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 – problems can be profitable

“At least a few people seem finally to be catching on that the basic idea behind “homelessness” advocacy is to exploit an issue that brings forth great human empathy to generate vast taxpayer funds and then to not solve the problem. The spending continues and increases without limit. There is way too much money — for advocates — in `homelessness’ for the problem ever to get solved, or even to decrease materially.”

Francis Menton. The same could be said of a number of other problems, either real or imagined.

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – problems can be profitable

  • Stonyground

    This is the problem that will inevitably arise any time that a charity becomes funded by the government. There immediately arises a perverse incentive to make the issue worse in order to get more money. Whatever problem the charity exists to address will also tend to be exaggerated via the media and TV ads.

  • Ben Gardiner

    I have my suspicions about disease charities as well. They are such big businesses now, I don’t think they really want to find a cure.

  • DiscoveredJoys

    Where there is an “issue” there’s a career to be finessed out of nothing. And careers must develop in ways that support the career further.

    Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy:
    Organisations, by their very nature, become established and then they are run to maximise the utility of the organisation and the people in it.

  • Paul Marks.

    What governments, such as those of California (State and local), are doing is not intended to “solve the problem”.

    They have been following these policies for many decades (since at least the 1960s – in New York City since the 1940s), once upon a time the harm done may have been unintentional – but it is certainly is NOT unintentional now.

    For example, what is happening in California is what Governor Gavin Newson, and the Corporate State forces that use him, want to happen – it is not unintentional, it is intentional.

    Francis Menton is quite correct – the activist groups (many of whom are in the “Cloward and Piven” tradition) know the policies they push do harm – and they want to do harm.

    This is why the F.A. Hayek or Milton Friedman approach of carefully explaining how much harm regulations and high government spending does, does-not-work. It does not work because the Collectivists – whether activist groups or all the way up to Governor Newsom and the Corporate State forces behind them, they already know the harm their policies cause. That is why they follow these policies – to destroy the existing society (“Destructionism” is the word that Ludwig Von Mises used a century ago in the last section of his book “Socialism” – “Destructionism” covers the various forms of interventionism, price controls, other insane “planning”, government backed “Collective Bargaining”, wild government spending….., being pushed a century ago – and which are still being pushed today).

    Perhaps they sincerely believe that to create a wonderful new society the existing society must be destroyed.

    Or perhaps they are just destroying society for fun – for “kicks”.

    It one listens to, and watches, the “activists”, the later alternative (that they are destroying society for “kicks”) seems to be the most likely to be the truth.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Ben Gardiner
    I have my suspicions about disease charities as well. They are such big businesses now, I don’t think they really want to find a cure.

    Your suspicions are well justified. March of Dimes was founded to find a cure for polio.. polio has almost completely been eliminated. Yet the Dimes march on, to the tune of $26 million. Not to worry though, they have refocused on “Equity”, and somehow have moved on to pregnancy support. It is interesting, in their annual report, which I just had a quick look at, starts in big letters with the word “Unstoppable”. Which, in light of their history, seems rather an ironic choice of words.

    Here is what Wikipedia says about their “change of mission”:

    Following widespread use of the polio vaccine, the organization was faced with disbanding or steering its resources toward a new mission. Basil O’Connor, then the organization’s president, directed his staff to identify strengths and weaknesses and reformulate its mission

    Apparently, it never occurred to Basil to say “job well done, let’s shut up shop”. After all, I am sure he had a very nice corner office.

  • Paul Marks.

    Yes the activists and others get money out of all this – but that is NOT what motivates them.

    What motivates them is the desire to destroy – not “just” destroy San Francisco, but to destroy as much of the Western World, Western Civilisation.

    Like Tolkien’s “Sauron” arriving in Numenor, when Herbert Marcuse arrived in California he was astounded – it was hard to believe that people could achieve such wonders. But his being astounded just meant he was even more moved to hatred, and to the desire to destroy. And it is certainly not just a few people such as the late Herbert Marcuse – it is a great number (a very great number) of the “educated” classes around the Western world.

    They are destroying the West on purpose and have been for a very long time. If one looks at the nihilistic “art” they like, everything from the sort of paintings to the sort of films they like, one gets a window on their souls.

  • Kirk

    Y’know… I’ve read Marcuse, and about him. My take is that he and his ilk are a lot like that bossy little girl I grew up with, the one who wanted to tell everyone how to do everything, how to play, and who went into a rage whenever they didn’t get their way. If you ignored her, she went to the authorities in an attempt to get them to make you play the way she wanted to.

    The similarity between her mindset and a lot of the supposedly adult leftists I was exposed to as a child wasn’t at all hard to miss. They just couched their terms a little differently, and appealed to different authorities.

    I don’t know that it’s an envy thing, either… I think what a lot of it amounts to is that the sort of people that do these things have somehow generated this image in their minds of how things “ought to be”, and have what can only be described as a religious fervor about imposing their views on the universe. For some reason, they’re incapable of stepping back, observing, and recognizing that their ideations do not have primacy outside of their own minds.

    Were such things studied, I think that they’d be held to be a definite form of mental illness. Call it “Just So Syndrome”, because that’s pretty much what that little girl I’m thinking of would have said, once she’d set things to her rights. A lot of her playmates just acquiesced quietly, finding it easier to go along with her than to oppose her. A lot more of us just avoided her altogether…

    Unfortunately, having granted these jackasses authority, we can’t exactly just leave the playground to avoid them. I think we’re coming up on that moment where we have to decide whether to just give up and let them have their way, or do what you do when you can’t correct the behavior in training… Which is usually referred to in animal training as “extinction”.

  • Stonyground

    Kirk that is an interesting insight. My position has always been, I will leave you alone to live your life however you wish, just leave me alone to live mine. The problem being that there are too many folk who are not content to mind their own business and who feel the need to mind everyone else’s too. That this might be the result of an actual personality disorder hadn’t really dawned on me.

  • Paul Marks.

    Kirk – as you know (only too well) these are the people who give you your orders, and not just the civilians – many of the top military brass as well, they have to believe in the “Diversity and Inclusion” Marxist stuff to get the five stars (and less senior ranks). “But they only pretending to believe in the Marxist stuff” – if a person pretends to believe in something long enough, it is the same as if they really believed from the start “do not twist your face like that – you will get stuck like it”.

    Eventually Kirk you are going to get an order – and it will be a legit “legal” order uphold by the courts and passed down the chain-of-command. And that order is going to be “shoot those reactionaries over there”, for “resisting gun control”, or “being white supremacists” (even if the declared “white supremacists” are BLACK), or “resisting the enforcement of vital climate measures needed to save the planet” (i.e. having their homes, farms and other property confiscated – Agenda 21).

    Stonyground – they are not going to let you “live your life”, if you do not grasp that by now you must have been living on some deserted island somewhere. They want to make you a slave – and they (both the Marxists and the Saint-Simon style Corporate State “Stakeholder Capitalism”, “Public-Private Partnership” types) make no secret of the fact – that is what “Sustainable Development Goals” are really about As the late David Rockefeller admitted in his autobiography – the Rio Summit of 1992 was really about the world governance they had always wanted – the “Climate” stuff was just an excuse for what they had wanted anyway, for many years.

    “Personality Disorder” – if that is your name for ordinary human evil, fair enough.

    The objective of the international establishment, the “international community”, the “rules based international order” (whether Marxist or Corporate State faction) is simple – a boot stamping down on your face, for ever.

  • Kirk

    Paul, I’m just going to point out a truth here, that I think you and a lot of other people have missed.

    The US military was what it was because it could attract and retain men like myself… Not that I was or am anything special; all I was was someone who had the courage of their convictions and who would do the right thing as a citizen-soldier. That, coupled with the innate characteristics of the sort of people we were, was what made the US military as effective as it was.

    What, do you suppose, it means when the military can no longer attract those men, who will march (just for training, mind…) on broken legs and bloody feet for miles on end? Where do you suppose that you’re going to find that sort of commitment, in today’s deracinated population of recruits? Do any of the ohsosensitive LGBTWTFBBQ types strike you as the sort of men and women who’ll do those sorts of things? For training? Let alone, for combat?

    You can capture an institution like the US military. You can’t turn it to your uses after having irretrievably broken it. Which is what they’re doing, at the moment. They’re expecting a tool that was as effective as it was under the former way of doing things, but the problem is, they’ve hollowed it out entirely. They’re wearing a husk, a semblance of that which it was. I don’t think the “woke” are going to be much good even when they can be persuaded to serve; you’ll note the recruiting crisis throughout the force structure. Nobody wants to serve these masters, because that’s what they see themselves as–Masters. Not fellow-citizens. Masters. Which means they need to find a whole new paradigm, one that they don’t even know they need as of yet.

    It’ll keep tottering along, unless things change. When the crisis comes, they’ll find out the hard way when the entire shoddy edifice caves in under the weight of the contradictions they introduced.

  • Kirk

    Stonyground said:

    That this might be the result of an actual personality disorder hadn’t really dawned on me.

    There’s a bias in the things we study for medicine and psychology: We only really look at that which stands out, which can be identified as “illness” or “dysfunction”. They look at the sick; they examine the manifestly mentally ill.

    Ain’t nobody really looking at the healthy; nobody looks at the more-or-less functional types who don’t see the need to stick themselves into psychoanalysis or therapy.

    Which is why a lot of this crap isn’t in the books; it isn’t studied, because for the academic, it doesn’t exist.

    Most of those control-freak little girl types I’m thinking of when I class-characterize them with the leftoid psychosis? They don’t know they are the ones who’re off; they rarely, if ever, go in and tell the doctors “Hey, there’s something wrong with me… People don’t do as I say they should… I don’t understand…”

    They’re so certain of their rectitude, their essential and utter correctness, that it never occurs to them that the problem might be in their own heads, not in the conduct/behavior of others.

    Think of the character played by Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada“. I’ve no idea of the woman portrayed is actually like that, but… The character portrayed rang utterly true to me for a lot of these sorts of people. Same-same with many of the really crazy bastards that never see a psychoanalyst’s couch that I used to work with… They’re sociopathic weirdos, and we have this habit of putting them in charge of things because they also, sadly, have this habit of getting things done.

    These people really do need study, because they make up so much of the component of the population that tries to run our societies. They should be identified, treated, and kept under control so that we only use their attributes for good causes, kinda like you only use fire when you need it. Outside the boiler-room, I have to agree with Frankenstein’s monster: Fire BAD.

    It isn’t that a lot of these people are inherently bad or evil, either… They’re just part of the human spectrum, and they do contribute. We’d be worse off without them, but the problems come when they dominate societies. I don’t advocate for putting them down or aborting them like a Down’s Syndrome fetus, but… Man, do we need to rein them in. Not just in the schoolyard, either.