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

“….the Americanisation of culture wars deserves resistance in itself. It homogenises national priorities, obscuring cultural and political differences, to such a ludicrous extent that British people end up arguing about police violence in a year when, yet again, it was revealed that the police had sat back and done next to nothing as a gang of men had groomed and raped young girls in Britain. Police brutality and overzealousness might be a particular problem in a Midwestern US state, while not being a priority in a northern English county; the globalisation of politics obscures local conditions.”

“It also distorts our understanding of the world, limiting our awareness of international affairs to those which are the focus of the narrow spectrum of social media trends. Whether you are a progressive or a conservative, you should be so in the terms of your national circumstances, and with broader frames of references than those which have been provided by social media monopolies.”

Ben Sixsmith

25 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Alan Peakall

    It would be a big surprise were those words penned by Martin Sixsmith, and the linked piece attributes them to Ben Sixsmith.

  • Mr Ecks

    BLM cares zero about Floyd–he is just the excuse for cultivated race-baiting to serve Marxist chaos.

    If he had been an anti-Marxist instead of a useable “victim” Antifa might have killed him themselves.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Alan, the Freudian slip! Corrected.

  • thefat tomato

    Well, hopefully, at some point Americans will get bored of the culture war and put it out.
    Not as hopeful of that in the UK.

  • This PC coordination of ‘news’ also permits exploitation of one county’s ignorance of another country’s system. Most Americans know that Minneapolis and Minnesota are left-leaning areas, and that federalism means President Trump does not direct their policing. Many Britons are pretty ignorant of US political geography (many are quite ignorant of US geography, period 🙂 ) and even more know so little of federalism that you can get absurdities past them that even a PC American might rephrase. A typical US citizen (I assume) knows that PC claims of Trump causing police brutality in the Twin Cities are to be understood in a cultural influencing sense. A typical Briton may imagine he heads a direct line of command over them.

    There is also an element of recycling/laundering of stories, similar to US agencies’ use of Steele to evade intra-US restraints in pushing the Russian collusion story.

  • James Hargrave

    Reportage of Australian bush fires in the British media tended to talk of ‘the government’. So much for a fine federal constitution massively perverted by an interventionist judiciary.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Many Britons are pretty ignorant of US political geography.

    Absolutely. For example, a lot of those folk losing their minds in Trafalgar Square a fortnight ago barely comprehends that most of the cities in which riots and looting occurred in the US were Democrat controlled.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Many Britons are pretty ignorant of US political geography

    Not just Britons, of course. A broadly-conservative Italian friend was slightly incredulous when i told him that NY City is leaning far-left. He was incredulous because Milano is leaning right-wing. I should have explained to him that “the left” in the US is the party of the ruling class, just as “the right” was in Italy at the time we had our discussion.

    A typical Briton may imagine [Trump] heads a direct line of command over [police in Minneapolis].

    This reminds me of another discussion i had, in which i told Danish friends/colleagues that the UK PM has much more power within the UK than POTUS has within the US. It is a credit to them that they gave much more thought to what i said, than i would expect on an American campus. (The same can be said about my Italian friend.)

  • A typical US citizen (I assume) knows that PC claims of Trump causing police brutality in the Twin Cities are to be understood in a cultural influencing sense.

    Yes, we all remember his midnight torchlit speech against US Capitol building when he encouraged police officers and their departments to persecute African-American drug users who pass fake $20 bills, while the Right Wing Death Squads in their MAGA hats chanted “America Awake!” 🙄

    At best, Trump’s “influence” with respect to the death of George Floyd has been to say their should be an investigation. His “influence” with regard to the rioting and looting is that the local officials in charge (Mayors, Governors and their police chiefs) should intervene to stop it and that Federal assistance would be given if requested.

    Hardly in the vein of “Inflammatory Rhetoric”.

    It’s all very well the leftists trying to pretend that Trump is literally Hitler, but nearly 4 years on all most people see is a rather clumsy egotist who has prevented 4 years of leftwing acceleration by the simple virtue of being in office instead of Killary.

    Hardly the stuff of Wagnerian legend.

  • bobby b

    Well, we ARE the center of the universe.

  • bobby b

    “Whether you are a progressive or a conservative, you should be so in the terms of your national circumstances . . . ”

    I would winnow that statement further, into “you should be so in the terms of your local circumstances . . . ” Anything broader, and I think you’re tacitly abdicating your own sphere of influence. It’s cheap to decry what you can’t effect and ignore what you can.

    “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”

    Or, to paraphrase, you have to start local.

  • Okay @Bobby B – So in your localist view, can a resident of Portland, Maine reasonably and legitimately complain about the introduction of new educational standards in Louisville, Kentucky?

    Given that both are sovereign states in matters not devolved (or stolen) by the Federal government of the United States.

  • bobby b

    John Galt
    June 25, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    “Okay @Bobby B – So in your localist view, can a resident of Portland, Maine reasonably and legitimately complain about the introduction of new educational standards in Louisville, Kentucky?”

    Oh, sure. The world is full of hot air, and I can reasonably and legitimately add my puff to it.

    But I’m not really a stakeholder there. If the Kentucky people want to send their own kids out into the world full of tripe (and presumably less full of STEM and whatever else the tripe crowds out), I can complain, but it would be a better use of my time – my own world and kin would be better off – if I make sure that my home town doesn’t follow suit.

    Not saying never fight national or global – just that it’s more important (and more possible) to get local right first.

    (ETA: Look what happens when we take our eye off local – a lot of Republicans did over the last few cycles, and now we’re surprised (!?) across the country to find that our local prosecutors won because Soros’ PAC’s funded them.)

  • But I’m not really a stakeholder there.

    Which is the heart of the matter, because it’s about “skin in the game”. The more local the problems are the more likely they are to impact your personally, hence your level of “skin in the game” increases proportionately. A kind of “Political inverse square law”.

    Government at every level is mostly about going along to get along, but at some point (inevitably), some idiot or group of idiots decide that it’s no longer a democracy, but their own personal fiefdom and those in power are going to tell the little guys, how it’s gonna be.

    So of all the thousands of quiet, sleepy little burgs there are one or two who are just about to explode. Maybe over police brutality, maybe over corruption, maybe just a pig headed local Mayor who needs to be taken down a peg or two.

    As John Adams found, sometimes the revolution starts on your doorstep (quite literally with regard to the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770)

  • Cesare

    The culture wars have been Americanized only to the extent that the interests who could not destroy the country from without still insist on trying to do so from within and involving as much, yea any fringe they can any where they can.

  • Bobby b, I would qualify your ‘local’ focus with the observation that wherever free speech is harmed, it may be very proper for those who live where there is more of it to make remarks about the situation where there is less of it.

    If one US state has a lot of cancel culture ruling its public domain and another has less, it may be very useful for those who can speak to do so. Likewise in world terms: Robert Conquest’s history of ‘The Great Terror’ was disliked by many a western intellectual but when the soviet union ended we found it had been read by an astonishing number of Soviet citizens, including those high up in the soviet state, despite this needing reading it in samizdat and similar.

  • Paul Marks

    This quote (the quote the post gives) is NOT good.

    It implies that the United States is some evil racist country form which we in the United Kingdom should dissociate ourselves.

    It is all a LIE – Minneapolis (one of the most leftist cities in America) is not run by “White Nationalist” and the killing of George Floyd had nothing to do with RACE.

    I am sick and tired of posts like this that ignore the actual issue.

    The Frankfurt School of Marxism did not come from Frankfurt Kentucky – it came from Frankfurt Germany, and is just as strong in British academia as it is in American academia.

    Ben Sixsmith may think that this conflict is something American from which we in the United Kingdom can dodge – but if he does think that then Mr Sixsmith is totally wrong.

    This is a conflict all over the Western World – a war with the Marxists (and their endless lies – pushed by the education system, the “mainstream” media an, yes, the “Woke” Corporations – with their “educated” managers) – one can opt out of it, or pretend it is just about the United States.

    This war with the Marxists is about all of the Western World – and the West can NOT survive without the United States.

  • Paul Marks

    Short version – if a post or comment on this conflict all over the Western World does not mention the enemy (the Marxists), then that post or comment is no good. BLM is Marxist. Antifa is Marxist. The stuff taught to your children in school and university and on the BBC is Frankfurt School Marxism.

    I am rather irritated that I have to make the same obvious point over and over again.

  • Paul Marks (June 26, 2020 at 6:43 pm), I know as well as you do that BLM are racists and that Soros and their other funders are concerned about November, not black lives or deaths.

    But sometimes you find yourself talking to a useful idiot who could be made less useful and less idiotic. Then you need to be able to refute the argument in its own terms. Only when you’ve made progress there can you argue that its absurdity in its own terms justifies them considering whether its preachers have ulterior motives.

    Threads on this blog can be a place to refine arguments.

    It’s like socialism. To some people, you have to explain that it won’t work in its own terms before explaining that some latter-day Stalin couldn’t care less about that because it’s all about power.

    Yes, I agree that it is tedious to have to do this.

  • Snorri Godhi

    It is all a LIE – Minneapolis (one of the most leftist cities in America) is not run by “White Nationalist” and the killing of George Floyd had nothing to do with RACE.

    The fact that Paul Marks felt the need to write this paragraph, shows that he understood the quote in the OP in a way which is radically different from my understanding — and it goes without saying that my understanding is correct and Paul’s understanding is wrong!

  • Paul Marks

    You may have a point Niall – perhaps one does have to refute the lies, point-by-point. Every time the lies (about “racist American police” and so on) come out.

    However, the post does NOT do that. The post does nothing to oppose the lies being told, by the Marxists and “Fellow Travellers” (such as the “Woke” Corporations) against the United States and Western Civilisation generally.

    Sorri – you miss the point.

    The “OP” is irrelevant. It is irrelevant because it does not even mention who the enemy is (the Marxists) and nor does it oppose the LIES about the United States.

    I am NOT saying that Mr Sixsmith accepts or spreads the lies – but he does not oppose them either, he tires to DODGE them, but talking about “national priorities” and others such. Basically “I am not American – please do not hit me” as if the Marxists in British universities (and the media – and the Fellow Travellers in the Woke Corporations and organisations) give a toss if someone is American or not.

    This war is the same in Germany or Switzerland as it is the United States or the United Kingdom.

    The “Woke” (i.e. Frankfurt School) Marxists are the same everywhere in the Western World – as our the “Woke” Corporations (with their “educated” managers) who support them.

    It really is quite blatant – for example Nike supports Colin K. not in spite of the man being an evil Castro supporting scumbag, but BECAUSE Colin K. is an evil Castro supporting scumbag.

    That is what being “Woke” means – it means supporting evil (supporting Marxism – specifically Frankfurt School Marxism

    This war is the same in the United Kingdom as it is in the United States (the enemy is the same) – and the idea that the United Kingdom can stand if the United States falls, is wrong.

    This is a war by the Marxists (and Fellow Travelers) with their objective being the utter extermination of Western Civilisation.

  • Paul Marks

    I am certainly NOT saying that someone gives the Marxist Clinched Fist salute they should have have their hand cut off (not even the athletes who did this in the 1968 Olympics in the middle of the Vietnam War) – but it should be politely pointed out to them that they are giving the Marxist salute.

    If they say “I am opposing racism” then it should be explained to them that they are NOT. As Karl Marx and Frederick Engels actually had nothing but hatred and contempt for black people.

    If someone (such as British Association Football players) “takes the knee” for the Marxists then I am certainly NOT saying that they should be “knee capped” (Ulster style) to remind them with great pain every time they take a step for the rest of their lives, what an evil thing they have done. But it should be politely explained to such people that by “taking the knee” (in the fashion of Colin K.) they are honouring the murderers of over ONE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE – including recently the murderers of DAVID DORN and others.

    There are two errors to be avoided when dealing with such “Woke” behaviour – one should NOT respond with violence (it would be morally wrong to cut off hands or shoot a bullet into someone’s kneecap for “taking the knee”), but one should not just ignore the behaviour either.

    One should politely, and most certainly nonviolently, explain to people who use the clinched fist sign, or who “take the knee” (in the fashion of Colin K. and so on) that they have done something evil – very evil.

    If they carry on behaving this way AFTER it has been explained to them that they are behaving in a disgusting manner, then one should WALK AWAY – not have anything more to do with such people, SHUN them.

    For example, it would obviously be morally wrong to pay money to watch Association Football (or anything else) whilst those involved continue to “take the knee”.

    And, of course, one should not buy the goods or services of Corporations who support such behaviour.

    “Fellow Travellers” (non Marxists who carry on the games of the Marxists) are one of the lowest forms of scum.

    For example, if I was planning to live for an extended period of time (I am not) – I would be looking for a computer service provider who were NOT Fellow Travellers.

    Sky (Disney) are not morally acceptable – and neither is Google or Microsoft. They all back the left – and that is just as bad as actually believing in this Frankfurt School stuff themselves (in fact, in a way, it is WORSE).

    Most of the Tech Giants are Fellow Traveller scum – but there must be alternatives that young people who know far more than me about such matters, can find and use.

    Almost needless to say – when (and, sadly, it does look like “when” not “if”) the Marxists take power, they will rob and murder their rich Fellow Traveller “friends”.

    But the Woke Corporations do not think about this – all they think about is how to get even more Credit Money from the Bank of Japan, Bank of England, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve – and so on.

    For example, they are all happy with the idea of the United States Supreme Court ending what is left of Freedom of Speech – which it will do as soon as “President Biden” makes one appointment to the Supreme Court.

    One appointment (just one) and the Bill of Rights is dead – to the applause of the Woke Corporations (such as the list of UTTER VERMIN who are demanding even more censorship from Facebook).

    Hard, very hard, to care that these people are going to end up robbed and murdered by their Marxist “friends”.

  • It implies that the United States is some evil racist country form which we in the United Kingdom should dissociate ourselves.

    That is your take on what he is saying, but I do not think that is a reasonable characterisation. The politics of the USA & UK are very different, as are the societies for better or worse (better and worse more accurately). To quote from the Critic Magazine:

    Take the roiling absurdity outside America since the death of George Floyd. What does the death of a foreigner killed by a foreign policeman in a foreign land say about the state of Britain? The facts of the Home Office’s homicide index are clear enough. Between April 2016 and March 2019, 500 whites, 45 blacks and 38 others were convicted in England and Wales of murdering 583 white victims.

    Over the same period, 81 blacks, 11 whites and nine others were convicted of murdering 101 black victims. Roughly 3 per cent of Britons are black. The idea that there is a racial tsunami of murder in this country is monstrous, let alone — “hands up! don’t shoot!” — one waged by our unarmed police. We are being asked to fight against a fantasy.

    That is what importing US politics into the UK looks like. And I’m against it. The UK is not the USA (particularly not the warped fantasy version of the USA that BLM imagines) and many issues do not travel well.

    I am sick and tired of posts like this that ignore the actual issue.

    It is generally a mistake to criticise people for not discussing what you think they should be discussing.

  • bobby b

    The phenomena of the UK’s woke fighting so hard to fix the nonexistent problem of all of the various George Floyds being killed in the UK just goes to show what’s really going on.

    This is all happening so that a different group of white people can take power from the present powerful group of white people.

    The incidentals don’t matter.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Perry, in reply to Paul:

    That is your take on what he is saying, but I do not think that is a reasonable characterisation.

    I agree with Perry.

    I hinted at that in my 2nd comment above. I was not more explicit because i thought that making people think about what i meant, was likely to be more effective than spelling it out.

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