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 moment of profound self-discovery! I am an LGBT activist!

Liberty, Guns, Beer & Totty.


The desired end-state

Finally it all makes perfect sense.

Cosplay and security

On an errand today I had cause to walk through town carrying an enormous Nerf gun. I joked with a colleague about whether I would get arrested. He said it would be fine as long as I did not paint it black.

Then I spotted this in a report about Gamescom, a large computer games convention:

Because of multiple shocking events around Europe, security is tighter at Gamescom than usual. Visitors are being requested to leave bags and rucksacks at home. Bag checks are held at all entrances, so there are delays getting into the Koelnmesse.

In addition, cosplayers are being told not to bring imitation weapons, no matter how soft or outrageous they might look. They will not be allowed into the building.

It might not mean much, but it means something.

In the Nerf gun section of the toy shop I overheard one parent telling a child he was not allowed guns, and a separate conversation in which a woman was telling her friend, “some parents don’t let their kids play with Nerf guns. I don’t know why. It’s not as if you get terrorists walking around with them.”

It might not mean much, but it means something.

New smite cats recruited…

… I have returned from Istanbul and never have I seen a city with more cats. And in spite of many being feral, they are well fed and friendly. One of these days I hope to see if there is some way to see a return of the smite cats to samizdata (long standing readers will know what I am babbling about).

So un-smittting should be a bit faster now.

Tomb cat makes sure everyone stays dead

Outstanding craft beer

→ Continue reading: New smite cats recruited…

A Poem of Two Chancellors

Regular commenter Niall Kilmartin started writing this poem as part of the Erdogan poetry competition but found his thoughts turning in a different direction:


        A Poem of Two Chancellors

Though Erdogan is just the man to merit mocking poetry,
Another leader claims my pen, a graver cause is troubling me:
I write of Merkel’s acts because they do not cause me levity.
Oh Angela, was Adolf’s far-from-noble dream once also thine?
I doubt it, yet it’s you, not he, who makes your country Judenrein
(And these days PC tells the Jews it’s hate speech if they dare to whine).
“The best man for the job? Why, choose a woman!” – that’s a bitter joke
When calling doubters ‘Nazis’ is the means by which you meanly cloak
What kind of ‘refugees’ are brought by all this ‘kindness’ you invoke.
We know they’re really migrants since we see they mostly are young men.
We know young men commit most crimes in any group – it follows, then,
That their rate (high enough at home) must here be multiplied again.
Think you, if most of them don’t kill, it will not be like World War Two?
(When, as you know, most Germans did not personally kill a Jew;
When most are scared or hate-filled, acts of killing only need a few.)
Now each one missed by Hitler will be hissed or spoken of likewise
By migrants who care not if they are heard by one, percentage-wise
from that subgroup who won’t just talk but will make sure that that Jew dies.
At least I can be glad most Jews you rule can flee abroad (absurd
that they’ll be refugees for real – and so will be by you ignored).
A few new graves, attracting vandals hypocritically deplored,
Alone will then commemorate them, those canaries in the mine.
Oh Angela, was Adolf’s far-from-noble dream once also thine?
I doubt it, yet it’s you, not he, who makes your country Judenrein.


These two lines made the poem for me:

A few new graves, attracting vandals hypocritically deplored,
Alone will then commemorate them, those canaries in the mine.

Over-fearful? I would be glad to think so. I usually do think so. But the quickest of internet searches throws up recent news stories like this one from Spiegel Online International, “Skepticism of German-Israeli Friendship Growing in Berlin”, and this one from Deutsche Welle (DW), “Immigrants Beyond the Law”. The latter story says that migrants from warzones such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are not particularly criminal but says, ‘It is a completely different story with immigrants from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia though. “Activity quotas” for North Africans are no less than 40 percent.’ Wow. You would never guess from the strapline and first few paragraphs of the DW story that it contained such a statistic as that. Such evasion is typical and does much to increase mistrust.

Discussion point: Is the Klingon language copyrightable in US law? Should it be?

As linked to by two different posters at Instapundit and semi-reformed Trekkies everywhere, Paramount Pictures, in the course of a claim against the makers of a film set in the Star Trek universe, are claiming to own the copyright on the Klingon language. Thirty years ago linguist Marc Okrand was hired to take the snatches of made-up Klingon dialogue in the early Star Trek movies and flesh them out into a useable language. This he did. The idea took off and all sorts of people since then have learned Klingon to some degree for fun and intellectual stimulation.

A press release from the Language Creation Society says,

We firmly believe that conlangers should receive credit for their work. Specific works describing a conlang, such as the Klingon Dictionary, Living Language Dothraki, or Ithkuil website are creative works in their own right, entitled to full legal protection. So are works that are in a conlang, such as Klingon Hamlet, Esperanto poetry, Ithkuil music, and Verdurian stories.

However, a constructed language itself is not protected, and should not be. Copyright law is simply too blunt a tool for this.
Allowing copyright claims to a language would create a monopoly on use extending far beyond what is needed to protect the original work or to claim credit for the language’s creation. The potential threat of a lawsuit for merely using a conlang, or creating new works to make it more accessible, has a chilling effect; it makes conlangers, poets, authors, educators, and others less likely to build on and enjoy each others’ work, to the detriment of conlanging in general.

We believe that everyone has the right to use any language — including conlangs — without having to ask anyone’s permission. We hope that our participation in this lawsuit will help to make this belief into legal precedent.

Marc Randazza’s diverting amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Language Creation society is here.

I’m not going to do it. I AM NOT going to do it. I am not going to say “Qapla’!”

Except I just did. You will have deduced that I am sympathetic to one side of the case. But there is another. Property rights matter. Why should a bunch of flakes and dilettantes reap what another sowed? Why shouldn’t they pay a fee, in person or under licence, for the privilege of using Klingon just as they pay, directly or indirectly, to use a computer program? Let’s discuss this like Klingons. Which need not necessarily mean with a bat’leth.

Bill Whittle slays it

I have met Bill, and he is splendid chap to put it mildly. But I clearly need to watch him more closely because a few days ago he revealed himself to be a man of hitherto unguessed talents. He is a… rapper!

Do not forget what today is…

Ten of these

yir_toledo1Toledo, Spain. January 2015

yir_riga2Riga, Latvia. January 2015

yir_athens3Athens. Greece. February 2015

yir_baalbekBaalbek, Lebanon. February 2015

yir_parisParis, France. March 2015

yir_brusselsBrussels. March 2015

yir_liege22Liege, Wallonia. March 2015

yir_nm12Kelmis, Former condominium of Neutral Moresenet. March 2015

yir_ned33Vaals, Netherlands. March 2015

yir_aachen8Aachen, Germany. March 2015

yir_eupen7Eupen, German Speaking Community of Belgium. March 2015

yir_PomerolPomerol, France. April 2015

yir_krakKraków, Poland. May 2015

yir_slovRužomberok, Slovakia. May 2015

yir_lithuaNida, Lithuania. June 2015

yir_leipajaLiepaja, Latvia. June 2015

yir_szezSzczecin, Poland. June 2015

yir_hering3Heringsdorf, Germany. June 2015

yir_hamburgBad Segeberg, Germany. July 2015

yir_brussels2Brussels. July 2015

yir_antwerpAntwerp, Flanders. July 2015

yir_BaarleBaarle-Nassau/Barle Hertog, Netherlands/Belgium. July 2015

yir_bredaBreda, Netherlands. July 2015

yir_vvVama Veche, Romania. August 2015

yir_bulgDurankulak, Bulgaria. August 2015

yir_norwayVikøyri, Norway. August 2015

yir_targuTârgu Mureș, Romania. September

yir_ediEdinburgh, Scotland. September 2015

yir_berlinTempelhof, Berlin, Germany. October 2015

ir_iomRamsay, Isle of Man. October 2015

yir_stmalo2St Malo, France. October 2015

yir_istanbulIstanbul, Turkey. November 2015

yir_slov1Tatranská Lomnica, Slovakia.November 2015

yir_malmoMalmo, Sweden. December 2015

yir_copen1Copenhagen, Denmark. December 2015

yir_shang2Shanghai, China. December 2015

Not much time for blogging


I am away in foreign parts and thus there may be delays in moderation and content…

Lee Jussim on stereotypes

Claire Lehmann describes some of the work of contrarian social psychologist Lee Jussim:

It appears that descriptive stereotypes are a crutch to lean on when we have no other information about a person. When we gain additional insights into people, these stereotypes are no longer useful. And there is now a body of evidence to suggest that stereotypes are not as fixed, unchangeable and inflexible as they’ve historically been portrayed to be.

So, it would appear that “we” make use of stereotypes exactly as I make use of stereotypes (or as I try to), as crude first approximations, rather than as the last word. Bigotry, it has always seemed to me, means not having no prejudices, but rather having prejudices which you are unwilling to alter, when faced with circumstances which do not fit your prejudices. And it seems that “we” think like that also.

Good to know. My thanks to Bishop Hill for telling me about this piece.

Having written all of the above (apart from the thanks to Bishop Hill), I see that the previous posting here is also about stereotyping.

And how about adding a freehold property qualification too…

In 1971, the United States ratified the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.

The idea, in those Vietnam War years, was that 18-year-olds, being old enough to be drafted, to marry and to serve on juries, deserved a vote. It seemed plausible at the time, and I myself have argued that we should set the drinking age at 18 for the same reasons.

But now I’m starting to reconsider. To be a voter, one must be able to participate in adult political discussions. It’s necessary to be able to listen to opposing arguments and even — as I’m doing right here in this column — to change your mind in response to new evidence.

This evidence suggests that, whatever one might say about the 18-year-olds of 1971, the 18-year-olds of today aren’t up to that task. And even the 21-year-olds aren’t looking so good.

Glenn Reynolds

Well you did ask for this!

This is just too good not to share 😀