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]

The consistent pessimism of John Gray

…The time to worry would be if he stopped attacking us.

John Gray used to defend freedom and free markets; now he denounces all such stuff. He used to be one of us, but now he isn’t. How come? Have we changed our minds? Has he? Is the fellow some sort of traitor?

There is nothing inconsistent or treacherous about John Gray. He was never more than a useful ally of the libertarian movement. He hasn’t changed the way he thinks. He hasn’t, in Tom Burroughes‘ words, “declined and fallen”. Nor have we. It is the times that have changed.
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Gray consistency – again

David Farrer of Freedom and Whisky responds briefly to my unbrief piece about John Gray.

As Brian Micklethwait suggests, John Gray is an incorrigible pessimist. That I can understand but it’s no reason to give up the fight for liberty.

First, I don’t suggest that John Gray is a pessimist, I bloody well say it in seventeen foot high flaming capital letters. There’s no suggesting about it.

And second, to repeat the point being made in those seventeen foot high letters, Gray’s pessimism applies to whatever is the dominant optimism. And that’s now us. We used to be pessimistic about
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The Decline and Fall of John Gray

British academic John Gray, based at the London School of Economics, is well-known in Samizdata circles as the former ‘Thatcherite’ professor, author of interesting books about FA Hayek and John Stuart Mill who in the late 1980s turned sharply away from classical liberalism and embraced the doom-and-gloom agenda with the fervour of the convert. His depressing prose can be occasionally seen in such idiotarian enclaves as the New Statesman and the Guardian. OK, it’s a shame to lose a potentially good guy to the Forces of Lunacy, but such is life.

But even I did not realise that the chap
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Blasts from the past

Last weekend I had a nice little surprise. Guido, in his Seen Elsewhere section, linked to a piece by Carl Packman entitled Of course I Remember When Ian Hislop was Eurosceptic. I clicked on Packman’s piece, because I too remembered when Ian Hislop was very EUrosceptic indeed. In particular, I remembered an amazing diatribe which erupted from him on BBC TV’s Have I Got News For You, way back in early 2003. I recalled this Hislop eruption because I wrote a piece for Samizdata about it at the time. Hislop is now a Remoaner, but he certainly wasn’t then, as
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Mad Professor

This recent enraged attack on John Gray, Professor of European Thought at the LSE, recently linked to by Arts & Letters Daily, explains that Gray spouts an almost continuous gush of bilge. Gray is described as one who “flip-flops across the old right-left ideological chessboard”. But this Samizdata posting by me from 2002 explains the method in this man’s madness.

My 2002 piece does contain one error, however. I assumed from his accent when I knew him in the eighties that Professor Gray was from Wales. Apparently he is from the North of England. My apologies to Wales.

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