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

Isn’t it time to tell our elites: “Enough!”

The battle for Brexit appears to have been won. The battle to save the internal combustion engine – and, more generally, to stop a regression to the eighteenth century – may be upon us.

– Schrodinger’s Dog

27 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Cesare

    Perhaps if they were given some sort of repetitive, insoluble task to occupy themselves the more normative population might be safe. Something akin to giving the jinn a hair to straighten, or even counting votes in Iowa might be enough to do the trick.

  • Tim the Coder

    The Eighteenth Century was heavily dependent on coal, and upon charcoal made from burning all the trees.
    To get zero carbon, you have to go a lot further back than that. Time of the Black Death perhaps? (14th)

    Or maybe to the 7th Century?

    Even the Romans were big carbon emitters: all those hypocausts! But no need for petrol or gas, plenty of slaves to do the work.

  • Tim the Coder

    That’s a serious point BTW.
    Slavery was abolished by the economics of energy supply, not wishfulthinking.
    Remove the supply of economical energy, and a return to slavery is inevitable.
    Though it will be called something else, to start with.

  • Mr Ed

    Can we have a politician willing to ban ‘bans’, and sack the useless drones whose jobs involve coming up with these proposals?

  • NickM

    I have a modest proposal…

    How about we round up all the Greens and put them in hamster wheels to generate the juice for these electric cars. We can even have a little one for the Pippi Longstocking of Doom. It will be gruelling work and many will die but that’s where the Soylent Green has to come from isn’t it?

  • Gene

    How about we round up all the Greens and put them in hamster wheels to generate the juice for these electric cars.

    Much as I’d like to see them hamstering away, the “generate the juice” part of this gets to the heart of the real agenda. Because the idea isn’t to switch us all to electric cars; it’s to make sure we don’t have any cars. The power drain required to run all those future cars would be immense, and the greens have no intention of actually producing that power in the first place.

  • Slavery was abolished by the economics of energy supply, not wishful thinking. (Tim the Coder, February 5, 2020 at 1:57 pm)

    England was a society without serfdom, let alone slavery, under the first Queen Elizabeth, long before the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution occurred there, not elsewhere, because it was a more free society, not vice versa.

    The industrial revolution gave the victorians the power to wage their long war against slavery elsewhere in the world. So Tim’s remark above is not exactly wrong – without ‘the economics of energy supply’ that powered the victorian age, their will to abolish it in places and cultures that had no desire to, and where it was still profitable to both the empire and the locals, would have lacked the power to achieve such an aim.

    As regards ‘wishful thinking’, the movement to abolish slavery world-wide began where it did for the same reason the industrial revolution began there. If the UK had not become accustomed to being a free society at home, the evangelicals’ aspiration to abolish slavery more widely would not have occurred so strongly to them and would not have gained such wide support.

  • NickM

    You do appreciate where the term, “modest proposal” comes from?

  • Bruce

    Coal has been used in both Asia and Europe / Britain, for thousands of years.

    High-“carbon” Romans?

    The Romans invented concrete and used it in huge quantities everywhere they built stuff. Making cement from limestone requires a LOT of heat, so……….

    They were also prodigious producers of all manner of metal products ALL of which require serious heat at least once in their production and in the fabrication of artifacts. Consider all the metals used in the weapons, armour and accoutrements of the Legions, just for starters.

    All the tools required to build the roads and aqueducts that STILL stand today.

    Kitchen cutlery?

    Chains for the slaves?

    Lead for the plumbing?

    Then, on the other side of the planet, the Chinese were merrily engaging in sophisticated metal production and use in a similar time-frame, possibly starting a bit earlier.

    There are not too many metals that occur naturally in exploitable quantities in their pure, un-oxidized form.

    Eco-Nazis are a DEATH CULT. Ditto their enablers.

  • Gene

    NickM, I do indeed, and appreciate the reference.

  • Agammamon

    Isn’t it time to tell our elites: “Enough!”

    Telling them isn’t enough. They’ve been told. They push ahead anyway. Look at Virginia over here in the US. 90% of the state is telling the state legislature and governor that they don’t want his weapons restrictions. What is their replay? Fuck you, do it anyway and if you don’t we’ll call out the National Guard and shoot you.

  • Julie near Chicago


  • Johnathan Pearce

    I glimpsed Michael Gove trying to defend the plan to ban sales of petroleum and diesel by a certain date. That’s what bugs me: the approach is to start by banning and stopping things, then figure out what comes next, rather then focus on encouraging what’s better.

    Thr Industrial Revolution didn’t start because some monarch or chap in a whig decided to ban this or that. It was fuelled (no pun intended) by a desire for more produce, speed, comfort, and other good things. What we have now is State enforced scolding.

    The Tories have a big majority. They should use some political capital to resist some of this Green oppression.

  • I glimpsed Michael Gove trying to defend the plan to ban sales of petroleum and diesel by a certain date. That’s what bugs me: the approach is to start by banning and stopping things, then figure out what comes next, rather then focus on encouraging what’s better.

    Sure, but it’s a date without a policy. Apart from a massive switchover to nuclear (for which it is a bit late given it takes about 30 years to build a single nuclear power station in the UK), there is no mechanism for achieving this in the timescale laid down.

    Thus, it won’t be achieved.

    Some portion of the economy that can afford to (or receives government subsidy to) will switch over from fossil fuels to electric), but stuff like transporting goods from one end of the country to the other by road? Simply not going to happen any time soon as the solutions available don’t scale by volume or distance.

    It’s little more than wishful thinking.

    As the date gets closer it will be watered down with exclusions or kicked into the future again.

    Since they have no plans for more widespread use of nuclear power they are clearly not serious about a low carbon power, heat or transport future.

  • CJ Nerd

    I’ve been mulling for some time the idea of a petition to have the law changed as follows:

    – No MP may travel in a car powered by petrol or diesel
    – No MP may travel in a car of any description within the M25.

    If they want to impose this on us, they should try it themselves first.

    If there was a petition to that effect, who here would sign it?

  • Tim the Coder

    Just a thought:

    This announcement is crass and insane.
    Dominic Cummings is not noted for being crass and insane.
    Perhaps this is a deliberate provocation? Get the masses to wake up to the Great Green Blob threat?
    Make them notice what the Twittyborough and that brat’s puppeteers are saying?

    I suspect I’m wrong and it’s political-morons-as-usual, but there’s always hope.

    …and yes CJ, I’d support your petition, but insist on banning MP’s in aircraft and helicopters also. 🙂

  • Nah Tim. This is business as usual. Just government PR prior to the Glasgow climate conference, because they are struggling to get any of the usual talking heads to front it.

  • NickM

    Is it not ironic that the electric car – for so long an icon of the technological future may come to be through atavistic desires. Or,to put it another way, that electric cars will be driven by Fred Flintstone and not George Jetson.

  • staghounds

    CJ Nerd- everyone in the country would sign it*. Greens because they believe, regular people because $%&* our Masters, politicians out of not wanting to appear special. I wish there were an MP brave enough to introduce it. Talk about instant stardom…

    “The Eighteenth Century was heavily dependent on coal…”

    Coal, and people being cold all the time. It’s one thing to power a few steam boilers and a couple of million fireplaces,something else to heat every house, plow every field, and move every object for 70 million people with an energy source.

    *Tweaked to allow car pooling, say 4 people in the car. Paid drivers don’t count.

  • Itellyounothing

    I hate to say it because Climate change is moronic, but like Brexit was a crucial part of gaining enough votes to win a coalition, making fart noises about green issues is also necessary. It is all sitting at 2035 plus for action because the only thing that will defuse the climate stupid is time and more failed predictions.

    By 2035 it’s likely who ever is running for leader of a western country will be running on a repeal this nonsense ticket……

    Voters won’t vote to turn off their own power.

    We will have wasted much tax payers money on rich people pretending to be green (sadly), but nothing worse than that.

    If I am wrong 6 billion people will die, if I am right, you read it here first!

  • If I am wrong 6 billion people will die, if I am right, you read it here first!

    Except you’re not the first to say exactly that (in fact I said pretty much the same earlier in this thread) and lots of smarter and more qualified people than us have said the same.

    You’re simply stating the obvious. It won’t happen because it can’t happen. The peeps aren’t going to give up their central heating and go back to…what? Just freezing to death in the winter?

    Fuck off * x billion.

  • GregWA

    Itellyounothing…no, it’s not just wasted money. “Much taxpayer money”…how much? $1 trillion? $10 trillion? More by the time we reach sanity in 2035 or whenever?

    It’s not money wasted but opportunities wasted. The opportunity represented by $1,000,000,000,000.00 or more. Cancer? Mars? Cheap Nuclear? What’s your dream? 10,000,000 million lives saved in the third world? 100 million? A billion? This is what is at stake when we get the politics wrong.

  • Stonyground

    My worry about 2035 is that back in 2005 I thought that the climate change crap would have died a natural death by 2020.

  • staghounds

    The money isn’t wasted if you and your friends get it, or it buys you votes.

  • Runcie Balspune

    There are two issues here, the primary one is whether the government is in a position to provide a solution, the history of government solutions is a log and sorry one, consider the incandescent lightbulb “crisis”, which was “solved” by government subsidising and promoting compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), a defunct design that was soon eclipsed by LEDs, resulting in a cloud of carbon emissions on wasted purchases that never saved enough energy to compensate their production, distribution and disposal.

    Whilst battery technology stands as it is, the fully electric car (not a hybrid) is heading down a similar dead-end (pun intended), until something can reliably show it matches the energy density of fossil fuels, the end result will be a waste of excess carbon emissions for the whole life cycle of the vehicle.

    Hybrid EVs which use a small battery to capture regenerative energy and a ICE as a electric generator are the best solution right now, improvements to generators already mean these get more out of ordinary petrol than a traditional car, and further improvements, perhaps using alternative fuels will only make this better, at little change to the design.

    The proposed elimination of all ICE including hybrids is a nonsensical decision even with current technology, another government screw-up right at the initial stages, and the catastrophe is it will ultimately generate even more carbon emissions than standing still with ordinary ICEs (which isn’t happening anyway).

    Proponents of battery driven EVs always point to the construction of renewable energy powering them thereby doing away with fossil fuel (and emissions) at source. Using the formula based on 1 US gallon = 36.6 kWh, UK vehicle fuel in 2018 use (petrol, diesel and LPG, excluding lorries and buses) was about 28.7 million tonnes, which is 7.5 billion US gallons, which is 274.5 billion kWh, that’s something like 70,000 wind turbines (*), so the energy costs of building, installing and maintaining these should be factored in as well.

    Ultimately, the reason why transportation energy consumption will drop is already in the making, online shopping means warehousing and delivery of goods is more efficient, home working does not need a daily commute, virtual meeting technology reduces travel, and the advent of vehicular AI means a fleet of commercially provided self-driving cars can transport humans far more efficiently overall.

    (*) if someone would be kind enough to verify this, please?

  • Paul Marks

    If nuclear power, to produce the electricity, was radically deregulated (which would greatly reduce costs and IMPROVE safety) and if batteries and so on were greatly improved in design, then electric cars would indeed make sense.

    However, the people who are in favour of banning petrol cars tend to be AGAINST nuclear power.

    Not all of such people – but most of such people.

  • Mr Ed

    We can now see where this government’s eagerness to maintain the trans-gender agitation comes from, Boris is transitioning to Theresa before our very eyes.