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]

Good riddance to a tyrant

Fidel Castro dies aged 90, but unfortunately his dynastic successor is still firmly in control. No doubt the shameless regressive left at the BBC and Guardian will sing the dead tyrant’s praises, but I suspect there will be some wild celebrations in Miami tonight.

Samizdata quote of the day

In his comments over the past week, Obama has sounded some of the same themes we discussed back in 2013. He told Remnick: “Ideally, in a democracy, everybody would agree that climate change is the consequence of man-made behavior, because that’s what ninety-nine per cent of scientists tell us.” The 2009 revelations from the East Anglia emails that scientists had manipulated data and abused the peer-review process? Down the memory hole.

Remnick himself described the Obama presidency as “two terms long on dignity and short on scandal.” The IRS? The State Department scandal that arguably sank Mrs. Clinton’s campaign? Again, the memory hole.

In Lima on Sunday the president himself declared: “I am extremely proud of the fact that over eight years we have not had the kinds of scandals that have plagued other administrations.” That’s either delusional or very carefully worded: To our knowledge no other administration has used the IRS to punish ordinary citizens for dissent, nor faced FBI findings that the secretary of state treated classified information in an “extremely careless” fashion.

James Taranto

Samizdata quote of the day

Perhaps it is as hard for those who are part of the Gaelic nomenklatura to imagine a world without subsidy as it would be for an Ancient Pict to imagine a discussion about aerodynamics. But BBC staff have the same problem in imaging life without the TV licence fee.

Mr. Ed, who may or may not identify as a horse of course.

Crying wolf on Trump

Certain words are losing all meaning. Over at Slate Star Codex, where the author is far from a fan of Trump, is a very thoughtful analysis with evidence about why cries of all the various -isms and -emacists are a load of nonsense. We know all this, but this is a good source of dialectic rather than rhetorical argument.

Caring about who the alt-right supports is a lot like caring about who Satanists support. It’s not something you would do if you wanted to understand real political forces. It’s only something you would do if you want to connect an opposing candidate to the most outrageous caricature of evil you can find on short notice.

Okay, I am picking the most rhetorical sounding parts, but it is all backed with evidence in the article.

Dog whistling seems to be the theory that if you want to know what someone really believes, you have to throw away decades of consistent statements supporting the side of an issue that everyone else in the world supports, and instead pay attention only to one weird out-of-character non-statement which implies he supports a totally taboo position which is perhaps literally the most unpopular thing it is possible to think.

And then you have to imagine some of the most brilliant rhetoricians and persuaders in the world are calculating that it’s worth risking exposure this taboo belief in order to win support from a tiny group with five-digit membership whose support nobody wants, by sending a secret message, which inevitably every single media outlet in the world instantly picks up on and makes the focus of all their coverage for the rest of the election.

Here’s another good bit:

Stop fearmongering. Somewhere in America, there are still like three or four people who believe the media, and those people are cowering in their houses waiting for the death squads.

Samizdata quote of the day

It has been delightful to wallow in the grief of triggered leftists. Yes, their candidate lost. And no, they have neither self-awareness nor irony and that is bloody hilarious. But for classical liberals/libertarians or even smaller state Conservatives, the man who won is by no means our guy. Not by the longest of long chalks. Nor were most of his voters motivated by even the faintest approximation of our views. If we were rationally assessing what ideas won in the presidential election, we would be crying into our beers as much as our authoritarian enemies.

Not that I suggest we do so. I am far from depressed by Trump’s victory, though I agree with him in so few respects. Not least because our statist foes are about to relearn a proper fear of excessive state power and in particular of such undemocratic and unconstitutional devices as presidential executive orders.

– ‘Tom Paine

Samizdata quote of the day

In 1992 Democrats won the men’s vote, and finished only 2 points behind with white voters. Support from both groups has plummeted since. Male voters and white voters have been hearing from Democrats how sexist and racist they are for 20+ years now — what did you expect would happen?

She knew what she was selling, and so did the American public. This was 100% an own goal: Hillary chose to run a far left “SJW” campaign pandering to Black Lives Matter, illegal aliens, and the most corrosive feminists & GLBT activists she could find. She gave white Americans and men the finger, and both groups responded in kind.

Neil Edmondson

Samizdata quote of the day

And as I said above, if he can send the Clintons to jail that will be extremely beneficial for the country. Not out of any malice to the Clintons (well deserved though it might be) but simply as a marker to say “corruption in politics has at least an outside chance of ending you in the big house.” I think that would send shivers through the political establishment and make them a little less careless and a little less greedy as they milk the public for their own self enrichment.

But I could be entirely wrong. And he might also fire a nuclear weapon at Paris if a Hollande statement is carelessly translated to suggest his penis is of inadequate length. It is a dice roll.

– Samizdata commenter Fraser Orr

Samizdata quote of the day

By obsessing over politics above all else, identitarian artists of the twenty-first century resemble the Socialist Realists from the Soviet Union in the early- to mid-twentieth century. One could charitably call Socialist Realism an artistic style, one that glorified peasants, factory workers, and Communist values, but it was nurtured by a totalitarian police state and was the only “style” allowed by the government lest hapless artists wished to live out the remaining days of their lives in a Siberian slave labor camp. “Like Socialist Realism,” Ahmari writes, “identitarian art claims to be revolutionary, but in fact rigidly adheres to a set of political dictates. Master its political grammar, and you can easily decode any piece of identitarian art. For all its claims to ‘transgressiveness,’ identity art is drearily conformist.”

Michael Totten

Samizdata quote of the day

Yes, government’s increasing involvement in the economic and moral lives of citizens have made political stakes high. It’s true that 2016 features the two suckiest candidates probably ever. It’s also true that our collective vision of the American project has frayed, perhaps beyond repair. With the intense scrutiny of contemporary political coverage, more people are invested in the daily grind of elections, which intensifies the sting of losing. This anger compounds every cycle (although winning brings its own disappointment with its unfulfilled promises).

That’s not to say our constitutional republic isn’t slowly dying. It probably is. This condition isn’t contingent on an election’s outcome, but on widespread problems with our institutions, politics, and voters. Whatever you believe the future of governance should look like, one election is not going make or break it.

David Harsanyi, writing “This is the least important election of our lifetimes”

Samizdata quote of the day

Second, anyone who thinks MPs will reject Article 50 in such a vote is deluding themselves. The overwhelming majority of the Parliamentary Conservative Party now wants to get on with implementing the outcome of the referendum, regardless of which side they were on in the campaign. A pleasantly surprising number of Labour MPs have also taken on board the message from their Leave-voting constituencies. Having gone through the unpleasant experience of being at loggerheads with their voters on the doorstep, they rightly don’t want to defy them now they have spoken. The referendum may have been advisory, but its advice was clear – and when seen in pseudo-First Past The Post terms, ie in terms of MPs’ constituencies, Leave won a two thirds majority. Ultimately, de facto sovereignty lies with the electorate, and politicians value their seats.

Mark Wallace

Samizdata quote of the day

A while ago a Russian friend of mine in Sakhalin asked what people in the West were saying about Russia. I told him that most people really couldn’t care less about Russia or what it is doing. The average Brit or American cares as much about Russia as they do the sale that’s on at the bread-counter of their local supermarket. The Cold War ended some time ago and the widespread interest in Russia disappeared. It is only those who follow geopolitics that care a jot about what Russia is doing and why, nobody else cares. This is probably something that drives Putin nuts.

Tim Newman

Samizdata quote of the day

If anything is harming Britain right now, it is the ongoing attempts to catastrophise Brexit being fomented by bitter Remainers – people who would seemingly rather Britain descend into some dark, dystopian future and be vindicated in their doomsaying than help their own country to present a positive, open and internationalist face to the world.

We should not be surprised. In an age where looking good (and signalling virtue) is more important than actually doing good, there is every incentive for Remainers to continue seizing on every morsel of bad news, overlooking every positive development and generally acting hysterically, so long as their precious internal narrative – that They Virtuous Few stood alone against the “dark forces” of racist Brexit – is not disrupted.

Personally, I find it despicable, but good luck to them.

Samuel Hooper