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]

Thanks for the day off

I loved the hats.

And the grumpy-looking little bridesmaid on the balcony at the exact moment of one of The Kisses (surely a future Violet Elizabeth Bott).

And the foxy chief bridesmaid.

And hearing again the words of the Anglican wedding service (even though it prompted, again, wistful laments from my wife about our own godless civil ceremony).

But mostly the hats.

Grumpy quote of the day

I am sitting next to the beach at Lyme Regis, south Dorset. The sun is out, the Brits have a public holiday due to the Royal Wedding, and I have deliberately fled central London to be down here. A good choice, as it turns out. This has to be one of the nicest parts of the UK.

The Daily Telegraph has one of those gushing, pro-Royal editorials written, I sometimes think, with the deliberate desire to wind up the malcontents out there. It seems to have succeeded most admirably, judging by this fellow in the comment threads by the name of “tyburntree”:

“….a nation with much to celebrate…”
Er, like what exactly? Treason committed at the highest levels. Illegal wars. Thoughroughly undemocratic parliamentary system. Deliberate population replacement and destruction of indigenous identity and culture ( contary to international law). Islamic extremism. Children killing children. Strutting Peacocks and thieves in our House of Shame. A three party dictatorship. Useless police. Useless courts. Useless schools. The refusal of our political class and courts to deport foreign criminals. Holiday camp prisons. Mulitculturalism. And last but not least a series of broken coronation oaths that have left this country at the mercy of an EU dictatorship.
Independent English Republic now!”

This is what might count as a sort of grumpy, right-wing kind of anti-royalist. I suspect that Samizdata regulars might agree with some of the sentiments expressed here – although the stuff about “deliberate population replacement” sounds a bit hysterical to me – plus the line about “illegal” wars (what, so it is okay so long as we get UN approval for them?). And for a person who seems to be concerned about the loss of “indigenous” identity and culture, why does this man want a republic? Like it or not, a constitutional monarchy is part of that “indigenous culture” of the UK, and has been for a long time. To be a republican, as this guy must surely know, is to make a pretty big break with tradition.

I am an agnostic about republics and monarchies – I think the system we have now is no worse than any likely alternatives. Republics have not, by and large, been noticeably less prone to the follies of socialism and big government than constitutional monarchies. Arguably, the reverse.

Anyway, I’ll unashamedly be raising a glass to the happy couple today. We can resume normal service tomorrow, whatever that means.

Keynes was the bald one!

My Cobden Centre Radio colleague-stroke-boss Andy Duncan is enthusiastic about the latest Keynes v Hayek video. Guido Fawkes already has it up at his blog, and that’s where I’m now watching it.

My first reaction is that Keynes was the bald one, while Hayek had plenty of hair right to the end. This video has it the other way around.

Lots-of-head-hair-to-no-head-hair is one of the most important variables in political propaganda, the bald guy typically being the wicked loser, and the one with the good head of hair typically being the virtuous winner. I therefore deeply regret this particular reversal of the truth. If Keynes had really had lots of head hair, but Hayek very little, fair enough. Hayek would still have been right and Keynes would still have been wrong. But why miss a trick like this, when the truth is on our side?

Otherwise, this video seems pretty good. The important thing is that Austrianism, approximately speaking, must now lose the economic argument and be known by everyone, everywhere, to be losing the economic argument. Austrianism is now being shunned by everyone of any significance in policy-making circles. Right thinking people all now agree that Austrianism is delusional.

And right thinking people are now driving the world economy over the cliff.

For a little more chapter and verse, try reading Detlev Schlichter‘s latest.

When the world economy lies strewn about the landscape at the bottom of the cliff, Austrianism turns around and wins. It reassembles the world economy, and then, slowly at first, but later with gathering strength, drives it back to its former heights and beyond, way beyond.

Well, I like to live in hope.

Gaddafi and Philadelphia

Some say Gaddafi and the Philadelphia Democratic machine might be a match made in…. well, wherever…

Glad that was cleared up

I am pleased that Barack Obama has decided, somewhat late on, to nail the nonsense that he did not have the right basic birth certificate details to enable him to hold his office. Good. I think that some characters on the fringe have provided a free gift to opponents by turning this into an issue.

The real problem is that the US electorate, by a mixture of self-delusion and misplaced enthusiasm, voted for a man unqualified for the responsibilities of high office, and a socialist in terms of his political doctrine. For sure, he continued the high spending of his predecessor, and the TARP policies, but he stepped them up. He still seems to be in denial about the scale of the fiscal hole the US is in.

The US is not, at root, a socialist country, although its universitieis and certain towns contain a lot of people who wish the country was like their imagined Western European social democratic welfare states. The irony being, of course, that these states are falling apart, with Greece being the most egregious example. For all his supposed modern appeal, Mr Obama is a strangely old fashioned figure. I am convinced that Obama is a one-term president. In the end, silly speculation about his birth certificate will not affect things one way or the other. And let’s be honest: some of the people who were going on about this subject struck me as racists; it enabled the pro-Obama camp to claim that parts of the right did not like Obama for discreditable reasons.

Meanwhile, our own Brian Micklethwait has thoughts about who he’d like to run against Obama.

Going under the hammer

I had better make sure my little nephew does not hear about this, because he’ll want yours truly to put in a bid for this crazy car.

Fortunately for us spendthrifts, this classic Aston Martin has already been sold.

In trouble? Threatened? Who you gonna call?

Well, call Ghost Busters if you like but for heaven’s sake do not call the Plod.

When a gang of travellers trespassed on her land and allegedly threatened to cut her throat with a chainsaw, Tracy St Clair Pearce dialled 999, expecting protection and reassurance from the police.

But while they took a statement and visited the nearby traveller camp, officers came back and confiscated her shotgun, saying it was a “sensible precaution”.

Well Tracy got quite a life lesson, eh? Where on earth did she get notion the State gives a damn about her right to self defence from some predatory ‘Traveller’ thugs?

The rule is simple… are you a home owner? Never. Ever. Call. The. Police.

They are not there to protect you. Just file this under ‘the State is not your friend’…

Samizdata quote of the day

It is only those who hope to transform human beings who end up by burning them, like the waste product of a failed experiment.

– Christopher Hitchens, as seen in this excellent article about the great man, written by Martin Amis

Unintentionally hilarious comment of the day, ctd

As part of a continuing series where yours truly tracks down particularly barmy comments on the Web that deserve to be protected for posterity:

“Jefferson was certainly a slave master, owning and inheriting as many as 250 at one time, although he professed to have great qualms about the morality of slavery. Thre is also the ongoing mystery of his relationship with one of his Octaroon slaves, Sally Hemmings and her children. She was by all accounts exceptionally attractive. I agree with Taki’s supposition that life in antebellum Virginia must have been a particularly beautiful and wondrous epoch.”

(emphasis mine).

Written by someone called John Bidwell in response to an article by Taki that I link to below. I love that final sentence; at first, the paragraph might appear quite reasonable but the final sentence gives the lie to that. The slave-owning South was “particularly beautiful and wondrous”. You know, a part of the world in which humans were bought and sold at auction, flogged, or worse, for trying to escape.

What the fuck is wrong with these people? What next: the slave-owning society of ancient Rome was “particularly beautiful and wondrous” unlike, say, the boring, materialist world of the liberal West?

Here is my comment the other day, on the US Civil War, prompted by a Taki article.

Swimming in the Royal Victoria Dock really is dangerous!

Recently, I’ve been exploring the area around the Royal Victoria Dock, which now has lots of houses on its south side, between it and the River Thames, and the ExCeL (apologies for the correct spelling there) Centre on its north side, where they hold big exhibitions like, most recently, this.

The area abounds with photo-opportunities of the sort that I like. To the West, there is the Dome and the Docklands Towers. Beyond them, other more distant towers nearer to London’s centre can be spotted, by me anyway. To the East, interestingly obscure airplanes land and take off from the City Airport, often flying the length of the Dock in the process, near enough for me to actually see some detail in my snaps of them. All around the Dock, large but idle cranes stand, reminders of more muscular and industrial times for this stretch of water, which now advertises itself on the outsides of nearby building sites as being a venue for sporty little sailing boats.

Best of all, there is a big footbridge, half way along the Dock, north to south, with a span high into the sky which is reached by lifts at each end. The views from this bridge, especially those looking West into central London, are very fine.

And all around the Royal Victoria Dock, as everywhere else in Britain that I have visited lately, there are official signs of all sorts (a more recent photographic enthusiasm of mine), urging this, forbidding that, threatening and warning and nagging and cajoling.

Are you a building worker? Be careful in there:


Building workers seem often to get bombarded with the visual equivalent of a Fidel Castro speech, in the form of huge clumps of warnings about every imaginable infringement of safety they might choose to indulge in.

The rest of us are of course nagged on a similar scale, but each nag tends to have its own separate notice.

So, at the Royal Victoria Docks, we observe, if we choose to, dozens of nags and official imprecations of all kinds… → Continue reading: Swimming in the Royal Victoria Dock really is dangerous!

A fine piece of investigative journalism…

There is a nice exposé in the Telegraph indicating that tax money and the tax funded BBC are funding key people and institutions in the warmist/environmental movement. The article provides a useful who’s-who of establishment figures with their snouts in the public trough…

…but what a pity they did not just read the indispensable Biased-BBC blog because the Telegraph could have written this exposé more than a year ago.

Samizdata quote of the day

It’s kind of jumbled, but putting together what the Democrats are saying now and what actually happened in the past, I gather that their economic “plan” is to somehow organize another bubble so that some people will make a lot of money and then tax the hell out of these people, which will then eliminate the deficit and also pay for all their programs, present and future.

– commenter “Hagar” here