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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

How time flies…

On November 2nd 2001, we started scribbling random thoughts on this blog. My goodness, how much the world has change since then, and us along with it.

30 comments to How time flies…

  • George Atkisson

    The regular posters and commenters here have remained high quality, despite the changes.

    The world, not so much. Perhaps the world was always brutal, treacherous, and mendacious, but now the masks have dropped.

  • David Bishop

    Happy Anniversary!
    May the next 17 years and beyond be as thoughtful and informative.
    This is one of only two sites to which I make a daily visit.

    One request, which you’ve perhaps had before: white text on a blue background is hard on my ageing eyes, especially when going on to other black on white sites. Any chance of a change?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, Yes Indeed! to What David Bishop Said in his first para. In toto and 100%.

    But I too have aging eyes, and I am so very very grateful for the white text on darkish-blue background. White backgrounds are hard on my eyes.

    Perhaps David could use the alternate presentation that I think I’ve seen suggested to others with his problem. ???


    Perry, please add to Natalie’s jacket (Personnel File) my (totally unnecessary! *g*) praise for her work as Designated Poster during your absence. Also applies to what she posts while you are on the job, of course. 😀

  • Clovis Sangrail

    Many congratulations.
    This is one of my very few “daily sites” and a source of constant reassurance that I haven’t gone completely insane and that there are kind but rational people out there; for which much thanks.

  • The last Toryboy

    I don’t post here much.

    However Young Me was introduced to libertarianism by this site in the early days. Never even heard of it before that but Samizdata left it’s mark on my impressionable brain. Used to be a far more conventional Tory-by-upbringing.

    Still a libertarian now so, you definitely got at least one convert for all the efforts. 😂 Another two decades!

  • Stonyground

    I would like to second what Toryboy just said in that this site, and others that are on a similar wavelength, have changed the way that I look at the world. I always had a fairly live and let live approach to life but visiting here has lead me to formalise my thinking more. I have also been made much more aware of the forces that are aligned against basic freedom and the simpletons that don’t see the need to defend it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    It’s been great to be involved since the beginning. And yes, one clear trend has been how the mask has slipped from those who despise liberty in all its forms.

  • Julie near Chicago

    In fact, my compliments to all of the “O.P.s” by the writers for Samizdata. Their output and ideas and points are excellent.

    The commentariat is also exceptionally good. Yay for both!

  • llamas

    Just think. You could have just robbed a bank, and with time off for good behaviour – you’d have been free by now 😀

    Seriously, though – the site has been a big influence on my life for 15 years now. Long may it continue.



  • You could have just robbed a bank, and with time off for good behaviour – you’d have been free by now 😀(llamas, November 3, 2018 at 11:34 am)

    You could have committed murder and be free by now. And the only reason members of a certain crime ring in Rotherham (that must have been really getting into its stride at about the time samizdata was founded) have not been released from jail ‘by now’ is that the authorities were and remain slow to send them there.

    By contrast, you could not have been jailed for ‘hate speech’ and been freed by now, since the relevant laws were not yet in force – the first prosecution was almost a year later.

  • Remember the optimism of the early-mid 2000s in the blogosphere? “Liberty’s century”, and all that? Hasn’t really worked out that way. All I can say is that without the blogs it might have got even worse than it has.

  • bobby b

    ““Liberty’s century”, and all that? Hasn’t really worked out that way.”

    I’d disagree. It’s only in the last ten years that we deplorables of the world have begun to find our own voice, and this has brought about the greatest resurgence of individual versus collective empowerment in my lifetime, at least.

    This site has always been interesting, as it combines elements of the urban elite with the more rural deplorables – libertarian-minded all, of course, but then libertarianism has always drawn from across those lines. Point is, I suspect that it has “worked out that way” far more effectively for some of us than others.

    I spend a part of my time functioning amidst a portion of American society which usually couldn’t identify libertarian thought if you hit them with it, but which is steeped and inculcated in that form of thought from birth, and for them, this truly has turned into at least the beginnings of “Liberty’s century.”

    So, there’s reason for optimism. Movements begin somewhere, not just generally, and while it may not have reached everyone’s neighborhood, this movement has seriously begun. I’m seeing more pushback against collective empowerment now than I have at any other time in my life, and more realization that it’s okay – it’s not selfish, it’s not crass – to value the individual over the group. You know, where libertarianism meets the road.

    – – –

    And Perry, and his choices of co-conspirators, make it all more fun and more possible. Come for the hippos, stay for the education! 😀 (I’ve gotten more insight into societies here than in all my undergrad experience, and I went to a school known for bestowing such insight.)

  • NickM

    Happy 17th. In a year’s time you’ll be able to have a pint to celebrate 😉

    As others have stated I hadn’t heard of libertarianism until I found Samizdata quite by… Well, it’s so long ago I dunno how or why.

    PS. I like the colour scheme. There are waaay too many black on white sites and they’re like, you know, like, whatever…

  • Snorri Godhi

    Happy Birthday.
    For me, too, this is one of a few daily visits, together with BBC News and Instapundit; and lately, Breitbart. And i like the fact that Samizdata, being British, is blue, while Instapundit, being American, is red.

    Until 2006, i used to get the news from The Economist (in some periods, i was happy to get the news once/week), and irregularly the BBC on TV, and the Financial Times. Then the Cartoon Jihad happened and i realized that i was missing something.

    BTW the glossy pages of The Economist did bother me.

  • Snorri Godhi

    This is one of my very few “daily sites” and a source of constant reassurance that I haven’t gone completely insane and that there are kind but rational people out there; for which much thanks.

    I too need reassurance, but not only when it comes to politics; and for other matters, i occasionally have to talk to friends face to face.

    Just think. You could have just robbed a bank, and with time off for good behaviour – you’d have been free by now

    But what’s the point of robbing a bank if you are caught???

  • RAB

    17 years eh? Bloody hell! Congratulations. I bet the mega xmas ads hadn’t hit the telly two days before Bonfire Night back then either.

  • bobby b

    “But what’s the point of robbing a bank if you are caught???”

    Depends on how well I hid the money.

  • Myno

    Finest group of thoughtful intellectuals on the Web. I’ve been a libertarian since college days, but the depth of historical knowledge and contextual analysis by the OPs and commentariat always astounds me. Innumerable times your arguments and illustrations have helped fill in the inevitable blanks and weak spots in my own responses. I know I will always have much to learn here, and be grateful for your collective presence in my life.

  • Ferox

    Re: colors – it’s trivially easy to create a little javascript widget that allows the user to select from a predefined set of background and text color combinations. It’s literally about 10 lines of code, total.

  • Happy blogiversary! Here’s to many more.

  • Denis from London

    I have found much food for thought on here, keep up the good work!

  • Sam Duncan

    I still think of myself as a bit of a newcomer, but I must have been hanging around since pretty close to the beginning. I remember I used to have a script (on my Amiga…) that would download the RSS feed while I was online (dialup, of course), for me to read at my leisure. So that wasn’t yesterday. Made commenting tricky, I can tell you. I generally just lurked back then.

    Unlike some of the commentariat, I’d heard of libertarians before I found Samizdata, but wasn’t entirely sure what one was (albeit suspecting it was someone who thought more or less the way I do), and certainly had no idea there were this many knocking around the place.

    So yes, great work guys, happy blogiversary, and here’s to many more. It may not seem like it sometimes, but I honestly think you’ve advanced the cause of liberty significantly, even if younger, brasher, upstarts have stolen some of the glory lately.

    “I bet the mega xmas ads hadn’t hit the telly two days before Bonfire Night back then either.”

    There’s been a whole bloody Christmas channel running on Freeview since the beginning of October.

  • Paul Marks

    I watched Mark Steyn recently address this point – what has changed since 2001.

    He said that he used to believe that “everything changed with 9/11” – but that he was WRONG and that the “liberal” elite is just as much in control of the education system and the media as it was before 9/11 and that people such as himself were MISTAKEN in supporting wars-for-democracy in the Middle East, and should (instead) of concentrated on defending what was left of Western Civilisation at home – rather than trying to expand Western Civilisation (for example liberal democracy) to other areas of the world. He also reflected that perhaps the biggest change post 9/11 was that the rate of Islamic migration into the West DOUBLED. It did not fall, it did not say the same – it DOUBLED. And people who talk of “assimilation” turn out to be mean sex-drugs-and-pop-music (plus Association Football) not actual BELIEFS (principles) which is what matters.

    I would point at another major change – Freedom of Speech was a given in 2001, most people supported it. But now Freedom of Speech is a minority opinion (at least among important people).

    It is not “just” anti Islamic opinions – any opinion that is against the “liberal” left is now relentlessly persecuted (with an intensity that would have seemed impossible in 2001), both by governments and by Big Business (Big Business is now, mostly, just an extension of the Frankfurt School of Marxism in its censorship policies – which is utterly astonishing, considering that Marxists want to destroy Big Business). People are now dismissed from their jobs for expressing their (non leftist) opinions – not just in “work time”, but at any time at all.

    Entire companies (which have DONE NOTHING WRONG) are now being driven off the internet by the concerted actions of Big Business – working very much to the order of Marxist political activists (see what is happening to Gab.ai).

    Political candidates, such as Ron DeSantis (Republican candidate for the Governor of Florida) are being smeared as a “racist” by almost every news outlet – in spite of NOT BEING A RACIST (IN ANY WAY).

    There is a tidal wave of lies and smears all over what is left of the Western World – and any effort to fight back is crushed by de facto censorship.

    I no longer have any real hope for the survival of Western Civilisation (how can a civilisation survive when the schools, the universities and even the major business enterprises are controlled by the enemies of civilisation?) – but I am kept going by HATE and RAGE. I have found that long after everything else goes (hope, love and so on) HATE and RAGE can keep someone going long after that person should have died (my late father told me they could – and he was right).

    As that hard drinking Welsh poet Mr Thomas said “Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage, against the dying of the light”.

  • Alisa

    Wow, 17… This blog has changed my life, literally, in more ways than I could elaborate upon here – meeting some amazing people and having them as friends being a huge part of that. Thank you all (especially Perry), and keep it up for many years to come.

  • Chromatistes

    Hearty congratulations! May a bird of paradise fly up the noses of the SJWs.

  • Rob Fisher

    After Eric Raymond taught me that there were people who thought like me and they called themselves libertarians, I next asked Google if there were any such people in the UK. And here I am. That must have been 2003/2004ish.

  • Paul Marks

    The person who has just been elected Attorney General of Minnesota, and is Vice Chairman of the Democratic National Committee nationally, is Mr Keith Ellison – a person who mixes Marxism and Islam (yes I know Marxism is a materialist and atheist philosophy – but he mixes them anyway, it is all “Social Justice” you see). Other similar people have been elected to Congress – from both Minnesota and Michigan.

    This is what has changed since 2001 – then the enemy were flying aircraft into buildings, now they are moving into positions of power.

    And Big Business is backing the far left – to the tune of hundreds of millions of Dollars in these midterm elections alone. And by endless backing in the news and ENTERTAINMENT media.

    The reasons for the backing (which is long standing) of Big Business for the far left I leave to others – but it is very real.

    As I have said before – it reminds me of the years (and vast resources) the Duke of Orleans, the richest man in France, spent pushing Revolution in France. The Revolution that killed him.

  • Paul Marks

    The money goes everywhere – for example in New Hampshire large amounts of “out of State” (read money from Big Business and the Rich) appeared backing Democrat candidates for the State Legislature.

    Yes the local State Legislature – nothing to do with any personal dislike certain rich people and Big Business types may have for Donald Trump. They (Big Business and certain rich individuals) were throwing money at local races in a State they do not live in – for the purpose of increasing taxes, government spending and regulations (the aim of the Democrats in New Hampshire – and everywhere else).

    This is the mystery – why do so many Big Business Corporations and so many rich individuals, back an agenda of ever higher taxes, ever more government spending and ever more regulations, as well as all the Frankfurt School of Marxism “Social Justice” stuff about race, gender, sexual orientation, the oppression by “capitalism” of “transsexuals” and on and on…..

    To read the words of many successful businessmen (such as the owner of Facebook) is like reading the ravings of lunatics in straightjackets, being transcribed from padded cells.

    They really seem to have gone to school and university and BELIEVED everything the teachers and university professors told them. Perhaps that is why they became such successful Corporate Managers and so on – because they do not question anything, they just ACT on what they are told (with incredible determination and energy), there is no DOUBT (no STRATEIGIC thought) in their minds – at least not a strategic level. Their thought is all at the TACTICAL level (HOW do we achieve higher taxes, “Gay Marriage”, whatever…) never at the STRATEGIC level (never SHOULD we do these things).

    Once they, the Corporate Managers and many rich individuals, are told that something is a “Progressive aim” they go for it – with incredible energy and zeal (and without any doubts or questioning thoughts) – perhaps that is the secret of their commercial success. But it will destroy them – they (like the Duke of Orleans before them) are creating a political change which will KILL THEM.

    The Democratic Party has become an alliance between the rich and the poor – with the Republican Party (mainly) representing those in between.

    The people who want “free” health care (and on and on) mostly vote Democrat – and the very rich (for whom money appears to have lost any real meaning) MOSTLY back the Democratic Party – but there is a contradiction here.

    The “masses” including the “masses” that the “liberal” wealthy elite is so fanatically determined to import from the Third World, have no limit to their demands – none.

    Take the State of California – why should the “masses” (including all those millions of immigrants from Latin America and their children) stop at the benefits and services they have been promised? Why should the “masses” not take EVERYTHING – including the personal possessions of the rich “liberals” (such as the Silicon Valley cartel and the San Francisco bankers) who have invited them in?

    Why not? Who is going to stop them?

    Not the “Rednecks” who the “liberals” so despise – the “Rednecks” (i.e. people who did not go to university and have not been admitted into the inner mysteries of “liberalism”) have been leaving the State (or not having children) for a long time now. They are not going to be around to help the rich “liberals” when the “masses” they so love turn on them.

    And the “masses” that the “liberals” have brought in to the United States (and to so many European countries) will turn on the rich “liberals” – it will happen. Because the “masses” want everything. That, after all, is what SOCIAL JUSTICE (the sacred principle of Big Business and so many rich individuals) actually means. It means “they get your stuff – it is “fairly distributed” to them”.

    As Oscar Wilde said of the death scene of Little Nell – “one would have to have a heart of stone – not to LAUGH”.

  • Congratulations!

    Your blog was one of the inspirations for me to start mine in 2008, which I’m still writing today!

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Of all the weblogs on the English-speaking internet advocating for liberty not written under a pseudonym, Samizdata is the most important.

    And personally this blog has had a major impact on my intellectual development ever since I first stumbled on its pages about twelve years ago.

    God Bless.