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]

Laws only apply to the little people

The Government has quietly ushered through legislation amending the anti-hacking laws to exempt GCHQ from prosecution. Privacy International and other parties were notified of this just hours prior to a hearing of their claim against GCHQ’s illegal hacking operations in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

Privacy International

So basically the state broke the law, got caught breaking the law, and then when challenged, changed to law so exempt themselves from the law they broke.

Prince Harry calls for the return of slavery

Prince Harry calls for the return of slavery. Time for the tumbrels to start rolling methinks.

smiley_behead

A giant step forward for women’s right in the Middle East!

I would not have expected such enlightened thinking from the Daesh Islamic State, but they have now ruled that women may now take jobs without the permission of their husbands!

ISIS doc says women can become suicide bombers without husbands’ permission

Way to go, guys!

Dear Mr. Cameron, glad you beat the even worse guy, but… get stuffed

We must end the idea that as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone

David Cameron, more or less inviting law abiding people to start stockpiling material to make petrol bombs

BBC is at it again…

I saw a BBC article about JK Rowling getting abused by SNP Brownshirts on Twitter… and frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. She is a champagne lefty who wrote some nice books with a libertarian message, even if she was not aware of that. She can cry Evian tears all the way to the bank. Whatever. Ok… in truth I do kinda like her.

But the line that caught my eye was this:

The SNP took 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland in Thursday’s election and is now the third largest party in the UK.

Bzzzz. Wrong, or at the very least misleading. It is the third largest party in Parliament, not the the third largest party in the UK, having 56 MPs for their 1.5 million votes. UKIP, not the SNP, is the third largest party in the UK, having 1 MP for their 3.9 million votes.

The political class at its most despicable

There is a stunning article in City AM:

The former Labour Treasury minister behind the infamous “there is no money” letter has apologised for the gaffe, admitting it helped the Tories attack Labour’s financial irresponsibility. […] “I’ve asked myself that question every day for five years and believe me, every day I have burnt with the shame of it”

What? I mean… what? So the problem is not that he and his cohorts squandered the UK’s finances, but that he admitted it in a letter that was used to hold them to account? Really? He says he has “burnt with the shame of it”, but in truth he is utterly shameless. The lack of self-awareness is breathtaking. My loathing for these people is boundless.

there_is_no_money

6th April 2010: Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck! Liam

The BBC at its very worst on the issue of freedom of expression

Allen Farrington drew my attention to this steaming pile of a BBC opinion piece entitled: What are the limits of free speech?

Read this bit and let it sink in:

Because what is becoming clear is that the fundamentalism of this new generation of radical Islamists risks provoking an extreme reaction from some of those espousing the cause of unlimited freedom and liberty.

Allen’s retort was so perfect I will just quote it entirely:

…which is so ridiculous as to require no further commentary, but I would nonetheless suggest: those radical Islamists make me so damn angry that one of these days I might just commit an act of drawing!

Indeed, Allen. Apparently sober opinion at the BBC holds that drawing opinionated cartoons and writing what you think constitutes an “extreme reaction” to radical Islam. I think nuking Mecca with a high yield air burst during the Hajj would be an “extreme reaction”, but personally I do not think explaining why someone might regard Islam (or indeed anything) as preposterous or the ‘mother lode of bad ideas‘ is an “extreme reaction”.

But alright, if saying what you think is what passes for an “extreme reaction”, then I would be honoured to be called an extremist by the BBC. I believe Barry Goldwater had something to say on that subject.

Extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue

Not that I would expect anyone at the BBC to understand that, at least not without simply redefining what ‘liberty’ and ‘justice’ means in a way a certain well known chap wrote about in 1949.

Bravo Norway!

In a direct response to the mass murder of people at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last January, Norway has abolished its blasphemy laws. This is a development of sheer magnificence!

Minimum wage laws make sense!

In the comments for this article, someone said:

“Minimum wage laws make sense to me”

Quite so, the least productive elements of society are better off on state welfare, essentially making them perpetual wards of the state by removing the only basis upon which they are employable: low cost. It is foolish to think otherwise.

Likewise there is much to be said for government incentivisation, via minimum wages and other regulatory measures that increase the cost of labour, for the development of fully automated fast food and janitorial jobs, given that this is now increasingly plausible technologically.

These sorts of things also have the added value of adding to the pool of citizens with a vested interest in maintaining the welfare system, without risking perverse incentivisation that productive economic activity sometimes causes, which may lead to socially inappropriate activities, such as increased carbon footprint or voting for incorrect political parties :-D

In 2001 Ken Layne said: “We can fact check your ass!”

At the very dawn of the blogosphere, Ken Layne gave voice to what became a war cry heard across the internet: “We can fact check your ass”… and being American, he was not referring to examining the veracity of donkeys.

And that continues to be true, with that ethos is being applied by sites such DeepFreeze (dealing with Gamergate) and of course Guido (who has a category of his own in the sidebar). The internet never forgets, but it sure helps to have those memories nicely collated.

The Guardian seeks to take market share from The Onion

Ok, this is awesome. I mean seriously, who knew those funsters at the Grauniad had such a self-depreciating sense of humour?

How can our future Mars colonies be free of sexism and racism?

Firstly, destiny is rarely great for the people already at the destination. When Africans moved north to colonise Europe they obliterated the Neanderthals. When Europeans seized the New World, its cultures were virtually extinguished. Luckily the only population on Mars that we know of is a handful of rovers, but no doubt we’ll start a war anyway, before dragging them into some form of slavery or oppression. It’s just what we do.
Computer rendering of the Curiosity Rover.

Second, whose destiny is it anyway? Who gets to go? D N Lee wrote a fascinating deconstruction of this in Scientific American where she makes a number of interesting points. Not least, how little attention this question has been given in the rather white and male race to conquer Mars.

The last thing we need is to wake up in 50 years and find that a bunch of #gamergate nobheads are running Mars.

I mean read this whole article, then I defy you to look me in the eye and tell me they are not taking the piss out of themselves.

Damn! Who says the work ethic is dead?

Whatever they are paying this guy, it is not enough:

A Louisville pizza delivery driver who was carjacked, robbed and stabbed still managed to make his delivery, which happened to be at a local emergency room. […] The pizza store’s regional manager says Lewis made the delivery, which was addressed to the Norton Hospital emergency room, before he collapsed.

Hardcore. Presumably “Hi! Here’s your pizza, I tried not to bleed on it. I’m going to keel over now.”