What does that tell you about his real intelligence? Our assessment of it?

    Johnson is one of those guys you run into everywhere in the system; they’re glib, slick, and entirely bereft of the ability to actually produce good results in getting anything done.

    Where we’ve gone wrong is that the system we have is set up to produce these characters in job lots, and then sets them upon the contemporary cursus honorum with precisely zero attention paid to actual virtues and/or positive effects produced.

    Which is why I’m so cynically inclined whenever I contemplate this sort of thing, and try to reconcile the promise everyone sees in the system and the men it produces, when the actual results suck so badly. Believe me, I worked for plenty of Johnsons, down the years. They’re a dime a dozen, in any public enterprise, generally gravitating towards sales, marketing, or human resources where they do enormous damage to everything.

  • bobby b

    Sort of on topic – Ilya Somin wrote a good article for Reason yesterday:


    (Sort of a “what’s a good libertarian to do?” thing.)

  • Steven R

    What the Big L libertarian party wants (pot and open borders) isn’t going to get traction at the local level simply because those aren’t things your city council or mayor is involved with and what little l libertarians want (little to no government) doesn’t fly at the local level (no public utilities, closed city parks, private police or roads). You’re simply not going to be able to convince a majority of voters in a town or county to do away with public schools or go to a subscription-based EMS and fire or selling city park land to developers. And until you can get a groundswell of support at the local level, they can forget about state or national levels.

  • bobby b

    Steven R, I agree with part of what you’re saying. Everybody loves their toys that OPM buys for them. Few want to stop sharing in other people’s rewards.

    But I think there is possible traction for libertarian concepts in the push to return control to local versus national seats of power.

    I see such things as pulling power from the national education agencies and placing it back in local hands as being libertarian. Taking back individual state control over borders that lie along national borders. Deciding how to spend local resources on local issues.

    The push for more liberty (in the U.S.) will have more traction if we don’t point to the end of the continuum – anarchy – and instead talk about how we would all like to have more influence on our own lives and environs instead of ceding it to others who are far away and not part of our own society.

    I think there are possibilities for us in that direction.

  • JohnK


    You are of course right that Fauci enjoyed having power. RFK’s book demonstrates the ways he used his authority to shaft anyone who dared to challenge him. But money is also a big motivator. He was paid more than the president, but was also allowed to make money as a co-patentee of the “vaccines” that were developed on his watch. I doubt he did any work on them. He was a career bureaucrat from the day he graduated.

    I did used to wonder why any public health bureaucrat would slander and prohibit simple and safe remedies when faced with a pandemic, and now I know the answer. The use of simple and safe remedies precluded the rushed introduction of “vaccines” which were not, by definition, properly tested, but from which Fauci and his allies would make large amounts of money.

    I now know that this was a feature of Fauci’s career, from HIV to swine flu, Zita, Sars and various fake pandemics until he got to the big one, Covid.

    So yes, power, but money too. A heady mix for an amoral man.

  • Y. Knott

    For those of you who don’t (or only recently started to) follow Denninger, I recall an article of his some years ago, detailing why he quit his local Libertarian Party in disgust – exact same experience. Denninger is very “Let’s DO something about this!”, and his Libertarians were more interested in having letters after their names, than earning them.

    Denninger passed-along an interesting old American truism on the subject of “Doing Something” – “If you think the time has come, grab your rifle and head out the door. If you’re the only one out there, IT’S NOT TIME.”

  • Paul Marks

    JohnK – it is not a matter of enjoying power, or of one evil man (evil though Tony Fauci may be an evil man).

    It is the desire to build a “better world” – a Collectivist world. Which, in reality, would be much worse (not better – worse) than what decayed remains of the West (of the once free world) that we have left. What would really build a better world would be to roll back the statist policies of the last century and more – but that is the opposite of what the international establishment want.

    Kirk – my point was that Mr Johnson knew these policies were terrible. But he did not have the moral courage to stand against these policies – to stand against the international bureaucracy (both government and corporate).

    He knew – there was no failure of intelligence. There was a failure of character.

  • Kirk

    Paul Marks,

    I would submit to you that “character” is an essential component of any holistic view of what constitutes “intelligence”.

    As I’ve said, many times: We are not capturing the actual verities of what constitutes intelligence. Humility? A key part of it… The character to forthrightly do the right thing? Again, a key component.

    We test for the kids who can manipulate symbols; regurgitate knowledge. We put them in charge. Then, we wonder why they’re so single-faceted, when we’ve entirely ignored much of what actually constitutes the “virtuous man” that we seek to use the intelligence test as a proxy for. IQ testing only identifies a narrowly circumscribed slice of that which is “intelligence” in the sense we’re using it to select and bring up our elites. Boris Johnson is a perfect example.

    Perhaps I frame this improperly, and thus fail to get across what I’m getting at with my critique of the system… The system looked at Johnson and saw his narrow skill set, recognized he was good inside that narrowly constrained field set, and then chose to reward him. While ignoring the fact that he was essentially unfit for much of anything, no matter how well he did on the tests. The fact that he got as far as he did before failing should tell you much about the fundamental error of our system.

    There’s more to actual “demonstrable intelligent performance” if you will, out in the real world, than what we can easily look for in a couple of hours with a classroom test on paper. And, that’s the essential flaw in our entire approach to this.

    We look back at the Chinese testing for knowledge of Confucian literature as a bit on the daft side, when it comes to picking and choosing civil servants, but are we doing any better? Are our “elites” any more well-adapted to the modern world than those Chinese jobsworthies that shut down Zheng He’s trading voyages…?

  • Colli

    I would submit to you that “character” is an essential component of any holistic view of what constitutes “intelligence”.

    Not according to the psychologists.
    Intelligence measures the ability to abstract, reason, synthesize, etc. None of these are moral qualities, nor do moral qualities require intelligence. You seem to be conflating two different measures of a person.

    We are not capturing the actual verities of what constitutes intelligence. Humility? A key part of it… The character to forthrightly do the right thing? Again, a key component.

    You seem to have taken this further and made intelligence a synonym for goodness and virtue. You, in complaining about people who treat intelligence this way, seem to have gone that way yourself.

  • Kirk


    Are you being intentionally obtuse, or what, precisely?

    My position has been, all along, that the uses we’ve put IQ testing and “intelligence” as a concept in general have been fundamentally in error from the beginning, because we’ve turned them into proxies for virtue, while ignoring all other factors that should actually feed into an assessment of that. All you need to become a modern technocrat, above all criticism, is to start out by doing really well on some abstract tests that will set you on the path to lifetime success, no matter whether everything you ever touch turns to shiite after you’ve had a say in it.

    It’s a spiral process: Do well on the tests? Well, then you’re fit for further schooling. Do well on more tests? Oh, then you’re college-bound. Do well there? Perfect candidate for placement high in any hierarchy, without ever once having demonstrated either success at the actual doing of anything, or without ever having been seriously looked at for whether or not you’re morally fit for the jobs you’re being placed into.

    If you do well enough on the testing, nobody cares; you’re a perfect candidate, ‘cos of you bein’ so darn smart.

    We have very lazily chosen to use an easily administered and entirely inadequate series of tests and follow-on schooling to generate our elites. Who, if you bother to look around at the world they’ve created and been running for these last many generations, are not “fit for purpose”. Mostly because they’re nearly all lacking in those qualities you can’t test for on a piece of paper in a classroom.

    You may quibble on all you like about “what the psychologists say”, but the sad fact is that you just have to look at the way general society looks at the issue. Someone like Boris Johnson happens along, and instead of looking at the man as a whole, it’s all “Oh, well… He’s an Eton man… He went to Oxford, he must be smart… Surely, he’s the man to have in charge!!!”

    Yeah. As it has proven out, not so much. As it has with all too many of the solemnly anointed.

    Modern life? You can literally get away with murder, so long as you’re credentialed as “smart” and have all the right papers on your wall. Whether or not those credentials are actually, y’know… Meaningful? Ain’t nobody got de time to bother thinkin’ on dat…

    Except those few of us who bother to note that these “educated yet idiot” types keep right on producing disaster after disaster, while perfectly presenting as competent and “smart”.

    I want to see some actual positive results, before I consider someone “smart”. Whatever the hell those tests measured with Johnson, they missed some very important qualities that should have been looked at before they passed him on from hand to hand along the modern cursus honorum.

    The system uses IQ testing as a convenient proxy, along with the sort of schooling and education that caters to people who “do well on the tests”. The whole thing has become this self-referential, self-licking ice-cream cone… People point to the fact that “Well, IQ tests correlate with lifetime success, and…”, while never noting that the fact people do well on those tests set them on the track for institutional success regardless of their actual, y’know… Performance. “Oh, yeah… That Jack, yeah, he munged that job up, but he’s so smart and educated, we’ll just move him on somewhere else…”

    Only for the well-credentialed is it generally true that you can “F*ck up, and move up…”

    Everyone else pays the price. If I have a sewage leak in my finished basement, call a plumber in, and he presents a massive bill while there’s still sewage leaking onto my floor, I throw his ass out and can successfully refuse to pay his bill. If some bright light with a college degree and a sense of entitlement tells me they’re gonna solve the homelessness problem for a billion dollars, and then we have more homeless than before we paid their fees…? Yeah; take a guess what happens to them. Only the supposed “intellectual” class can get away with pissing down your neck and telling you it’s rainwater; everyone else gets charged with assault.

    I can name dozens of examples, Boris Johnson being only one. He did really well on all his tests, did very well in school, but in actual performative demonstration, out here in the real world with the rest of us?

    Just how well did he do, might I inquire?

    It’s far past the time where we should be asking whether or not the actual work product that this process has delivered is actually delivering what it is supposed to be, for the rest of society. In general terms, I think society has grounds for demanding a good deal of money back from the “system”.

    And, to add insult to injury? Here in the US, they want the working man and woman to pay the loans off for these educated-yet-idiot types who’ve been lording their incompetency over us for generations, now.

    People wonder why I’m so cynical on these issues, but the thing that’s made me that way is simply opening my eyes and observing it all. I’ve got grounds.

  • Colli

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear enough. In the main, I actually strongly agree with you :-). My only issue is that I don’t actually agree that character is definitively a part of intelligence in the technical sense.