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

Keynesians were initially mystified by this dramatic breakdown in the supposedly stable and manageable relationship between growth (or employment) and inflation. Their models said it couldn’t happen, so they looked for an explanation to deflect mounting criticism and soon found one: The economy had been hit by a ‘shock’, namely sharply higher oil prices! Never mind that the sharp rise in oil prices followed the breakdown of Bretton-Woods and devaluation of the dollar: This brazen reversal of cause and effect was too politically convenient to ignore. Politicians could blame OPEC for the stagflation, rather than their own policies. But an objective look at history tells a far different story, that the great stagflation was in fact the culmination of years of Keynesian economic policies. To generalise and to paraphrase Friedman, stagflation is, always and everywhere, a Keynesian phenomenon.

- John Butler, on the Cobden Centre website.

Samizdata quote of the day

Barney Frank famously said: “Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.”

The key to understanding that is to know that “we” in Mr. Frank’s quip is “the looters”.

- Perry Metzger of this parish.

Samizdata quote of the day

If you read the catalogue of spy tools and digital weaponry provided to us by Edward Snowden, you’ll see that firmware on your device is the NSA’s best friend. Your biggest mistake might be to assume that the NSA is the only institution abusing this position of trust – in fact, it’s reasonable to assume that all firmware is a cesspool of insecurity courtesy of incompetence of the worst degree from manufacturers, and competence of the highest degree from a very wide range of such agencies

- Mark Shuttleworth

The Onions crosses the lime!

Oh halp, we need to keep them furners out!

Samizdata quote of the day

I too have acquaintances who, whilst aware of and loudly bewailing the many many failings of the NHS, and the unnecessary deaths – sometimes thousands of deaths – that it causes, will in the very next sentence say something like “but aren’t we lucky to have it, if it wasn’t for the NHS I’d be bankrupt and dead” or some such piffle. They are so brainwashed that they cannot even conceive that there might be any other way of organizing things – even though alternatives are all around us, and all of them without exception produce better outcomes. Astonishing.

- Andrew Duffin

Samizdata quote of the day

Suddenly we’re told there’s a brand new bill that looks like it was written by the National Security Agency that has to be passed in the same manner that a surveillance bill in the United States was passed in 2007, and it has to happen now. And we don’t have time to debate it, despite the fact that this was not a priority, this was not an issue that needed to be discussed at all, for an entire year. It defies belief.

- Edward Snowden

Samizdata quote(s) of the day

There are some libertarians who believe there may be something to AGW, and see using markets the way to mitigate the consequences. There are also libertarians (and conservatives and lefties) who think AGW is a preposterous fraud, and who naturally have no interest in finding solutions to a non-existent problem. But AGW per se is not a ‘libertarians vs. non-libertarians’ issue. You can still be a libertarian and think there is something to AGW, you are just going to see the ways of dealing with it very differently to command-and-control statists.

- Perry de Havilland

Bonus SQOTD, also from the same raucous beer and grappa fuelled discussion the other night…

Let me answer by rephrasing your question: “Do I trust a bunch of lay observers more than I trust a bunch of academics… academics whose professional acceptance and funding will be put at risk if they commit heresy against the True Faith and suggest AGW might not in fact be the indisputable truth?”

Samizdata quote of the day

No legal document can save a society from appointing its own slave masters if enough people are determined to do so. Laws alone are not enough.

- Perry de Havilland, discussing constitutions.

Samizdata quote of the day

Democracy is a great brake, but it is a terrible steering wheel.

- Guy Herbert

Samizdata quote of the day

The purpose of the NHS is political, not medical. In the UK, in our Coronation of the State as our Bountiful Lord, it is the Crown, the dole is the Orb and State Education is the sceptic sceptre.

Those who question the State threaten to leave you without medical treatment, leading to a horrible death, or starve or be illiterate. Yet a Slaughterhouse like the Mid-Staffs can kill on a scale that an early 1940s German bureaucrat might admire, and nothing happens until hospital the pile of corpses becomes too obvious for excuses not to be shuffled out.

- Samizdata commenter Mr. Ed

Samizdata quote of the day

Is it too much to hope that one day these uneducated and bigoted Yorkshire folk will understand that claiming benefits, fly-tipping, littering the streets, threatening people and playing loud music all night – these were the things of which they complained – are simply expressions of cultural diversity, to be warmly embraced? Why don’t they understand that we all have to get along?

- Rod Liddle

Samizdata quote of the day

I’m always curious why the killing of millions of kulaks by Communists is shrugged off as the price to be paid for the glorious socialist ideal, whereas Pinochet’s killing of thousands of avowed Marxist revolutionaries is the most eeeevil thing that ever happened.

When I was in Chile back in 2005, I asked a middle-class woman why Pinochet remained a revered political figure by all levels of Chilean society. After all, didn’t he cause the deaths of poets and folksingers? Her answer: “Those poets and folksingers owned AK-47s.”

The most confounding thing for the Left is that Pinochet was loved by common people, more so than the elitist and aloof Allende. I saw for myself that the general’s house in Montevideo (a small, modest bungalow in a working-class neighborhood) is a shrine — women passing by will make the sign of the cross, or place tiny bunches of flowers on the sidewalk in front of it. And they’re not just old women, either: they’re of all ages.

And the Chileans still drink toasts to Pinochet as “the saviour of Chile”. But of course, to the Left all these people count as much as the Russian kulaks.

- Kim du Toit, in a comment here on Samizdata.