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]

David Davis MP awarded a very honourable title by Malcolm Rifkind

Thus reports the BBC:

Conservative MP David Davis said the Intelligence and Security Committee had been “captured by the agencies they are supposed to be overseeing”. And ex-chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind acted as a “spokesman” for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ rather than a watchdog.

Sir Malcolm said the criticisms were “ludicrous” and had no basis in fact. He said Mr Davis had been “captured” by the civil liberties lobby.

If David Davis is the nice fellow that I think he is, he should send Rifkind a friendly ‘thank you’ note for making such a kind remark ;-)

Sometimes I think David Davis is the best Prime Minister we never had, the British Barry Goldwater. But instead we got that twerp David Cameron.

“If Britons want to join Isis, let them go”

So argues Mary Dejevsky in the Guardian. Her piece could have done with a clearer separation of the several different issues involved; freedom of speech, freedom of movement, state surveillance of all travellers, targeted spying on individuals, and above all the question of what difference it makes when the potential recruits to ISIS are minors. Nonetheless I broadly agree – the British state should not seek to prevent adult citizens leaving the UK merely because it suspects they wish to become members of ISIS – or to kill members of ISIS. Whether state assistance in the form of weapons or subsidy should be available to the latter admirable group, or whether any of the former group seeking to return should be allowed to do so in exchange for cooperation with MI6, are questions that even the purest of libertarians might find worthy of debate.

The crimes of ISIS have been so flagrant and atrocious that the world is entitled to see any adult, male or female, volunteering to live under its standard (let alone bearing arms) as hostis humani generis and to exterminate them without any fuss about human rights – but wait till they get there. It is the burnings, beheadings and rapes that are the crimes, not getting on a plane to Turkey.

MPs and Rabbis join forces to ban free speech

It is fascinating to see Members of Parliament and Rabbis joining forces to ban free speech. Indeed it is even more fascinating to see Rabbis and Imams (and indeed the Pope) all steadily uniting to undermine one of the primary pillars upon which modern liberal western civilisation rests, which is to say freedom of expression. And of course I mean liberal not in the nonsensical debased American sense of the word (by which they mean something that is illiberal).

Liberty League Freedom Forum 2015

Incoming from UK Liberty League, telling me about Liberty League Freedom Forum 2015, which will take place from the evening of Friday March 27th until Sunday March 29th, and tickets for which are now on sale.

Panels and seminars with leading academics, activists and professionals will discuss key areas of contemporary libertarian debate, with sessions for everyone from the new and curious to even the most seasoned liberty-lover.

“Seasoned” liberty-lover. Sounds like I’ll fit in. Again. For I have written about earlier iterations of this event, in 2013 and in 2014. LLFF15 is being pitched at “Pro-Liberty Students and Young Professionals”. But if you are willing to pay a bit more, you can be a “student aged 30+” and still show up. I will pay over-the-odds for my ticket, and I and my camera will both attend, although I’ll be hosting a gathering of my own on the Friday night.

So far, twelve speakers for LLFF15 have been announced. I am personally acquainted with five of them, all excellent. Seven I am now hearing about for the first time. That seems to me like a good mix.

One of the speakers whom I am not acquainted with is Nichi Hodgson, Director of the Ethical Porn Partnership. What exactly do they mean by “ethical”? A glance at that website is quite encouraging. Porn is one thing, but sex slavery is quite another. On the other hand, they talk about “best practice”. Is that just not being part of the slave trade, or does it mean, as it usually does, something more restrictive? Where, in short, are they wanting to draw the line? We shall see. The important thing here is that other kinds of liberty besides the merely “economic” are being flagged up at this gathering. The presence of such a person on the speaker list is a sign that these LLFFs really are about freedom in all its aspects, rather than merely about the sorts of innocuously pious generalities that the majority of political people already feel comfortable talking about (even as they immediately turn to explaining why even these freedoms should routinely be violated). The safe and respectable freedoms cannot be forcefully defended unless you are willing to talk also about the unsafe and disreputable freedoms, because even if you choose not talk about such things, the enemies of freedom will, especially if they twig that you don’t want to.

Alert: police in Britain seek man for exercising free speech

If you see the man shown in this article, please do not inform the Police of his whereabouts.

But do tell the bloke, who it must be said may well be a low IQ scumbag who likes to insult strangers on a bus, that he is quite mistaken if he thinks people in the UK have a right to freedom of expression. That is not the case, for it is only politically approved speech that passes a Guardian/BBC sniff test that is permitted. Mutter the wrong things on a bus and you are likely to end up in front of the Beak, with your arrest applauded by those valiant custodians of truth, the Press.

Samizdata quote of the day

“I guess it’s going to come down to what consumers want to do,” said Lt. Chris Cummings, the Police Department’s liaison to the Taxi Commission.

– Report here. Thank you Instapundit.

Lt. Cummings didn’t say if he approved, because the Police Department’s job is to enforce ordinances, not make them. Maybe he was speaking through gritted teeth. But the Portsmouth Taxi Commission is unanimously for it. Good for them. The more Uber and its rivals are allowed in this or that place, somewhere, and the more we get to hear about it, the more chance that they will be allowed almost everywhere.

Samizdata quote of the day

Plain packaging is an appalling intrusion into consumer choice and the operation of the free market.

Nigel Farage

Magic Unicorn of the Day

From Ryan Paul, in this tweet:

Instead of inventing encryption that only government can break, we should just breed a special unicorn that magically blocks terrorist acts.

Can this be true? Did I read that correctly?

Did David Cameron just say something… um… well… sensible and manifestly correct? I can hardly believe my eyes!

British Prime Minister David Cameron said there was “a right to cause offence about someone’s religion” in a free society, drawing a distinction between himself and Pope Francis in their response to the deadly Islamist attacks in Paris.

Did Dismal Dave really say this? I need to lie down.

The speech Obama meant to give in Paris but didn’t as he wasn’t there

Absolute crackerjack from Timothy Sandefur:

But the conscience of the free west, too, is much in need of reaffirmation. Many of us have come to take for granted the freedom of expression that our forefathers fought so bravely to secure. It is important for us to engage in free speech now, to remind ourselves of what these rights mean.

These rights are not just for us. They are human rights: all people, everywhere, are entitled to freedom, toleration, and peace. And our free societies respect the freedom to write, and speak, and publish as the right of all—from west and east, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist. You are welcome to join us: to write and publish your own criticisms of our society, or even your own offensive cartoons ridiculing things we hold dear. But whether you join us or not, we will not be silenced.

We will not be silenced, or made to fear, and we will not be persuaded to accept the idea that silence in the face of injustice is just, or that appeasement of those who threaten us is safe, or that pretending we are not afraid, by saying we are just being culturally sensitive, is honorable. The right to offend, to chastise, to ridicule and condemn: to these, we will hold fast, knowing as our ancestors knew a century and a half ago, that all freedom, and all that makes life a joy instead of a burden, depends upon it just as slavery depends upon silence and terror.

On that, we will not equivocate. We will not excuse. We will not retreat a single inch. And we will speak.

Some people in the US and beyond might have imagined that the young, appealing chap who was a senator and who ran for office in 2008 was the sort of person capable of giving the kind of speech that Sandefur has written here. We now know very different. What brief remarks he now makes on that subject are, as far as I can see, far too late and too little.

 

Samizdata quote of the day

Dear Electoral Commission,

Thanks, but we’re not registering with you and we’re not going to pay any attention to your rules.

Yours in freedom,

Paul Staines
Editor Guido Fawkes’ Blog

Guido makes his position clear.

BBC wonders why ‘thought crime’ is not illegal in Japan

Apparently drawing something imaginary, a victimless ‘crime’ if ever there was one, leads the BBC to bemusement that Japan does not share the sensible consensus that criminalising thoughts is the way to go.