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]

Two hours of his life Sean Gabb will never get back

Sean Gabb is in blistering and delightfully acerbic form in an article titled Two Wasted Hours in Doughty Street. I had a similar experience surrounded by Tories at an otherwise interesting Adam Smith Institute event once, so Sean, I feel for you old chum.

The article reminded me of an old and not particularly distinguished movie with the line: “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”

It was not about Iraq or Palestine or Afghanistan…

The attempted London bombings were, we will be told, a consequence of US/UK actions Iraq or Palestine or Afghanistan or something or other about George Dubya Bush or Halliburton or Global Capitalism or Social Injustice. You may be certain that all these bullshit excuses will be trotted out by the disingenuous left who crave the accusations or the deeply provincial Americocentric faction of libertarianism who pretend bad people will leave you alone if only you stay in your mountain bunker in the Ozarks, do not ever send soldiers abroad and refuse to trade or interact with the rest of the world.

However I wonder what these people will make of the possibility that the attacks could well have been about Britain daring to grant an honour to Salman Rushdie. Yet again I am delighted that Rushdie was so honoured, thus subjecting so many of western civilisations’ enemies, domestic and foreign, to the harsh light in which their true natures are revealed.

Of course I have no doubt this will all be used to bring in yet more regulation of our lives, reducing even more of our already grotesquely abridged civil liberties whilst leaving us not even slightly safer.

Samizdata quote of the day

Those idiots want health. But what we need is more life.

– Tattooed Marie, a Parisian barmaid, quoted Á  propos smoking bans on Spiked.

The attempted mass-murder in London

I received an e-mail asking why, as many of the Samizdatistas live in London, we have not commented on the attempted mass murder by followers of Islam (also known as “the Religion of Peace”).

Well, firstly we Londoners are fairly used to people setting off bombs in this city ever since Irish terrorists started doing that in the 1800’s. The current crop of homicidal nutters trying to kill civilians happen to be less discriminating that some in the past (though please do not forget the none too discriminating Irish pub-bombers of days gone by), but in the end it is nothing we have not seen before.

And whilst I am delighted this was attempt to kill people was thwarted, it is not something that will actually have the slightest impact on my life or the lives of most Londoners. We will continue to act today much as we did yesterday. Frankly I am more worried about the pervasive threat posed to my civil liberties by Gordon Brown than the more or less random threat to my life posed by Al Qaeda.

So not much more to say about it other than… oh, that sucks…now I am off to dinner at a nice Thai restaurant tonight with my inamorata.

Update: looks like we were very lucky it was not a suicide bomber this time… thanks to some brisk and highly commendable work by a member of the Plod (who yanked some wires rather than wait for the bomb squad) this was a close call rather than a catastrophe. Our tax money well spent for once it would appear!

Signs of derangement

Scanning various news websites this morning, as is part of my routine, I came across this article over at Reuters. Scroll down and you will see that the item refers to a person commenting to the effect that car ownership is “immoral”. Think about that: ownership of a piece of metal, with wheels at each corner, that conveys people from A to B by the harnessing of controlled explosions in something called an engine, is immoral. Not unwise, costly, difficult or impractical, but “immoral”.

Maybe these creeps will next argue that Man’s possession of opposable thumbs is “immoral” too.

And the interesting news in Britian’s media is…

…a new career for Brown… Melanie Brown.

“You mean Gordon Brown, the new Prime Minister, don’t you?” you say.

Hell no, what could be interesting about that? I mean Melanie Brown.

The fact we have a new Prime Minister makes bugger all difference. In fact it is hardly worth reporting. Gordon Brown says he wants to govern for ‘change’. Well the catastrophic abridgement of the civil liberties of all Britons during the Blair Years was certainly a ‘change’. And no doubt we will indeed get more ‘change’ under El Gordo, all of it for the worse… so that is hardly newsworthy at all. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

No, the most interesting news worth reporting is all about Melanie Brown.

Not so scary but quite hot

A singer called Brown. Vastly more interesting that some kleptocratic power crazed political hack called Brown

Paging Nelson Muntz

Is no-one interested in saving the planet?

The Johannesburg leg of the Live Earth concerts has shifted venues due to lack of ticket sales at original venue…

The Istanbul leg of the event was cancelled last week, due to lack of sponsorship interest.


The paradox of “free” healthcare

“If Michael (Moore) thinks healthcare is expensive now, just wait when it’s free.”

P.J. O’Rourke, in a remark attributed to him in this nice takedown of Moore’s latest “documentary”, Sicko, a film making the case that we would all be better off in having tax-funded healthcare free at the point of use, like the magnificent British National Health Service that is the envy of the world (cue sarcasm alert, sounds of hollow laughter).

Arnold Kling has thoughts on the movie. Here is what I wrote about some of the issues arising when people want healthcare free at the point of use (ie, they want someone else to pay for it).

Do not misunderstand me: private healthcare in some countries, such as the US, is far from perfect. For a start, it does not have a lot to do with unfettered laissez faire capitalism, as anyone who has encountered the powerful American Medical Association will point out. The insurance system in the US encourages inflated prices for treatment, and there are other regulatory and legal costs which have become a lot worse in recent years. But if Moore thinks British cinema audiences will be wowed by his paean of praise for Britain’s Soviet model of healthcare, he needs to have his head examined.

Mind you, I have often wondered whether Moore is for real, or a sort of performance artist secretly working for Dick Cheney.

(Update: further thoughts on whether Moore is a clown damaging the already-weak case for socialised medicine can be seen here.)

The right badge for Blair and Brown’s limousines

The EU Referendum blog, a euro-sceptic site that I read regularly, has few doubts about a key part of Tone’s legacy:

There has already been a Cabinet reshuffle, in Europe. A new member has just joined the European Council. The shiny car in which he is driven to Downing Street should be bearing not a Union Jack but a ring of stars, to remind us of his coming servitude.

That also would be an acknowledgement of Tony Blair’s true legacy to this nation. Ten years ago, he entered Downing Street to a flurry of Union Jacks, waved by enthusiastic supporters. Today, he leaves – to an unprecedented standing ovation of the House – bequeathing his successor a blue flag with twelve yellow stars.

I would also add that a badge depicting Blair – and Brown’s – utter contempt for the traditional liberties of this nation, and our Common Law, might be appropriate. The trouble is, who among the broad British population would know what such a badge stands for?

Tory MP defects to Labour… a perfectly logical move

MP Quentin Davies has defected from the Tory Party and joined Labour.


Given that there is now such little substantive difference between the total regulation centrists of the ‘Conservative’ Party and and the total regulation centrists of the Labour Party, what possible difference could this defection make? It is now such an easy move politically, psychologically and philosophically (though using that word in an article about some political hack verges on hilarious), that I would not be surprised to see MP’s regularly ‘crossing the aisles’ according to the dismal ebb and flow of political fortunes in Westminster.

In fact, why not just merge the two parties and call them the Tory Labour Party? That way people on the dismal left and dismal right who think political power exists for the purposes of control for control’s sake, will have an openly unified ideology free home for their votes rather than the current fiction of a two party system.

Of course if you want to have an actual conservative party to vote for in Britain, you have UKIP, whilst genuine philosophically motivated lefties can vote LibDem.

Non-job of the day (26/06/2007)

Policy Manager (equalities)

Our client is a high profile London Borough and are currently looking for an experienced equalities policy manager. This is a fantastic opportunity to work for a high performing authority on the issue of race equalities.

You will be required to review and ammend existing polices as well as being the departmental lead on race equality. You will work on Level 4 of the Equality Standard for Local Government and be potentially working on projects across all 6 equality strands as and when needed.

Opposing super-statism does not make one a ‘nationalist’

Yesterday I happened to see the Sunday Telegraph and Niall Fergusson’s contribution was ‘interesting’ (in the sense of the old Chinese curse).

Niall Fergusson is a Scottish conservative who sold out and got a high paid job at Harvard (perhaps he just went along with the leftist stereotype of the conservative as someone who puts his personal financial interest above everything else). He sometimes still writes decent stuff, but normally his writings are designed to not offend his new ‘liberal’ friends (and employers) and today was no exception.

Professor Fergusson was not writing in support of Islamic terrorists in Somalia (which he has done in the past), or declaring that the West should submit to (sorry engage in ‘diplomacy’ only with) the Iranian regime (regardless of how many British and American people this regime kills in Afghanistan, Iraq and the streets of Western cities). No today he had a different subject – the European Union (remember in establishment circles in the United States wanting to take powers away from the EU is considered as wicked as it is in establishment circles here).

The great historian has decided to put his support behind the superstate and denounce its evil ‘nationalist’ foes.

Supposedly 30% of the population of the United Kingdom think membership of the EU has been harmful. I think it is rather more that 30%, but perhaps Professor Fergusson is correct.

What were Professor Fergusson’s arguments against those people who think that the tidal wave of EU regulations has been harmful?

He presented no arguments at all. It was just taken as obvious that anyone who opposed this layer of government was both stupid and evil.

Professor Fergusson is clearly a true establishment man and no doubt will continue to be welcome at all the social events in Harvard.