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

Have a room with a large number of people with one political opinion, and they may mistake that for objectivity

– Perry Metzger, remarked in a samizdata chat channel relating to this post.

Samizdata quote of the day

I’m not joking. I wrote last year about how many of the international bureaucracies are blindly asserting that higher taxes are pro-growth because government supposedly will productively “invest” any additional revenue. And this reflexive agitation for higher fiscal burdens has been very prevalent this week in New York City. It’s unclear whether participants actually believe their own rhetoric. I’ve shared with some of the folks the empirical data showing the western world became rich in the 1800s when fiscal burdens were very modest. But I’m not expecting any miraculous breakthroughs in economic understanding.

Daniel Mitchell

This poor guy

What could possibly go wrong?

Businesses such as hotels, licensed premises and taxi companies are being provided with awareness training to help them recognise the signs of child sexual exploitation. They are directed to call 101, quoting ‘Operation Makesafe’, should they suspect suspicious behaviour or activity on their premises or in their vehicles.

What if this sort of thing blows the problem out of proportion and makes people deeply suspicious of each other?

A widower who checked into a Travelodge near Thorpe Park in Chertsey said he was horrified when hotel employees called police over fears he was a paedophile.

Craig Darwell and his 13-year-old daughter, Millie, checked into the hotel near the theme park on Thursday (March 30).

Charming.

However, he said his and Millie’s short break had been “ruined” by the incident

No shit. Not to mention every other interaction with any stranger he has while out with his daughter for the next few years under constant fear of suspicion.

Samizdata quote of the day

When political commentators talk of the emergence of a post-truth world, they are really lamenting the end of an era when the truths promoted by the institutions of the state and media were rarely challenged. It’s a lament that’s been coming for a few years now. Each revolt of sections of the public against the values of the elites has been met with the riposte that people are no longer interested in the truth. What the elites really mean is that people don’t care about their version of the truth. So when the French celebrity philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy asserted that people have ‘lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth’, he was venting his frustration at an electorate that no longer shares his values.

Frank Furedi

Samizdata quote of the day

As the Daily Telegraph said on Tuesday – the government has got things the wrong way round on European Union regulations.

The position should be that all E.U. regulations on our domestic (internal) life are void when we leave the E.U. – unless it can be shown that a specific regulation serves a useful purpose (I would be very hard to convince on that point).

Sadly the government is saying “we will incorporate all the regulations into British law – and then decide which regulations we want to repeal later”.

That is the wrong way round – the burden of proof should be the other way round.

Paul Marks

Si vis pacem, para bellum

What will the West gain when Montenegro’s membership in NATO becomes official? Not much. Barely half a million people live there. The Boise, Idaho, metropolitan area is more populated than that. With roughly 2,000 soldiers, its miniscule army will hardly boost NATO’s military capacity by an iota.

Vladimir Putin wants it and needs it much more than we do, badly enough to assassinate an elected head of state and instigate a regime-change. That’s precisely why he shouldn’t have it.

For years now, the Kremlin has been violently expanding its power, its influence and even its territory in Europe and Asia. Every time Putin racks up a victory and gets away with it, he grows more confident that he can take more. That’s how it goes with expansionist dictators everywhere. So if you don’t want to go to war against Russia—and only an insane person would—the fewer wins in Putin’s column, the better.

Michael Totten

Samizdata quote of the day

It seems natural that people competing for scarce taxpayer dollars would argue about why their area is more deserving and others less so. But we don’t see that. School superintendents don’t complain about business subsidies, mayors don’t criticize the cash paid to state universities, and Medicaid advocates don’t denounce state-paid agriculture marketing. The people who receive government money in one area simply don’t complain about other areas of government spending.

This is why tax-hike coalitions get so many partners.

That’s because there is a Trough Truce: The people feeding at the trough of public dollars implicitly agree to never criticize when other spending interests receive money. Instead, they advocate for more tax dollars. There’s an unwritten agreement for the community of interests paid by public dollars to keep the peace among themselves and use each other to advocate for more resources for all trough-feeders.

James Hohman

Samizdata quote of the day

The facts are unambiguous: despite public perceptions to the contrary, extreme poverty has declined significantly, to the point where its end may actually be in sight. So next time you hear someone bemoaning a supposed rise in world poverty, encourage them to have a look at the evidence for themselves.

Chelsea Follet

Beware the ides of March?

Debt is the Fed’s basic problem, and it doesn’t know how high rates can go without triggering a financial crisis. And even if the Fed could make an assessment for America, there is the knock-on effect of the Fed’s interest rate policy on foreign dollar borrowers, as well as on the Eurozone and Japan. China has indirectly added to the West’s problems by being the largest component of global economic growth. Her massive credit expansion is contributing to higher interest rates elsewhere by financing imports, commodity stockpiles and driving up prices. It is the lack of ability of the ECB and the Fed to raise interest rates sufficiently to counter higher rates of price inflation that’s becoming the most pressing challenge.

Alasdair MacLeod

Samizdata quote of the day

For decades, often in word but always in deed, politicians have told voters that government debt didn’t matter. We, and many economists, disagree. Yet even if the politicians were right, the absence of available creditors would be an insurmountable problem—were it not for the Federal Reserve. But when the Federal Reserve acts as the lender of last resort, unpleasant realities follow. Because, as everyone should be keenly aware, the Fed simply prints the money it loans.

A century of arguing about how much to increase spending has left us with a debt that dwarfs the annual economic output of the planet.

A Fed loan devalues every dollar already in circulation, from those in people’s savings accounts to those in their pockets. The result is inflation, which is, in essence, a tax on frugal savers to fund a spendthrift government.

Antony Davies & James Harrigan

Samizdata quote of the day

If cutting that welfare state means that women are getting less out now then that obviously means that before the cuts to the welfare state then women were getting more out.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

Which raises the question: into which model do men and women fit? As I said before, women seem to prefer working in sprawling bureaucracies masquerading as support functions in huge companies. Men tend to drift towards the sharp end of the business where the core function is carried out and the most value added. I am also fairly certain that it will be men who are setting up the small, nimble businesses that aim to cash in on technologies such as the Internet, drones, and 3D printing. There will be female entrepreneurs, but their numbers will be dwarfed by those who are men. For whatever reason, young men in their twenties have a habit of risking all for a big reward instead of seeking security and certainty, at least in comparison to their female peers.

Tim Newman