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

Imagine that we did have some arbiter of what was true, what was not. Then the definition of truth will be whatever the consensus is, wouldn’t it? Something which might well benefit those who agree with that status quo in beliefs but does rather militate against the basic ideas of either free speech or a free press.

Yes, of course, actual free speech and press is messy, chaotic and not as many would like. But that’s rather the point, so is liberty those three things. Trying to limit that press and speech will be a constraint upon that liberty too.

Tim Worstall

9 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • pete

    The truth is not a matter of consensus.

    It is what the powerful want it to be.

    Ofcom wants power, not truth.

  • CaptDMO

    “Then the definition of truth will be whatever the consensus is agreed on, wouldn’t it?”
    Yeah, sure! Let’s see how well that worked out with Encyclopedia Britannica, OED, and what “words” actually mean.
    Meh, I can ALWAYS look it up on Wikipedia!
    I’m thinking adherence to actual “Truth” may very well put self-described “philosophers”
    into the same realm as Shipboard whale oil rendering fire keeper’s mates.
    But let’s start HERE.
    What do internal, relative to external, gonads mean?

  • Itellyounothing

    Most news these days is hypothesis set up as fact thanks to the needs of the 24 hour news cycle. VPNs would become very popular very fast to avoid censorship….

  • That’s a great quote. I’ve always thought in some ways truth and science change (alternate facts?) as knowledge increases. When people believed the earth was flat, anyone who believed it was oval was laughed at.

    Lobotomies were once believed to be a legitimate, scientific medical procedures that would benefit the person receiving one.

    It was acceptable socially and medically to seclude and isolate people who we now know had types of mental or psychological imbalances.

    Thalidomide was believed to be beneficial to pregnant mothers and we now know how badly that turned out.

    “Truth” and fact evolves as science and tech advance. My two cents, anyway.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Free societies pull in all sorts of directions: and that is how it should be.

  • Paul Marks

    “Ofcom” are utterly evil, typical of the “liberal” establishment elite. They do not care that all the television stations in the United Kingdom present a “liberal” left view of the world (no CHOICE) for that is what “Ofcom” and the rest of the “liberal” establishment elite want – they HATE choice (freedom-liberty) with an unholy passion. It is not just Fox News they drive out – they drive out (or prevent existing) any television station that does not share their “liberal” left world view. And they would like to do exactly the same with newspapers (and internet sites).

    But censorship by government bureaucrats such as “Ofcom” is only the most obvious attack on liberty – a more insidious threat is the “education system” which seeks to turn “journalists” (once anyone who wrote for a newspaper) into a trained CASTE, all with the same “liberal” left worldview. This is what has largely happened in the United States – and it goes back a very long way.

    Why, for example, were affairs of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (“JFK”) not reported in the American media in the 1960 election campaign? Why, more seriously, was his Addison’s disease (which was killing him) not reported? Why was his rampant drug abuse (think about that – a man who is on every drug under the sun seeking to be elected to control nuclear weapons) not reported? The elite media knew – but they regarded Mr Kennedy as the more “Progressive” candidate (ironically they may well have been mistaken – it may actually have been that Mr Nixon was more “Progressive” than Mr Kennedy) and so they COVERED UP the truth – and presented Jack Kennedy as a good clean living Catholic man, and a fit young athlete as well (the exact opposite of the morally debauched and physically crippled man he actually was). Even as far back as 1960 the American “mainstream media” was utterly “liberal” and presenting a picture of the world that was a total lie – “Ofcom” would have LOVED it.

  • Alan Peakall

    Indeed, I have sometimes suspected that had the UK had a holocaust denial law in the 1960s or 1970s we’d have ended up jailing emigre Poles who attempted to tell us the truth of the Katyn Massacre – probably with a cheerful aside of “I see where you’re coming from; I guess you should just tick this box marked ‘I don’t care about the risk of nuclear war'”.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    If “Truth” is defined by consensus, then let’s all choose to believe that the Universe is full of wormholes that are easy to use, so we can reach other systems instantaneously! Instead of spending years going through normal space, that is.

  • Paul Marks

    What a wonderful idea Nicholas.