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 meeting of minds

Famous actor Mel Gibson said, “Fucking Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world”, but give him a break, he was drunk at the time. And he was sorry afterwards, like he always is.

Famous director Ken Loach was presumably sober and certainly unapologetic when he said, “If there has been a rise [in anti-semitism] I am not surprised. In fact, it is perfectly understandable because Israel feeds feelings of anti-Semitism.”

What a wonderful coming-together this ceremony yesterday must have been:

Cannes 2016: Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake wins Palme d’Or

Accepting the festival’s top prize from actor Mel Gibson, Loach said: “We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible.

“The world we live in is at a dangerous point right now. We are in the grip of a dangerous project of austerity driven by ideas that we call neo-liberalism that have brought us to near catastrophe.”

Gibson to present, Loach to receive this prize: the judges’ choice at the world’s leading film festival.

A man kills someone whilst shouting “Allahu Akbar”, but…

When I saw this, I thought…

A German man suffering from psychiatric problems stabbed four people at a train station near Munich early on Tuesday, killing one man and wounding three more in an attack investigators said did not appear to be politically motivated.

Witnesses said the alleged assailant, a 27-year-old unemployed carpenter, attacked his first victim shouting “Allahu Akbar” (‘God is Greatest’ in Arabic). Some witnesses said they also heard him shout “infidels must die“.

…Well thank goodness this killing has nothing to do with the killer’s Islamic political beliefs. Good to know. Because if he had been motivated by Islam, presumably he would have shouted something like “The best döner kebabs in München are on Leonrodstraße and I’ll kill anyone who says otherwise!”

Yeah, nothing to see here. Move along. Move along.

UPDATE to linked article: “Investigators said the suspect may have converted to Islam but there was no indication that he had been radicalized“.

…presumably because as everyone knows, killing a stranger with a knife whilst shouting “Allahu Akhbar” is not an indication of radicalization, and therefore he must be a common or garden variety nutter.

Quite right too…

Politicians from all sides lined up to condemn the Conservative Party tactics in the race, but in the aftermath, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon refused to apologise.

“In the rough and tumble of elections, you get stuff said, questions asked,” Fallon told the BBC. “I think it is right that candidates for some of the most important offices in Britain do get scrutinised about their past associations.”

And Fallon is right to refuse to apologise, because apologising for highlighting Sadiq Khan’s vile associates would be like apologising for highlighting the past associates of some ‘right-winger’ who had shared a platform with members of the KKK.

What the Tory Party should be apologising for is running a twattish zillionare green like Zac Goldsmith as a candidate.

Dealing with those awkward social moments when someone mentions Labour and anti-semitism

Most of the time I have fairly tight choice over the sort of people I talk to and associate with, which means that I usually have a reasonable chance of not breaking bread, so to speak, with sympathisers with Islamic terror, haters of Jews, haters of capitalism, America, the West, fun, etc. Okay, there are one or two people who are in social circles I mix in who have what I consider to be “out there” views (I know one lady who seems, in her dottily amusing way, to be a full-on Jeremy Corbyn fan), but they are few and I can ignore them without giving offence. A more challenging problem are those family gatherings (I have just been involved in one) where a person I know who is quite close to my family  stating why it wasn’t odd or bad that the inhabitants of Israel should be “transported” to the US (as has been suggested by a Labour MP and councilllor), or some other large continent, far away from the Middle East, and that Ken Livingstone should not be pilloried for saying Hitler was a sort of Zionist, and that Jewish people are over-sensitive, and anyway they control the media, and that this person never buys anything which might have come from Israel…

In that situation, what do I do? (I was sitting at a table, having a family dinner). Do I:

Get up slowly, announce that I am not sharing the same room with this person again?

Try and think of a smart rejoinder that will shut the person up (if so, anyone got a suggestion)?

Send a copy of George Gilder’s The Israel Test?

Put laxative in the coffee?

Also, how do commenters here deal with the “maniac in the room” problem, such as the Uncle who brings up violent opinions or views so batshit ugly that no-one knows where to look? The responses may be different on which side of the Atlantic one is on. In the UK, it has been for a long time considered bad form to have arguments about politics and religion at all, particularly in family settings where there are children around, etc. In the US, it may be different.

I’d be very interested to know what people think.

Nick Cohen takes John Le Carré away for a spot of waterboarding

After writing his three great novels — The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Perfect Spy — it is easy to agree with the conclusion ofPrivate Eye’s critic, who said le Carré had become “his own tribute band”. You know now how his books will go. There is a decent Englishman. He comes across skulduggery. He is persuaded to fight it by an honest spy, who teaches him tradecraft, but instead finds he must fight Western corporations and governments whose cynicism knows no limits. In the case of The Night Manager, the reason, of course, why the British government is unconcerned by illegal weapons sales is that MI6 is in the pay of the villainous arms dealer.

– Nick Cohen, reviewing the recent TV adaptation of The Night Manager.

For what it is worth, although I like the George Smiley books and also enjoyed A Small Town in Germany, a lot of Le Carré’s other material is as Cohen describes it.

Here is a nice appreciation of the George Smiley books, which in my view are still riveting reading, all these years’ later.

 

Samizdata tweet of the day


Any old Caravaggios?

Reports from France indicate that someone in Toulouse who went up their attic to fix a leak found an old Caravaggio worth a reputed £94,000,000 lying around.

The picture is rather grim, it shows the Jewish fighter Judith beheading Holofernes, an Assyrian general. It also seems rather close to the bone (as it were) for these times, I would ask Holofernes what he thought, but…

Sadly, the French State gets the first option on buying it.

To defeat Islamism we need more freedom not less

I wrote this in the aftermath of the last Islamic outrage and it applies just as well to this outrage as that one. The only difference is that in the interim I have become rather disillusioned about immigration and have stripped out a rather idealistic paragraph on the subject; mainly because I don’t want it to dominate the comments.

I am posting this anonymously because, well, you just never know who might be reading and how they might react.

  1. It seems obvious but there seems to be so much denial going around that it has to be said: there is a war. Islamists are seeking to impose their will upon us – libertarians, Westerners, call us what you may – by violent means.

  2. There is much to fear from an Islamist victory. You only have to look at what Islamic rule means. It is bad news for anyone who likes alcohol, opposes animal cruelty, is gay, is a woman or thinks there’s no god, or there is a god but that his name is not Allah and that he didn’t write the Koran. Perhaps most important would be the loss of freedom of thought. Islam doesn’t do freedom of thought. It is also likely that as the Islamists tear down free-ish markets, mass starvation would ensue.

  3. They are winning. People are becoming less and less willing to criticise Islam. This is particularly true in universities. More and more women are covering up in public. At the last UK general election, the leader of the opposition was calling for the introduction of blasphemy laws. Recently Douglas Murray, the anti-Islamist writer, has had to stop advertising his public appearances in advance.

  4. The key front is not in the Middle East – I regard Western adventures in that part of the world as little more than displacement activity – but here, at home, in the West. Islamo-loons in the Middle East just can’t do that much harm. In the West they can and do. To that extent maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the Islamic State became established. Let it rip. Give them all the rope they need to hang themselves. Let the world see that a state run on Islamic lines can’t work. A pity for the inhabitants but much the same was true for the Soviet Union.

  5. There is a widespread belief that there is a trade-off between freedom and security. This may sometimes be true – wartime censorship comes to mind as a possible example – but not in this case. What we need is more freedom, not less.

    Some examples:

  6. The right to keep and bear arms. Owning a gun and knowing how to use it would make it much harder – although by no means impossible – for the Jihadi. It is worth bearing in mind that during the Troubles, off-duty security-force personnel were allowed to carry Personal Protection Weapons (PPWs). No, it didn’t defeat the IRA but (one assumes) it made them rather more cautious. This was at a time when gun laws on the mainland were becoming ever more restrictive. I find it amusing that in the British Bill of Rights there is a right for “His Majesty’s protestant subjects” – or some such – to possess firearms. Why? Because at the time they were involved in a religious war with Catholics being the enemy. It is worth reminding ourselves who won that one. It is also worth reminding ourselves that by the time of the Napoleonic wars Catholicism had become more or less innocuous.

  7. Welfare State. We need much less of it. We need to make jihadism more of a part-time activity and less of a full-time one. So, less unemployment benefit, less housing benefit. It would do wonders for the deficit. As Paul Marks has pointed out from time to time, the corollary to this is that we need far fewer restrictions on employing people. So, an end to employment laws and fewer planning restrictions. Employers need to be able to build the workplaces of the future and people need to be able to live near them.

  8. Religious Discrimination. It should be legal to discriminate on grounds of religion. At very least it might make it harder for the Jihadis to get jobs and with fewer jobs they’ll have less money for arms. It might also encourage the non-Jihadi Muslims to differentiate themselves from the lunatics. Might.

  9. End Government air security. Privately-owned airports and airlines will make a much better job of security than the government. My guess is, that equipped with the right to discriminate many airlines will refuse to accept Muslims at all. Or maybe, only after they have gone through onerous security checks. Perhaps we will see the creation of Muslim Air – an airline that only takes muslims. It will, at least, be interesting to see what the jihadis’ attitude to bombing that will be.

  10. An end to government involvement in universities. Although I am far from sure of the mechanism by which state involvement translates itself into the closing down of free speech on the campus – somehow the state manages the trick. Sever the link, allow universities to become diversities and watch as free speech reigns and Islamism withers.

Samizdata quote of the day

Whatever one thinks about Trump, and I certainly don’t always agree with him, he is the first major American politician (something he clearly is now) to name directly the entity that seeks to destroy Western civilization. He didn’t even cloak it in “radical Islam.”

The assumption of the “good people” is this will only make things worse, alarm the Muslim world and stir it up (as if it could be any more stirred up). Perhaps, however, it’s the contrary. Perhaps people are sitting in the Islamic world and privately sighing in relief. At last America has a leader (a “strong horse” in their parlance) who isn’t a fool, who is willing to stand up and say what so many already think.

Roger L. Simon

Try not lying

Another story from Der Spiegel International caught my eye: Lying Press? Germans Lose Faith in the Fourth Estate. It says it is by “Spiegel staff”. Someone would rather not put their name to this.

This comment from a reader calling themselves “wildberry” summed it up well:

“How can a woman who has been reading SPIEGEL, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Badische Neueste Nachrichten for years hit upon the idea that the journalists writing for these publications are trying to manipulate her, their reader?” This sentence encapsulates the problem. This air of injured innocence betrays the utter refusal of the journalists and their employers to understand why they are mistrusted and seen no longer as telling the truth to the world and holding the establishment to account. Instead they are more and more regarded as no more trustworthy than this same establishment. In fact, as with the latest example of (at best) partial and belated attempts to confront reality, they are seen as culpable, partial, and biased. That they cannot understand their own shortcomings and their own unconscious bias is at the root of the problem. When the press is seen, not as having a slight political preference – that has ever been the case and is widely accepted and understood, but as being complicit in the deliberate twisting of news-facts, one has to recognise that newspapers have dug their own graves and cannot complain when no-one believes them any more.

Another one, this time from “Pryor Oak”:

I am amazed that Der Spiegel is suddenly allowing readers to post comments. That is a step in the correct direction to earn trust in the media. Regarding the events in Cologne on New Years Eve, the Chief of Police issued a press release on January 1, 2016, stating that it was a “peaceful New Year’s Eve”. Only after Germans posted eyewitness accounts on Twitter, Facebook and international media that people learned the truth. This event created a distrust of the German media, police and government because it appeared that these institutions wanted to create a wall of silence regarding crimes committed by migrants against German citizens.

Here are two posts from the Samizdata back catalogue with a similar theme: If you do not want to see the BNP vindicated, try not proving them right and Politically correct evasiveness fails on its own terms. And just to show that this isn’t me jumping on the latest bandwagon, here’s a depressingly similar Biased BBC post from ten years ago: Two Beaches.

In the latter Samizdata post I asked (without, it must be said, any serious doubts as to the answer) the British press how it thought the strategy of silence and euphemism about the Muslim identity of the perpetrators of the crimes for which Rotherham is now world famous was succeeding. The same strategy was tried again in Germany with the same result. If the press of either country actually cares about diminishing the hostility between Muslims and non-Muslims it needs to try a new strategy. Try not lying.

Just when you think he cannot get any crazier

Hussein didn’t “make a living off killing terrorists.” He was a terrorist — an evil mastermind who worked every day to try to kill Americans, kill Israelis, and destabilize the Middle East. He was one of the prime financial supporters of a suicide-bombing campaign that caused greater relative casualties in Israel than 9/11 did in the United States. He funded Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. He plotted to kill a former president of the United States. He gave one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, Abu Nidal, access to a government office. He sheltered Abu Abbas, responsible for the hijacking of the Achille Lauro, and Abdul Yasin, a co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

David French, examining Donald Trump’s latest.

It is worth reading the whole thing. I know that a lot of libertarians, probably most who describe themselves thus, are on board with the “Iraq war was disaster and we should have left Saddam in charge” school. But the scale of the crimes SD committed, his sheltering of Islamist killers, encouragement of Islamist killers, acquisition and use of WMDs, breaking of UN resolutions/treaties, invasion of neighbours, etc, together constitute such a crushing case against his regime that I don’t regret, at all, his overthrow by external military force. It is also worth pondering the point that even if his regime had collapsed without the Coalition giving it a shove, we might still have many of the issues that grip Iraq now, although arguing over counterfactuals is always a bit of a mug’s game.

That Trump thinks that Hussein was good at dealing with terrorists is, in some ways, his must delusional statement yet and a scary insight into his view about the sort of regime he likes. For those in the US who plan to vote for this charlatan, the buyer’s remorse is going to be epic and on a scale that will make the anger about Obama look like child’s play.

 

Triply good news about free speech in Northern Ireland

Why “triply”?

– This:

Pastor who said Islam was ‘doctrine spawned in hell’ is cleared by court

A born-again Christian pastor who denounced Islam as “heathen”, “satanic” and a “doctrine spawned in hell” has been cleared after a three-day trial in a verdict that upheld the right to offend under the principle of freedom of expression.

– this:

The National Secular Society said the verdict was a “welcome reassertion of the fundamental right to freedom of expression”.
Campaigns manager Stephen Evans said the society strongly disagreed with the tone and content of McConnell’s comments, but added: “At a time when freedom of speech is being curtailed and put at risk in any number of ways, this is a much needed statement from the judge that free speech will be defended and that Islam is not off-limits.”

– and this:

An Islamic academic spoke in support of McConnell outside the court on the grounds of freedom of expression. Muhammad al-Hussaini, a senior research fellow in Islamic studies at the Westminster Institute, said: “Against the flaming backdrop of torched Christian churches, bloody executions and massacres of faith minorities in the Middle East and elsewhere, it is … a matter of utmost concern that, in this country, we discharge our common duty steadfastly to defend the freedom of citizens to discuss, debate and critique religious ideas and beliefs – restricting only speech which incites to physical violence against others.

“Moreover, in a free and democratic society we enter into severe peril when we start to confuse what we perhaps ought or ought not to say, with what in law we are allowed to, or not allowed to say.”