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Samizdata quote of the day

British prime minister Theresa May has boasted that she is ‘working with social-media companies to halt the spread of extremist material and hateful propaganda that is warping young minds’. She also wants corporations to ‘do more’. Indeed, the leaders of the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada have, along with a host of social-media companies, agreed to measures to censor the web. And German chancellor Angela Merkel is way ahead of the curve. In 2015, Merkel notoriously prevailed upon Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to do his bit and take down posts critical of her controversial immigration policy.

Apple’s craven obedience to Beijing’s autocratic demands typifies the general stance of the West. From the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 to Beijing’s abduction of Hong Kong booksellers today, Stalinist repression in China has never really sparked uproar among Western leaders. Yes, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson greeted the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule over Hong Kong with the limp hope that it would ‘make further progress towards a more democratic and accountable system of government’. But Western IT firms and politicians can hardly pose as guardians of internet freedom.

James Woudhuysen

32 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • CaptDMO

    Appeasement, JUST like Hollywood folks did for the pre-war NAZI party, lest those movies be denied “circulation” in NAZI controlled zones.
    Of course, the Communists well intentioned Socialist philosophers came knockin’ right AFTER the war.
    Of course, that’s just In My Humble Opinion.

  • Paul Marks

    As David Wood (Acts 17 Apologetics on Youtube) explains – when people such as Mrs May and the internet companies talk about “combating extremism” most people think they mean combating Islam, but they do NOT mean that. What they turn out, in practice, to mean is combating (censoring) the opponents of Islam.

    Remember as Home Secretary Mrs May banned various important (and peaceful) opponents of Islam from speaking in the United Kingdom. The internet company executives (like the good little university boys and girls they are) have similar opinions to Mrs May on such things as Freedom of Speech.

    “Mr Corbyn would be worse Paul” – I do not dispute that. Indeed that is life – the choice between the bad and the worse.

  • Mr Ecks

    The vile fish-faced bitch appears to have learned NOTHING from the bloody nose she–not Corbyn, SHE–gave the Tory party. Who would far better be named BluLabour and also seem to have learned nothing from the June fiasco.

    If evil triumphs it will be only because of the piss-poor–and indeed piss-saturated–clay from which the supposed alternative to socialist evil was made up.

  • bobby b

    Soon we’ll see the world divided up into those on the Web and those on the Dark Web.

    Which means popular culture will become, if anything, more progressive and censored, and non-progressives will struggle to spread our views. We’ll be able to communicate with each other, but not proselytize to those not already in the club. We can see this already in the millions of Facebook users who hardly ever see a conservative message.

    This is probably the most effective pro-progressive step they could take in transforming the world, and the one that must be defeated.

  • Thailover

    British prime minister Theresa May has boasted that she is ‘working with social-media companies to halt the spread of extremist material and hateful propaganda that is warping young minds’.

    Ah, so she’s going to take a stand against Islam, eh? LOL, of course not, what was I thinking.

    As someone once said, (google doesn’t tell me who the quoter is), if Islam were a religion of peace, it’s extremists would be extremely peaceful. It is a religion of peace, if by peace we mean forced subjugation to a violent and barbaric theocratic nightmare. That’s not how I define peace. And that’s not how the civilized define peace. Islam is a farce.

    BTW, governments bowing down to corporate interests = corporatism, and corporations bowing down to government interests = corporatism, where corporatism = fascism. What’s harmed in both cases is individual rights.

    EVERY power conduit in existence (religious, government, corporate) truly hates actual freedom. The thinking, autonomous sovereign individual is a bane to their existence, even if these individuals are not working against them. We are an existential threat to them. They hate We The Redpilled, i.e. the free and awake the same way Al Sharpton, a race baiter, hates people like Ben Carson who disproves his narrative.

  • Sam Duncan

    Amber Rudd Claims ‘Real People’ Do Not Want Secure Communications.

    I don’t know what’s more frightening: that they want to ban end-to-end encryption, or that they think they can. It’s all just numbers.

    They might as well try to ban people from speaking French.

    “The vile fish-faced bitch appears to have learned NOTHING from the bloody nose she–not Corbyn, SHE–gave the Tory party.”

    Amen to that, Mr Ed.

  • bobby b


    August 3, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    ” . . . We The Redpilled . . . “

    I still can’t stand that phrase.

    Any ideology based on the exploits of Keanu Reeves . . .

  • Laird

    Hey, bobby b, I liked that movie! (But not the sequels; they really lost their way. And Laurence Fishburne got fat!) Keanu Reeves was good in it.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    I have always thought that robots are taking over the world by stealth. Whenever I see an actor with a wooden personality, such as Keanu Reeves, i think it could be a robot doing its’ best…. And is Keanu a name, or the parts label on its’ chest?

  • bobby b

    Laird, I do too, but Keanu Reeves only ever plays one character – “Keanu Reeves.”

    It was mostly luck that the movie called for a “Keanu Reeves” character. It was a good casting decision far more than it was good acting.

  • Alisa

    Reeves is a capable actor, but like many others (not all though) his performance highly depends on the material and the director.

    The first film was fun, but not enough to bother with sequels.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @bobby b
    Wasn’t Reeves slightly different in Speed?
    Otherwise, I agree, but feel that Mr Ecks should stop mincing his words and say what he means.

  • Alisa

    but feel that Mr Ecks should stop mincing his words and say what he means.

    Beat me to the punch 😀

    Sam, I’m afraid Rudd is correct.

  • bobby b

    Clovis Sangrail
    August 4, 2017 at 8:15 am

    “Wasn’t Reeves slightly different in Speed?”

    Yes. He played a younger Keanu Reeves. 😆

    (What DO you do?)

  • Jacob

    “Stalinist repression in China has never really sparked uproar among Western leaders.”
    Nor has Erdogan’s repression in Turkey, or the Saudi custom of beheading political opponents and minority groups.

    Only Putin is now considered no 1 enemy of mankind. (That is – no 1 behind Trump).

  • Derek Buxton

    Mr. Ecks, have we still got a conservative party? I see little if any sign of any policies that could remotely be classed as conservative. I just give one example, “de-carbonisation”, we are a carbon based world and CO2 is a plant food not a pollutant. And for this, we, the People have to suffer, definitely not conservative!

  • EdMJ

    Keanu Reeves only ever plays one character – “Keanu Reeves.”

    Or, there’s only the one Neo playing the various “Keanu Reeves” characters in his various manifestations inside The Matrix…


    This is an interesting write up too:

    John Wick 1 & 2 are pretty good, but he’ll always be best as Johnny Utah in Point Break. (Although Patrick Swayze steals the show).

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @bobby b
    Yes. He played a younger Keanu Reeves.
    OK, you win. 😐

  • PeterT

    You guys have all forgotten ‘Bill and Ted’

  • Fraser Orr

    Let’s just make a distinction. The purpose of western IT firms is to make a maximum profit for their shareholders. They are not and should not be gaurdians of western freedoms. Similiarly, politicians are ultimately responsible to do what is best for the people who elected them. Insofar as China messes with bookstores it is none of our business (until it starts to affect our business of course.)

    If Apple or Facebook judge that the totality of circumstances (including the threats of legislative and legal action) require them to genuflect to a few tyrants to maximize their profits, then perhaps that is what they should do. After all it leaves room for little niche businesses who can fill in the gaps that they leave. There are plenty of service alternatives out their that make part of their offering “we don’t genuflect to tyrants”. If that is part of your values, use them instead.

  • Pretty sure the red pill made an appearance in Total Recall”…

  • PeterT

    I don’t agree with your comment Fraser. The fight against tyranny, foreign and domestic, is a war and I for one am happy on the odd occasion that a company find the balls to resist the government. I couldn’t care less about their shareholders.

  • The only good thing about the election was that it put a sell-by date on May.

  • Chip

    Problem: western values are threatened by authoritarian belief system backed by violence

    Solution: western values taken away by authoritarians using threat of state violence

    British politicians are doing more to destroy liberty than any terror cell.

  • Mr Ed

    I’m pretty sure that what Mrs May really means is that she wants to protect us all from extremism and nastyness. I’m fairly sure that she would endorse this video from Dr David Wood, three koran verses that every woman should know as a cri de coeur against sex discrimination and extremism, and as an illustration of the benefit of robust discussion. I can’t imagine that she might want Dr Wood to be censored.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Worryingly for China, Boris Johnson could have a mild resemblance to Winnie the Pooh, as long as he keeps his pants on it should be fine.

  • Sam Duncan

    “Sam, I’m afraid Rudd is correct.”

    So am I. That’s what worries me. I can’t decide whether the government is being stupid or malicious here. Do they think end-to-end encryption is only about WhatsApp and iMessage, or are they using the public’s ignorance against them?

    (And I misattributed Mr. Ecks’ quote to Mr. Ed. Sorry about that, guys.)

  • mila

    Apple’s craven obedience to Beijing’s autocratic demands

    oh dear me, the OP seems to be labouring under the misapprehension that role of multinational businesses is to promulgate liberal values rather than to maximise profit.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b – you (as well as the others here) make good points.

    For example, Facebook “trending items” nearly always have leftist sources attached to them (such as the Guardian newspaper and the BBC – or the New York Times in the United States), the idea is that one “clicks” on the story and this adds to the “clicks” of the leftist source that is reporting the story. And you are correct – anti leftists are increasingly censored and persecuted on social media sites.

    “But they are private companies Paul” – which are joined-at-the-hip with governments as the conversation between the Founder of Facebook and the Chancellor of Germany (about crushing opponents of the invasion of Europe – a conversation caught on an accidentally “live microphone”) shows.

    The “liberal” elite are determined to destroy the countries they have influence in – one need only remember how unelected judges turned the law and Constitution of California on their heads, to void the vote of the citizens to end government benefits and services to illegal immigrants.

    The unelected judges decided, in effect, that voting in California was pointless (and that the written constitution did not matter – only the whims of the unelected elite mattered) – as when the people voted to end government benefits and services for illegal immigrants, the judges simply over ruled the people. Soon the British “Supreme Court” may start doing similar things. Already the de facto censorship is spreading.

    “Racist” “homophobe” “anti feminist” “xenophobe” – and of this attack terms can be used as a excuse to censor people. Even if these people are black or hispanic – and even if they are women or homosexuals.

    The real matter of concern to the “liberal” elite is “do you accept our rule – or are you an opponent?” if someone is an opponent or critic they are to be destroyed, and if the charges that are made against critics and opponents are utterly absurd – this does not matter to the “liberal” elite.

    Remember whether or not someone is actually guilty of what they are accused of does not matter to the “liberal” elite (these heirs of Jeremy Bentham and other HATERS of the natural law, natural justice, basis of the Common Law) – all that matters to the elite is their political agenda, their political calculation of what “the greatest happiness of the greatest number is”.

    In the United States protection of Constitutions (both State and Federal) is often given to unelected judges who have been educated to hate-and-despise the natural law (natural rights – natural justice) philosophy upon which those constitutions are based. To the elite this philosophy is “old fashioned” indeed “reactionary” – “real rights” (to the elite) are goods and services from government (perhaps provided by 13 Departments….) whereas traditional rights that restrict and limit government are “nonsense” or “nonsense on stilts”.

  • Paul Marks

    As I have said many times, but I make no apology for repeating – one can not get to the Bill of Rights (including the First Amendment on Freedom of Speech) from the philosophy of Mr Hobbes, Mr Hume (who is basically Mr Hobbes using much more polite language) and Mr Bentham – nor from their followers, no matter how many times those followers use the words “freedom” and “liberty”.

    Abandon the philosophy of the “Old Whigs” (of people such as Chief Justice Sir John Holt – or, later, the American Founders) and their politics will end up being destroyed as well.

  • NickM

    “As David Wood (Acts 17 Apologetics on Youtube) explains – when people such as Mrs May and the internet companies talk about “combating extremism” most people think they mean combating Islam, but they do NOT mean that. What they turn out, in practice, to mean is combating (censoring) the opponents of Islam.”

    It is self-hatred of Western Civilization. Why this happens to so many people is beyond me. I have even read of US feminist academics defending FGM as culturally authentic. The same academics who would probs have a fit of the vapours watching a Carry On movie. The only way I can intellectually square that circle is to assume they hate their own culture so profoundly that anything different is better. I mean how else can they rail against they rail against what rump is left of homophobia or whatever in the UK (or wherever) yet also support Hamas?

    BTW Has anyone found Yasser’s Nobel Prize*? Or his toilet. Yes, when Hamas came to power in Gaza they ransacked his gaff and made off with the Peace Prize and the Aracrapper. Didn’t anyone responsible for this atrocity not stop and think for a millisecond, “I’m lugging Yasser Arafat’s toilet down the street – something is seriously wrong in my life”.

    *That is the sort of sick and twisted global society we have.

  • Laird

    @ PeterT: “I couldn’t care less about their shareholders.”

    Nor should you; you are free to patronize any company you wish. But Apple (et al) has a fiduciary and legal obligation to care about its shareholders. So your comment is beyond meaningless.