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

And if someone died—for real Twitter addicts, that’s Asshole Christmas. If you could make a facile point that reinforced your team’s political stance on the day someone collapsed in front of his wife and kids—you were a true hero, the Twitter version of a captured pilot resisting torture in a POW camp. Except your prison was your mother’s basement, or your half of a Brooklyn apartment covered with Cheetos.

Jamie Kilstein

Samizdata quote of the day

We’ve a new little report, piece of scientific research, telling us that cheese and red meat are good for us. This in entire opposition to everything governments have been telling us about diet for decades now. This telling us that government is a seriously bad way of doing anything.

Sure, of course, humans are wrong, most humans are wrong a lot of the time. The problem with government being that when that wrongness gets propagated by our rulers it becomes the established fact. Meaning that we’re all affected by it, there is none of that natural variability of error which protects some and harms others. We all become subject to the error that is

Tim Worstall

Aunt Agatha gives some wise career counselling

Dear “Switcher,”

No. You need a new career because you obviously have no future in politics since your current party lies second in only 37 seats. I know you are getting on, but your onetime colleague Menzies Campbell took on a new career as a University Chancellor and a peer when he was only a year older than you are now, so take heart. I thought the ideal and undemanding job for you might be flower arrangement, in that everything you do there lasts only a few days before it wilts, and you have to start all over again with something new.

On reflection, though, I think you should start a shoe company, concentrating on sandals. Your name has such good brand association that flip-flops bearing your name would sell like hot cakes.

Agatha Antigone. I wonder who this week’s unworthy supplicant is?

Samizdata quote of the day

So, imagine this. We desire to move 500 lbs of food from the field to the town where the people want to eat it. It’s about 10 miles from field to town. We have two available technologies. Ten people carrying 50 lbs each in rucksacks, or one bloke with a handcart carrying 500 lbs. The handcart is a technology of course. Which should we use, the technology economising on human labour or not?

One answer is that ten people want and desire jobs so we should use the rucksacks. But that is to be an idiot. The other is use the handcart and leave nine people doing sod all. Which is the correct solution.

Tim Worstall

Stop politicising my dumplings!

Is there any reason I should not sign this EU petition?

I refer to this petition: Permanent European Union Citizenship.

Main objectives
EU citizens elect the European Parliament and participate in its work, thus exercising treaty rights, enhancing Union democracy, and reinforcing its citizenship. Noting the ECJ’s view of Union citizenship as a ‘fundamental status’ of nationals of Member States, and that Brexit will strip millions of EU citizens of this status and their vote in European elections, requests the Commission propose means to avoid risk of collective loss of EU citizenship and rights, and assure all EU citizens that, once attained, such status is permanent and their rights acquired.

This petition runs under the aegis of a European Union scheme called The European Citizens’ Initiative. As Wikipedia says,

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a European Union mechanism aimed at increasing direct democracy by enabling “EU citizens to participate directly in the development of EU policies”, introduced with the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007. The initiative enables one million citizens of the European Union, who are nationals of at least one quarter of the member states, to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act in an area where the Member States have conferred powers onto the EU level.

In other words, like its British equivalent, a petition will be considered if it crosses a certain threshold. Not enacted into law, obviously – don’t hold your breath waiting for any government to give up that monopoly – but it will have passed the first milestone on the long road to becoming law. The EU scheme does seem a tad more meaningful than the UK one.

Turning to this specific petition, I do not see anything that I, as someone who happily voted Leave, should object to. The petition does not seek to stop the United Kingdom from leaving the control of the European Union. If this became law it would mean that Remainers currently angry at losing their automatic right to work in the EU and their vote in EU elections would not lose out from Brexit at all. Although on every website on which I have seen this petition promoted everyone seems to assume that it will be opposed by Leavers, my instinct is to say “A solution that leaves both sides happy – Great!”

I do have some qualms about voting to change the character of the EU when I don’t want to be part of the it. I also worry that I may have missed some Trojan Horse in the wording of the petition. It worries me that so many supporters of this petition seem to think of it as part of their campaign against Brexit. It looks to me as if it would help reconcile many people to Brexit by removing the aspects of Brexit that they most disliked, but have all those die-hard Remainers seen something I missed?

I should say that I think the chance of this petition cutting much ice with the EU are remote. Its supporters in the UK may not have spotted that it makes Brexit less painful and hence more likely, and more likely to be imitated, but the officials and politicians of the EU are not so naive. This proposal would allow a British person an unrestricted right to work in the 27 remaining countries of the EU, but would not allow citizens of the 27 an unrestricted right to work in the UK. Ain’t gonna happen. However I have signed many a petition that had very little chance of passing.

What do you think? Brits and other current EU citizens, will you sign it? UK citizens, if by some strange concatenation of events this became EU law, would you take up the offer of keeping your EU citizenship?

Samizdata quote of the day

I am persuaded that no system of government — democratic, oligarchic, aristocratic, monarchical, tyrannical, oriental despotic or worse, liberal-progressive — can deliver anything resembling justice in this world, unless it is under the direction of angels.

David Warren, via Maggie’s Farm

Samizdata quote of the day

As originally reported by Janet Burns of Forbes, the New York City Council has denied city residents access to additional ride-sharing services. In a 39-6 vote, the bill caps the current supply of New York City Uber and Lyft drivers for the next 12 months and implements a minimum wage of 17 dollars per hour. In what City Council Speaker Corey Johnson referred to as reforming an industry “without any appropriate check or [government] regulation,” Councilman Eric Ulrich argued, “This is like putting a cap on Netflix subscriptions because Blockbusters are closing.”

Nicolas Anthony

To avoid confrontation

The Daily Mail reports,

Ex-wife of top chef Albert Roux is forced out of her £5m Chelsea home after scammers change the locks and start renting it out for £835-a-night online

The former wife of Michellin star chef Albert Roux has been advised to move out of her house after being tricked into renting out part of her £5million home.

A fake letting agency managed to convince Cheryl Roux, 61, to rent out the top two storeys of her mews house to a bogus tenant.

Since June, the three-bedroom property in Knightsbridge, west London, has been sub-let to as many as eight tenants at a time for a cost of £835 a night – with Ms Roux not getting a penny.

The locks have been changed on her £5million home and the rental scheme, which has been advertised on Airbnb and Zoopla, has forced Ms Roux to move out of the ground floor of her property.

Ms Roux said: ‘I’m clearly a victim of crime but the police do nothing and these crooks are still renting out my home.

‘They changed the locks so I couldn’t get in and nailed shut the garage doors. I’m at my wits’ end.’

Police told The Sun: ‘Once a property is let and there is a contract between two parties it is a matter for the civil court not the police if a dispute arises.’


Ms Roux said: ‘I’m clearly a victim of crime but the police do nothing and these crooks are still renting out my home.

‘They changed the locks so I couldn’t get in and nailed shut the garage doors. I’m at my wits’ end.’

Police told The Sun: ‘Once a property is let and there is a contract between two parties it is a matter for the civil court not the police if a dispute arises.’

I can envisage a libertarian legal system in which all disputes were civil disputes between the parties and the state had little or no role. That might be a fine thing, in Libertopia. But in the real UK of 2018 it looks to me like the police have failed once again to live up to their side of the bargain in which the people grant the police the right to to take the lead in enforcing the law and then don’t enforce the law.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the social scale, I cannot put it better than this post by Instapundit quoting another Daily Mail story:

YOU’LL SEE MORE OF THIS SORT OF THING IN LONDON, WHERE THE DULY CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES ARE TOO BUSY POLICING MEMES ON TWITTERS TO DO THEIR ACTUAL JOBS: ‘That’s what happens when you bring ACID!’: Shocking moment ‘vigilantes’ beat man with a bat then pour milk on him while he cowers on London street after ‘spotting he had corrosive liquid.’

The system will be brought down by its internal contradictions

“Mr Corbyn also suggested a series of proposals for the BBC, including publishing the social class of ‘all creators of BBC content, whether in-house or external'”, reports the BBC, trembling.

That would be fun to watch, but what is to stop the Beebourgeoisie, middle class to the tips of their Shiatsu-massaged toes, from foiling the plan by self-identifying as proletarians?

Watching the debate on self-identification within the Left is like watching a long fuse slowly burning down towards a time-bomb. Though nicer. As things stand this week:

Gender – completely a matter of choice and how dare you say chromosomes. Voluntary efforts to eradicate sexism having failed, compulsory quotas for females must be imposed by the power of the State. But anyone who wants to be included in the quota only has to ask.

Race – is nothing but an oppressive social construct. To cease participating in this oppressive and delusionary social construct is forbidden.

Class – They called it “Catch BBC”. You started working class, worked like mad, finally got a soft job, which made you middle class, so in the interests of social mobility they won’t hire you again. Edit: Or your kids. But their re-impoverished kids will be favoured. Social oscillation, the wave (geddit?) of the future!

What side do I take on all these controversies? None. I’m for freedom of association. It is so restful.

Venezuela is a mess due to terrible policies

“Why is Venezuela a country in turmoil?” asks Adam Parsons, writing for Sky, whereupon he talks about monetary policy, the price of oil, hyperinflation, increases in the minimum wage.

I suppose this all came about due to rip tides or adverse alignment of stars or maybe even ‘bad luck‘.

For an article that asks the question ‘why’, for some reason Mr. Parsons makes no attempt to suggest what could be motiving and informing President Maduro’s actions, a man whose day job is running Venezuela, but who also happens to be president of something else too.

‘Strangely’ nowhere in this article does the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ appear. Go figure.

Aunt Agatha threads her needle through the eyelids of another unworthy seeking advice

I spot you’ve never been short of cash, from your days of ‘golden sacks’ to your current take-home of over £800,000 a year. So what you need is the satisfaction of a role that fits your character. With your dark suits, unsmiling face, and the air of gloom you spread like a fog around you, you have the demeanor of an undertaker. You should capitalize on that by setting up a chain of funeral parlours. Your slogan could be something like, “Pass on with certainty into that uncertain future.” People would flock to sign up for your sombre services, knowing that, once dead, they’d be beyond the reach of your gloomy predictions.

– The wise and sagacious Agatha Antigone casting yet more pearls of wisdom before the Gadarene swine on line.