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 – to the Class of 2024: you are all diseased

Without fail, at the end of the class a few students tell me that the content of the course was diametrically opposed to what they had been taught so far. Prior, they had class discussions about the exploitative nature of the market system and its inherent unfairness; the evil and greed of corporations; and the fight of exploited workers against oppressive capitalists.

I point out to them that these paradigms imply a zero-sum world in which wealth can only be created by taking it from others, whereas they live in the positive-sum world of markets, in which wealth is created by exchange. Markets have deposited a magic wand in their hands, which allows them to freeze moments in time, observe what is currently happening in foreign lands, and conjure loved ones for a face-to-face conversation out of thin air. Kings would have given half their kingdom for such a wand, but now anyone can have it for the low, low price of $69.99 per month. Or about five hours of student work. This is how we got wealthy.

Robert Parham

12 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – to the Class of 2024: you are all diseased

  • Deep Lurker

    It’s a perverse inversion: We are told that Horrible things will happen if the delicate ecological balance of the natural environment is disturbed, but there’s great good and absolutely no downside to clear-cutting and paving over vast swaths of the economic ecosystem. Ethical values are subjective and dependent on your group identity, but economic value is objective and when two people agree on a WRONG value for an exchange, then this is an evil that must be stopped and punished for its objective wrongness.

    And ‘economic coercion’ is a real thing, alongside force and fraud, occurring whenever a sufficiently rich person offers payment to a sufficiently poor one. Getting a ‘poor’ woman to sleep with you for a million dollars is rape, just as surely as if you had held a knife to her throat instead.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    You could point out that if the Russians are right, and they have discovered vast new oilfields, then that is new wealth, and the new pollution thus caused would give employment to all sorts of activists! A win-whine, surely?

  • Paul Marks

    Deep Lurker I think you are being sarcastic – but I will answer the points you make as if you were not being sarcastic, in order to cover people who actually believe these things.

    Paying a woman to have sex with you is immoral, but only an idiot would call it “rape” (to do so is an insult people who have been raped), what is happening right now in the legal brothels in places such as Elko Nevada is not “rape” – and it is a false to claim that it is rape. You do not define what “economic coercion” is, because is NOT a real thing. Nor does a free market increase poverty (as you appear to imply – again you may be being sarcastic or ironic) it reduces poverty.

    As for the environment – if people actually bother to look up the old leather bound books of temperature figures (which still exist – they have not yet been destroyed) they will find that places for which there actually is reliable data, such as the United States, did NOT have the hottest summer on record last year (far from it) – the “C02 is destroying the world” narrative is a pack of lies, and, ironically enough, it is a pack of lies pushed by the Corporate State that the left claims to oppose.

    In reality private property rights are the way to improve the environment.

    As for ethics being subjective – no Sir basic morality is not subjective. And finally the claim that economic value is “objective” is false – as economic value is subjective. You have everything the wrong way round – but, again, you may be being sarcastic or ironic.

    It is true that people are getting poorer in some countries – but this is not because of “Capitalism” on the contrary it is because of the drift AWAY from Capitalism – for example in the United States, where instead of relying on Real Savings, the “economy” relies on Credit Money expansion – so a massive Cantillon Effect goes into effect (on a scale beyond anything Richard Cantillon could have imagined).

  • Paul Marks

    It is important to remember that it was not just the Marxists who made the false claims that free enterprise (“Capitalism”) increases poverty and immorality – for example such false claims appear to be made in the first paragraph of Pope Leo XIII Encyclical of 1891. And such document and “Social Teaching” may have influenced American Democrats more than Marxism did – for example long before he fell into senility Joseph Biden (who was never a moderate – check his Senate voting record) was citing this “Social Teaching” to justify state interventionism.

    Even at the risk of offending people it must be clearly stated that these claims of Leo XIII and Cardinal Manning are FALSE (just as similar claims by Protestants such as Otto Von Bismarck were FALSE) – indeed the society of 1891 was better (not worse) than the society of 1791 or 1691 or 1591 or 1491 (and so on) real progress had taken place.

    As for the argument that state intervention would improve matters – it is wrong to call it an “argument” as no rational argument is ever presented, not by Louis XIV (the Sun King) and his Chief Minister Colbert, not by Frederick “The Great” of Prussia, or any any statist – they just ASSUME that statism will improve life, and are blind to all evidence and rational argument. Sometimes the Collectivists show open contempt for reason – for example in the weird “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky, a work deeply admired by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, or (perhaps worse) the jargon ridden “Critical Theory” works of the “Woke”.

    In the end the real “Economic Coercion” is the use of force – by statists such as the Emperor Diocletian and the French Revolutionary Robespierre (with the executions of people for violating price controls) or by modern statists.

  • Paul Marks

    Lastly on morality. As Gladstone pointed out, of one thing I am certain – it is NOT by the action of the state that the morality of the people can be improved.

  • Deep Lurker

    Paul Marks, not sarcastic, exactly, but attributing views to those who taught the students prior to Robert Parham. “It’s a perverse inversion” is my view, and everything following is what I believe to be the perversely inverted views taught to those students. (And that we’re being propagandized with.)

  • Paul Marks

    Deep Lurker – thank you for explaining. Yes Sir – it is indeed a “perverse inversion”.

  • Stonyground

    I have a left leaning family member and the thing that I have noticed is an insistence that every detail of life is something other than what it actually is. Not necessarily a complete inversion but always not quite reality. Examples. Illegal immigrants are refugees when they are quite clearly not. The Covid injections were safe and effective and worked just the same as vaccinations, thus coercing people into having it was justified. CO2 causes all kinds of weather disruption. The best way of solving any problem is for the state to intervene and do something. It appears that the whole belief system is dependent upon constantly playing pretend.

  • NickM

    I saw something on BBC Brekfast Tv a couple of days ago. It was an advocate for “The right to grow”. Basically the right for little co-operatives to grow veggies on unused council land. She said something that stung me (I was still half asleep at the time). She said, “We need the authorities to respect the people”. Regardless of the specific cause that anyone felt the need to say something like that in any circumstance is astonishing. We are a very long way from the ideal of negative liberty.

  • Paul Marks

    Stonyground – yes I have also noticed what you describe, how leftists invert reality. Not just on a particular matter – but on just about everything.

    NickM – why cooperatives? There should not be “unused council land” – either it should be sold or it should be used, for example as allotments where INDIVIDUALS can grow things.

    In Israel various communal economic communities were massively subsidised for decades – but no more than 5% of Jews joined them. And since the 1970s such communities (communities lacking private property in the means of production) have been in steep decline in Israel.

    I think that may be the real reason the left started to hate Israel (they did not always do so – well the Soviets soon hated Israel, but not all the Western left).

    Israel at first entertained the ideas of Plato – these egalitarian communities, but became more and more an Aristotelian country.

    Israel became a country of traditional families (not raising children in common), traditional religion (not the “reinterpretation” of religion that Plato wanted – he wanted Greek stories of the Gods rewritten), and private enterprise – not egalitarian communities.

    The Western left see Israel as a terrible betrayal of everything they believe in.

  • NickM

    I agree. My point was about the perverse inversion of the relationship between councils and those they govern. It should be axiomatic that they are the servants and not the masters. The specific cause is irrelevant. I should have phrased it better. Sorry. Round here I would vote for Satan Himself if he fixed the pot-holes rather than spent the council tax on telling us how “diverse” we all are. And, yes, this is Cheshire and True Blue. The last time we had a non-Tory MP (or council) was when Lloyd George ran the Liberals. Not an endorsement of Lloyd George – just a way of saying it was more than a hundred years ago. Oh, and building a bypass would be nice. It is “under consideration”. It has been since 1932. I’m tactically voting LD at the GE because the Tories need a kick up the arse of epic proportions.

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