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

“And may I say that the exaggerated outrage over the “phone hacking” scandal is particularly hypocritical given the culture of pervasive surveillance of citizens that the British government — ahead even of our own — has established over the past decade or two. Those criticizing the press here are in no position to complain about invasions of privacy.”

Glenn Reynolds weighs in on the the Leveson Report’s recommendation to regulate the UK media. Being a good American living in a land that has a First Amendment – not always well observed – Reynolds is distinctly unimpressed by Leveson. And we Brits should well remember how, if the UK media – or bits of it – are subjected to control, how this will lend some encouragement to authortarians the world over. (This is a fact that some members of the present government, such as William Hague, the foreign secretary, have grasped).

10 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Alisa

    This is the second time in so many weeks that I am very much impressed by Hague.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I wonder what British authorities would say if someone hacked their surveillance cameras.

    Well, no, I don’t wonder, but I suspect the righteous indignation would be a little strained.

  • Slartibartfarst

    The quoted comments from Glenn Reynolds would seem to indicate that he considers the Leveson Report as a Bad Thing.
    From what I gather, not having read the Leveson report, it advocates what could effectively be a restriction of the freedom of the press.

    Would that be such a Bad Thing?

    Lord Hague’s comment to the effect that “the Russians would throw it back in our faces” – if/when Britain encouraged a (what would then be) hypocritical approach to press freedom – would seem apt.
    However, it would not be correct to call Lord Hague’s comment an argument to substantiate the maintenance of press freedoms, though it might be an accurate comment on what the rest of the world might think of the UK if it slipped further into Totalitarianism than it already has.

    The maintenance of the freedom of the press is a concept that rests on the principle of constitutional freedom. If you diminish one, then that will presumably diminish the other. Diminishment is presumably what the Leveson report advocates.

    State regimes which operate according to some form of strict Fascist and/or socialist/communist religio-political ideology would usually automatically have restrictions on freedoms, and especially those of the press, since such freedoms can be very dangerous to the stability of the State.
    In that context, the Leveson report could arguably appear to be both timely and apposite, considering the direction the British State may already have taken. If the Leveson recommendations are put in place, or are even being seriously considered, then that could probably be taken as confirmation of that point.

    So, contrary to what Glenn Reynolds might suppose, the Leveson report might be just the ticket for the good ol’ British State, in it’s current headlong rush into Totalitarianism.

    Nothing wrong in that, if that is what the people’s elected representatives have decided on their behalf is the correct course to take. It is still a democracy, after all.

    Who the heck does Glenn Reynolds think he is anyway? It’s none of his business. He should be focussing on the egregious blight of his own State’s constitutional shortcomings and its descent into corrupt corporate Totalitarianism and a police state, and not trying to distract the gullible American public’s attention to something much less worriesome overseas.

  • Who the heck does Glenn Reynolds think he is anyway?

    Lighten up, Francis.

  • Godarni

    The Daily Mail has advocated statutory regulation of the internet, films, and video games. It is frankly hilarious that it can claim to be defending free speech, when it has frequently been the enemy of free speech.

    Never forget it was the British press, especially the Daily Mail, which orchestrated the absurd “video nasties” scaremongering of the 1980s, which led to Stalinist, farcical oppressive censorship of videos.

    Ban VHS Videos!
    Ban Video-games!
    Ban TV shows with sex in them!
    Ban Brass Eye!

    These have been the Stalinist cries of the British tabloid press for decades, which cherishes its own freedom while seeking to destroy everybody elses.

    I have no time for them. I have no sympathy for them. Hypocrisy loses them any sympathy from me.

    Its truly amazing how none of them have had the wit to call out Leveson’s glossing over police corruption and John Yates being a totally bent copper. But, as we all know from Hillsborough and De Menezes, the police and press are two cheeks of the same rear.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Slarti, I assume you are either trolling or trying to be funny, or, quite possibly, you believe in such authortarian BS that it would not be a bad thing for the media to be regulated.

    Let’s assume you are serious. The short answer is that given the way the world now is, it would be a bad thing for yet another layer of bureaucracy to be imposed on a section of UK life – the media.

    Your comment on democracy only demonstrates that the will of a majority is often in conflict with individual rights, which is why most open societies put the latter first, and have things such as checks and balances, bills of rights, and the like. Majoritarian democracy is only the least-bad way of changing a government – that is about the best thing one can say of it.

    As for Glenn Reynolds, he is as entitled to scorn a foreign country for its abuse of privacy or anything thing else, as you are. Since when did he need permission to write about things he wants to write about? You do you think you are, by the way?

    Godarni, the hypocrisy you talk about is real, but you presumably have heard the phrase of how two wrongs do not make a right. The way to respond to such hypocrisy is to point it out, not repression of investigative journalism, which is where Leveson could lead.

  • Alisa

    I don’t know who Slartibartfarst is, but I do know that he is being extremely sarcastic.

  • Paul Marks

    To satisfy my inner hobbit – by stating the obvious…..

    “Hacking” was already illegal.

    There was no, legitmate, reason to set up the Leveson thing.

    The Leveson report is, therefore, at best pointless.

  • Johnnydub

    To me the biggest outcomes of the Levenson report are what they chose to ignore, and in turn that highlights most clearly what the goal was:

    1) The Operation Motorman files, which documents the actual hacking activity, showed that the biggest users of hacked info were the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror. NI was third… but was entirely the main target.

    2) The coppers knew this was going on but were bribed into not investigating and prosecuting it. Yet the Levenson report dismisses this with “little evidence of significant corruption”

    What this seems to me is another leftists circle jerk, who are under the impression that the people don’t but into their Marxist fantasy because nasty capitalists lead them astray. Hence the capitalists must be destroyed.

    And the disgusting spectacle of wankers like Coogan and Grant trying to hide their whoring and coke-ing behind Milly Dowlers corpse is nauseating…

  • Paul Marks


    Agreed – on all points.