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

One might imagine that civil liberties organisations would have something to say about the authoritarian groupthink creeping from the leftist fringes of British politics. But amidst the predictable statements in support of Black Lives Matter it seems Liberty’s central campaign is the possible infringement of rights posed by facial recognition software, rather than the real and present threat to livelihoods and liberty of those with heterodox opinions. Indeed, earlier this year Liberty, Amnesty International UK and Human Rights Watch signed a joint statement arguing that ‘dehumanising discussions and ‘debates’ lead to human rights abuses.’ One wonders how an organisation like Liberty, which claims to ‘challenge injustice, defend freedom and campaign to make sure everyone in the UK is treated fairly’ can fulfil these laudable aims without free and open debate.

Josephine Bartosch

22 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Matthew

    Once everyone thinks, speaks, and acts the same then there will be perfect freedom as there will be no need for rules of any sort.

  • lucklucky

    Well if that organization supported Black Lives Matter then it is Marxo-racist organisation.

  • Doug Huggins

    I don’t know how things are with UK “watchdog organizations” but the American Civil Liberties Union has not been interested in maintaining Civil Liberties for decades. The in-famous Southern Poverty Law Center has made a fortune from corporate blackmail, and none of it goes to really help fight actual poverty, in the South or elsewhere… and they’re not all that interested in Law, more interested in Lawfare and legalized extortion.

  • Nadia Whittome MP … last week wrote in The Independent that the ‘very act of debate’ was ‘an effective rollback of assumed equality and a foot in the door for doubt and hatred.’

    A foot in the door for doubt !!! Well, we can’t have that, can we – or people might begin to doubt her fitness to be an MP and sit in a chamber whose official purpose is debate.

  • David

    Wokeness is creeping in into the UK in more places than you think. I had seen the word neurodiversity bandied about and wondered what it meant. A quick search and It’s the new word for grouping ADHD, autiss etc. Sounds innocuous but then on Autisticuk website I found this in the definition “The classification of neurodivergence (e.g. autism, ADHD, dyslexia, bipolarity) as medical/psychiatric pathology has no valid scientific basis, and instead reflects cultural prejudice and oppresses those labeled as such.”. Wokeness alert!

  • Exasperated

    The effort to dox and harass can come out of anywhere. SecondCityCop reports that a teacher from the Chicago Public Schools, “has also taken it upon himself to publicly name, dox and harass a CPD mom who has kids who go to Bridge Elementary up north.” Not a surprise really, using children, to make some cheap political point.

  • llamas

    From the linked article:

    ‘ . . . . arguing that ‘dehumanising discussions and ‘debates’ lead to human rights abuses.’’

    That’s not an ‘argument’, it’s an assertion of fact. For which they must be able to produce evidence. Except, of course, that they can’t. This is typical of the kinds of evidence-free assertions that are now routinely used as the starting-point for suppressing any opinion that they don’t approve of. The only comforting thought is that these modern-day Jacobins will eventually devour themselves – even Robespierre finally found himself facing liberty’s razor.

    David wrote:

    ‘Wokeness is creeping in into the UK in more places than you think.’

    Too right. Me and mrs llamas enjoy a podcast called ‘Cruising the Cut’, which follows the adventures of a full-time narrowboat cruiser on the UK canal system. We were watching the other day as he cruised past a moored narrowboat sporting a huge ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner. Not to stereotype or anything, but UK narrowboaters are likely the most lily-white community that it’s possible to find. It’s the purest virtue-signaling. Hard to imagine the mindset of a person who felt that they somehow improved the world by doing this.

    llater,

    llamas

  • staghounds

    llamas- do you know A.P. Herbert’s canal boat education “case”?

    http://staghounds.blogspot.com/2017/01/what-is-education-guest-column-by-alan.html

  • Paul Marks

    Good post.

    And there is a simple (and brutal) answer to the question. The reason that the “Civil Liberties” organisations do not campaign against “Cancel Culture” (full disclosure – I am personally a victim of Cancel Culture) is that they are dominated by the same Collectivist Frankfurt School of Marxism types behind “Cancel Culture”.

    This is also true in the United States. For example, Tim Pool (an independent journalist who made his name covering the “Occupy Wall Street” movement) used to work with a group called the “Free Press”.

    The “Free Press” now campaign FOR CENSORSHIP – not against censorship, FOR censorship.

    What happened?

    The Frankfurt School of Marxism “Repressive Tolerance” people arrived – with their “Critical Theory” and their “Intersectionalism”.

    Tim Pool is NOT Paul Marks – Tim Pool is a man of the moderate LEFT. He was driven to the conclusion that the Marxist Critical Theory people were taking over such groups.

    By the way…..

    Try going to the “Civil Liberties” groups about the lockdown regulations (in any country) or against the MASKS.

    They do not give a toss about business enterprises being shut down, or churches being shut down, or about people being forced to wear masks.

    Or people being CENSORED and DRIVEN FROM THEIR JOBS by Cancel Culture.

    The old “Civil Liberties” organisations are as straight as a Seven Pound note.

    This is why such new groups as the FREE SPEECH UNION are needed.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Sounds innocuous but then on Autisticuk website I found this in the definition “The classification of neurodivergence (e.g. autism, ADHD, dyslexia, bipolarity) as medical/psychiatric pathology has no valid scientific basis, and instead reflects cultural prejudice and oppresses those labeled as such.”.”

    The issue is over how you define the term “mental illness”. For example, is being ‘right-wing’ a mental illness?

    Historically, it has been classified that way before. And more recently, too.

    In the old days, lots of things were diagnosed as ‘mental illness’ that constituted no more than having different preferences, beliefs, talents, or ways of thinking. Homosexuality or religion, for example. There are conditions that are simply more extreme versions of characteristics everyone has, so you have the problem of where to draw the line. These are things that do nobody else any harm, and are only a problem because society insists that people must think and act a certain way. If your mind was different to how society demanded, you could be classified as mentally ill, imprisoned in an institution, and treated for it against your will, and this was moral because you’re only trying to help cure them of their illness. To a libertarian, there are obvious problems with that.

    So the medical profession have tried to fix the definition. According to DSM-IV, a mental disorder is a psychological syndrome or pattern which is associated with distress (e.g. via a painful symptom), disability (impairment in one or more important areas of functioning), increased risk of death, or causes a significant loss of autonomy; however it excludes normal responses such as grief from loss of a loved one, and also excludes deviant behavior for political, religious, or societal reasons not arising from a dysfunction in the individual. But they acknowledge the definition is still ambiguous, and the line unclear. Is addiction to gambling an illness? Or smoking? How about shyness and introversion? Fear of creepy crawlies? Food dislikes? Being slow and stupid? Or having an annoyingly argumentative personality? ( 🙂 )

    So autism, for example, is a spectrum that extends continuously from ‘normal’ through ‘studious’, ‘geeky’, ‘socially awkward’, ‘socially inept’, ‘obsessive-compulsive’, all the way to an inability to survive without constant care. Attention deficit and hyperactivity is likewise on a spectrum from calm to active to excitable to violent and uncontrollable. Where do you draw the line? Dyslexics can operate normally in society, are often intelligent and capable, but can’t spell correctly. They can still communicate, writing phonetically, but if you don’t know what’s going on it can look bizarre. Is it a problem? Is it any of society’s business to dictate how we spell, so long as we can understand one another? How much allowance should society make for people who think or feel or behave differently? And how much allowance would we like to society to make for our own quirks of personality and ability? If we’re going to insist everyone can spell, should we not also insist they can do basic arithmetic, like long division, or calculating square roots with pencil and paper? And if basic arithmetic, why not more advanced education? Should anyone be allowed out on their own in society without a solid understanding of logic, statistics, probability, economics, finance, law, physics, biology, chemistry, electrical safety, etc.? Because there are a lot of people who would fail the exam.

    As usual, the problem is not with the idea of ‘neurodiversity’, but with its enforcement on those who disagree. Some people think homosexuality or religion or stupidity are mental disorders. Some think the same of dyslexia or social ineptness due to being on the autistic spectrum. Some people think being right-wing is. They are entitled to their beliefs, and to express them (if that does no direct and serious harm – e.g. by driving an obviously mentally fragile person to suicide or breakdown), but not to impose them on others, or constrain anyone’s freedoms on their basis except possibly to prevent serious harm being done to others.

    Other people have different definitions to us, and put different people on different sides of the line. They might even put *us* on the other side of that line. So we all should want a society where the lines are drawn as liberally as possible, and the consequences of finding yourself on the wrong side of those lines are as tolerable as possible, and we make allowances for others, as we hope others will make allowance for us. And that might sometimes mean accepting that things we have traditionally regarded as intolerably aberrant behaviour really aren’t.

  • Two comments:

    On neurodiversity, various parts of me fall on both sides of that line. I’m somewhere on the autism spectrum (asperger’s is just part of a continuum these days) but functional. I’m transexual, and while that’s uncommon, it’s nowhere as uncommon as is supposed. I don’t think it’s insanity, but a lot of people do. It was a mental illness when I had it, and did something about it, and I’m just as glad — that meant my medical insurance paid for much of it. These days people argue it should be demoted to “just another strange behavior” and while that’s okay, I note many of those who so argue also think it’s mental illness. It’s just mental illness they disapprove of and don’t want to pay for. Then again, part of me is mad as a hatter. It’s just a madness that can be handled with drugs these days. I had one argument, oh, years ago, with somebody who was convinced all mental illness was just a plot by doctors to gain control and money. I ripped him up the front and down the back, and finally got him to admit that sometimes there were mind problems medicine could help. Oh, he hated that.

    Scondly, about free-speech institutions, they never have been quite reasonable. Over forty years ago, I ran into Matthew Stark, then head of the MCLU (the Minnesota branch of the ACLU). They had recently been in the news over free-magazine-stands in public libraries. He was demanding they be removed. I asked him why. He said there were never enough stands so that everybody had one to use, therefore they all must be taken away from this publicly-funded venue. It quickly became quite an argument between us. I believe his position was properly known as “letting the perfect become the enemy of the good”, which you are supposed to never do. (For a better demonstration of what this pugnacious man was like, type “Matthew Stark” into the search engine of your choice, and see what Wikipedia has to say about him.)

    So be very careful around people who claim to be working for the Greater Good. It’s almost always a delusion.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    We are the point where if an organisation calls itself “liberty” or “cuddly toys”, it will be in favour of the exact opposite.

  • bobby b

    Matt Stark – ugh. Prickly little man with a Moses complex. Turned the MCLU into his own little fiefdom, pursuing only his own little battles. Kept bringing his own people in until he could pull a board coup, and then it was all his.

  • Jacob

    neurodivergence….
    be very careful around people who claim to be working for the Greater Good
    Very careful!
    The power hungry Marxists (and other do-gooders) are always looking fore more underclass people to “protect” and grab power in their name.
    First there was the proletariat and peasants. When these disappeared – they used the black, women and LGBT. Now the “neurodivergent”. and laso the disabled (20% of the population? and growing).

    I herby propose a new Revolutionary party: the party to promote the rights of normal, ordinary people.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “the party to promote the rights of normal, ordinary people.”

    What does “normal, ordinary” mean? Are there any?

  • bobby b

    “What does “normal, ordinary” mean? Are there any?”

    Just me.

    The rest of you . . . not so much. 😛

  • Snorri Godhi

    According to DSM-IV, a mental disorder is a psychological syndrome or pattern which is associated with distress (e.g. via a painful symptom), disability (impairment in one or more important areas of functioning), increased risk of death, or causes a significant loss of autonomy

    Speaking for myself, i have little to no trust or respect for psychiatrists or clinical psychologists.
    Oh sure, you can learn useful stuff from them, if you read them critically. But not if you read them uncritically. (And paying to talk to them is likely to be a waste of time+money.)

    Their recent “diagnosis” of Donald Trump would in itself be sufficient for sensible people to lose all respect for them.
    More important to me, however, is that they have not been paying attention to the link between diet and mental illness.

    As for the definition above, i find it unsatisfactory because i think that even a happy, well-adjusted, successful person can be mentally ill, if their happiness is vulnerable to Black Swans. For most people, mental acuity is not needed in everyday life but to survive novel emergencies — such as epidemics, cancel cultures, and government power grabs.

    That probably means that we are all somewhat insane — a conclusion that i enthusiastically embrace, since it is a corollary of my beliefs about the modern Western diet.

  • We are the point where if an organisation calls itself “liberty” or “cuddly toys”, it will be in favour of the exact opposite.

    Indeed, Liberty became a group advocating against liberty a great many years ago sadly.

  • Itellyounothing

    What’s funny is when various senior Labour types try to claim Paedophile Information Exchange meant something good and innocent. Was that when the UK left learnt to misnamed everything to hide their disgusting nature?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “What’s funny is when various senior Labour types try to claim Paedophile Information Exchange meant something good and innocent.”

    The problem with that being that the definition of “good and innocent” changes, as society’s views change. The definition of “good and innocent” is usually just whatever behaviour society currently approves of. When society changes its mind and decides something is now “wicked and guilty” (i.e. politically incorrect) it claims the power to ban or regulate it.

    So racists, sexists, capitalists, homophobes, and right-wingers have been put in the same corner with the paedophiles, and the same rules apply. People say that of course they believe in freedom, but freedom doesn’t include freedom for the likes of X, and the public disgust with any of the hated categories lets them get away with it. So is “public disgust” a good enough reason, when it can be turned against anyone?

    They made a mistake with PIE. They were watching out for marginalised groups that the right considered as their version of ‘politically incorrect’ (‘morally incorrect’?) and that the public had new sympathy for, so that the public would give them the power to stamp down on the right. They had done so with women, blacks, and homosexuals – exploiting the right-wing’s feelings of disgust was precisely the point. It was how they lured the right-wing into the position of defending groups the public found disgusting, so the public would consider the right-wing to be disgusting too. But the public mood hadn’t shifted on paedophiles, so it wound up backfiring on them.

  • Paul Marks

    No Nullius – “society” does not decide what is morally right and what is morally wrong. It is indeed harder to do the right thing when most people around you are doing evil – but each individual still knows they are doing evil, even if their “society” has done evil for centuries.

    “I will not go to the Games- it is wrong to force men to fight for the pleasure of the mob” is hard to say if all your friends are going. Just as “I will free my slaves” is harder if no one else is doing so (as your act is an implied rebuke to those who do not follow your example). But each person still knows what is right and what is wrong.

    Human nature is not some blank slate, and the natural laws are not made by legislatures.

    However, it is useful to find out that you are a moral relativist. I had been baffled by certain things – which I now understand.

  • “I will free my slaves” is harder if no one else is doing so (as your act is an implied rebuke to those who do not follow your example). (Paul Marks, August 2, 2020 at 5:46 pm)

    That is a useful illustration of a point I tried to make (with little success, if following comments were any guide 🙂 ) in this thread. Although Paul’s illustration (freeing slaves being resented as judgemental by those who don’t) is from the past, it speaks to a very present form of tyranny. There are those who ban things because they know what is good for us – and there are those who ban even free speech lest they have to endure someone else’s act or even just someone else’s opinion as an implicit criticism of themselves.

    Of course, in Paul’s example, the un-coercive act of freeing one’s own slaves did one day blossom into a law that all must free their slaves (and, in the British Empire be paid for it). You must not be allowed to say that – lest you persuade people and one day they force me to agree with you. (Usually today, of course, the reverse is the case – what has long ceased to be forbidden must no longer be discussed as a choice.)

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