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]

It is hard to see a downside for the even-farther-left winning in Greece…

… not for Greece, which is screwed regardless of who wins, but rather for the rest of Europe on the basis that cutting a gangrenous limb off is often a good idea.

After all, to yet again use one of my favourite quotes from H. L. Mencken: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard”.

And if ever there was a nation filled with people who deserve to keep getting what they voted for, it is Greece circa 2015.

Discuss.

We must destroy the village to save it!

Yet Oxfam also claims, without any real evidence, that excessive inequality hampers economic growth. It suggests that, since we want that economic pie to be as large as possible, we should tax wealth and capital. The problem is that all taxes destroy some economic activity, shrinking that pie. And different taxes do so differently. We also know that capital and wealth taxes destroy more of the pie than almost any others (other than that Robin Hood Tax Oxfam also supported). So the argument is that we must shrink the economic pie in order to stop inequality shrinking it. This has shades of having to destroy the village so as to save it.

Tim Worstall

Can this be true? Did I read that correctly?

Did David Cameron just say something… um… well… sensible and manifestly correct? I can hardly believe my eyes!

British Prime Minister David Cameron said there was “a right to cause offence about someone’s religion” in a free society, drawing a distinction between himself and Pope Francis in their response to the deadly Islamist attacks in Paris.

Did Dismal Dave really say this? I need to lie down.

Samizdata quote of the day

Odious figures of the totalitarian regimes are not objects of the cultural heritage of either national or local significance

Vyacheslav Kirilenko

Mohammed makes the cover of Charlie Hebdo again

The latest edition of Charlie Hebdo has a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on the cover. This is when we see who are the men, and who are the boys, so… well done to all the various newspapers who have shown some defiance to those who urged submission, and republished the image.

charlie-hebdo-cover

Samizdata quote of the day

Peretti is no stranger to bizarre theories. His recent offerings for the BBC have included The Men Who Made Us Fat and The Men Who Made Us Spend. Personal responsibility doesn’t seem to be on his ideological radar. This is fine, but we should expect more from a public broadcaster than to repeat theories nobody subscribes to, particularly when we are forced to pay for the privilege.

When they denounce “trickle-down economics”, Peretti and the figures above project their own world view. For many of them, it is spending that matters to an economy – and they disagree that the rich having more money to spend is as beneficial as others having it following redistribution.

Yet free marketeers don’t believe in low taxes because of their effect on spending. They believe in low taxes because they provide a strong incentive to earn more income in the first place. And the best way to earn more in a competitive, dynamic, market economy is to provide goods and services people want. Low taxes can therefore engender the sorts of entrepreneurial activity that enrich our lives through better and cheaper products – the productivity improvements we recognise as economic growth.

Ryan Bourne

Common sense from a politician? Whatever next!

It is incomprehensible that you can turn against freedom… But if you don’t like freedom, for heaven’s sake pack your bags and leave. There may be a place in the world where you can be yourself, be honest with yourself and do not go and kill innocent journalists. And if you do not like it here because humorists you do not like make a newspaper, may I then say you can fuck off.

Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Mayor of Rotterdam, speaking on live TV.

The editor of the Independent explains…

… that he is in the wrong line of work and so are his employees apparently.

The editor of the Independent has said “every instinct” told him to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons caricaturing the prophet Muhammad but described it as “too much of a risk”. The newspaper, along with the rest of the UK’s national press, did not reprint any of the satirical magazine’s caricatures of Muhammad or the cartoons from Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, with which Charlie Hebdo first provoked international outrage in 2006.

Rajan instead put a striking cartoon by Dave Brown on his paper’s front page on Thursday, showing a hand with the middle finger raised emerging from the cover of Charlie Hebdo. But he was “very uncomfortable” with his decision not to reprint Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, which he described as “self-censorship”.

Rajan said he had a duty to his staff and had to “balance principle with pragmatism”.

Balance? I see ‘pragmatism’, which is to say, abject cowardice in the face of danger brought by republishing cartoons from Charlie Hebdo… but I see no ‘principle’ on display whatsoever, just some waffle designed to distract people from mentioning his ‘pragmatism’ smells a lot like chicken shit.

Je suis Charlie. But if you do not republish, then you are not, so it would be better if you just STFU Rajan.

 

hebdo_mohammed

jyllands-posten_cartoons_00

Murder of journalists in France

Satirical publication and well known needler of radical Islamists Charlie Hebdo has been attacked in France, with many people murdered. I wonder if there will be a wave of publications in Europe and elsewhere republishing Hebdo’s cartoon of Islamic State militant group leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to show solidarity against this civilisation-level attack? That would be nice but I am not going to hold my breath.

baghdadi

hebdo_ muslim

hebdo_mohammed

Samizdata quote of the day

When David Cameron used his speech to Conservative party conference to announce that he wants to increase income tax thresholds there was uproar from his critics on the left. How dare the Prime Minister promise a tax cut when the UK is still running a giant deficit and adding to the debt burden with each passing day?

The UK Treasury’s ‘Ready Reckoner’ estimates that the changes to the higher rate of tax and an increase in the personal allowance would “cost” £7 billion. Officials have been briefing that they have concerns about whether the threshold changes are “affordable.”

But this is nonsense, pure and simple. A hike in the thresholds doesn’t cost a penny – it just means politicians have less of our money to spend. So you can either cut back, or you can borrow; we’ve tried the latter, and we’ve now got a £1.45 trillion debt pile to deal with whilst paying more in debt interest every year than the country spends on defence. I’d counsel, therefore, that the former is a rather better option.

Indeed the very concept of tax cuts costing anything at all implies that all the money in the economy belongs to the government, and that which it deigns to allow us to keep is some sort of present from a Chancellor who once a year puts on a jaunty Santa hat to hand out alms to the masses.

Johnathan Isaby

Is the Daily Mail completely inventing ‘news’?

According to the Daily Mail, one of the largest circulation MSM publications in the UK, British special forces are in ground combat against the daesh Islamic State in Iraq. As in “boots-on-the-ground” ground combat.

One might think this would get a mention from Dave Cameron and the MOD. Now whilst I have never been a great fan of the Daily Mail (to put it mildly), surely they cannot just be completely inventing what would be a MASSIVE story, can they? And if so, why is that not front page news in other newspapers?

Samizdata quote of the day

If your go-to image of a student is someone who’s free-spirited and open-minded, who loves having a pop at orthodoxies, then you urgently need to update your mind’s picture bank. Students are now pretty much the opposite of that. It’s hard to think of any other section of society that has undergone as epic a transformation as students have. From freewheelin’ to ban-happy, from askers of awkward questions to suppressors of offensive speech, in the space of a generation. My showdown with the debate-banning Stepfords at Oxford and the pre-crime promoters at Cambridge echoed other recent run-ins I’ve had with the intolerant students of the 21st century. I’ve been jeered at by students at the University of Cork for criticising gay marriage; cornered and branded a ‘denier’ by students at University College London for suggesting industrial development in Africa should take precedence over combating climate change; lambasted by students at Cambridge (again) for saying it’s bad to boycott Israeli goods. In each case, it wasn’t the fact the students disagreed with me that I found alarming — disagreement is great! – it was that they were so plainly shocked that I could have uttered such things, that I had failed to conform to what they assume to be right, that I had sought to contaminate their campuses and their fragile grey matter with offensive ideas.

Brendan O’Neill