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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Restating our editorial policy

It should be possible to discuss racial genetics dispassionately and honestly in a public forum. But it is not. That is simply an empirically derived conclusion gained from running Samizdata for 10 years… it.can.not.be.done. Sorry but that is the inescapable truth. Racists are the perfect example of Churchill’s definition of a fanatic and unless you immediately show them the door and boot them through it, discourse in the comments section will quickly become untenable.

So Samizdata will continue to delete and ban racists when they leave comments and no apologies will be made for that. Our house, our rules.

For another article pertaining to why we will not tolerate racist discussions on Samizdata, read this.

21 comments to Restating our editorial policy

  • Hugh

    You give them too much importance. Nobody reads the comments, anyway 😉

  • Had a giggle – Bradford Council’s system blocked the link to “Our house, our rules” saying it is “tasteless and offensive”!

  • Hugo

    It can be done, just not here. The commentariat is not high quality enough. It is done, at other websites such as GNXP and Foseti.

  • Jeff

    I think we can all agree that this wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for those damn Zionists…

  • It can be done

    Nope. I simply do not believe you. I have read plenty of ‘race realist’ shite on GNXP.

  • Buzz Buzz

    The religious bigotry you routinely exhibit is still acceptable, though, right?

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Of course, because people can change their religion!
    But they can’t change their genes! (Not yet, anyway.)
    So, if we convince them through reason that one religion is true, and all others false, they could adopt it. But if Asians really are smarter than others, and this is genetic (and not because the climate is better, or overcrowding forces you to compete and stay sharp all the time), then how are you going to become an Asian?

  • Slartibartfarst

    Sorry if I seem ignorant, but was there something said/done in Samizdata recently that prompted you to state/restate this policy? The links you provide seem to be to older references.

    I try to quickly read all the new posts in my feed aggregator, but I could easily have missed something. Was it something to do with the post about that YouTube vid of the woman ranting on about immigrants on a UK bus?

    By the way, I didn’t know about the definition of the policy, but it sounds OK to me. I don’t see why you shouldn’t delete what you see fit to delete as administrators. And anyway I’ve been able to understand why on the one or two occasions when I’ve had my comments zapped.

    If your policy helps to fight stupidity, ignorance and bigotry, then I’m all for it. Take a light into the darkness.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    If you go to the Quote of the Day, for monday, it was something that came up as a side-issue about who to let into the country, and what comments we allow ourselves to make.
    But before going there- make more fjords! Why should Norway have a monopoly?

  • JackC

    Posted by ‘Nuke’ Gray at December 6, 2011 11:51 PM

    That seems like an argument for Plato’s noble lie.

  • JackC

    (As opposed to empiricism.)

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Rand Simberg has a rare example of a pretty intelligent post(Link) on this issue and many of the comments are interesting, too.

    The trouble, as Perry says, is that in most cases, people who get all excited about issues about differences between groups have, in my experience, an ulterior, collectivist agenda. There may be good classical liberals and libertarians who wish no group harm, and who don’t want the violence-backed powers of the state to be used to affect one supposed group vis a vis another, but in general, that is not the situation.

  • Hugo


    “It should be possible to discuss racial genetics dispassionately and honestly in a public forum.”

    “I have read plenty of ‘race realist’ shite on GNXP.”

    So what would you consider discussing racial genetics dispassionately and honestly?

  • MajikMonkee

    Hmmm the fact of the matter is that measured IQs do vary with geography and ethnicity but its considered a product of environment. If you’re a worker in a car factory in Japan you need more cognitive ability than if your a subsistence farmer in the DRC. IQs aren’t static, they inevitably increase in populations with time as people are exposed to more complex society, something that was observed in immigrant groups from rural Ireland to cities in the USA. IQs can also increase in people, a prime example is in adopted kids from dysfunctional backgrounds were IQ can increase from borderline to average or above in a matter of years. I teach engineering students in Africa and they’re as smart as the kids anywhere else doing to subject but there are vast numbers of barely educated rural folks that keep the figures skeewed lower than other countries.

    Its difficult to not be bigoted against Christians and Muslims due to the evangelical nature of it, part of teaching is that you have to convert people so if they find out you don’t believe they won’t stop harassing you with their silly superstitions.

  • So what would you consider discussing racial genetics dispassionately and honestly?

    There are, of course, some people who can and have made factual observations based on genetics in such discussions.

    However the overwhelming majority of people who are attracted to such discussions are people who are in fact motivated by notions of racial ‘supremacy’, with all the political implications that implies, and who have, at best, very strange notions about the differences between causality and correlation, and at worse, are simply lying about *why* they are expressing their opinions about race.

    These are the sort of people who, after you walk away from the discussion rolling your eyes, think your refusal to waste more time on them is a clear indication you cannot refute their ‘superior’ world view based on us being genetic automata.

    Indeed my empirically based observation based on 10 years of riding shotgun on this blog, not to mention surfing the blogosphere generally, are that the majority of the people who comment on the topic can be dismissed with about 90% accuracy as nothing more interesting than bigots (generally smug and obsessive in equal measure) with whom meaningful discussion is impossible.

    That is not true of everyone who tries to discuss the topic, of course. But mostly it is. 9 out of 10 if I had to put a number on it.

    Thus I made the policy decision to just ‘shoot on sight’ and shut down the topic as there is no value in providing a venue to such people given the poor signal to noise ratio that results, most particularly because once such people get into the habit of camping on a given blog, it seems that almost every discussion, be it televising cricket or the war in Afghanistan or educational policy in Bolivia, gets turned into a discussion about racial genetics, their all consuming obsession.

  • Slartibartfarst

    @’Nuke’ Gray: Thanks for the pointer. I didn’t bother reading the thread as I have had a gutsful of that sort of thing. As an Anglican Yorkshire-Welsh Jewish Muslim atheist, I have been subjected to more than my share of racial/ethnic and religious bigotry, as you could probably appreciate.

    By the way, the Fiords were put there long before the Norwegians came, so it’s not their fault. I suppose it might seem unfair to some that the Norwegians have all those nice fiddly bits on their coastline when some other nations have such dull coastlines by comparison – with the exception of New Zillund, which was given some decent Fiords too. As to your Q “Why?”, I think the answer was “42”.

  • Back in the 90s there was a call-in talk show on NPR, hosted by a black journalist (I seem to recall it was Juan Williams, but I couldn’t find that particular show on his resume). He had a guest who was a black woman intellectual, and they had an interesting discussion about matters of race in the US etc. Then this white middle-aged woman calls in and says something like: “I’m listening to you two black folks, and you are obviously very intelligent, are having a very good rational and well-reasoned discussion, and I find that I often cannot help but nod in agreement with many things you say, but: when I am in a restaurant and see a mixed couple, it makes me sick. It’s just doesn’t feel right, it feels unnatural. Sorry, but that’s how I fell, and there’s nothing you can say or do to make me feel otherwise.” Racism wouldn’t have been nearly as much of a problem as it has been if all the racists were like that woman: honest. Problem is, in an age when political correctness (not to mention hate-speech laws and such) rule, this is becoming less and less possible, and so people who have irrational prejudices (and very many of us have those, of some kind or another) feel the need to hide behind various pseudo-scientific “arguments”.

  • Perry,
    I know (as a blog-runner myself) how you feel. CCinZ isn’t as high profile as Samizdata but we still get that nonsense. And it is a shame because their are racial genetic stuff which from a medico-scientific POV is interesting. I recall being taught about the genetics of sickle-cell at school.

    Bang on! Even the BNP doesn’t exactly bang the race drum anymore. It is subtle nowadays. And it works very nastily. I know. I once had a LTR with a Jewish woman and the snidey remarks were spectacular. Because a Jew is a “stealth”minority in the sense that the look like Europeans. I have since then regarded this as the key cause of antisemitism. The idea is Jews are “ethnic” but aren’t up front and honest about it like the obvious “wogs”. Some of the stuff I heard from left-wingers who would never dream of saying such about black or brown folks.

  • Sunfish


    It was Car Talk. Everything on NPR that isn’t Afro-Cuban Bluegrass Fusion or Nina Totenberg mis-reading something that the Supreme Court did, is discussed in code by Tom and Ray.

    I’ve cracked the code. A caller who asks why his ’72 Dodge Dart runs sluggishly on high mountain passes is really saying “She’s minority and he plays in a KISS cover band. ZOMG won’t anybody think of the children???”

  • LOL, Sunfish!

    Seriously though, I’d think that you’d know better than think of me as one of those people who’d confuse Car Talk with any other show. The one I’m talking about was run on weekdays anyway, and although I couldn’t see the host, he self-identified as being black and definitely had no Boston accent to, er, speak of.

  • Wow, I see it’s still on – cool!