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

Noting the “unintended but disconcerting” link between nation-state activity and criminal activity, Smith adds that governments need “to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits”. The “Digital Geneva Convention” Redmond recommends would therefore require governments “to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them”.

Richard Chirgwin

Unintended? Not so sure about that.

When all else fails …

If all the approved policies fail, but a disapproved policy looks like it might work, then the disapproved policy is what might very well end up being done. Discuss.

While you’re discussing that, allow me to throw in this titbit of news, from the Czech Republic, which I encountered in the Washington Post:

Now the country’s interior ministry is pushing a constitutional change that would let citizens use guns against terrorists. Proponents say this could save lives if an attack occurs and police are delayed or unable to make their way to the scene. To become law, Parliament must approve the proposal; they’ll vote in the coming months.

From the bit linked to in that paragraph, this:

… it is not always possible for the police to guarantee a fast and effective intervention and fast action from a member of the public could prevent the loss of many lives.

Indeed.

Spotting Muslim terrorists is hard because so many Muslims behave like about-to-be-terrorists that it’s hard to know which ones to pick on and stop. And when one of them does strike, it could be anywhere, and the government can’t be everywhere. Only people can.

One of the bigger long term impacts of Muslim immigration into Europe could prove to be an armed European citizenry. Discuss some more.

Two articles about sexual violence in left wing papers that surprised me

The first article was by Eve Livingston writing in the Guardian: “The state is an enabler of sexual violence. So what hope for the victims?”

The headline caught my interest, which lasted well into the third paragraph. She wrote,

Violence does not exist solely in the instant that blow meets body, but in the circumstances that facilitate it and the systems which excuse it.

My heart soared. Could it be that Ayn Rand’s argument that all state laws are ultimately enforced at gunpoint had penetrated the pages of the Guardian? For it is certainly true that the state facilitates and excuses its own violence, and I have long thought that this produces a climate of opinion that tends to facilitate and excuse violent acts by anyone.

‘Fraid not. It was just another rehash of the tired old trick of redefining “violence” to mean “anything I don’t like”. Ms Livingston thinks that the government spending less money than she thinks it should on women’s refuges is “violence”. As is the government spending less on anything, or talking in metaphors that might induce unpleasant thoughts.

If economic policy too accurately embodies its violent language of slashing and cutting,

Whatevs, thought I. And nearly missed a rather good point:

…legislation around crime and justice delivers an almost laughable irony. In some cases, the very laws purportedly designed to protect women from violence can, in practice, enable it: the criminalisation of various activities relating to the sale of sex, for example, is universally opposed by sex worker-organising collectives, on the grounds that it limits their ability to work safely – for instance, in groups or designated zones – and without fear of violence from both clients and state agencies.

I was surprised and glad to read this. Until now almost the only voice in the Guardian opposing the fashionable “Nordic model” put forward by an unholy alliance between old style authoritarian conservatives such as Caroline Spelman MP and Gavin Shuker MP (one of whom does and one does not have the abbreviation for “Conservative” written after their name, not that it matters) and new style authoritarian feminists such as Guardian regulars Joan Smith and Catherine Bennett, came from Melissa Gira Grant. Ably though the latter writes, she tends to be discounted because she would actually know. Dear me, we can’t have that.

I really was glad to see that Eve Livingston sees that laws that claim to protect women from violence can have the opposite effect. It is sad that she almost hid her message from me (and not only me judging from the comments) by that silly attempt to stick the label “violence” on something that, even if one believes it to be bad, is not violence. Ironically that same trick is played by the crusading politicians she rightly opposes. Click on the link relating to Gavin Shuker MP above to read the following (emphasis added):

The year-long parliamentary enquiry argues that prostitution should be seen as violence against women and an affront to sexual equality, but sex workers have reacted furiously to the proposals arguing that the criminalisation of clients will push sex work underground, further stigmatise women and put lives at risk.

The second article that surprised me is from the New Statesman. Sarah Ditum writes, “What’s missing from the transgender debate? Any discussion of male violence.”

One of those things that supposedly never happens, happened. Luke Mallaband was convicted of six voyeurism offences after a female student at the University of East Anglia found his phone hidden in the university library’s gender-neutral toilets. The probation report described him as “high risk of posing serious harm to females”.

Here I was simply and honestly surprised that a piece in the New Statesman admitted there was a potential problem at all. I had thought that the whole “transgender bathroom rights” issue was still so new and shiny, like a newly socialist country whose economy has not yet visibly gone to pot, that no one on the Left dared break ranks. But Sarah Ditum did dare, and despite the many poor arguments elsewhere in her article, she saw where Eve Livingston did not the danger in the attempt to use the emotions stirred up by a word as a substitute for argument:

“Inclusion” and “equality” are words with strong positive connotations, and those positive connotations can sometimes smother the problem of competing rights in a warm feel-good fuzz. On 1 December, Parliament debates the report of the Women and Equalities Committee into transgender equality: from reading it, you would have very little idea that the rights of women and the rights claimed by trans people have any points of conflict.

It is not that I have any particular opinion on whether gender neutral public toilets are a Good Thing or a Bad Thing in general. Of course they should be allowed, and of course gender segregated public toilets should be allowed. Libertarianism offers a way out of the contradictions about the “competing rights” of this or that group: respect the right of whoever provides the toilets in a premises to enforce what rules they think best and the right of potential users of the toilets to use those ones or go elsewhere as they think best.

The State stalking the stalkers – and everyone else

Yet another knife in the face of the rule of law is proposed in England and Wales, to deal with the problem of stalking.

The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, appears to be pleased with the proposals.

New stalking protection orders will be introduced to better protect victims at the earliest possible stage, the home secretary has announced.
Amber Rudd called it “a practical solution to a crime taking place now”.

A closer inspection of the proposals reveals a familiar tactic, imposing a court order on someone who has not been convicted of any crime, and making a breach of that order a crime. This has already been in place since the Protection From Harassment Act 1997 was brought in, which was, IIRC, supposed to have dealt with this problem.

And look at the box of tricks that the State is offering:

The orders in England and Wales will help those who are targeted by strangers, giving them similar protection to domestic abuse victims.
Breaching an order’s conditions will be a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
Police will be able to apply to the courts for an order before a stalking suspect has been convicted or even arrested.
The requirements of the order will vary according to the nature of the case. Typically, the suspect will be banned from going near the victim and contacting them online.

So no need to even arrest someone, just dump an order on them, and that will be a good start. But there’e more, all very Soviet if you ask me.

They might also be ordered to attend a rehabilitation programme, or undergo treatment if they have a mental health problem.

So without so much as a chance to argue your case, you could find yourself ordered to undergo treatment, and risk 5 years in jail if you refuse.

Not that it is much better that this could perhaps only follow a conviction.

So what do the police think?

The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for stalking and harassment, Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, said:”We want to stop stalkers in their tracks.
“The launch of stalking protection orders will help us intervene earlier and place controls on perpetrators to prevent their behaviour escalating while the crime is investigated.”

Not, I note ‘We want to bring suspects before the courts if the evidence justifies arrest, charge and a realistic prospect of conviction in a situation where it is in the public interest to prosecute, even though prosecution is a matter for the Crown, not the police.’, which would be a bare minimum of respect for the rule of law. But clearly not a shoot-to-kill to ‘stop stalkers in their tracks‘.

And what do the ‘charities’ think?

Rachel Griffin, director of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust which manages the National Stalking Helpline, welcomed the announcement.
“We are really excited that the order allows positive obligations to be put on a stalker,” Ms Griffin said.
“But of course that mental health treatment needs to be available at local level.”

This ‘trust’ is named for a murdered estate agent. I don’t see how killing the rule of law is an appropriate memorial to her. And did you note the sly hint that (State) funding is important?

And on what pretext is the rule of law being sacrificed, with a dagger in the chest for the beating heart to be pulled out and eaten warm?

Stalking protection orders form part of a package of government action to coincide with 16 days of action following the 25 November International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.

How about the elimination of violence against the rule of law?

Monsters from the American Id

Justin Webb writes in the Times:

Bomb is a sign of hatred in American hearts (£)

Amazing what these Americans can do just by thinking about it. Webb, or whatever sub-editor wrote that headline, has finally acknowledged the truth first revealed in dramatic form sixty years ago:

Commander John J. Adams: In return, that ultimate machine would instantaneously project solid matter to any point on the planet, In any shape or color they might imagine. For *any* purpose, Morbius! Creation by mere thought.

Dr. Edward Morbius: Why haven’t I seen this all along?

Commander John J. Adams: But like you, the Americans forgot one deadly danger – their own subconscious hate and lust for destruction.

Dr. Edward Morbius: The beast. The mindless primitive! Even the Americans must have evolved from that beginning.

Donald Trump must have an especially American id. He is always calling violence upon himself by the sinister power of his subconscious.

By the way, monsters from the Dallas branch of the id also killed Kennedy: “The city of hate had, in fact, killed the President.”

Update: Evidently Dallas is a sort of wi-fi hotspot of the id. The fabric of reality wears thin in Texas. (Oklahoma isn’t so bad, being protected by Rodgers & Hammerstein. And New Mexico votes Democrat.) Getting back to Dallas, no individual can be blamed for the recent murders of policemen there. In Texas such things are inevitable.

Maybe there is no tradeoff

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

It has been fifteen years. Throughout that time most people, however much or little they valued liberty, have talked as if a loss of liberty were the price of increased security. Even Benjamin Franklin’s famous words quoted above assume this tradeoff.

What if it were not true? In what ways could more liberty bring about more safety?

“Don’t mourn, organize!”

Such were the last words attributed to doomed American labor activist Joe Hill.

The British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn decided to refresh his message for the new century. Rather than refraining from mourning and going into organization it refrained from organizing and went into mourning.

Labour left humiliated after G4S turns down last ditch plea to provide conference security despite boycott

Labour has been left humiliated after being forced to ask a security company it had pledged to boycott to help police its annual conference – only to be rejected.

G4S, which has provided security at the event for 20 years, is understood to be concerned about staff safety after Labour voted for a boycott over its prison contracts and links to Israel.

It follows a warning from Len McCluskey, the Unite boss, that the conference could be cancelled unless a provider is found urgently.

Sources close to the company warned that the short notice it was given and previous incidents at the event, including staff being spat at and verbally abused, made it impossible for G4S to accept the offer.

Security strip

“History,” wrote Edward Gibbon “is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.” One can well believe that his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire contains many lamentable tales wherein, for instance, after a barbarian attack the citizenry would take some random woman of the same tribe and humiliate her in a misdirected act of revenge.

French police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban

Photographs have emerged of armed French police confronting a woman on a beach and making her remove some of her clothing as part of a controversial ban on the burkini.

Authorities in several French towns have implemented bans on the Burkini, which covers the body and head, citing concerns about religious clothing in the wake of recent terrorist killings in the country.

The images of police confronting the woman in Nice on Tuesday show at least four police officers standing over a woman who was resting on the shore at the town’s Promenade des Anglais, the scene of last month’s Bastille Day lorry attack.

France, like the rest of the liberal West, gets this exactly and lethally wrong. First we forbid individuals their natural right to set the rules within their own property, to exclude and admit who they choose, to demand the burkini or to ban it. Then we set the law on people for the crime of wearing too much cloth on the public beach. A photograph is reproduced worldwide showing three armed male policemen standing over a Muslim woman and making her remove the clothes she considers necessary for modesty. Whatever your opinion of Islam and its clothing taboos, does anyone in the world believe that this makes the next jihadist attack less likely? To call it “security theatre” would be a compliment. The popular entertainment it calls to mind is that of the mob stripping and parading une femme tondue.

All hail the Bob Crow Brigade

Middle East Eye reports:

Bob Crow brigade ’30 miles’ from IS-stronghold of Raqqa in Syria

The Bob Crow Brigade (BCB), a group of British and Irish volunteers fighting in northern Syria named after a famous British trade union leader, are edging closer to the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa.

A spokesperson from the BCB told Middle East Eye that the group was based on the “Raqqa front” around 30 miles from the IS group’s de facto capital.

The BCB is named after the late leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), who was known for his down-to-earth combative style and a staunch supporter of left-wing causes. He died in 2014.

I must confess that when I first heard of a brigade named after Bob Crow I thought it was a joke. It seems not. They are real, and they are really fighting some of the worst people in the world. Good luck to them.

Added later: Sure, they’re commies. And they support the strikers on Southern Rail. But they are doing it from Northern Syria while fighting Daesh. As Winston Churchill said during WWII, “if Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”

Samizdata quote of the day

It seems these days that there is this omnipresent feeling that the world is going fucking crazy. Yet, by every objective measurement, it’s arguably the sanest and safest it’s been in recorded history.

Mark Manson

The Edward Cline eviction

This story suggests that there are some truly spineless people out there. A blogger and author, Ed Cline, has been ejected by his landlord because he isn’t particularly nice about Islam:

Readers will note that there is a new feature on this site, a PayPal button at the top or bottom of a new post, which anyone may use if he wishes to donate to my PayPal account to defray the costs incurred from my being evicted from my apartment of seven years because the landlady deemed me a mortal risk to her other tenants. Not because I was a physical menace to my neighbors, but because of what I wrote about Islam and Muslims. None of it flattering and none of it disinterested.

The situation, inaugurated when the FBI/NCIS paid me a visit on May 18th to inform me that my Rule of Reason site was on the radar of ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organizations, but that I was in no imminent danger. Thousands of Americans have been “targeted” by ISIS activists, or by wannabe terrorists. Their landlords or bankers have not told them to get lost. It is hard to ken the mentality of a person who would pretend that evicting me – an unprecedented event in my life – would somehow magically ward off any murderous Islamic mischief from her other tenants. I was instantly relegated to the status of a post WWII displaced person. I am currently “living out of a suitcase.” It has been a very stressful and costly experience for me. Not even several stories about the sheer irrationality of her actions have swayed the person I have not so fondly nicknamed, “The Bitch of Buchenwald.” As Daniel Greenfield noted in his article, the landlady acted, for all intents and purposes, as an agent of ISIS. There are scores, even thousands of her ilk in our federal, state, and local governments. Obsessed with not rocking the Islamic boat, though that boat has rocked with increasing frequency with hundreds of lives lost just in the West.
It is not my purpose here to say whether the landlord in question had a right to act in the way described (the landlord has not been quoted, so there may be other matters here, and it is only fair to make that point). It may well be that landlords in some cases state, in a rental agreement, that persons whose conduct might cause problems for neighbours etc can be evicted, although a lot depends on whether such “problems” are clearly defined, or not. For all I know, some rental agreements and rules in various places such as gated communities can be very tough. (I’d appreciate comments on that.) There may be a lot of expensive litigation and it sounds as if Mr Cline doesn’t have a lot of money. (People can help him out via Paypal.) A broader point, however, is that a man who hasn’t, as far as I know, committed a criminal offence is being turfed out of a rented flat because he is deemed a risk because of what he has written about Islam.
So in today’s West, and certainly Obama’s America, many authorities are determined to do what they can to play down the factor of Islamic totalitarianism as a key driver of violence and mayhem. But if a middle-aged man writes about this, or expresses bracing views on such matters, he can be thrown out of a home.
I can’t stand the man, but when you add up stories such as this, is there really any surprise that Donald Trump might be in the White House next January?

Samizdata quote of the day

This paper explores racial differences in police use of force. On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than fifty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police. Adding controls that account for important context and civilian behavior reduces, but cannot fully explain, these disparities. On the most extreme use of force – officer-involved shootings – we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account. We argue that the patterns in the data are consistent with a model in which police officers are utility maximizers, a fraction of which have a preference for discrimination, who incur relatively high expected costs of officer-involved shootings.

Roland G. Fryer, Jr

The National Bureau of Economic Research.

H/T, Commentary.