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

Sometimes I think maybe I’m becoming too strict as I age. Maybe this is all a natural evolution of a technology. But I can’t close my eyes to what’s happening: A loss of intellectual power and diversity, and on the great potentials it could have for our troubled time. In the past, the web was powerful and serious enough to land me in jail. Today it feels like little more than entertainment. So much that even Iran doesn’t take some — Instagram, for instance — serious enough to block.

I miss when people took time to be exposed to different opinions, and bothered to read more than a paragraph or 140 characters. I miss the days when I could write something on my own blog, publish on my own domain, without taking an equal time to promote it on numerous social networks; when nobody cared about likes and reshares.

That’s the web I remember before jail. That’s the web we have to save.

Hossein Derakhshan, who is speaking at State of the Net in Trieste today

4 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • pete

    The web is following the same path as TV.

    In the 50s and 60s the left leaning intelligentsia imagined TV as a medium for serious social and political analysis and comment but it soon became obvious that it was much more suited to down market entertainment to keep the masses amused and off the streets.

    After initial hopes that the internet would help spread their progressive ideas we are now going to see our liberal lords and masters transform the internet into a highly regulated and controlled environment just like earlier forms of broadcasting.

  • Paul Marks

    There is a market for serious political and cultural discussion on the internet – but governments are working with companies (not just social media companies – but also payment processing companies) to reduce dissent as much as possible. It is not even a question of formal laws – it is general attitudes pushed in the education system, a company official in (say) Paypal does not need to be told “do not do business with Mr X or you will be sent to prison” the official knows that conservative opinions must be suppressed (by any means necessary) and so acts without any formal order from the state bureaucracy – but with the full approval of the state bureaucracy (and most politicians as well). Big Business is, mostly, controlled by people with the same basic attitudes as the activists on the streets seeking to destroy capitalism – that is why so many television shows and films (made by Big Business) have Big Business and The Rich as the baddies who most be destroyed. Dissent must not be allowed – even on the internet. At least it most be limited as much as possible, so that most voters do not see the dissent – dissent from the Social Justice “Diversity” agenda of ever bigger government and the destruction of communities and cultures not dependent on the state.

    Even in the 19th century there was an element in liberalism (especially in the Latin world) that was about BIGGER government (not smaller government) – about such things as confiscating church property, and setting up government departments to cover more and more things. And now liberalism has developed in such a way as to become basically the same as Fabian socialism – indeed in the United States liberalism and socialism are interchangeable words (and this usage is of very long standing now – and it is not going to change), and Big Business is (mostly) fine with increasing state control – especially as government paid managers are now paid well (a change that came under Mr Blair in Britain). Why not be a government paid manager – as long as you are paid well. And “private ownership” has increasingly come to mean ownership by pension funds and other such (thanks to Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax) – and lots of regulations to prevent the emergence of competitors.

    The class of top “public servants” and the class of corporate managers has become essentially the same. It is a system that will collapse in the long term (because it works very badly – and the badness tends to get worse and worse as real capitalism gets further and further left behind) and collapse horribly.

    But, in the meantime, cat videos will still be allowed.

    By the way Trieste is said to be a wonderful city – go and see it if you can. While it is still there.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Very interesting piece, Perry, including the comments. Gosh, that gives me a choice of four now where the comments have content instead of being mostly flamethrowing/cussing exercises.

    I can’t speak to the “social media” issue, as I make do with old-fashioned social media: e-mail, telephone (the kind that transmits actual vocalizations), the even more primitive method of mark-making with a colored stick on a piece of paper, and from the earliest technology of all, the method where you and someone else contrive to meet personally and, well, use your voiceboxes for the most direct form of social communication.


    But Mr. Derakhshan brings up an issue that has long worried me; namely, whether weblog owners are maintaining their own archives of postings and commentary. I do so hope that you or your Elves are doing this with Samizdata. There is stuff of real value in the Samizdata archives; it would be a great pity if it were all lost to posterity. I have brought this matter up on two other forums: Counting Cats and the Individual-Sovereignty Yahoo group. In neither case did the weblog owners see fit to respond to my query. The stuff on I-S is now lost except for a small percentage of postings, since Yahoo Groups under its various later corporate owners has been allowed to go to hell in the matter of reachable prior content, presentation of complete search results, and ease of use of whatever searches you do find. One can, I think, start at the very beginning and copy-and-paste every posting into a text file. But the later WP layout–I think it still uses WP, don’t swear to it–is very cumbersome to use, at least in I-S, and doing so requires mountains of time to organize in such a way as to make it usable in practice.

    CCiZ is only available through the Wayback Machine, and those results are far from complete.

    Samizdata is technically actually easy enough to copy and paste into a Rich-Text (MacAddict here) file. And the resulting files are searchable. Bless you, my son! Only, there’s an awful lot of it, thank the Great Frog, and it still takes time. Besides which, the Awful-Lot-of-It has so much interesting content that one requires great self-discipline not to get sidetracked into reading instead of saving. My own archive has now worked its way all the way up to Jan. 16, 2002. Gosh, only 16+ years to go! :>)

    Wherefore, I will ask you, in my most plaintive and supplicating voice, whether somebody in your circle is maintaining a complete archive, and, if so, whether it would be possible for you to sell the archive on DVD? (I can see where there might be copyright issues with this, though.) At the very least, are you keeping a (complete) archive? I hope so.

    Thanks. :>))

  • EdMJ

    @Julie, you might want to try a “website downloader” or “website copier”. It’s a piece of software that will crawl a site and download the contents locally.

    https://www.httrack.com/ is a popular open source one. Don’t know any Mac ones offhand, but a quick search shows this one: http://ricks-apps.com/osx/sitesucker/