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]

How will the artist fare when UKIP take over?

This was the question asked on the Guardian

“How will the artist fare when The Ukip take over?”

And I was moved to reply thus:

Well if ‘the artist’ does something that people care enough about to pay for willingly (for example ‘the artist’ formerly and once again known as Prince…said to be not short a bob or two), then they will continue to do just fine.

But come the UKIP revolution, for the most part I imagine ‘the artist’ currently funding their decaf macchiatos by gnawing on the public teat, justly receiving money from the appropriately taxed philistine lumpen-proletariat (who inexplicably stay away from Ken Loach films in droves) … oh dear, I fear they may indeed have to get a real job. Oh the humanity! Damn you Farage! Damn you to hell!

Or more likely, ‘the artist’ will just find a different way to live off the forcibly appropriated money of others, of which the many and varied ways are always advertised in the Guardian.

Thus I council against despair. Indeed, after a challenging period of adjustment for the bourgeois left, I foresee ‘the artist’ eventually living happily ever after, regardless of the brutality of the Farage Brownshirts, by becoming a Diversity Enforcement Officer for some tier of local government.

Samizdata quote of the day

If Russian govt. endorses Crimean referendum, will they also allow/endorse similar votes in republics in Russian Federation?

- Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia

Seen on a building site in cosmopolitan London…

building site putin

I saw this in a very affluent part of London, scrawled on the hoarding of a building site. One of the people working there saw me taking this picture and laughed.

Me: “I wonder who wrote that?”

Builder bloke, foreign accent:  “Many guys here are Polish.”

Me:  “One of them wrote this?”

Builder bloke, shrugging: “I guess.”

Me:  “Is this because of what is happening in Ukraine?”

Builder bloke:  “Yeah, Ukraine.  And because it’s true.  People forget, then something like this makes you remember what it is to live close to Russia.  My son is in Army.  Shit like this is why.”

Me: “Polish army?”

Builder bloke:  “Latvian army.”

Samizdata quote of the day

A Russian communist-era movie played on the TV. I couldn’t understand the dialogue, but it was at least passively propagandistic. The main characters, scientists in white lab coats, worked in a sparkling clean high-tech facility, the kind of place science fiction writers of the 1950s imagined were in our future. The movie portrayed an entirely staged idealized version of an advanced communist utopia without gulags, without long lines for potatoes, and without the NKVD. Ukrainians don’t need communist-produced re-runs. They, like the rest of us, need a serious film about Stalinism for a mass audience, a Schindler’s List of the Soviet Union.

- Michael Totten

Samizdata quote of the day

Yes, we want guns to shoot criminals who threaten us. Firearms are so readily available to them that we are really asking for nothing more than – in Guardian terms – equality and social justice between the criminal and non-criminal communities. We are not fussed how many criminals die, but that doesn’t make us uncaring because we also believe that many people would never become criminals if it could be made as risky as, say, being a victim of crime.

But we also want to deter the heavily-armed state. To break its monopoly of force. To keep it in its place as our servant by restoring its fear of us. We don’t believe there would be nearly as many smug Guardianisti telling us how to live our lives if every Englishman’s castle still had guns behind the portcullis.

- ‘Tom Paine

Samizdata quote of the day

I agree with what Simon Jenkins says here. I take it that he opposes the 1965 Race Relations Act and the other measures that have undermined freedom of speech in this land.

- Paul Marks

Samizdata quote of the day

I am reactionary on freedom of speech. I am for it. I have no time for the weasel words of pseudo-liberalism, that freedom must sometimes be curbed to advance freedom. It is like the tyrant’s censor who declares he approves of all criticism provided it is fair, constructive, offends no one and is not conducive to violence. That is free speech a la Putin. It is the more dangerous as it often has the best tunes.

- Simon Jenkins

Samizdata quote of the day

Do you think Apple helped [the NSA] build that? I don’t know. I hope Apple will clarify that… Here’s a problem: I don’t really believe that Apple didn’t help them. I can’t really prove it, but they [the NSA] literally claim that anytime they target an iOS device, that it will succeed for implantation. Either they have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products, meaning that they are hoarding information about critical systems that American companies produce and sabotaging them, or Apple sabotaged it themselves. Not sure which one it is. I’d like to believe that since Apple didn’t join the PRISM program until after Steve Jobs died, that maybe it’s just that they write shitty software.

- Jacob Applebaum

Vince Cable criticises ‘ideological’ cuts to state expenditure…

… because his, er, ideology makes him in favour of more spending and more taxation.

Yes, really.

Does he think his own views are not completely ideologically based as well?

Well done Nigel Farage!

Nigel Farage has just stuck up two fingers and waved them in the direction of the mainstream.

The Ukip leader has said it is party policy for hand guns to be legalised and licensed in the UK despite being banned in the UK for the last 18 years. Mr Farage said the current ban on the guns, which were made illegal following the school shooting at Dunblane in 1996, was “ludicrous.”

Speaking on LBC Radio Mr Farage said that it was Ukip policy to create a “proper licensing policy” and that people who kept hand guns responsibility locked up and had were willing to get an official license should “absolutely” be allowed them.

And of course he has unleashed a wave of outrage from ‘sensible’ statists of both left and right.

Well done Farage! To annoy so many of them at the same time just drives home that the Tories, Labour and LibDems really are largely interchangeable. It also means you are indeed doing something right.

This could be interesting

So will this be an apologia filled with ‘but’ and ‘trade off’ or a genuine inquiry into the growing global panopticon?

Independent commission to investigate future of internet after NSA revelations. Two-year inquiry headed by Swedish foreign minister, set up by Chatham House and CIGI thinktanks, is announced at Davos…

Sayeth the Guardian, listing all manner of statist worthies who will be a part of this.

Worth watching methinks.

Samizdata quote of the day

It was disappointing, however, to see that many of the recommendations offered by Obama’s own Surveillance Review Group were either neglected or specifically rejected. While the unconstitutional permanent gag orders attached to National Security Letters will be time-limited, they will continue to be issued by FBI agents, not judges, for sensitive financial and communications records.

Nor did the president address NSA’s myopic efforts to degrade the security of the Internet by compromising the encryption systems relied on by millions of innocent users. And it is also important to realize that changing one controversial program doesn’t alter the broader section 215 authority, which can still be used to collect other types of records in bulk—and for all we know, may already be used for that purpose.

- Julian Sanchez