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]

A very London dialogue…

The setting is North End Road in Fulham, London, near a large street side food and fresh produce market. There is a stand with a whole roasting hog covered in fennel, described as ‘Italian Roast Pig’ by a large sign. It is in fact run by a couple Bulgarian guys who I know. The food tastes… exquisite. I eat there every Friday.

A man walked up to them, obviously a Muslim. He peers at the roasting pig, sniffs and look at the man inside the stand.

(Muslim bloke, pointing a large bowl of sauce. Good english with an East London accent) “Hmmm… what’s that?”

(Bulgarian proprietor. Good english with a South London accent) “Apple sauce. We make it ourselves from English apples.”

(Muslim bloke, pointing at the roasting pig) “Is that halal?”

(Bulgarian proprietor, looking perplexed) “Er… not really.”

(Muslim bloke, winking) “Oh, right. I’ll have mine with the apple sauce then.”

Samizdata quote of the day

The Hoppean position on immigration is illogical; you do not reduce the scope of the state by increasing it and the number of tasks it undertakes. We should be looking at ways to limit the damage and cost of government now, and not sit in ivory towers trying to fudge a philosophical position that takes away the right of free association.

- Allrik Birch

Worrying about immigration was wrong then and it’s wrong now

Dr Frederick L. Hoffman, speaking at the International Eugenics Congress, as reported in the Times of 27 July 1912:

He said the statistics were taken from the [Rhode Island] State Census of 1905. They showed two things – first that half the population of this typical New England State were of foreign extraction, and, secondly, that fewer native-born women were married and had families as compared with foreign-born women. The statistics also showed that a far larger percentage of Roman Catholic married women were mothers. Therefore, this originally Protestant State was in a fair way of becoming Roman Catholic. He thought these figures showed an alarming tendency in American life.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. These are exactly the same fears we hear today and they are no more valid now than they were then. Well, I say that. I assume that Rhode Island is a functioning state albeit a social democratic one.

As this is a eugenics conference I can’t help being reminded of this choice quote from Niall Ferguson:

The crucial point to note is that a hundred years ago work like Galton’s was at the cutting edge of science. Racism was not some backward-looking reactionary ideology; the scientifically uneducated embraced it as enthusiastically as people today accept the theory of man-made global warming.

Who in the world has been going where in the world

I love David Thompson’s ephemera postings, which he does every Friday. Buried in among the fun and games are often things with a bit of a message, in favour of Thompsonism and against horribleness.

So, today, for instance, there is a link to three lists, of top migrant destinations, top emigration countries, and top “migration corridors”, migration corridors being country pairs, from and to. List one says how many people in each country were not born there, and the second list says how many people who were born there have now gone.

I have always believed that how people have been voting with their feet is one of the most potent judgements there can be at any particular moment in history, on the varying merits and demerits of different countries and different political and economic systems. The USSR bombarded the world with high decibel claims about the wonderfulness of itself and of its various national possessions, but could not explain why so many people wanted out, and so desperately, and so few in. How come the Berlin Wall only pointed in one particular direction? How come they were the ones who built it?

Contrariwise, the world’s anti-Thompsonists of an earlier time cursed the hideous exploitation of the emerging sweatshop (then) economies of South East Asia, but could not explain why people would swim through shark-infested waters, in order to be hideously exploited.

Such numbers also register how welcoming or unwelcoming different countries are towards being “flooded” with incomers. The USA, of course, is the country that positively defines itself as the country of migrants. That the USA, now as always, is by far the top migrant destination, leaving the rest in a clump far behind, says it all about the continuing vitality of the USA as the go-to superpower of the world, still, despite all the blunders its rulers are now making and which the USA itself is so good at drawing everyone’s attention to.

Russia and Saudi Arabia must also be doing something right, despite the stories you hear, and at least compared to the alternatives for those flooding in. Money plus labour shortages would be my guesses, in both cases.

The UK features in the top ten both for migration in and emigration out. That is a telling fact, is it not? India and Russia are also on both lists.

The biggest upheavals are surely the big numbers that pertain to countries with small populations. When you talk percentages, Australia looks to me positively USA-like in its eagerness to attract newcomers. That China, despite its colossal size and formidable recent economic vitality, is not on the top destination list is also quite telling, is it not?

These numbers are more than just ephemeral curiosities, I would say.

The oddest remark of the year?

I realise it is only April, so there is ample time for someone else to win the much vaunted Samizdata prize of ‘oddest remark of the year’, but this has to be a real contender:

However, Prof Rowthorn said the most likely victims were British-born school-leavers who had never had a job, having failed to find the kind of casual work they might have walked into a few years ago. The claim will fuel a political row over the prospects for a generation referred to as “Neets” (not in education, employment or training).

The professor said: “We are looking at the most vulnerable, least skilled and in some ways least motivated members of the local workforce. The problem that eastern European migrants pose is that they are good workers.”

So the fact good workers are arriving in the UK is a ‘problem’ and that employers have them to hire rather than having to try and coax an honest day’s work out of the least unmotivated native born lumpen is… a bad thing for people in Britain overall? Hmmm.

Also as the total number of job has been rising steadily for quite some time, it is hard to hide the fact the children of the British ‘welfare’ state are simply acting as the state has conditioned them to act. Of course the irony is that the people in some part replacing them are high initiative individuals arriving from former communist countries in search of better opportunities. And such people filling jobs grows the economy, so again the advantages overall take wilful blindness not to see.

Locals who cannot compete with Eastern European need to ask themselves why that is. My guess is that they are not really trying to compete very hard because after all, they can always just sign on for the dole. I find it hard to be sympathetic when a person’s poverty is simply a function of a lack of motivation.

Of course one is not suppose to say things like that. My bad.

Vote green – go blackshirt

Rob Johnston has produced a very interesting essay on the true soulmates of Green Politics in Britain

  • Forbid the purchase of corner shops by migrants
  • Stop people from inner cities moving to the countryside to protect traditional lifestyles
  • Grant British citizenship only to children born here
  • Boycott food grown by black farmers and subsidise crops grown by whites
  • Restrict tourism and immigration from outside Europe
  • Prohibit embryo research
  • Stop lorry movements on the Lord’s Day
  • Require State approval for national sports teams to compete overseas
  • Disconnect Britain from the European electricity grid
  • Establish a “new order” between nations to resolve the world economic crisis

These are the policies of one of Britain’s most influential political parties: a party that has steadily increased its vote over the last decade; a party that appeals overwhelmingly to whites; and a party that shares significant objectives with neo-fascists and religious fundamentalists.

Perhaps – the BNP? Despite its attempts to appear modern and inclusive and the soothing talk in its 2005 General Election Manifesto, of “genuine ethnic and cultural diversity” [1].

Or UKIP? It harbours some pretty backward-looking individuals – but would they stop Britain buying electricity from France if necessary?

Or, maybe, the Conservatives? Could that be a list of recommendations from one of Dave’s lesser-known policy groups – chaired by the ghost of Enoch Powell – quietly shredded to avoid “re-contaminating the Brand”?

Actually, affiliates of the progressive consensus may be surprised to learn that all the reactionary policies in the first paragraph are from the Green Party’s Manifesto for a Sustainable Society (MfSS) or were adopted at the party’s Autumn Conference in Liverpool over the weekend of September 13-16, 2007 [2].

Of course, the Green Party will protest against the accusation of reactionary politics. However, in an article critical of the G8 leaders in June, George Monbiot, (capo di tutti capi of the green movement) advised readers to judge politicians for “what they do, not what they say”.

For example, as well as supporting ethnic and cultural diversity, the BNP says it accepts:

“… the right of law-abiding minorities, in our country because they or their ancestors came here legally, to remain here and to enjoy the full protection of the law against any form of harassment or hostility…” [3]

But, use Monbiot’s argument, disregard the rhetoric and look at what the rest of the BNP manifesto promises would actually do and it remains a party of racist and neo-fascist ideology – internationally isolationist and domestically reactionary.

The trouble for Greens is that their manifesto pledges would result in many of the same outcomes as the BNP programme.

You will not find the words “Boycott food grown by black farmers and subsidise crops grown by whites”, in the Green Party’s manifesto, but consider Monbiot’s advice about the effects of these policies:

“The Green Party recognises that subsidies are sometimes necessary to protect local, regional and national economies and the environment, and we will support them in these instances” [4].

“Controls such as tariff barriers and quotas should be gradually introduced on a national and/or regional bloc level, with the aim of allowing localities and countries to produce as much of their food, goods and services as they can themselves. Anything that cannot be provided nationally should be obtained from neighbouring countries, with long distance trade the very last resort” [5].

The paradox of arguing for Fair Trade while refusing to buy African vegetables because of “food miles” has been noted many times, but it is a paradox the Green Party simply ignores. According to the Guardian, Britain has two black farmers [6], so any policy to subsidise domestic produce and erect barriers to outsiders will, ipso facto, support white farmers and disadvantage black farmers. Even if supplies are “obtained from neighbouring countries”, white European farmers benefit at the expense of poor farmers in Africa and the developing world.

On agricultural policy in general, Greens will agree with the following sentiments:

“Britain’s farming industry will be encouraged to produce a much greater part of the nation’s need in food products. Priority will be switched from quantity to quality, as we move from competing in a global economy to maximum self-sufficiency for Britain, sustainable agriculture, decreased reliance on petro-chemical products and more organic production” [7].

However, those promises come from the BNP 2005 General Election Manifesto – in a section indistinguishable from the Green Party manifesto:

“To be able to fulfil all our basic food needs locally. To grow as many other products as we can to meet our basic needs (e.g. for textiles, fuel, paper) on a local or regional basis. To enable all communities to have access to land which can be used for growing for basic needs. To ensure that all growing systems use only natural, renewable inputs and that all organic waste outputs are able to be recycled back into the soil or water system” [8].

Perhaps this is why, according to the BNP:

“We are the only true ‘Green Party’ in Britain as only the BNP intends to end mass immigration into Britain and thereby remove at a stroke the need for an extra 4 million homes in the green belts of the South East and elsewhere, which are required to house the influx of 5 million immigrants expected to enter the country under present trends over the next twenty years” [9].

Greens agree with the BNP about migration and the green belt. They promise to: minimise the environmental degradation caused by migration; not allow increased net migration; and end the pressure on the Green Belt by reducing population and stopping growth-oriented development [10]. Reduction in non-white tourism and immigration would be an inevitable consequence of government restrictions on air travel. Few refugees from Iraq, Darfur, Zimbabwe manage to get all the way to Britain without a large carbon footprint, neither can tourists from beyond Europe. → Continue reading: Vote green – go blackshirt

Why I think Al Bangura will be okay – and what it says about the immigration system

Patrick Crozier has views on the saga of footballer Al Bangura

Many of you will be vaguely aware of the Bangura affair. Al Bangura is the Watford footballer who is about to be deported to Sierra Leone, where, according to him, he is likely to be killed. For extra colour there is some stuff about a voodoo cult and the bizarre ruling that his being a professional footballer with excellent prospects do not count because Sierra Leone is not one of the top 75 football teams in the world. Go figure.

I should point out that I am a half-hearted Watford fan but this does not affect what I am about to say. I would say the same if the guy played for L*t*n. All it means is that I am slightly more familiar with the case.

I have no idea if what Bangura says is true. Frankly, it could be a pack of lies for all I care. Given the stakes involved: the best job in the world or exile to some African shithole, it would hardly be surprising if he were telling the odd porkie. But it does not matter. The way I see it the guy has every right to be here. Not because he is fleeing persecution, not because he is a good footballer, not because he pays his taxes or ‘enriches’ British culture…

But because he is a human being.

I think everybody should be able to live everywhere, subject, of course, to the usual libertarian provisos about property rights.

My guess is that sense and political manipulation of the judiciary will prevail. This has the potential to become a real cause celebre – you can just imagine the stink if he gets sent back to Sierra Leone and does indeed wind up dead – and because of that I do not think it will happen. Or if he does get deported he will soon find a job somewhere else. I hear LA Galaxy are looking to strengthen their midfield.

But it makes me think about all those who are not professional footballers – the ordinary joes who just want to make better lives for themselves or to escape the hope-crushing Kafka-with-machetes world that is so common in Africa. They have to face the more ordinarily-Kafkaesque world of the immigration system without the support of football clubs and their umpteen thousand supporters. For them the difference between prosperity and poverty hangs on a civil servant’s whim. The more honest must be tortured by debates over when to tell the truth and when to lie like crazy. It must be agony.

How the left and right share much in their world views

Over on The First Post, Richard Ehrman has written an article called Immigration: Britain’s wake-up call that gives us a splendid example of how the left and right generally share ‘meta-context’ (the unspoken axioms that we take for granted when we discuss something):

The new population projections are shocking [...] Over the next 25 years, the Office of National Statistics expects the British population to rise to 71million, from 60m today. After that, it is on course to hit 75m by mid-century. [...] And because we are not producing enough children to replace ourselves, most of this dramatic growth will be due to immigration. [...] Population projections have proved wildly out in the past, so this latest version should be taken with a pinch of salt. But it should serve as a wake-up call, too.

If we are going to rely on immigrants to pay our pensions and do the jobs we don’t want to do, we are also going to have to build an awful lot of new houses, roads, schools and hospitals to accommodate them.

The fact the population is growing in Britain is shocking, apparently. Okay, yet for some reason I am not shocked. However why is this something we should regard as a “wake up call”? Personally I am hearing something more like a dinner bell being rung. Richard Ehrman is associated with Politeia, an allegedly market-friendly think tank, so why should ‘we’, by which I very strongly suspect he means ‘we-as-taxpayers’, be building houses, roads, schools and hospitals for anyone? In less benighted times the arrival of more people would have been referred to as a ‘growing market’ (i.e. a good thing) rather than an impending liability which needs a “wake-up call” to alert us to a problem.

Let me quote something very germane that was uttered yesterday at the Libertarian Alliance conference in London, by Shane Frith of Progressive Vision on more or less the same subject:

“The claim that immigration puts strain on ‘vital public services’ is a myth. The reality is that immigration only puts ‘pressure’ on the inefficient state sector such as state schools and NHS hospitals. Vital public services provided by the private sector welcome the additional customers. In the vital field of food supply, you don’t hear Tesco complaining that they hadn’t planned on the increased business – we face no food shortages. Neither does Vodafone struggle with the technical demands of providing mobile phones to all these immigrants. Immigration merely highlights the existing failure of the inefficient, unreformed state sector.”

Quite! If indeed much of Central Europe is decamping from their homelands and heading for this Sceptred Isle, what an excellent time to abolish the decrepit socialist legacy systems (which are rather like running 1980′s era computers in 2007 and then wondering why things do not work) that have inexplicably survived into the Twenty First century. Time to replace them with adaptive market driven approaches that are neither distorted nor crowded out by an idiotic and fantastically inefficient state run medical system, preposterous public sector housing and ever more dumbed down state schools. None of these things, not one, is logically something the state should have anything to do with. As I have argued before, perhaps the changing demographic realities may force exactly the sort of changes that should have been introduced decades ago.

And if that is true, it is yet another reason to thank the latest wave of immigrants. Guys, you might actually save us from ourselves.

Vitajte v Londyne!

Richard Miniter stops short

He could have taken his article to this conclusion but perhaps he thought the baggage that would come with it would distract from his intended points. In order for my ‘friendly amendment’ to make sense, it is important to understand what “multiculturalism” really means. Multiculturalism is not a recent ideology. Only the name is new. Most of you are far more familiar with it as “separate but equal”. Wikipedia says:

Multiculturalism is an ideology advocating that society should consist of, or at least allow and include, distinct cultural and religious groups, with equal status.

Separate but equal … segregationism. Multiculturalism as an ideology is diametrically opposed to integration and assimilation. Some have noted a difference in the formation of terrorists in America as compared with Europe but without necessarily attributing it to America’s still comparatively high cultural emphasis and expectation of newcomers to assimilate.

The absence of significant terrorist attacks or even advanced terrorist plots in the United States since Sept. 11 is good news that cannot entirely be explained by increased intelligence or heightened security. It suggests America’s Muslim population may be less susceptible than Europe’s Muslim population, if not entirely immune, to jihadist ideology. In fact, countervailing voices may exist within the American Muslim community.

So what does this have to do with Richard Miniter? → Continue reading: Richard Miniter stops short

The honest thieves

The other day I was watching the news and saw a story about a sudden influx of Romanian gypsy children into Slough (of all places). Several things struck me about the story.

Firstly, the children they interviewed were entirely candid about the reason they arrived in the UK: state welfare. They had come to Britain because they learned that all you have to do is turn up and you will be provided with free housing and food which is better than what they had in Romania.

They were entirely honest what their motives were. So I suppose unlike in Romania, they do not have to steal to support themselves, they are counting on the British state to do it for them. That said, several shopkeepers were also interviewed and they were aghast at the prospect of these new arrivals.

The second thing that really stuck me was the sheer idiocy of the spokesman that was quoted (I assume he was from Slough Council), who said “we are working to figure out how to reunite these children with their parents”, or words to that effect… as if these parasites were washed up after a storm rather than having intentionally travelled from Romania to Slough. Quite rightly the reporter commented that there was no indication these children were likely to oblige as they were clearly very satisfied with what they were being given.

However my guess is that once they have established themselves, they will indeed be “reunited with their parents”… who will arrive in the UK to do exactly the same.

It is interesting to contrast this with the highly successful influx of Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian and now Baltic immigrants into the UK over the last few years. High initiative, quickly integrating Eastern Europeans attracted by the more dynamic economy of Britain, have joined the work force and broader British society generally to the noticeable benefit of everyone… but in this case in Slough, the welfare system has attracted the worst kind of bare faced parasites from a predatory sub-culture. An interesting contrast and proof yet again that ‘immigration’ is not a problem, it is immigration-plus-welfare-handouts that causes the problems.

F-word or N-word?

Myself I do not think the state should be in the business of subsidising housing. But if it is in that business then I do not think it is tolerable for the state to pick and choose whom to subsidise on the basis of other than individual circumstance – not group belonging.

New Labour minister Margaret Hodge begs to differ. She writes in The Observer today:

We should look at policies where the legitimate sense of entitlement felt by the indigenous family overrides the legitimate need demonstrated by the new migrants. We must debate these difficult questions.

If you have an ounce of conscience or historical background the questions [sic] are not difficult at all. Someone’s sense of entitlement does not trump someone else’s need – by which she necessarily implies it should curtail the second person’s legal rights – because the first person is ‘indigenous’. We know where that leads.

I have often suggested that the New Labour programme is a ‘soft’ form of fascism. I wonder now whether I was rude enough.

Has Mark Steyn got the wrong end of the demographic stick?

Mark Steyn is one of those writers on the “right” who, I suspect, are admired by the sort of folk who read this blog. He is very funny: some of his takedowns on movies and politics have got me laughing out loud. (P.J. O’Rourke remains the Emperor and tends to be less pessimistic and is more libertarian). I mostly supported Steyn’s take on the case for overthrowing Saddam – although I get the impression that he has gone rather quiet due to the mess of the subsequent Coalition occupation of that tortured country. More recently, Steyn has pushed the following thesis: Europe is headed for an Islamist takeover because Those People are, to use the late Orianna Fallaci’s charming expression, “breeding like rats”, and that in 20 years’ time, they’ll be beheading criminals in Birmingham, forcing women to cover up on the Cote’ D’Azur, and they’ll be no more boozing in the Munich Oktoberfest. We are, as Private Frazer would say in Dad’s Army, the old British sitcom, all doomed. No wonder a certain kind of American who tends to despise those “commie Europeans”, is lapping it up.

Steyn bases his thesis on demography. It is both the core but also the main weakness of his book. The problem I have with all such predictions is that the variables have a nasty habit of changing. Even a small change in the birth rate can have a huge impact on the subsequent growth rate of a population set. It is a bit like the law of compound interest. Even a small increase in cost of borrowing money or the yield on a stock can, over 10 years, make a big difference to a mutual fund or the size of your mortgage. Population growth statistics and predictions are like that. Remember the doomongering population scientist Paul Ehrlich? He bet that, by around now, the world’s population would have expanded so fast that we would be starving to death. As the late Julian L. Simon pointed out at the time, Ehrlich’s prediction was hooey. Erhlich overlooked a rather universal trait: as people get richer and no longer have to rely on big families to support parents in their dotage, birth rates fall. It seems to happen pretty much everywhere, including in those countries with very different religious and cultural traditions.

This makes me wonder a bit about whether Steyn is over-egging the point. Demographics is clearly a vital issue, not least in explaining why European growth rates might remain sluggish in the decades ahead. But I cannot help but wonder that Steyn is making the sort of bold extrapolations on population that he would be the first to mock if it was, say, the latest prediction about global warming. Conservatives like Steyn are usually skeptics about Big Predictions, so it seems a bit odd that he has taken up the demographic prediction game with such enthusiasm.

I do not think Steyn is a racist, although in a rather overheated review of his latest book, Johann Hari comes close to making that charge, although even Hari admits that Steyn makes some important points about the follies of multiculturalism and agrees that there is a serious problem with Islamic fundamentalism. But I think Hari does make the important point of questioning whether Steyn has let his own pessimism get the better of him.