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

There is an argument, I think, for having people who want “a strong leader” shot immediately on the basis that it will save the dictator time later.

– David Aaronovitch, discussing these findings by the Pew Organisation in The Times (£). Unlike Pew, neither Mr Aaronovitch nor I find it very comforting that only – only! – 26% of the UK population thinks “a system in which a strong leader can govern the country without interference from parliament or the courts would be a good way of governing this country”.

“Bringing that choice into the equation”

“Ban smoking at home, say Scots campaigners”, reports the Sunday Times. This headline is followed by the breezy standfirst,

Move to save kids from second-hand exposure

That’s “kids” like wot the Times is down wiv.

Anti-smoking campaigners in Scotland are seeking to stop people lighting up at home as part of a drive to reduce the harmful health effects of inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke.

Last week, Dr Sean Semple, an academic from Aberdeen University, said restrictions on smoking at home may have to be imposed to protect children.

Odd how campaigners against passive smoking so often seem fond of the passive voice. Dangerous things, these restrictions imposed by nobody in particular, you can breathe them in without realising it and then you get cancer.

Meanwhile, Ash Scotland, the charity that helped to bring about a ban on smoking in public places in 2006, believes more could be done to protect residents in social housing.

There is concern that despite existing laws, hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland are still at risk from exposure to secondhand smoke in their homes.

Each week, dozens of children across Britain are taken to hospital through inhaling secondhand smoke, which is known to increase the risk of asthma, as well as ear and chest infections.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Failing that, as the Times does, any evidence at all for the claim that “dozens of children a week” are taken to hospital through inhaling second hand smoke would be nice.

Sheila Duffy, the chief executive of Ash Scotland, said the charity was seeking a meeting with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations to discuss the possibility of a smoking ban.

A smoking ban in social housing has proved immensely popular in the US, in California and cities such as New York and Philadelphia.

So a ban on Group X getting the limited supply of rent-controlled social housing proves immensely popular with social housing tenants not in Group X, not to mention potential social housing tenants for whom the chances of getting it have just increased. Colour, or as they say in the US, “color”, me surprised.

“Tobacco companies often talk about choice in smoking. However, for many people the choice to live free from breathing in tobacco smoke is just not there,” said Duffy.

“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation.” One day soon we will have a Ministry of Choice so Sheila Duffy can concern herself with giving everyone the choice to live in a world free from choice.

“We are keen to explore ways of bringing that choice into the equation for new social-housing tenants and increasing protection for those living in buildings with shared common spaces.”

Samizdata quote of the day

The social justice warrior’s gain is the civil libertarian’s loss. The ACLU still engages in the fight for civil liberty, especially in opposition to the post-9/11 security state and as part of the anti-Trump ‘resistance’. But the 21st-century ACLU has chosen its battles with a progressive sensibility that devalues free speech and due process for all. Most notably, it has shied away from confronting campus-censorship crusades and the threat of an ideology that equates allegedly hateful speech with discriminatory action, subordinating the right to speak to the imagined rights of particular listeners to suppress what offends them.

Wendy Kaminer

The mask slips

The Guardian‘s Owen Jones asked the following question on Twitter:

How quickly should anti-LGBTQ rail tycoon and SNP donor Brian Souter’s assets be nationalised by a Labour Government?

Uber petition breaks 600,000

The #SaveYourUber petition has, as of 10:45 pm in London, attracted 600,000+ names, and one of them is mine.

Of course the best way to save Uber is to get rid of Sadiq Khan and make the issue politically radioactive.

Samizdata quote of the day

Commenting on the case, Sue Hemming, head of the CPS’s special crime and counterterrorism division, said: ‘People should not assume they can hide on social media when stirring up hatred and violence.’ Evidently, they cannot. But to what end? What is the benefit to society of banning the expression of bad and hateful ideas? Surely we want these ideas out in the open so that we can combat them with better ideas and better arguments. Censorship won’t change anyone’s mind.

Naomi Firsht

Samizdata quote of the day

University is not a training centre to teach young people ‘correct’ ideas – that would be an indoctrination camp, not a university. Richardson understands that academics have a duty to challenge conventional wisdom. You might say that academics have a duty to offend, and to make their students intellectually uncomfortable. It’s only through challenging what we believe that ideas change and knowledge progresses.

Dennis Hayes

Not exactly a meeting of minds

Observed in a certain invitation-only chat room a few weeks ago:

Person 1: “So who’s going to Pride march tomorrow?”

Person 2: “Yeah probably. Good place to pick up chicks LOL”

Samizdatista: “Nah.”

Person 1: “I though you were some kinda libertarian or something.”

Samizdatista: “Or something.”

Person 1: “LOL. You don’t like gays?”

Samizdatista: “I could not care less who people fuck. None of my business.”

Person 1: “Then why not support people’s rights?”

Samizdatista: “Being homosexual not illegal in western world, so what rights you talking about?”

Person 1: “Right not to be discriminated against by people.”

Samizdatista: “I am great supporter right to free association, that’s something worth marching for as various laws deny that right.”

Person 1: “So you’re ok with discrimination?”

Samizdatista: “By state? Hell no. By private people and companies that don’t take state money? That is what free association means.”

Person 1: “How can anyone support discrimination?”

Samizdatista: “I fully support your right to /block me, what with me being all in for free association. Please.”

Person 1: “Why not go just to show your support?”

Samizdatista: “I do not condemn homosexuals for doing what they legally do, because I could not care less who people fuck. I also do not express support for homosexuals for doing what they legally do, because I could not care less who people fuck.”

Person 1: “Everyone I know’s going.”

Person 2: “Grammar crime detected! Report for re-education!”

Person 1: “What?”

Person 2: “Hardly anyone I know is going. Target rich environment for babes.”

Person 1: “It says a lot about someone if they stay away.”

Samizdatista: “In my case it says I could not care less about who other people fuck. With that in mind, if you decide to go fuck yourself, I am totally ok with that too.”

Person 2: “This thread will not end well.”

Two extreme authoritarians on a bus

The author describes his characters as a social justice warrior and a neo-Nazi. His point is that authoritarians end up wanting similar things whatever their excuses.

SJW: Did you hear that at the University of Michigan, they’re so progressive, student activists demanded segregated areas for students of colour?

NN: This is exactly as it should be—the races are distinct and should stay that way. We must all strive to keep our unique practices intact. Honestly, it sickens me to see whites shamelessly adopting the customs of other cultures.

Both agree that

It’s the libertarian types who are the worst, with their self-serving so-called freedoms.

Samizdata quote of the day

British prime minister Theresa May has boasted that she is ‘working with social-media companies to halt the spread of extremist material and hateful propaganda that is warping young minds’. She also wants corporations to ‘do more’. Indeed, the leaders of the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada have, along with a host of social-media companies, agreed to measures to censor the web. And German chancellor Angela Merkel is way ahead of the curve. In 2015, Merkel notoriously prevailed upon Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to do his bit and take down posts critical of her controversial immigration policy.

Apple’s craven obedience to Beijing’s autocratic demands typifies the general stance of the West. From the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 to Beijing’s abduction of Hong Kong booksellers today, Stalinist repression in China has never really sparked uproar among Western leaders. Yes, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson greeted the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule over Hong Kong with the limp hope that it would ‘make further progress towards a more democratic and accountable system of government’. But Western IT firms and politicians can hardly pose as guardians of internet freedom.

James Woudhuysen

No place for hunting

British leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn does not like hunting. He is not happy that the owner of the football team he supports is financially involved with a TV channel that shows programmes about hunting.

As an Arsenal fan I’m disgusted that Stan Kroenke is involved in such a brutal, unethical and unnecessary activity. This is not sport. Kroenke should stick to football if he wants to be involved in sport. ‘Blood sport’ is a contradiction…

He did not add that all this was simply his opinion, that there is room for reasoned argument about the ethics of humans killing animals, that any state sanctions against humans killing animals amounted to favouring violence against humans over violence against animals, or that making programmes about a legal activity is a matter of freedom with which the state should not interfere. Instead he added, “there should be no place on television or anywhere else for it.”

Samizdata quote of the day

Yesterday I said the British police had hit rock bottom and started to drill. Last night they shipped in some dynamite:

Tim Newman