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

[I]n much the same way that political control of statistical data can grant the holder control over the policy agenda, so control of an individual’s personal and sensitive information can grant dominance over the individual himself. It is precisely this that, in the information age, makes identity theft such a harrowing crime: the dual sensations of violation and helplessness arising from a realisation that one is no longer in control of one’s own life. The fact of the matter is that our personal and sensitive data are the core statistics of our own unique lives and, by extension, the wholesale collection, retention and sharing of our data by government is equivalent to a state-sponsored and thereby legitimised form of identity theft.

- The Earl of Northesk

10 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • I was going to note a “decent politician”, but a member of the HoL is not really a politician in the regular sense, is he?

  • Indeed Alisa, which is why in principle the House of Lords has much to commend it. One is far more likely to hear truth spoken there than in the democratically sanctified and vastly more powerful House of Commons.

  • Nick

    Just proves once again that democracy is overrated.

  • Perry:

    One is far more likely to hear truth spoken there than in the democratically sanctified and vastly more powerful House of Commons.

    Hear? The man spoke 5 days ago, and it is nowhere in the MSM, as far as Google can tell. Unfortunately, unlike Guy, most people don’t regularly peruse the Parliament Publications website. OTOH, when…(his name eludes me now)…the now famous MEP gave Brown his much deserved kicking, it was all over the place. That was my only point. I still agree with you though that any time truth is spoken it is cause for celebration, and a Lord still has larger and more attentive audience than a regular Joe. Good on him.

  • Hear? The man spoke 5 days ago, and it is nowhere in the MSM, as far as Google can tell.

    Time to put the Lords onto YouTube, a la Daniel Hannan(Link). Yet another reason to commend the prolific mises.org(Link) and lewrockwell.com(Link)

  • I don’t know, Marc. Hannan’s speech was first picked up by the MSM, IIRC, and only then it spilled over to YT (I could be wrong). Still and regardless, couldn’t hurt either.

  • Ian B

    I’ve been chuntering away to all and sundry lately about restating libertarianism as based around a concept of consent, rather than the more famous formulation regarding “force or fraud”. While state data-gathering is force, that’s a poor word to use. Focussing on “consent”, the violation of which in this context is obvious, is a much clearer formula.

    Makes a change from class consciousness, anyway :)

  • What the earl says is true, and that must be why the state generally doesn’t seem too interested in prosecuting identity theft – “because the core statistics of our unique lives” are of no interest to them beyond the power to tax. They get what they want out of us through those core statistics and that is all that matters. More anarcho-tyranny.
    My neighbor had her identity stolen, spend countless hours researching what to do next, did all that, eventually found the person in an identifiable location not 100 miles away and the cops do nothing. The shit isn’t arrested or cited or anything. They just don’t care – they meaning the state.
    What that means is that identity theft ISN’T a crime. Until the state regularly prosecutes for it, it isn’t a crime. Smoke pot and you get hammered. Steal money, time, data, etc from someone through identity theft and you get a pass.

  • Paul Marks

    Consent is important Ian B

    That tosspot Walter B. (the man who was NOT the “founder of the Economist” as is so often claimed) used to sneer at a “old women” who had said that the government had no right to demand to know how many people lived in her house (the first census 1801).

    But, of course, the “old women” was quite correct.

    But there is also the point about “consent” in relation to the funding.

    For example, if every agreed to provide the information demanded by the Births, Marriages and Deaths (Registration) Act of 1836, it would still be wrong.

    Because the money to fund the administration of the Act, is tax money – taken without individual consent.

    The John Locke trick (of suddenly, in the Second Treatise, going from individual consent to supposed majority consent via Parliament,) is just that – a trick. And for centuries before the 17th, thinkers had understood that one should not jump from individual to majority (or supposed majority) consent. Gough (Oriel if my memory serves) pointed this out about sixty years ago – I still think his little Oxford book on Locke is the best.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the House of Lords – it reminds me what an over rated thinker Thomas Paine is (sorry Glenn Beck – but Paine is an over rated thinker).

    Specifically the famous line:

    “Hereditary legislators are as absurd as hereditary mathematicians”.

    Even leaving aside the basic point that making more “legislation” is not what the House of Lords is about, are “elected mathematicians” better? Mathematicians with no skill in mathematics – but plenty of skill in flattering (lying to) voters.

    Typical Thomas Paine – sounds clever, but when one thinks about it the idea is wrong.