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]

Narrative narcosis

If there is anyone out there who still harbours doubts about the narcotic power of narrative, then I urge them to critically examine recent British history. This will confirm that such is the hallucinogenic power of narrative (or ‘discourse’ if you prefer) that it can capture an entire society in its analgesic embrace while being, not just divorced from the reality, but the demonstrably diametric opposite of the reality.

Since the late 1990’s everybody outside of us hardy but microscopic band of ideologues (and I do mean ‘everybody’ including his brother, mother, plumber and household pets) has been tub-thumpingly convinced that we have endured “the most right-wing government in history”. Oh my Lord, how right-wing it was! Uber-right-wing, ultra-rightist, extreme-uber-ultra-babyeatingly-sealcubbashingly-right-wing. Lord deliver us! Good people everywhere rolled their eyes heavenward and wondered just what was to become of us all in the new, ultra-neo-liberal, so-called-free-market, wild-west-uber-rampant-capitalist free-for-all.

Not us, of course. We could see the ugly truth that we were actually being sovietised. We told them all too. In fact, we shouted it from the blogtops. But was anybody listening? Were they hell. No, they were far too engaged in the generally agreed business of guffing on interminably about the rampant-wild-west-unregulated-greedy-so-called-laissez-faire-out-of-control-cowboy-shoot-’em-up-neo-liberal-free-for-all-unrestrained capitalist nightmare that was destined to reduce our once great nation to a dissipated radiation burst of lonely, atomised wage slaves chanting ‘greed is good’ as we are flung out to the frozen corners of an uncaring, Thatcherite universe.

So, do you think this incongruent moment of flying-piggery in today’s Times is going to incite a re-think?

PARTS of the United Kingdom have become so heavily dependent on government spending that the private sector is generating less than a third of the regional economy, a new analysis has found.

The study of “Soviet Britain” has found the government’s share of output and expenditure has now surged to more than 60% in some areas of England and over 70% elsewhere….

The state now looms far larger in many parts of Britain than it did in former Soviet satellite states such as Hungary and Slovakia as they emerged from communism in the 1990s, when state spending accounted for about 60% of their economies.

Not a bit of it. By this evening, these stark truths will have disppeared down the memory-hole and, by tomorrow morning, everyone will be getting on with the urgent business of finding a strategy for bringing all this rampant, wild-west, cowboy capitalism back under control.

Does anybody have a truth serum?

Support Geert Wilders

Following on from Perry’s post below, I am pleased to note that there is something we can do to help Geert Wilders.

For those among you who want to actively help, go to his website and donate what you can to help defray what will likely be a ruinous legal bill. The link is here.

Geert Wilders is one of the pitifully few public figures in Europe who is willing to confront the Islamist menace. As a result, his enemies have sentenced him to death (because all they want is peace, don’t you know) and his own government has decided to prosecute him.

Even if you cannot contribute financially then I urge you at least to get a message to him to let him know that he is not alone and that he has many, many friends. He needs them.

Discussion Point XXVII

Is this what it must have felt like in the 1930’s?

Discussion Point XXVI

Government has never been more popular or more trusted.

Now they tell us!

Every so often, the MSM offers up a nugget of shining truth:

Houses of Parliament ‘infested with vermin’

Of course, we have been saying that for years.

Discussion Point XXV

What would you choose for your epitaph?

Samizdata quote of the day

Many people have said that the internet is like the wild west in the gold rush and that sooner or later it will be regulated. What we need is for it to be regulated sooner rather than later

Barbara Follett, Minister of Kulture.

The Vampire State

Ah, the children of the night! What sweet music they make:

Plans by Gordon Brown to make everyone a potential organ donor unless they actively “opt out” will be roundly rejected by the Government’s official advisory body next week, The Times has learnt.

The Prime Minister and the Chief Medical Officer for England believe that thousands of lives could be saved by introducing “presumed consent” – where everyone is automatically placed on the organ donor register unless they or their family object….

The recommendations are not binding on the Government and ministers may still bring legislation forward.

Of course they will. They must feed.

Discussion Point XXIV

Before the end of this century, there will be another American Civil War.

Yes they can!

I attended a US Election Night Party in central London last night. It was wall-to-wall Obamamaniacs. They had badges (or ‘buttons’ as you Americans call them) on sale and while my first choice would have been Bob Barr, I chose a McCain/Palin one just to piss everybody off. Significantly, the Obama/Biden badges were on sale at £5 each while the McCain/Palin ones were going for a knock-down £3. A portent of things to come, I thought.

Anyway, since Perry has manfully tried to steer us all towards optimism this morning, I felt compelled to sink my hand into the mud, dredge up a big, smelly, greasy, filthy dollop of pessimism and smear it all over you. Oh come on, you know you love it really.

So, the USA has finally got its version of the Tony Blair/New Labour revolution and, if our experience is anything to go by, then ‘get ready for da pain’. I wish someone had had the foresight to slap an export restriction on it. It means (as if you have not already guessed) a whole heaping helping of new taxes and regulations but, most tellingly, a huge expansion in the public sector payroll. What better way to ensure future election success than with an army of loyal, grateful and dependent voters? That’s how they did it here. Welcome to the client-state. Can they do it? Yes they can. And they will.

The Republican Party (which I care little for) is probably buggered. Not only is it going to take them a long time to get over the now-universal loathing of ‘Bush and the neocons’ but they are also likely to paralyse themselves with an extended period of intra-party squabbling about which directon to take. Furthermore, it is very unsafe to assume that they will move in the right direction. We made that mistake here after the Conservatives got their clocks cleaned in three consecutive elections. “They have no choice”, we said “but to take the party in a more free market, libertarian direction”. Boy, were we wrong about that. Instead, they decided that what they needed was a big dose of what the other guy was having. Don’t be surprised if you find that the whole centre of American political gravity has shifted semi-permanently to the statist/left.

However, libertarian ideas (which I care a lot for) are also probably buggered. The Keynsians are busy priming their pumps which means that not only are things going to get worse, they are going to made worse. But do you think that Mr. Audacity and his chums are going to get the blame for that? Think again. “Unregulated, free market capitalism” (as if we have ever been within a cruise missiles range of any such thing) has already been fingered as the culprit for this crisis of regulatory statism and that gigantic lie has now become the accepted narrative. As I always say, its perceptions that matter. For crying out loud, the epidemic of violent youth crime in this country is still being laid at the door of Margaret Thatcher (“She created a greedy, me-first society where nobody cares about other people”).

Furthermore, we can expect to have to deal with an emboldened IslamoLeft. Regardless of whether or not there is any objective justification, they will see this as a vindication of their efforts meriting a redoubling of their political ‘jihad’. I’m not necessarily referring to bombs on buses here but, if I was them, I would be drooling at the sight of all those 20-something “Yes we can” chanters and gearing up to harvest a fresh crop of Useful Idiots (a Western commodity so reliable that it really ought to be the subject of a futures contract, like pork bellies or cocoa).

So, there we have it. Several reasons to be uncheerful. What do we do? I have no idea. Probably carry on doing this. What else can we do?

Have a nice day.

And come back soon.

Missing you already.

Discussion point XXIII

The Olympics are a vulgar, ruinous hullabaloo the chief functions of which are to facilitate graft on a spectacular scale and to act as a vehicle for the promotion of despotic values. They are, at best, unedifying and, at worst, intolerable.

The dying of the light

Earth Lights src="http://www.samizdata.net/blog/~pdeh/earthlights_med.jpg"
width="450" height="225" />

I never get tired of looking at this photograph. It never fails to fill me with wonder and awe at the ingenuity of my species who, against all the odds, have carved these glorious man-made islands of light out of the primordial blackness. Whenever I am heavy of heart, I open up this photograph and stare at it to remind me that, somewhere, there is light and life.

And there is. For now.

Towns and cities around the world are turning out the lights for an hour to highlight the threat of climate change.

Sydney was the first major city to begin “Earth Hour”, when at 2000 (0900 GMT), lights went out on landmarks like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Bangkok, Toronto, Chicago and Dublin are among 27 other cities officially due to follow suit at 2000 local time.

With each passing day I become more convinced that the ‘green’ movement is actually a millenarian psychosis; a mental and spiritual sickness borne, perhaps, from some degree of civilisational exhaustion. Not just a belief that the end of the world is nigh, but an active desire to bring it about. And soon. Ours is not the first age to witness such pandemics of madness but, in the Middle Ages at least, there was the excuse of a near-universal poverty. In such a state of interminable plight, despair may not be the wisest response but it is at least an understandable one.

But now we live in an age of near-universal prosperity and progress. Never before has our species enjoyed such security and such freedom from want. Yet this is clearly no defence against a recurrance of this psychological plague.

Some pubs are spending the evening without the lights on while many Australians are marking the occasion quietly in the darkness at home.

Life, laughter, love, food, drink, warmth, travel, communication, progress, a world full of unprecedented wonders and it’s all too much for them. Better to sit in the darkness and curse the lighting of even a single candle.

‘Stop the world, I want to get off’ was the plaintive refrain of some Broadway comedy show I think. It could also be the motto for the greens, except that they want everybody off. Is that what they aspire to as they sit at home quietly in that seductive, undemanding cloak of blackness? To switch off civilisation and shuffle away into the perpetual tenebrosity dragging everyone else behind them?

The conditions are ripe for the spread of this insanity. Indeed, it is spreading now. How long will it be, I wonder, before some official body somewhere floats the idea of mandatory blackouts and curfews? “The voluntary approach” they will proclaim, “has not worked”.

And what do we do in response? Laugh at them? Ignore them? Rage against them? What would work to inoculate the rest of our species? What combination or words or phrases could we use to dissipate and lay low a viral madness? I am, of course, familiar with the customary rebuttals. “We will win because we have MTV and Coca-Cola”. But without the light there is no MTV, there is no Coca-Cola. What do we have then?

The lights are not yet going out all over the world. But I fear that I will see them do so in our lifetime.