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]

Spin off site: The Great Realignment

Samizdata is a site that writes about things from a primarily libertarian perspective (which means different things to different people, of course). But the issue firmly wedged in the minds of many people here is not a libertarian/non-libertarian issue, it is political, and it has split the samizdatistas much as it has split the UK.

Brexit.

Samizdata needs to get back to writing the kind of things it has always done, and will continue to do, but that does not mean the overtly political stuff is not worth saying… just not here. Not on samizdata. After much pondering, I have decided it just isn’t what this site should be about.

And that is why we now have The Great Realignment, an overtly political site in its very early days for all the various things that do not really fit on samizdata. It is not a replacement, it is a fork in our particular road. I believe that we are now entering a period in which many of the assumptions that have underpinned the UK’s political order are no longer true, but the politics we see have not yet adjusted to this uncertain half-glimpsed future. This is what we will be discussing, with a UK focus, but we may well look at similar realignments elsewhere.

Check it out.

25 comments to Spin off site: The Great Realignment

  • Paul Marks

    The word “samizdata” comes (as you know) from the former East Block – and was explicitly about people expressing cultural and political dissent (politics being “downstream” from culture).

    Surely defending such things as Freedom of Speech from the European Union and the British establishment (indeed the international establishment) is exactly what a site called “Samizdata” should be about.

    But no matter – if the defence of liberty is to be left to the “The Great Realignment” site and the Samizdata site is to be reserved for cat videos (and so on), that is fair enough. Actually I quite like cat videos.

    I quite like Hippo videos as well – one must not become obsessed with politics to the exclusion of other things in life.

  • Surely defending such things as Freedom of Speech from the European Union and the British establishment (indeed the international establishment) is exactly what a site called “Samizdata” should be about.

    And that is exactly what we will still be writing about on Samizdata. Which bit seems to be confusing you about what I wrote?

  • APL

    Paul Marks: “and the Samizdata site is to be reserved for cat videos ”

    Agreed, and to usher in the new era for Samizdata, I offer this

    Politics pah!

    On the other hand, there is clearly a demand for that sort of thing.

  • Bell Curve

    I’m in awe of Perry’s boss-level ability to reply to Paul’s comment with a such politeness 😆

  • Mr Ed

    I’m in awe of Perry’s boss-level ability to reply to Paul’s comment with a such politeness

    Perry is polite, and so is Paul, habitually. But a triple broadside from the Sage of Kettering will inevitably result in a reference to Fichte, Diocletian and/or The Economist, so best avoided, we don’t really want readers gnawing their legs off (or anyone else’s).

  • bobby b

    I, too, am curious to see what non-political conversation about libertarianism looks like.

    😕

    (Do you simply mean “all things non-Brexit”? Or is Samizdata now reserved for the “liberty/authority” continuum, while the new site is for the left/right continuum? But, isn’t Brexit itself one of the first major upheavals that fails to track on either continuum and thus leads to a failure of the major party demarcations?)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Of course Perry is polite! 😀

    As is Paul, whose remark echoes a certain confusion of my own: Insofar as libertarianism is a political philosophy (although it covers more than just the actions and machinations of politicians and of government, and in fact rests on ethical philosophy which rests on moral philosophy), its realm of action is specifically politics.

    . .

    Speaking of cats…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K83BKNxgg7w

    Perry, perhaps you want to keep this site more focussed on theory and philosophy? If you were to point to a few discussions here that you think would be more suitable on the new site, I think that might help my understanding of the differentiation you’re trying for. ??

    In the fullness of time, of course, I daresay we’ll learn our way around the two sites, as their individual styles develop.

    Anyhow, best luck that it turns out as you hope. Carry on! 😎

  • Paul Marks

    I am sorry I misunderstood your post Perry.

    However, the post is unclear Sir.

    I agree that the word “Brexit” is not very useful in political discussion (on any blog – or outside a blog) – indeed it is so confusing that, for example, the BBC was able to report (with no sense of irony) about “anti Brexit, pro independence demonstrators” in Scotland.

    Of course to support the rule of Scotland by the European Union is to be ANTI independence (not “pro independence”) – but the use of the word “Brexit” has so confused political discussion that some people do not seem to understand that the debate is about independence.

    I suppose the truth is that there are no people (at least only a very few people) in Scotland who actually support an independent Scotland – the division of opinion is between those Scots who support the United Kingdom and those who support the European Union (no one, or at least only a very few people, appears to support a Scotland independent of both). Certainly rule by Brussels is not “independence”.

    But I do not see what the existence of two blogs is supposed to achieve – what posts are supposed to go in which blog?

    You have asked me if I find your post unclear. Yes it is unclear Sir – please explain.

    Which posts are supposed to go in which blog?

  • But I do not see what the existence of two blogs is supposed to achieve

    What you see is not my problem, I am done with you Paul.

  • Do you simply mean “all things non-Brexit”?

    Not ‘all’ things. We rarely discuss party politics here, and that is not going to change, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have views on it. That will be very much open to discussion on the new site. And Brexit will be rarely mentioned here. I thought I was pretty clear that Brexit is the cause of this ‘fork’. Brexit is about politics, not liberty (you can be genuinely pro-liberty & be on either side regarding Brexit for a variety of reasons. If someone can’t see that, well they’re just wrong), and as it is very divisive amongst the people involved with samizdata, it is better discussed on a different site which is overtly political.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Mention of Brexit and independence brings up a topic which I think belongs on Samizdata, since it is much broader than Brexit alone — and that is: What is the meaning of “independence” in an inter-dependent world? This is a topic I have been struggling with (unsuccessfully) for quite some time.

    Obviously, if the UK were to declare itself independent and cut itself off from the world, it would quickly begin to look like North Korea — unable to feed its people or fuel its power stations. Something similar is true of almost every other country — there would be very severe dislocations in most countries if they pursued independence and cut themselves off from the world. Yet the simple act of trading with other countries compromises the idea of independence. All sorts of other elements become involved in that trade, from visas to air traffic control to radio frequency spectrum allocation to product safety standards … on and on. In the real world, there are many limitations on a country’s independence.

    As individuals, we face an analogous situation to a country. We have to respect stringent limitations on our personal independence because we are so heavily inter-dependent on other people to keep the lights on, the water flowing, and the shelves of the grocery store stocked. We do not have (and mostly do not want) the independence to decide which side of the road we are going to drive on today, and we have to enforce limitations on other people’s independence to stop them from making their own independent choice.

    What is a realistic, rather than theoretical, description of “independence”?

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Speaking of realignments, whatever happened to Dale Amon? He used to be a regular contributor, and then nothing for what seems like years!

  • Julie near Chicago

    I miss quite a few of the old crowd….

  • Jim

    “Brexit is about politics, not liberty”

    Really????

  • The great realignment is one of power. Our parliament took us into a political union in 1973 without asking the people. Parliament believes itself to be the source of sovereignty or at the very least, having divine right to rule. Brexit has really opened a lot of people’s eyes to the fact parliament isn’t the servant of the people but our masters. This has to change.

    As always, some people have known this for many years and are waiting for others to catch up.

    http://www.harrogateagenda.org.uk

  • Samizdata will continue to be about libertarian things, which will doubtless from time to time include aspects of the Brexit struggle and/or UK politics in general that affect the libertarian cause. I’m sure we’ll see posts here prompted by that issue – including ones that reference Great Realignment posts and vice versa.

    However the great realignment that may come in UK politics – and not just there – interests a lot of people who do not (or not yet) call themselves libertarians, and will doubtless feature a lot of politics whose connection to libertarianism is sometimes at best distant.

    Brexit is a lever with great power to benefit the libertarian cause. But it is also a thing in itself, a thing supported by many who do not call themselves libertarians – some not yet, others likely never will. (It is also opposed by many of whom the leaders seem to me to be straight-up enemies of freedom but not all the followers.)

    I will make the suggestion (which Perry will confirm, correct or qualify as and if useful) that Perry

    – does not want to see Samizdata so filled with detailed Brexit-politics posts as to partially crowd-out other subjects

    – does want to see the great realignment fully covered (including perhaps useful contributions from people who might not be so useful on Samizdata)

    Obviously, whether a post belongs on the Great Realignment or on Samizdata or on both will doubtless sometimes be debatable. Years ago, when Natalie began contributing to Samizdata, she also for a long time continued her own blog:

    Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

    (she sometimes put links on one to posts on the other and vice versa). So she at least is doubtless familiar with making these assessments.

  • What you see is not my problem, I am done with you Paul.

    Seems a bit harsh.

  • “Brexit is about politics, not liberty”

    Really????

    Really. Many impeccably pro-liberty people oppose Brexit for reasons I do not share but which I do understand.

  • Speaking of realignments, whatever happened to Dale Amon? He used to be a regular contributor, and then nothing for what seems like years!

    He got really busy in the aerospace business, with emphasis on the ‘space’ part.

  • Stuart

    The only thing that restricts freedom or liberty is the political class. If we start off with the notion that we can do what we like bar infringing the rights of others, it’s only the state that decides how far away from that we trsvel.

    In 1972 our parliament joined us to a political union that started the transfer from Westminster to Brussels of the power to decide policy and govern. In 1992 they gifted us a citizenship of this, by now supranational state. Both these actions are blatant abuses of our political rights and hence our liberty. We never had the liberty to accept or reject such changes, which makes our political class usurpers.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “But I do not see what the existence of two blogs is supposed to achieve – what posts are supposed to go in which blog?”

    The way I read it, the idea is to split Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s dictum about Voltaire’s philosophy into two.

    “I despise what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    Libertarianism puts the emphasis on the second clause. ‘Politics’ in this context is about the part saying:

    “I despise what you say.”

    I believe the idea is that spending a lot of time talking about the first part is divisive, and likely discourages potential recruits to the second part, because we all despise different things. Expressing our common beliefs on the first part are not really the point of the site – you can get that sort of discussion and mutual support anywhere. Where we can come together is on the second part. We agree to disagree on what opinions, policies, and lifestyle choices are to be despised, but unite in defending everybody’s right to express them. And where they do no harm to others, to implement them among themselves.

    Brexit is an important example of this split, but only one such. Some people care about it because of nationalism, some because of free trade, some because they don’t like the sort of green/left policies Europe imposes, some because of immigration and cultural dilution, some because of immigration and jobs, some because of welfare and human rights, some because of trade within and outside Europe, some because of democratic accountability, and so on. The sides on any of these individual topics are not necessarily aligned with the libertarian-authoritarian axis. We don’t necessarily all agree. And it could be that someone who supports aspects of Remain for fundamentally libertarian reasons (e.g. a belief in international free markets in culture and labour) would be put off by all the “We despise what you say” about Remainers and never get to the part where we say “but we will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    The new site is to enable you to still say it.

    That was my interpretation, anyway. I hope Perry will correct me if I’ve got it wrong.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Samizdata needs to get back to writing the kind of things it has always done

    I’ve not been long here compared to others, but did Samizdata regularly document examples of “looney-leftists” back in the day, the modern equivalent being examples of crazy woke-ness, like David Thompson regularly chronicles?

    It’s not that I don’t like a good laugh at the occasional cultural Marxist being hoist by their own petard, just that this site has been a real intellectual lesson for me as a late developer of libertarian thought, and more of the same discussion would be most welcome.

    If you are shunting off tiresome debates, then the daily fun-with-woke-people episodes should be the first to go.

  • That was my interpretation, anyway. I hope Perry will correct me if I’ve got it wrong.

    That is pretty much it.

  • neonsnake

    I’ve not been long here compared to others, but did Samizdata regularly document examples of “looney-leftists” back in the day

    Perhaps a faulty memory, but “back in the day”, it felt that if a socialist of the George Orwell stripe had stumbled across the site, they’d have been enough common ground that he might have stayed.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Looking forward to participating. Important to take stock of what the blog is for. Brexit has been sucking much air from the room. It’s best if the political changes going on are discussed in a different place.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>