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]

Pure genius…

Not sure of the provenance but this is pure genius…

Samizdata quote of the day

The EU is quite clear however that it stands as the champion of democracy, just not the kind of democracy that involves people voting. No, for the EU democracy means compliance with the EU’s standards and rules – any departure indicates a drift towards un-democracy that must be checked by sanctions and punishments, even if people voted for it. The EU’s democratic principles, you understand, trump stuff like elections and voting; they are a purer form of democracy, crafted by unelected officials and demagogues free from popular approval. And yes, there are many in Brussels who actually believe all that.


Samizdata quote of the day

The key point though is that overall wealth inequality just isn’t rising. In fact, wealth inequality is low by historical standards. Looking at the wealth share of the top 10 per cent and top one per cent, it peaked around 1914, and then fell substantially through to the 1970s. Though there is some academic dispute about movements since then, the consensus is that it has either risen very modestly or remained essentially stable since the 1980s.

In other words, levels of wealth inequality are neither unprecedented nor exploding. In fact, they’d look a whole lot lower if implicit wealth entitlements, such as the state pension and healthcare promises by government, were included.

Ryan Bourne

Samizdata quote of the day

Lady Thatcher’s observation encapsulates the main change in public discourse that I noticed when I returned to these islands in 2011, after nearly twenty years away. The English pride in rationality and the traditional “stiff upper lip” approach to emotion has vanished to the extent that I experience living here now as akin to being on some dreadful afternoon TV show. All media presenters are more or less Jeremy Kyle or, at best, Ellen Degeneres. Whereas as a young law student I was trained that “hard cases make bad law” and that legislation should be made in a detached spirit, not driven by the passions of those close to the problem, I now hear every day the ludicrous assertion that only victims can truly hope to understand issues and that it’s ridiculous to believe that a calm, rational analysis by a detached person, “privileged” by not being in a given group of victims could lead to the right outcome.

Tom Paine

Samizdata quote of the day

I am not worried as much about ‘surveillance capitalism’ as ‘surveillance government’. The former is only a problem because it is one backdoor away from the latter. I don’t use Google or Facebook, but sadly I can’t stop ‘using’ my government.

Perry de Havilland

Samizdata quote of the day

It’s dangerous to enjoy the sight of the Labour Party – home of cynical grievance-mongers for decades – hoist by its own petard over anti-Semitism. It’s perilous to succumb to anger over the way that Leftist political correctness has thrown thousands of white girls in Telford or Rotherham to the wolves for fear of the juju word “Racist”. Lives are being lost (and many more lives degraded) in the United States as the uncontroversial assertions that “Black Lives Matter” and “All lives matter” are used as tribal battle cries. The Alt-Right’s so-called “fascism” would evoke snorts of derision from history’s real Fascists, as it amounts to White people lamely joining the destructive game of identity politics.

– ‘Tom Paine

Samizdata quote of the day

Peterson wryly remarked, as swarms of Antifa clones were pounding at the door and breaking windows during his brilliant presentation at Queen’s, that “the barbarians are at the gate.” In a way, this was not quite accurate. They are here milling among us, inhabiting the universities, marching in the streets, dismantling the civil order, engaged in the perversion of values, and, like Marcuse, promoting tyranny in the name of freedom. Their freedom.

The barbarians are not at the gate. The barbarians are inside the gate.

David Solway

Samizdata quote of the day

Zuckerberg must also be contemplating a second oddity. There was no privacy outcry when Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign took advantage of the same Graph API to exfiltrate information of tens of millions of Facebook users without each voter’s knowledge and consent.

Declan McCullagh, writing: Obama harvested data from Facebook and bragged about it. Why are we only freaking out about this now?

Of course we actually all know the reason why.

A book from the future?

Hopefully from a future in a parallel universe…

(found sloshing around on the interwebz)

Chimpocracy is clearly the way forward…

California Would Be Less Stupidly Run If We Let Chimps Vote Instead Of People.

Because chimps would vote at random, we’d at least have some chance of having sensible choices made — unlike those so often by our idiot electorate.

Amy Alkon

Of course, the same is true pretty much everywhere, not just California…

Chimpocracy clearly has much to commend it.

Samizdata quote of the day

In general, escapism of any sort interferes with cultish indoctrination. Once people start imagining things, they might start imagining alternatives to your totalitarian utopia. Or they might start asking ‘counterfactual’ questions and discover the sheer incoherence of the worldview they had previously accepted by default. There are many features of modern culture (even apparently secular ones) every bit as poisonous as the most all-consuming cults.

Fun is also a reliable indicator that something is deeply wrong: The peasants must have some bit of spare time and energy to themselves which hasn’t been dedicated slavishly to the one true cause.

– Commenter Madrocketsci

Computer games make people evil

Alfie Bown is the author of a book called The Playstation Dreamworld. I mention this so you can avoid it. The blurb says “it argues that we can only understand the world of videogames via Lacanian dream analysis. It also argues that the Left needs to work inside this dreamspace a powerful arena for constructing…” oh for fuck’s sake.

In the Guardian, Alfie says that computer games are fueling the rise of the far right. “Far right” has come to mean “people who do not agree with me” and this article is no different. His examples are hilarious. XCOM is right wing because it is about expelling an invading force of “aliens” (extra-terrestrials). All strategy games are right wing because they are about territory acquisition. So, presumably, are Risk and Chess.

One wonders what a left wing game might be like, if these are the criteria. Not much fun, I would think. Ooh, lightbulb: Fun Is Right Wing!

The author does nothing to defend his assertion that games cater to misogynistic desires. This is annoying because I wanted to shoehorn in an interesting video about an interesting game. I will do it anyway. Perhaps violence and territory acquisition in games make the misogyny so obvious as to need no argument.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a good game, but you can not play as a woman. Is it misogynistic? Or is it because being a woman in the middle ages is no fun? An enthusiast who makes interesting videos about life in the middle ages discusses this. He thinks you could make a historically accurate medieval game where you play a woman, but it would be a different game. He briefly discusses how it was rare, not unheard-of for a woman to engage in sword fighting, adding:

It is not to say we don’t like that or encourage it, trust me. Guys have been trying to get girls to play with their toys since the dawn of time. I’ve been trying to teach my wife sword fighting since the day we met, and with only mild success. It is not this exclusive thing that guys don’t want girls to do the things that we enjoy.

What does Alfie think?

the rationale of gaming is to unite pleasurable impulse with political ideology, a process which renders gamers susceptible to discourses that urge people to follow their instincts while also prescribing what those instincts ought to be

What a load of wank. Why do the left struggle with plain English? I think what he means is that because games are often about stuff like killing bad guys and acquiring resources, they make you think a lot about that sort of thing when you should be thinking about how to be nicer to poor people. And since some people he does not like have been known to play games he dreams up some complicated nonsense about how one causes the other.

The reality is that gamers do not care about politics while they are playing games. Games are escapist. Alfie Bown’s evidence includes Gamergate, which was above all else about keeping politics out of games. Games are meant to be fun, and a lot of games are about blowing stuff up and acquiring resources because that is fun.