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

Well, the memo was released. You can read it in full here, and I recommend you do so because, on the evidence of much of Friday’s TV and radio coverage, most commentators only want to talk about it in the most shallow political terms. Whereas the questions it raises about state corruption in an age of round-the-clock technological surveillance are far more profound.

Mark Steyn

Read the memo.

Holy.Fucking.Shit.

Samizdata quote of the day

He doesn’t mean to be a monster and I don’t want to see him as one, but in his presence my blood ran cold. I was afraid of him. I was even more afraid of the way the earnest folk in the room laughed as he joked about the unintended consequences of various programmes to clean up the act of the idiotic, self-destructive great unwashed, I realised that I might be the only one there who included himself in the category of “the people” to be shaped as opposed to the smug elite doing the shaping.

No one seemed remotely concerned for the freedoms of those on the receiving end of Dr Chadwick’s mind bending, “nudging” and manipulation — the benighted mugs who ultimately pay to have such well-shod professionals sneer about them behind their backs.

– Tom Paine writing an article titled ‘An unexpected encounter with a monster

Oh boy, do I feel Tom’s Pain (sorry).

It reminds me of the following remarks I made when speaking to a rather earnest employee of Her Majesty’s government. It was at a PPE dinner at an Oxford college, filled to the rafters with pretty much the same people who filled the room where Tom Paine’s blood ran cold. As I was clearly very off-message, she had just told me that “You’re the sort of person we need to convince”:

“Don’t waste your time trying to convince me its all for my own good, because the objective isn’t my good, its making sure the people in this room have power. If you keep nudging people, and you just won’t stop, eventually they’ll punch you in the face. But we both know the reason that doesn’t happen to you is because Mao’s dictum is entirely correct. Your presumed right to do what you do to the hoi polloi is embedded at an axiomatic level, you don’t have any coherent moral argument to back it up, and why should you? The only reason you can do what you do is because you keep the police force funded, which is why you don’t need to convince me of anything.”

For some reason I don’t get taken to those kind of dinners any more 😆

Samizdata quote of the day

But Justice Gorsuch took not an “expectation of privacy” approach to the question but a property rights approach. Under common law, he said, “possession is good title against everybody except for people with superior title.” Absent probable cause, a trespass action would be available against anyone searching the car. Thus, “by virtue of his possession,” Byrd would have a right to resist a carjacker or throw out an overstaying hitchhiker. “So why not the government?”

Roger Pilon

Samizdata quote of the day

In recent weeks, Labour could not make a simple statement in support of those protesting for freedom in Iran. It couldn’t give a straightforward condemnation of a regime that stones people to death for adultery, publicly hangs gay people, and forces women by threat of criminal punishment to wear headscarves in public. The hard left’s virulent anti-Americanism renders it ‘just not that simple’. No, with the influence and influx of ‘Stop The War’ ideologies, Labour has been dragged so deeply down the rabbit hole of anti-imperialist theories that they cannot condemn dictatorial, theocratic, repressive Iran in case it somehow strengthens, or implies support for, democratic, secular and free America. My Labour would see America is a necessary bulwark against Iran, yet the Labour we have sees Iran as a necessary bulwark against America. I cannot in all good conscience tell a single person to vote for that.

– Nora Mulready, writing an article titled “Today I resigned from the Labour Party

As I am some manner of wild-eyed libertarian/classical liberal, I suspect Ms. Mulready and I might not see eye to eye on certain issues, yet I have to respect someone who has the emotional maturity and intellectual integrity to transcend the tribal impulses we are all prone to, to detach themselves from an institution they were once deeply invested in.

Samizdata quote of the day

The unhinged Nazi talk discourages reasoned analysis in favour of chasing the cheap thrill of yelling “fascist!” at someone you don’t like. It is profoundly anti-intellectual. But it does something worse than muddy the present and harm rational debate about politics today; it also ravages the past; it relativizes the Nazi experience and, unwittingly no doubt, dilutes the savagery of the Holocaust through comparing that immense crime with what is simply an elected American administration many people don’t like.

This might not be Holocaust denial, but it is certainly Holocaust dilution. It is Holocaust relativism. And as some historians have been pointing out since the 1970s, Holocaust relativism, the treatment of the Nazi era as just a wicked brand of politics that crops up every now and then, including now, is the foundation stone of the vile prejudices that underpin actual Holocaust denial.

Brendan O’Neill discussing the toxic absurdity of the ‘Trump is a Nazi’ notion.

Samizdata quote of the day

This story is not alone. Elsewhere it was reported this week that ‘one in eight Swedish women will be raped in their lifetimes’. Never mind the dubious use of the future tense in this headline, when it comes to stories about rape in Sweden, beware ‘fake truths’. Sweden already has the second highest incidence of rape in the world – another actual fact – but this is because it has one of the broadest definitions of rape and most meticulous method of investigating it and correlating related statistics. Sweden has consequently one of the lowest conviction rates of rape in Europe – another fact thrown about with much alarm by people such as Naomi Klein – but this isn’t something we should be unduly concerned about. It’s a reflection, paradoxically, of just how seriously Sweden takes the crime of rape.

Patrick West

Samizdata quote of the day

Your group identity is not your cardinal feature. That’s the great discovery of the west. That’s why the west is right. And I mean that unconditionally. The west is the only place in the world that has ever figured out that the individual is sovereign. And that’s an impossible thing to figure out. It’s amazing that we managed it. And it’s the key to everything that we’ve ever done right

Jordan Peterson

Samizdata quote of the day

If only the people writing the newspapers knew things, eh?

Tim Worstall

What is to be done about this blatant sexism?

“I found their disrespect for women very disheartening, perhaps because their overall behavior seems so similar to our own, yet no amount of telling them I’m a professional, responsible, independent adult would change their views.”

What, might you ask, has troubled this person? Let me adumbrate that the writer is (afaik) a woman, remarking on a lack of respect for women, which is not shown to men.

But do not be too concerned, it is not a lack of respect for the particular woman’s professional abilities that drives this, the writer goes on, I parse, for what will be obvious reasons.

…But when the one father in our group approached, they would slink away without putting up a fight. Every time he sat down, they would come bounding back…

So clearly there is sexism going on here. So why isn’t reason working? I have some bad ‘news’ for this disheartened professional.

The disrespectful ones are, it turns out, not going to listen to reason, as they are… baboons (4th answer).

Which gives me an wonderful opportunity to stretch the evolutionary tree and crowbar in Jordan Peterson and Lobsters, watch and treasure, standing up straight with your shoulders back.

Samizdata quote of the day

As those regimes demonstrated, Peterson’s claim that identity politics is “genocidal in its ultimate expression” is no exaggeration. Hitler’s military invasions and death camps were the ultimate expression of the racialist and nationalist identity politics that spiritually drove Nazism. And Stalin’s weaponized famines and “gulag archipelago” were the ultimate expression of the class warfare identity politics that spiritually drove Soviet communism.

Dan Sanchez, discussing Jordan Peterson

Samizdata quote of the day

Oxfam have, again, come up with a gross misrepresentation of world poverty which fails to line up with everything else we know about human advancement and income improvements. Demonising capitalism may be fashionable in the affluent Western world but it ignores the millions of people who have risen out of poverty as a result of free markets.

Mark Littlewood, summing up why I would never give a toxic outfit like Oxfam a penny. Oxfam is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Samizdata quote of the day

One of the great tragedies of the NHS is that it has unnecessarily turned health into a Zero Sum Game. Because it has a limited budget, money spent on one treatment means that it cannot be spent on others. It therefore has to make life and death decisions based on what those running it perceive to be its priorities.

Madsen Pirie