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

More recently, Herman has disgraced himself even further by being the most prominent of a tiny band of polemicists who deny the genocide of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in July 1995 – though the remains of the victims have been located, excavated and identified.

I need hardly add, but will anyway, that Corbyn too has disputed that the documented Serb atrocities in the Balkan wars of the 1990s ever happened. He put his name to an early day motion in the House of Commons in 2004 that explicitly denied the war crimes of the Milosevic regime in Belgrade, referring to the “the fraudulent justifications for [Nato] intervening in a ‘genocide’ that never really existed in Kosovo”.

Oliver Kamm

“Why is Venezuela on the brink” asks Sky News

Dominic Waghorn has written an article for Sky titled ‘Oil rich but sliding into anarchy: Why is Venezuela on the brink?

Economic mismanagement and kleptocratic rule have led to tumbling living standards but the regime still has a grip on power […] Like the government of Hugo Chavez that it followed, the Maduro government claims to be on the side of the masses. But its kleptocratic rule has been disastrous for every level of society. The poor just have less to lose. […] But the Maduro government’s mismanagement of the economy has been breathtakingly irresponsible. […] Nationalisation, price controls and rampant corruption have added to the witches’ brew poisoning the economy.

Nowhere in the entire article does the word ‘socialism’ or ‘socialist’ appear. I wonder why? The mainstream media are a joke.

Trying to argue with a socialist about Venezuela

Samizdata quote of the day

One of the biggest mistakes people make when dealing with Trump is thinking it is all about him. This is understandable given Trump thinks everything is about him and so did his predecessor. But even Trump would probably acknowledge that on this issue, and several others, he is simply representing the interests of the people who elected him. That is his job after all, but Merkel, Macron, and the rest don’t seem to understand this: they talk of changing Trump’s mind as if he’s decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement just for the fun of it, instead of it being something he was specifically elected to do. I genuinely doubt they realise that the commitments they’re demanding must first be approved by the senate. The way Macron has kicked off his presidential career, he probably thinks everyone at the G20 can do anything they like, as if they’re medieval kings.

Tim Newman

Samizdata quote of the day

Free-marketeers, even at the more purist end of the spectrum, usually accept imperfect approximations of their ideals. (I have met exceptions to this, but not many.) We are comfortable embracing second-best, even third-best and fourth-best solutions. Browse through the IEA’s publications section, and you will find IEA authors endorsing the Chilean pension system, the Swiss healthcare system, the Icelandic system of tradable fishing quotas, Sweden’s approach to labour migration, and many other such examples. None of these endorsements come without qualifications: the authors are saying “This is not real X. Real X has never been tried”. But unlike socialists, they can identify X-approximations that they consider quite good.

That is because free-marketeers generally believe in a positive dose-response relationship. A little bit of liberalisation does a little bit of good (think of the difference between Mao’s China and Deng Xiaoping’s China), quite a bit of liberalisation does quite a bit of good (think Chile before and after the Chicago Boys), and a lot of liberalisation does a lot of good (think Hong Kong and Singapore). That’s an oversimplification. There are reform bottlenecks: When an economy gets the basics wrong (the rule of law, independent courts, enforceable contracts and property rights etc), measures like trade liberalisations or privatisations count for little. Also, most free-marketeers accept some role for the state, so they do not strive for absolute purity.

Kristian Niemietz

Smitebot on the rampage…

Smitebot seems to be yielding an unusual number of false positives lately, so if your innocuous comment got ‘smited’ and does not appear after half a day or so, feel free to send an email to reply-at-samizdata.net to alert me to the fact that your worthy remarks are languishing in smitebot’s cat box.

Samizdata quote of the day

How can an idea that has been tried and tested so many times, and that has always ended in failure, still be so popular?

A big part of the reason has to be that socialists have long been very effective at distancing themselves from real-world examples of socialism in action. Mention the Soviet Union or Mao’s China, and inevitably, socialists will roll their eyes, and say: “Oh come on! Now you’re just being silly.” Holding the failure of such experiments against a self-described socialist is considered a rhetorical cheap shot, not an intellectually respectable argument. It is considered a lazy straw man, deployed by people who are still mentally stuck in the Cold War.

However, while socialists insist that ‘their’ brand of socialism is so fundamentally different from anything that has been tried in the past that it makes all comparisons meaningless, they usually struggle to explain what exactly they would do differently. The best they can do is become evasive, and talk about lofty ambitions rather than tangible institutional characteristics.

Kristian Niemietz

So is Barclays Bank effectively being prosecuted for refusing a tax funded state bailout?

So is Barclays Bank effectively being prosecuted for having refused a tax funded state bailout in 2008? Perhaps I misunderstand something but that sure as hell looks like what is happening here, at least when I read between the lines. Am I getting this completely wrong?

Samizdata definition of the day

austerity
ɒˈstɛrɪti,ɔːˈstɛrɪti/
noun: increasing the rate a state appropriates people’s money less quickly than some want

Samizdata quote of the day

The actions of radical Islamophobes should not be used to condemn the peaceful Islamophobe majority

Allum Bokhari, tweeting the situation with great panache 😀

Samizdata quote of the day

We don’t even know how many souls perished in the Grenfell Tower inferno, and yet already they are being marshalled to party-political ends. Already Labour-leaning commentators and campaigners are using them, using the freshly dead and the unspeakable horrors they experienced, to make mileage for their party, to brand the Tories evil and Jeremy Corbyn saintly. In the 20 years I’ve been writing about politics, I can’t remember a national tragedy being exploited for party-political gain so quickly. The time between a calamity occurring and the use of it to harm one’s political enemies and fortify one’s political allies is shrinking all the time. It’s now mere hours, minutes even, courtesy of social media

Brendan O’Neill

Samizdata quote of the day

I believe economics, and the way economics has shaped society in the past 15-20 years, plays a major role. Sure the young Corbyn supporter doesn’t understand economics, but point me towards a demographic that does. Every government in every western country is staring down the barrel of ballooning deficits, a debt which will take millenia to pay off, and not a single major party anywhere wants to even talk about it, let alone do anything about it. A simple reduction in planned expenditure increase is dressed up as a savage cut by damned near everyone: the Tories’ supposed austerity isn’t some fringe issue on the left, it is a widely accepted truth across the whole electorate. The people pointing out that these cuts are anything but are basically a handful of cranks on the internet. Like, erm, me. If any government program is threatened with a cut taking expenditure levels back to what they were in, say, 2010 half the country screams that medieval times are making a comeback and the other half believe them. The knowledge of economics among electorates is woeful, and almost all of them have signed up fully to the belief that all government expenditure is necessary, good, and wise and any cuts are bad. Nobody wants to even think about the size of the deficit and the national debt, it just keeps racking up. So if we’re going to criticise the young Corbynistas for not understanding the consequences of unsustainable economics demanded by ignorant voters, we might perhaps want to first ask where they got such ideas from. It’s too easy to blame Marxist indoctrination in schools when supposedly conservative governments, backed fully by the supposedly conservative middle classes, have been so irresponsible with public finances for several generations. Conservative governments might not be quite as reckless as Corbyn would be, but we’re talking about the difference between disaster and a catastrophe here.

Tim Newman

Samizdata quote of the day

The Conservative party gave me absolutely nothing in their manifesto that would make me inclined to vote for them. They have done nothing while they have been in power that would make me inclined to vote for them. The only thing that they had going for them was that they were not Labour. As far as I can see, the hung parliament is a result of his party being utterly rubbish and running an utterly rubbish campaign. They took the electorate for granted when they sowed and this election result is just what they deserved to reap.

– Commenter Stonyground remarking over on Longrider. This strikes me as a near perfect and succinct summation of why the Stupid Party was almost defeated by the Evil Party.

Personally I supported the idea of the election, but even given my loathing of Theresa May, I was stunned by how badly May came across during the campaign, snatching near defeat from the jaws of victory.