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]

British government makes it illegal to tell a person how tax law actually works

Tax evasion is illegal. Tax avoidance is finding ways within the rules to arrange your affairs to minimise the tax you pay. So by saying advisers who tell you how to actually do that will be fined, the British government is prohibiting people from being told how existing tax laws work.

Unless there is something I am misunderstanding, this appears to be completely insane. It seems to now be illegal to, er, legally arrange your affairs in such a manner as to inconvenience HMG.

Charlie Hebdo once again seeks to sooth the savage beast

The people at Charlie Hebdo may be a bunch of benighted lefties with only the most tenuous grasp on reality, but they sure know how to thrown a party! Nice to see folks taking it all in calmly.

→ Continue reading: Charlie Hebdo once again seeks to sooth the savage beast

So the Somali who murdered a woman in London might be a jihadi after all…

Gosh who ever would have thought? Trouble is, as the authorities pretty much everywhere seem so keen to banish the very notion that any Muslim who murders someone is motivated by Islam, it is now impossible to believe anything the police say. Yes he may be a nutter, but that does not actually change anything if said nutter was motivated to act on his nuttiness by Islamic notions.

This now means any genuine non-sectarian violence by a Muslim will be assumed to be sectarian by the general public regardless of the facts, and regardless of that the authorities say. And those authorities have only themselves to blame, because they have been misleading or just outright lied so often nothing they they say is credible any more. And that is a great pity. Maybe he was indeed just a common or garden variety nutter (the linked article is hardly conclusive), but I doubt many people actually think that is the case, and that includes me.

Twenty one years ago today…

… Croatia’s Operation Storm was in day two of a rapid offensive to recapture the bulk of its territory from Belgrade backed separatists. It was the largest European land battle since the Second World War, ending on 7 August 1995 with the reoccupation of 4,000 square miles of territory. This was a dramatic demonstration of how effective the Croatian Army (HV) had become compared to just a few years earlier, and Operation Storm also represented a strategic victory for the Bosnian government as it broke the long siege of the Bihać enclave.

Like all wars, it was not pretty, but it ended as it started, as an ethnic struggle with winners and losers and there is no point in thinking otherwise, and the less bad guys won in my opinion.

Although Op. Storm did not end on August 5th, many Croatians see the HV recapture of Knin on this date as the most symbolic. It feels strange to me to tag this as ‘historical views’ as saw a great deal of that war first hand. I am getting old :-D

Russia hacks the Republican Party

[Y]ou can get it from Robert Zubrin at the staunchly conservative National Review. “Carter Page is an out-and-out Putinite. A consultant to and investor in the Kremlin’s state-run gas company, Gazprom, Page has a direct financial interest in ending American sanctions against the company. Not only that, but Page is tight with the Kremlin’s foreign-policy apparatus and has served as a vehement propagandist for it.”

These are the people Donald Trump hired to hold his hand and tell him what’s what.

He’s not a Russian “Manchurian” candidate. He doesn’t take orders from Moscow, nor is Vlad bankrolling the Donald. There is no conspiracy here. There doesn’t need to be. Their interests and opinions align organically. Trump genuinely likes Putin, and the feeling is mutual.

Michael J. Totten

One has to wonder about the true motives of people opposed to “sweatshops”

In June, the Sun newspaper in the UK claimed that a factory in Sri Lanka that produces a line of clothing for a popular singer Beyonce is using sweatshop “slaves.” The report attracted little interest in Sri Lanka, partly because attention was more focused on the devastating floods that hit the island. But perhaps the report also failed to make waves because it simply did not ring true; the mainstream apparel factories in Sri Lanka are seen as responsible and respected employers in the formal sector.

– Ravi Ratnasabapathy, writing an article called Why Sri Lankans want to work in Beyonce’s “sweatshop”

However I think Ratnasabapathy might overestimate both the wits and honesty of the people who criticise such forms of employment in the Third World.

Samizdata quote of the day

Attempts to stabilise the economy have frustrated capitalism’s creative-destructive tendencies. Depressed economies need disrupting, not preserving

Phil Mullan

Samizdata quote of the day

The statistical correlation between both age and relatively low levels of education, on the one hand, and a vote to leave on the other, was much remarked upon, not only in Britain but throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Age and lack of education were usually taken by commentators as a proxy for stupidity. The majority vote to leave was therefore a triumph of stupidity: for those who vote the right way in any election or referendum have opinions, while those who vote the wrong way have only prejudices. And only the young and educated know what the right way is.

While age is certainly not a guarantee of political wisdom, the ever-increasing experience of life might be expected to conduce to it. But in the wake of the vote, there were even suggestions that the old should have no vote because they wouldn’t have to live as long with the consequences of it. The reaction to the referendum exposed the fragility and shallowness of that each person’s vote should count for same.

The relation between political wisdom and levels of education is far from straightforward. It was educated people who initiated and carried out the Terror in the French Revolution. The Russian Revolution, and all the great joy that it brought to the Russian people, was the denouement of decades of propaganda and agitation by the educated elite. There was no shortage of educated people among the Nazi leadership. And the leaders of the Khmer Rouge were also relatively highly-educated, as it happens in France. The founder of Sendero Luminoso, who might have been the Pol Pot of Peru, was a professor of philosophy who wrote his doctoral thesis on Kant.

Theodore Dalrymple

Surge in support for EU on the continent… say polls

… and we all know how reliable and objective polls are, right?

“Brexit shocked people in the EU,” Francois Kraus, head of the political and current affairs service at IFOP, told Reuters on Wednesday.

“Seeing the Eurosceptics’ dream come true must have triggered a reaction in people who usually criticise the EU and blame it for decisions such as austerity measures.

“But when people realise the real implications of an exit, there’s new-found support for the European project,” he said.

Ah that magical term “austerity“. Taxing people less so that they get to spend their own money, rather than the government spending it, is not “austerity”. And there I was thinking keeping more of my own money was “abundance” rather than “austerity”. Go figure.

Coup d’etat in Turkey

Just heard from someone in Turkey… looks like there is a coup d’etat under way. Interesting.

LATEST: seems they have not grabbed Ergodan, so it remains to be seen if the coup will be successful.

Samizdata quote of the day

“She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital.”

– British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, talking about Hillary Clinton back in 2007

This is going to be so good :D

Boris as Foreign Secretary… it is the gift that will just keep on giving

In truth, the appointment of Boris as Foreign Secretary is just about the most awesome thing ever.

In another Telegraph column, in November 2007, Mr Johnson described Hillary Clinton as having “a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.

How perfect is that? Words can scarcely describe how much I am looking forward to seeing this unfold :D

Of course the appointment that really matters is David Davis to head up Brexit. I simply cannot imagine a better choice for he is staunchly free market and was known in EU circles as the “charming bastard“.