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 ‘Millennial generation’

Over at the Vololkh Conspiracy group blog of writers on legal issues, there is this interesting posting:

Millennials are those with birth years 1982 to roughly 2002. They are a larger group than the Boomers, and they are the most diverse generation ever. The core personality traits are: special, sheltered, confident, conventional, team-oriented, achieving and pressured.

However, the author is not all that convinced that one could, or should lump whole generations of people together under a single category, assuming them to have common traits, whether they are parts of the ‘Greatest Generation’, ‘Baby Boomers’, the ‘Me-Generation’ or ‘Generation X’.

This isn’t to say that times don’t change; technology can shape social experience, and those growing up with new technologies naturally have a different relationship to it. But I guess I am pretty skeptical that ‘the Millennials” are much different from ‘Generation X,’ or that ‘Generation X’ was much different from whatever you want to call the generation before that. I tend to think that for the most part, people are just people.

Pretty much my view, in fact. Yes, some of the current annoyance of my generation (I was born in May 1966, a rather good time for English soccer, not so good for our economic dynamism) at the Baby Boomers stems from a perception that those born after WW2 enjoyed a relatively cushy deal, not least in the form of things like final-salary pensions. The younger generations, caught up in the demographic changes caused by aeging and longer lifespans, may feel that older people have had it easy. But I think this can be overstated somewhat. Sometimes, when I hear of a certain kind of commenter waxing indignant about Babyboomers, one is struck by the bitter edge, and a sort of peeved dislike at having missed out on a permanent party.

Doing the laundry never was so colourful

Introducing the world’s grooviest washing machine. Mind you, ironing is still going to be a chore. (Hat-tip: Gizmondo).

Saying it the way it is

We live in a world of terrorism where evil acts are being regularly perpetrated in the name of your faith and because it is your faith that is being invoked as justification for these evil acts, it is your problem. You can’t wish it away, or ignore it, just because it has been caused by others. Instead, speak up and condemn terrorism, defend your role in the way of life that we all share here in Australia.

- Andrew Robb, a spokesman for the Howard government in Australia, speaking to an audience of 100 imams.

Can you imagine Bush or Blair having one their spokesmen saying anything even remotely like that?

Samizdata quote of the day

The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.

- Jeff Cooper (10 May 1920 – 25 September 2006)

Why react to Muslim violence in a ‘peaceful manner’?

Continuing on the topic of Belgian idiocy, I have been marvelling at the way the police in Brussels have been pronouncing on yet another night of rioting by Muslims in that city.

Philippe Close, the chef de cabinet of the Mayor of Brussels, Freddy Thielemans, said that the authorities would continue their efforts to defuse the situation in a peaceful manner, but he announced that the police will be less complacent in future, “since we cannot tolerate that this [Marollen] neighbourhood falls victim to a problem from outside the neighbourhood.”

Why ‘in a peaceful manner’? People try to set fire to a hospital and that should be solved ‘peacefully’? After three days of violence and looting of private property, the police should be cracking skulls without apology and to make the important point that violence should be met with greater violence. If they cannot protect the taxpayers who pay their salaries, what use are they? Moreover what are we to make of Philippe Close’s remark about the Marollen district falling victim to a problem from “outside the neighbourhood?” Does that mean it would be okay if only the rioters were local lads?

No doubt the Vlaams Belang (about whom I am deeply ambivalent) will reap the rewards from the Muslim rioting at the upcoming Belgian municipal elections, probably leading to the Belgian government banning them at some point in the near future.

Samizdata.net server outage

The Samizdata.net server was a bit grumpy earlier today but the good folks at Hosting Matters have opened it up, removed some dead mice from the treadmill, replaced them with new fresh ones and all is now well again.

Taliban on the run again?

UK military authorities are claiming the Taliban in Southern Afghanistan has been ‘tactically defeated’, which can mean quite a variety of different things. Certainly the accounts of what has been going on there indicate bloody hard fighting down to bayonet range on occasion and given the lack of resources at their disposal, any significant victory against the casualty insensitive Taliban reflects rather well on the British Army.

Now if only the UK government would get rid of some of the many utterly pointless government departments, say for starters the Department of Trade and Industry and the truly preposterous Department of Culture, Media and Sport), we could spend more on the military and still reduce the level of taxation. Well, one can wish…

Col. Jeff Cooper, RIP

Jeff Cooper, the man many people will associate with the modern art of guncraft in the United States, has died at the venerable age of 86. Anyone who has learned to shoot a handgun, rifle or shotgun to a high standard is likely, certainly in the United States, to have heard about this man, about the disciplines and standards he laid down. A few years ago I spent four gruelling but extremely enjoyable days at the Front Sight course in Nevada and there is no doubt that such places of learning took much of their inspiration from people like Jeff Cooper. A fine man, and a life well led.

Ken Blackwell’s bid to become Governor of Ohio

In response of Dale Amon’s posts (Why I am voting for Republicans this year), I made the comment that if the Republican candidate for Governor was another Taft family person (or a friend of these statists – however good Robert Taft may have been before his death in 1953) then it would be better to vote Libertarian for Governor (even though it would let the tax-and-spend Democrats in) – in order to send the tax-and-spend Ohio Republican party a message.

I had not even bothered to check to see who the Republican candidate for Governor of Ohio was (in spite of being from Kettering England – the ‘sister city’ of Kettering Ohio).

The candidate is Ken Blackwell – an African American who has been a harsh critic, for many years, of the tax and spend policies that have turned Ohio into the third highest taxed State in the nation. Mr Blackwell favours tax reduction and strict control of government spending.

I would like to apologize for my ignorance.

Meet the Spratt family

Last month, it was this:

A report published by the government predicts more than 12m adults and one million children will be obese by 2010 if nothing is done.

And this month, there is this:

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has called for “stick-thin” models to be banned from the catwalks during London Fashion Week…

Ms Jowell said “stick-thin” models pressurised girls to starve themselves.

Damn these wretched sheep! Can they not get anything right? One minute, they are stuffing their ovine faces with calories and the next minute they are starving themselves. Have they no pity for the suffering of the Nagging Classes?

That the BBC can earnestly report, almost simultaneously, two flagrantly contradictory agenda-driven hysterias is symptomatic of the fact that we have too many paid worriers with too little to worry about.

I am sure that ours is not the first civilisation to undergo spasms of a sociological St. Vitus’ Dance nor will it be the last. But have there ever been so many popular hobgoblins surrounding the subject of food and eating? Could it have something to do with the fact that ours is possibly the first (or maybe second) generation that is more than one rainy season away from famine? Is it all just a part of the struggle to find a cultural narrative within which to fit this apparently easy abundance?

Who can say? But the sheep will graze on regardless.

Punctuation provides plinth for pointless political posturing

I have noticed that many writers, professional or otherwise, do not capitalise the word ‘Nazi’ in their work. I am aware that ‘Nazi’ was originally an acronym, however I believe its ubiquitous use in preference to ‘National Socialist’ has transformed ‘Nazi’ into a discrete word in the modern vernacular. According to the rules of punctuation, it should be capitalised. In fact, it should be capitalised regardless of whether it’s an acronym or not – ‘Nazi’ is a proper noun. So why is it that many writers fail to heed this rather simple rule? Is there some convention that stipulates an exception in the case of the word ‘Nazi’, because of its association with the terrible crimes of Hitler and his followers? Or is it an affectation of a group of writers, striving to express disgust at Nazism in every conceivable manner, withdrawing from it even the privilege of an introductory capital letter? Either/or, it strikes me as rather odd that people would ignore the rules of written English as part of an effort to display their disdain for an ideology. Do they see it as a linguistic equivalent of denying someone the Last Rites? How silly. What’s wrong with conveying disapproval in the manner most writers find useful; by, er, writing something disapproving?

Radley Balko, take a deep bow

Great respect is due to Cato’s Radley Balko, who has tirelessly campaigned against the the ‘no-knock’ search and entry powers employed by law enforcement agencies in the United States. I was surfing around the blogs and came across this story a few days after it broke. This is a glimmer, a start in what hopefully may be a change in the law. Radley’s work on the Cory Maye case is a bit of a result for blogs, too. This is a US issue, but as we know with stuff like eminent domain, it is always worth we Brits watching developments like this for signs of similar trends closer to home.

Jim Henley has related thoughts on the issue.