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]

“They deleted EVERY other thread about the shooting”

These comments were all taken from posts to the Orlando shooting megathread on https://www.reddit.com/r/news/:

– Dear Moderators:
You are not journalists. You are not editors. You are not arbiters of good taste or what constitutes “newsworthiness”. Stay in your lane.
Your actions today have failed the Reddit community.

– You know whats crazy? I live in Orlando and I had no idea this was going on. I depend on reddit for my news 100% since it can rapidly deliver news from many sources that I can validate or discard. I have literally been up all night on Reddit and due to the apparent thread lockings and deletions, this story took 9 hours to make it to me — I probably live within thirty minutes of this place.
Unbelievable.

– To me the funny thing about the censorship here is that the people who do it think somehow that they are helping the situation by deleting anything they don’t like or anything they think might offend somebody.
What they are really doing is creating more repressed anger and outrage. If you think that deleting comments about Islam will decrease animosity towards Islam then you’re sadly mistaken my friends. You’re simply creating more hatred by many who feel that any criticism of one particular group with one particular ideology is forbidden while it is open season on the rest of us. Let us remember a simple fact. Islam is an ideology like belief in Donald Trump or believe in magic pixie is forbidden while it is open season on the rest of us. Let us remember a simple fact. Islam is an ideology like belief in Donald Trump or believe in ghosts. It is not a race, or people, or color,. If you attack Islam you were simply attacking an ideology. Nothing more nothing less.
Please stop deleting comments– you are increasing anger not decreasing it

– Wtf? 50 people are killed and I have to look around for 5 minutes? Wtf reddit, don’t make me go back to getting my news from the fucking TV, alright? Just get your shit together.

– Its not even on the front page. This is going to be a monumental shooting event and its NOT EVEN ON THE FRONT PAGE.

– As soon as my boyfriend told me, the first place I came for information was Reddit. Not CNN, not CBS, not NBC. Reddit. Not a goddamn thing about it on the front page. Unacceptable.

– reddit is normally my first port of call for this sort of thing
It needs to stop being your first source. Reddit is about information control. You’re not getting the full picture

– I’ve been on reddit for 7 years (this is not my first acct) and I’ve seen its gradual shift from the pure, raw immediate news that put CNN to shame, to a useless, slow-moving organization that is more concerned with affiliate clicks, admin control and promoting ideology.
reddit used to be a serious option for people seeking help in the wake of some catastrophe. now it suppresses useful information

– You know it’s sad when r/the_donald is covering this more than the fucking main news subreddit. The amount of blatant censorship on here is ridiculous.

– I’m sorry, but this whole thing has been ridiculous. This situation has been unfolding for hours, it’s the deadliest mass shooting in US history, and the only evidence of it on the front page is stuff from /r/the_donald?
Mods you really dropped the ball here. In a (poorly executed) attempt to be unbiased, you ended up letting a completely biased source take over the flow of information. What the hell were you thinking?

– More than anything else, the actions of the mods this morning have fostered anger and resentment and suspicion. They have made the discussion about this site’s cowardice and emboldened those who accuse it of pandering to the PC left. The mods here have failed and permanently damaged the site’s credibility.
Shooter was Muslim. Stop hiding posts you fucking idiot mods. Who cares what nationality the shooter is, this is a tragic event you fucking cunts.

– There was a time I relied on r/news for up to date /recent news. I had to learn about this shooting through a fucking iheart radio notification. …seriously mods, get your shit together.

– Is it true that you’re banning users for mentioning that the shooter was a radical islamist?
People are right to be upset at those defending islam. It’s the only unreformed abrahamic religion–forever stuck in the 10th century. Fuck islamists and anyone who defends them.
This is absolutely abhorrent censorship. 50 dead and you’ve prevented discussion because something about it goes against your identitarian political agenda. I guess more people will finally realize what a shithole this place truly is. You fucked up.

– How is this not front page? I found out about this from facebook… so much for getting my news from reddit!

– They deleted EVERY other thread about the shooting. I woke up this morning and got the information from Drudge, not one r/news post made it to my front page. Unfuckingbeleivelable.

– Why isnt this on the front page? I cant find anything to do with the shooting in Florida besides from /r/the_donald

Most of the above Reddit posts had disappeared in the quarter of an hour it took me to write this Samizdata post. This was the leading new post:

– The actions of the moderators today have failed reddit. They have failed the LGBT community and humanity as well! Clearly, their need to protect their narrative is greater than their need to protect REAL human lives. A REAL tragedy just took place, and people can’t get off their high horse for two seconds to discuss something far greater than their stupid pride. We need to let it be understood that we as human beings will not tolerate such action, and will stand up against terrorism.

Related post: Politically correct evasiveness fails on its own terms. I have added the tag “deleted by the Guardian” to this post because it deals with a similar phenomenon to the PC deletions of reader comments for which that newspaper is well known, but wish to state that in this case the Guardian‘s coverage included the lead hypothesis that this mass murder was an Islamist terror attack from early on.

*

Added later: I note that the name of the “deleted” tag has now been broadened to cover the PC media generally. It is indeed done by the PC media generally and it has been going on a long time. Ten years less a month ago I wrote this post for Biased BBC: But… you talk like war crimes are a bad thing:

yet when bombers murdered your own countrymen in London a year ago you were so anxious to avoid being judgemental that you had someone go through what your reporters had written in the heat and pity of the moment, carefully replacing the word “terrorist” with the word “bomber.”

*

Further update: The Daily Caller reports, Reddit Bans Users, Deletes Comments That Say Orlando Terrorist Was Muslim. The article contains several screenshots, including one of the front page of Reddit with /r/The_Donald filtered out. It showed “not a single mention of the worst US terror attack since 9/11, worst shooting ever”.

The Big Question: Are there too many movies featuring the Death Star?

The question as posed in the title of this entry was raised at The Federalist. What say you, Samizdata commentators?

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.

OnCamera

Someone has made a smartphone app that gets you on a video call to a police officer at the touch of a button. I am sure it has its uses, but take a look at the promotional video.

As a Real Feminist, I have a better idea. So do many of the YouTube commenters.

On the false choice between Privacy and Security

Many commentators are referring to the current fracas over strong encryption and other security technologies, including especially Apple’s refusal to provide the FBI with hacking tools for the iPhone, as a trade-off between privacy and security.

Even people who feel that strong security technologies are a good thing often position things as a trade-off of this sort.

I would like to reiterate something many of us already know: this is an entirely false dichotomy.

Backdoors in security systems don’t just eliminate privacy, they also make systems insecure.

The current fight isn’t just to make sure that the government cannot learn that you’re reading dissident publications or to make sure the government cannot automatically find everyone who has opinions it doesn’t like, although those are certainly worthy things to want.

The current fight is about whether we will impose a technological infrastructure which will be exceptionally vulnerable to attackers in order to provide nothing more useful than some very, very short-term advantages to people investigating crimes.

This pits the interests of everyone in society who depends on technology for their safety, which is to say, more or less everyone, against a tiny group of law enforcement officials who find their jobs somewhat more difficult.

We should remember that the damage caused by insecurity in our critical systems is not theoretical — it is pervasive problem even today. We saw only this last week a hospital forced to pay ransom to restore its computer systems. We’ve seen instances in the last year of the US federal government losing data on literally everyone with a recent security clearance to enemies unknown who presumably are very, very interested in knowing who all those US government agents might be. Untold millions of dollars are stolen every day in various sorts of computer fraud — everything from credit card fraud to fraudulent IRS e-file refunds. We already know that you can do horrible things to SCADA systems and the like that could potentially kill people, and whether you believe that’s already happened or not, it is clearly only a matter of time before people die that way.

All of this is because of lack of security in computer systems — a lack of security that the FBI, Cyrus Vance Jr., and other special interests propose to make dramatically worse on a permanent basis, in order to make their jobs somewhat easier for the short term. Imagine what things will be like in a world where Cyrus Vance has a slightly easier job but maniacs who have stolen US government master crypto keys can cause thousands or millions of automated cars to crash, killing their occupants.

So, please stop making it sound like it is merely the right to privacy that is at stake. Certainly the right to privacy is crucial for our society, but even those who do not agree with privacy should understand that back doors are not about making a trade-off in favor of increased security but in favor of pervasive insecurity.

This is not about security vs. privacy. We’re talking about nothing less than deranged short-term thinking that privileges the convenience of a small part of the machinery of law enforcement over the safety of almost everyone in our entire society.

Huge gun hoard found in Suffolk, England

The now, sadly deceased Chairman of a Parish Council (a toothless level of government in most cases), in Suffolk, the late James Arnold has been found to have had the largest ever gun hoard found in England, says the Daily Mail, reporting on a linked case involving a living firearms dealer.

This is the terrifying collection of nearly 500 guns and 200,000 rounds of ammunition which was seized from a parish council chairman who collected firearms ‘like stamps’.

There seems to be no suggestion that the arsenal was intended for any other purpose than to be hoarded, and from the pictures a lot of the ammo appears to be inert, and none of the weapons have been linked to any crimes.

(The police) revealed that, had the weapons fallen into the wrong hands, they would have been enough to arm nine coach-loads of terrorists. Chief Superintendent David Skevington said: ‘James Arnold never offered any explanation for what he did; he simply said he had come by the weapons years ago and kept them safe to stop them causing any harm.
‘We have asked every question and followed every line of inquiry and have found no evidence of a criminal or terrorist motive.

Well quite, in Suffolk, there is little terrorist activity. Although historically, Saint and King Edmund was martyred somewhere not too far away, and the Danish culprits appear to have escaped justice. Mr Arnold was arrested 3 months before his untimely death from pancreatic cancer, aged 49. The Mail notes, almost chafing, methinks

After the 49-year-old’s arrest in 2014, Arnold died of pancreatic cancer, meaning he could never face prosecution

I don’t know, these days being dead is no bar to a police investigation, even if you were the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Plod are to devote a year to going through Sir Edward Heath KG’s papers, and they aren’t even considering treason charges for bringing about the UK’s entry into the EEC, which could at least lead to a reprise of Cromwell’s posthumous fate.

I note that on the OP, commenter Big George says

Big George, Michigan, United States, 2 hours ago
This is known as a “starter set” in Texas.

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.

 

A survivor speaks

Eagles of Death Metal frontman: ‘Everybody has to have guns’

The frontman of the Eagles of Death Metal, the band that was performing at the Bataclan theatre in Paris when 90 people were murdered by terrorists last year, has remembered his terror at encountering a gunman backstage – and argued for universal access to guns.

The Californian rock band was performing in front of a crowd of around 1,500 on the night of 13 November when three terrorists armed with assault rifles entered the room and began shooting and throwing hand grenades.

It was part of a series of terrorist attacks in Paris that night, that Islamic State later claimed responsibility for.

Vocalist-guitarist Jesse Hughes, who is a long-time advocate for access to gun ownership, told the French television station iTélé in a 19-minute, at times tearful interview on Monday that restrictions on guns in France had helped to enable the terrorists.

Asked if his views on gun control had changed after the terror attacks, he said gun control “doesn’t have anything to do with it”.

“Did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.

“I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and that night guns made them equal,” he said. “And I hate it that it’s that way. I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe that until nobody has guns everybody has to have them.

A survivor of a mass shooting makes an appeal for more gun control? Even the politest disagreement is held to be vile.
A survivor of a mass shooting makes an appeal for less gun control? Well, take a look at the Guardian comments.

What are the risks that Hillary Clinton goes to jail before she could reach the White House?

This story has been around for such a long time that the cynics in the media and political world are inclined, perhaps, to roll their eyes at yet another article going on about how Hillary Clinton (who beat Bernie Sanders by a whisker in Iowa last night) allegedly put classified material through a private email account, including material considered so sensitive that the lives of CIA and other US operatives are potentially at risk. A full account can be seen at the Observer blog (not to be confused with the British newspaper.) From a reading of this tale, it seems to me that Clinton has misbehaved on a scale equivalent to say, a Bradley Manning or, maybe in some ways, an Edward Snowden (contrary to some people, I don’t regard Snowden as a libertarian hero, at least not consistently). And one effect may be that supposed allies of the US, such as the UK, may be asking very urgent questions indeed, right now, about all this. What UK intelligence material has been compromised? Have Brit agents’ lives been put at risk? And so on. And given that there is no love lost between the Obama and Clinton camps, it may be that Obama, with his Chicago-educated ruthlessness and malice, may absolutely love to torpedo the candidacy of this woman and try and get a hardline socialist into the White House (although that might be wishful thinking.)

There has been so much focus on Donald Trump’s extraordinary rise to political prominence that some of the media attention that could have been focused on the Clinton email affair has been diverted. Even allowing for media bias to the Clintons, there are enough liberal/left journalists, as well as more obviously conservative and libertarian ones, who loathe the Clinton dynasty, who are appalled by its corruption, to make a serious assault. I expect the next few weeks and months to be fascinating.

So a question for commentators on this blog is: how serious a risk does Clinton face of going down for this and are there precedents of a front-runner for a candidacy being brought down by criminal charges/investigation?

 

Ladies: if you fight off a would-be rapist…

…for goodness sake do NOT then go to the police and tell them how you did it!

So the only reason you did not get raped was that you used pepper spray on this violent thug? Don’t you know pepper spray is illegal?

It is far better in the eyes of the state for you to be raped than have effective means to defend yourself. Seriously, do you think the Boys-in-Blue are there to protect you? If you do think that, then let me disabuse you of that notion: they are there to maintain the power and privileges of the state and any time their actions coincide with your interests (such as catching a violent criminal), that is serendipity rather than design.

Police advice on how to react to a terrorist attack -run, hide and tell…

In the UK, there is now some police advice in a video on what to do in the unlikely event of getting caught up in a terrorist attack. The first tip is to run, the next is to hide, phone the police if you can and say where you are, and wait for the armed police to turn up, and when they do, try not to get shot by them by waving your hands around too quickly.

For those unfamiliar with hiding from armed killers, the video suggests.

“The best hiding place with protection from gunfire will have a substantial physical barrier between you and the attacker.”

Another handy tip is:

“Insist others come with you, but don’t let their indecision slow you down,” the video says.

A fuller version of the video is here.

Well that’s made it all fairly clear then. The video is pretty much what you might have expected. As Bob Geldof put it in ‘I don’t like Mondays‘ ‘…And the lesson for today is how to die…’.

Truth be told, the advice is realistic given the legal situation in the UK. Do our friends in Texas have a different take on what to do?

Samizdata quote of the day

In my book, Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic’s Guide to the Art of Living, I argue that the values of the ancient Stoics can help us achieve personal happiness. I believe that these same values can help our children grow into strong, responsible, and resilient citizens. And what are Stoic values? It’s not just a matter of keeping a stiff upper lip, nor does Stoicism hold that you should tamp down all your feelings. Rather, Stoics believed that the good life is one characterized by virtuous beliefs and actions—in brief, a life based on duty, discipline, and moderation. The Stoics also believed in the importance of taking life on its own terms–what they would have described as “living in harmony with nature.” Stoics did not whine when they were passed over for an award, nor did they throw a hissy fit when they didn’t get their way. As the Stoic philosopher, Seneca (106-43 BCE) put it, “All ferocity is born of weakness.” Perhaps most important, Stoics understood the tremendous value of gratitude — not only for the gifts we have received, but also for the grief we have been spared. Maybe if more children were inculcated with these teachings, we would find our celebrities showing more gratitude and less “attitude.”

Ronald Pies.

In another article, the author of this item argues that narcissism may explain the recent spate of mass shootings in the US; he seems to acknowledge, which is to his credit, that overall violent crime in the US has actually fallen in recent years, however.