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 metacontext of Madoff

Evidence is only of use to the mind that is prepared for it.

Every time I see the government of Japan (or some other government) spending yet more money, in spite of the failure of all their previous government spending orgies, I am reminded of this.

Because, of course, to them there is no such thing as evidence that expanding government spending is not a “good thing”, just as there is no such thing as evidence that trying to finance lending (“investment”) via credit/money expansion, rather than solely by real savings, is not a “good thing”.

On the contrary,
…continue The metacontext of Madoff

It is about metacontext

I vote for the fifth option, which is “There should not be a drinking age”, on the basis that it is none of the government’s damn business.

Anton Howes on the industrial revolution – now available on video

One of the intellectual highlights of my year has been hearing Anton Howes (whom I first noticed while noticing the Liberty League) expound the idea that the British industrial revolution was, at heart, an ideological event. The industrial revolution happened when it did and where it did because certain people in that place and at that time started thinking differently. To put it in Samizdata-speak, the metacontext changed. Particular people changed it, not just with the industrial stuff that they did, but with what they said and wrote.

I first heard Howes give this talk at my last Friday of
…continue Anton Howes on the industrial revolution – now available on video

The map is not the territory

Recently some teacher acquaintances on Facebook were discussing the recent public sector strike. Some were annoyed at accusations that they had spent the day shopping. Others said they had enjoyed spending the day shopping. Someone posted a message pointing out that Jeremy Clarkson, who said rude things about the strikers, was more than welcome to do a hard job saving lives or teaching disabled children. It occurred to me that, among other things, not all and probably less than half of public servants do such worthy jobs, and in any case what is relevant is what is really going on,
…continue The map is not the territory

Politics is not a sport

This is pretty poor stuff from the normally astute James Forsyth. In fact, his remarks about Dan Hannan’s recent blunt comment about the UK’s Soviet-model healthcare system smacks of cowardice:

The last week has been one of the worst the Tories have had in a while. As Pete said on Friday, a bad week in August is unlikely to do lasting damage. But the Tories should learn from the events of then past few days: they have been thrown onto the defensive not by clever Labour attacks but by their own unforced errors. Alan Duncan was a fool to say
…continue Politics is not a sport

Now for the Labour implosion

For the leader of the Labour Party and our Prime Minister things are terminally frightful, but they are now looking just as bad for the Labour Party as a whole. I have been pondering the consequences of the latest Labour electoral reverse by reading the Coffee House blog, which is now my favourite political (as in who’s-in-who’s-out) blog, as opposed to the metacontext stuff that we do here. Several points stand out:

For the benefit of those who have not been following this, Labour have just lost their twenty fifth safest seat in a by-election, to the Scottish Nationalists this
…continue Now for the Labour implosion

Guido vs. Gracchi

The inimitable Guido Fawkes decides to use Samizdata to explain what he is… and what he is not.

Over on the misnamed Liberal Conspiracy blog ‘Gracchi’ proffers a serious and fair minded critique of my Guido alter ego’s oeuvre, rather than the usual “Guido is an evil baby eating Nazi who once voted Tory, does not use trackbacks and deletes comments” tripe. I will give it a reply here and defend my approach.

Clearly we all have a political agenda of some kind. Mine is the politics of anti-politics. It stems from wanting to expand the non-political space in life
…continue Guido vs. Gracchi

How Cameron turned the media loose on the government

David Cameron, the Leader of the Opposition and of the Conservative Party, is mainly known here as the man who makes Perry de Havilland spit blood.

But quite aside from the fact that most of us here disagree with the things that Cameron has been saying in recent months, there is the puzzle of why he has been saying them. I am thinking of things like fluffing on tax cuts, the NHS, Europe, and so on. He seems determined not just to be more left wing than Conservatives used to be. He seems to want to be more left wing
…continue How Cameron turned the media loose on the government

The game’s afoot in Somalia

If the report turn out to be true about the success of the US military attack in Somalia, that is good news indeed. It is being claimed that some of the people targeted were those responsible for the horrendous 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and 2002 atrocities on in Kenya against Kenyan and Israeli civilians. If those are the bastards who have indeed been killed then that is a cause for some satisfaction.

It is interesting that the attack, which took place in Somalia, has attracted praise from the
…continue The game’s afoot in Somalia

A belated report on a trip to the wild East.

Much has been said and written (some of it by me) on the growth of the Chinese economy and the rise of China as an economic power, and of the growth of an immense manufacturing region on the sides (particularly the east side) of the estuary of the Pearl River between Hong Kong and Guangzhou (Canton). If there is a workshop of the world today the way there was in the north of England in the mid 19th century, then this is it. I have for a while wanted to go and look at it, but I have
…continue A belated report on a trip to the wild East.

Silent lucidity

Libertarian types are all over the blogosphere, but you never actually meet any in real life, of course. So claim many people who have felt the need to inform me that the blog to which I occasionally contribute does not conform to mainstream thinking. I am not sure whether these people expect me to weep softly, wail loudly, or recoil in shock and horror when they share this revelation with me, but if they do, no doubt they walk away from our exchanges disappointed.

To me, the fact that individualists are thick on the ground in the blogosphere is no
…continue Silent lucidity

What does it all mean?

With the ship back on the ground and the speechifying in progress, I now have a bit of time to pontificate on the importance of this event.

Some of you understand intuitively. Few outside a small circle of friends fully comprehend the magnitude of the breakthrough. Getting into space is not about technology. It is about money. It is about risk, markets, business plans, insurance, and raising capital. It is about the metacontext. The metacontext which died in the desert sun this morning carried built in assumptions that space is for governments; space is expensive; space is too risky for
…continue What does it all mean?