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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

“Two bad things have happened at once. The first is that the phrase itself has been captured. “Safe spaces” for students are used to justify the “no-platforming” of thinkers who warn against the oppressiveness of “woke” doctrines. The Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson is only the most famous of the victims: he was offered a visiting fellowship at Cambridge but then, in March last year, was denied it after protests that his views might upset students. The second is that British universities, craving cash and students from foreign countries, have become dangerously uncritical of the terms on which they accept them. This is particularly true in relation to some Arab countries and even more so in relation to China.”

Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph (£)

15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Albion's Blue Front Door

    Are ‘safe spaces’ encouraged by universities so their professors and fellow academics are not confronted by difficult questions and thus have to come up with replies that help young people understand the world?

    If so, should these ‘higher places of learning’ be renamed as social clubs, where you only mix with those people who share your own point of view?

  • Caligari

    At last, it is not the taks of universitys to criticised other countries.
    Universities have the duty to investigate new knowledge and teach the students scientific informations.

    Critique is the job of the so called intellectuals and artists. And sometimes of regular people as well als politicans.

  • Mr Ed

    Two vital changes are needed:

    1. Tax Universities as corporations, not as eleemosynary charities.

    2. Tax them as individuals subject to inheritance tax (40% of assets after a personal allowance) with a change of Chancellor equating to death.

    Then we will see how keen they are on high taxes.

    A third change is to require them to put the Pro-Vice Chancellor’s* salary in the largest font used on every advert, letterhead and email footer, and for it to be recited in every sonic advert.

    * or, if higher, that of the highest paid at the institution.

  • Paul Marks

    It is often forgotten that, by and large, Freedom of Speech still existed in American universities as recently as 2008 – Mr Obama was skilful in his “interpretation” of Article Nine of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Various Marxist (“Critical Theory” Frankfurt School Marxists) thinkers had reasoned that the “Safe Environment” or “Safe Space” concept for certain groups of students (racial minorities, women, homosexuals – whatever) could be used to EXTERMINATE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, but Mr Obama was the Marxist who actually put theory into practice – via his Department of Education.

    It was natural that the British universities would follow suit – and here there is no 1st Amendment or President Trump to appeal to.

    Mr Ed is more optimistic than I am about the United Kingdom – I think the situation here is hopeless. A society that calls in the POLICE when Dr David Starkey says “bloody blacks” (he is just as likely to say “bloody heterosexuals” – he just swears a lot) is hardly worth thinking about.

    The United States?

    Hope still exists – but it will end if Biden/Harris win, they will reverse President Trump’s Executive Orders that try and offer some protection for Freedom of Speech, and they will appoint judges who will exterminate what is left of Freedom of Speech.

    With the death of America hope for the rest of the West dies.

  • lucklucky

    I think it is about time to start talk about Anglo-Saxon Tyrannies:

    US – If Democrat Party win, their dystopian Universities and companies will be replicated at national level.

  • Cesare

    Terms? There are no terms, comrade, only conditions.

  • Paul Marks

    On Mr Ed’s tax point.

    Most American Corporations are well known for being indifferent to high local Property Taxes – usually supporting big spending Democrat candidates for Mayor and so on.

    This is partly because Corporations get to deduct their local Property Tax from their profits before those profits are subjected to State and Federal Corporation Tax.

    The Corporations are not totally insane – there is a lot of plain corruption in their behaviour as well.

    And non-profit Corporations, such as Churches and universities, do not pay tax at all.

    So they parade their “compassion” pushing big spending government policies – knowing these policies will cost them NOTHING. Indeed some Churches (for example the Roman Catholic Church) get large amounts of American taxpayer money to “help refugees” or “help the poor” (a lot of this money goes on ADMIN costs, the leftist staff, and political campaigning) – so much for the “separation of Church and State”, charities (including religious charities) that get their money from THE THREAT OF VIOLENCE (taxation) are not really charities at all – not in the United States, the United Kingdom, or anywhere else.

    “Stakeholder Capitalism” – the evil that Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum push (“Build Back Better”) want to make this general.

    Big Business and Big Government would come together – controlling every aspect of society, no free competition or individual choice for ordinary people.

    “That sounds like Fascism” – that is because IT IS FASCISM.

    That is the “compassion” and “sustainable development” the international elite are pushing – FASCISM.

  • Dr. Caligari

    @Paul Marks (October 16, 2020 at 12:41 pm):

    “Stakeholder Capitalism” – the evil that Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum push (“Build Back Better”) want to make this general.

    As far as I understand, the very point of Mr Schwab ist correct. If a company wants to survive, it ought to make sure that the customers and even non-customers like it. Branding and Ads are a consequence of this.

    Paul Marks (October 15, 2020 at 7:30 pm):

    Various Marxist (“Critical Theory” Frankfurt School Marxists) thinkers had reasoned that the “Safe Environment” or “Safe Space” concept for certain groups of students (racial minorities, women, homosexuals – whatever) could be used to EXTERMINATE FREEDOM OF SPEECH

    Do you have a source for this?

  • Paul Marks

    Dr., Caligari.

    “As I understand it” you do NOT understand Sir – as “Stakeholder Capitalism” is about crushing real competition and the CHOICE of ordinary human beings. it is very much on the same page as Agenda 21, Agenda 2030, “Sustainable Development”, “Built Back Better”, “The Great Reset” – this is not hidden it is openly presented by the World Economic Forum (founded by Klaus Schwab) and the other international organisations – it is central to their totalitarian agenda (it is their international totalitarian agenda – which is why the same slogans are used in many different countries).

    Do I have a source for the Frankfurt School of Marxism effort to exterminate Freedom of Speech – most certainly Sir, look up Herbert Marcuse “Repressive Tolerance” for yourself, he (like the other “Critical Theory” Frankfurt School of Marxism thinkers) held that Freedom of Speech was bad – because it harmed various victim groups (this is behind what President Obama and others did – with their “interpretation” of Title Nine of the Civil Rights Act in relation to universities).

    Today the Marxist “Critical Theory” effort to exterminate Freedom of Speech is normally called the “Diversity and Inclusion Agenda” – and is pushed by people who mostly do NOT know its Marxist origins or its purpose (its purpose being to destroy the “capitalist” West).

    As the Italian Marxist thinker Gramsci argued in the 1930s – it is not necessary for people to KNOW they are serving Marxism, as long their actions are guided to serve the Marxist objective. Guided by what they are taught at school, university, and via the media. The spreading of ideas (often under cover names such as “Critical Theory”) being what is important in the Marxist struggle to destroy the “capitalist” West.

    Of course the Collectivism designed by Klaus Schwab and others like him is NOT the same as Marxism (it has more in common with the Collectivism of the French thinker Saint-Simon than it does with the Collectivism of Dr Marx), but it is still tyranny. And the Marxists and the “Stakeholderists” are working for the same objective – the crushing of liberty.

    When one hears such terms as “Build Back BETTER” (my stress on the last word), or “The Great Reset”, or “Sustainable Development”, or “Stakeholder Capitalism”, or “Agenda 21 – Agenda 2030” one is hearing the objectives of the Collectivist enemy – or those people misguided (deceived) by the Collectivist enemy.

  • Paul Marks

    Covid 19 (whether or NOT it was deliberately created or deliberately spread) has been ruthlessly used by the Collectivist enemy (and those deceived by them) to spread their objective of undermining the West and replacing what is left of freedom, with tyranny.

    Casualties from the disease have increased by endless barriers and smearing attacks against EARLY treatment for the disease (with EARLY medical doctor approved doses of hydroxycholoroquine. ZINC sulphate and, for NON Covid problems that may develop, azithromycin or something like it) as an excuse to impose “lockdowns” and mask mandates – neither of which really has anything to do with public health.

    The true purpose of the lockdowns and mask mandates (and the other restrictions and CENSORSHIP) is to get people used to a totalitarian “Stakeholder” society – tyranny, the next move will be to go back to stressing “the environment” as an excuse for “Sustainable Development” totalitarianism, and the destroying of all dissent.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Do you have a source for this?”

    The essay Paul mentions ca be found here.

    It argues that the good and the true do not win in public debate against the conventional, the traditional, the popular, and the wealthy and influential, who are able to buy themselves a bigger megaphone and drown out dissent. He does argue for restricting free speech in favour of minority viewpoints.

    But he doesn’t mention “safe environment”, “safe space”, or any equivalent concepts. And the “use” is very clearly in the other direction. Restrictions on free speech of the establishment/elite/majority view are to be used to aid oppressed minorities. Supporting the cause of oppressed minorities is not being used for the purpose of eliminating free speech. (You can question whether he is being honest in saying so, but it’s what he says.)

    It’s hardly a new or unique concept. Pretty much every revolutionary movement throughout history has come up with the same idea. The majority are dumb and deceived, they hear only the loudest voices, like the way people get all their news from the BBC, and are barely aware of other sources. You are free to speak, but nobody will listen. The smart ideas (i.e. ours) are relegated to obscure corners of the public square where only a tiny number will hear them. Letting everybody speak equally grants enormous and unequal power to the established majority view, to the elite opinion-leaders who run society for their own ends. So the first thing revolutionary minority viewpoints want is a louder voice.

    And now that the left are the elite in control of the agenda, the essay becomes an argument for giving the right a louder voice. Revolutions result in us all switching places, revolving endlessly.

    Tolerance of free speech is the way of improvement, of progress in liberation, not because there is no objective truth, and improvement must necessarily be a compromise between a variety of opinions, but because there is an objective truth which can be discovered, ascertained only in learning and comprehending that which is and that which can be and ought to be done for the sake of improving the lot of mankind.

  • Paul Marks

    Indeed – Rousseau held that “the will of all” (what people say and think they believe) is wrong and should be crushed, what mattered was the true “General Will”. Rather than the expression of what Marxists were later to call “False Consciousness” (again what Rousseau called “the will of all” and despised – as the result of “pride” rather than true “self love”).

    But who was to determine this “General Will”? The “Lawgiver” was to determine it – and to crush any opposition to it. This was thought out long before the French Revolution – with such people as Robespierre putting theory into practice (although some followers of Rousseau have argued that his Collectivism was intended for a much smaller society – not a country of tens of millions, such as France).

    Both Saint-Simon and Karl Marx (the ideas of Saint-Simon were very popular in the home town of Karl Marx when he was young) do not have that Rousseau defence – their totalitarianism (much better explained by Saint-Simom than by Karl Marx – who left most things horribly VAGUE) were very clear that their ideas were meant to apply to a large scale technologically advanced society – indeed the world.

    The debate in establishment circles is between Marxism (Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the “Critical Theory” Marxists in the universities) and the semi Saint-Simonist concept – where Big Business types would not be shot under socialism, on the contrary they would be IN CHARGE.

    Credit Bubble Bankers (not honest money lenders lending out Real Savings) being at the very top of the Saint-Simon scheme – but ruling in the name of “SCIENCE” – i.e. totally fake “science” as in Sir Francis Bacon’s “New Atlantis” or current power crazed deceptions.

    It should be obvious that my own position is “a plague on both your houses” – I despise both the Marxists and the Big Business Saint-Simonists with that “Stakeholderism” and “Sustainable Development” Agenda 21 Agenda 2030 “Build Back Better” totalitarianism.

  • Paul Marks

    Philosophically Rousseau was in part inspired by Thomas Hobbes – indeed the “Law Giver” of Rousseau is really the ruler of Hobbes, but Rousseau paints a smiling face on the tyranny of Hobbes by endlessly using such words as “freedom”. Like Hobbes, Rousseau redefined words – so they no longer meant what people traditionally meant by the words.

    However, Thomas Hobbes never preached socialism (not even the semi socialism of his master Sir Francis Bacon) – as long as the ruler or rulers had absolute power, Hobbes did not really care much what policy they followed. Like Bertrand Russell he would have submitted to ANY ruler or rulers who did not kill him personally (what the ruler or rulers did to OTHER PEOPLE did not matter) – this was clear with Bertrand Russell long before the invention of nuclear weapons, as he urged submission to the Nazis (a very Hobbesian move) – and the Nazis did not have nuclear weapons.

    So where did Rousseau get his economic ideas if NOT from Hobbes? Rousseau got his Collectivism from the Abbe de Mably – indeed the socialism is much clearer in the Abbe de Mably than it is in Rousseau.

    The work o the Abbe de Mably inspired the French socialists who (in turn) inspired Karl Marx – but that does NOT mean they are all the same.

    I have pointed out (over and over again) the difference between, for example, Saint-Simon and Karl Marx – it is the former (not the latter) who is closer to Klaus Schwab and his pals in the World Economic Forum.

    These Big Shots have no intention of letting a bunch of manual workers tell them what to do – like Sauron and Saruman they intend to RULE “for the good that only the wise can see”.

    A tradition that goes all the way back to PLATO – but with a modern “scientific” gloss, using technology (utterly perverted and debased technology) to enforce the tyranny. As with the Chinese “Social Credit” system – which “Social Responsibility” Big Business in the West so admires.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way – it is quite clear that the “liberalism” of Bertrand Russell (he even sometimes called himself a Whig) was actually socialism, tyranny from the cradle to the grave.

    It was not just Hobbesian cowardice (although I am not sure that “cowardice” is the right word even for Hobbes – as he urged submission on PRINCIPLE) that led to Bertrand Russell to first urge submission to Nazi German and then urge submission to the Soviet Union – Bertrand Russell WANTED Collectivism. He wanted an end to real private ownership of land and so on (the basis of what the Old Whigs were about – was exactly what Bertrand Russell was AGAINST).

    If Professor Russell was a liberal – then I am Alexander the Great. Private ownership of the means of production and free competition (based on customer choice) was exactly what he was AGAINST.

    Let me give a practical example…..

    In the United States New York State and Florida are both big complex societies (I believe that Florida has more people than New York) – Florida has lower taxes and government spending than New York and (generally) less regulations – for example it is less “locked down”.

    Which do you think the “liberal” Bertrand Russell would have thought was better governed – if you said “New York” you get a Merit Mark.

    “But Paul – American liberals also prefer the way New York is governed to the way Florida is governed”.

    Yes – because they are NOT liberals either, they are socialists PRETENDING to be liberals. The words “liberal” and “liberalism” was stolen (quite blatantly) in the United States in the 1920s – when even supporters of the Soviet tyranny started calling themselves “liberals”.

    WAKE UP – the average New York Times writer, covering up the murder of millions by Stalin in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, backing Mao in the 1940s, backing Castro in the 1950s and backing “Build Back Better” Collectivism now, is NOT a liberal.

    The beliefs and principles of such people are the OPPOSITE of the beliefs and principles of real liberals such as Prime Minister Gladstone or President Grover Cleveland.

    For the “liberal” (i.e. socialist) Big Business type – see the Department Store owner in Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” the head of the “League of Liberal Businessmen”.

    After all he would be just as comfortable, and have just as much authority and respect, under Collectivism – and would not have to worry about competition from rival Department Stores, and having to please customers…. and that was such a worry.

  • Paul Marks

    In case anyone does not know…

    Prime Minister Gladstone wanted to abolish the Income Tax – not reduce it, abolish it.

    And President Grover Cleveland was against any Federal Government intervention that was not about defending private property against attackers, including being against government aid when crops failed. He vetoed tax and spend Bills passed by Congress to send relief to farmers whose crops had failed.

    Nor was this just a matter of “you can move – America is vast”, liberals in France were also against government Poor Law taxes – and they did not really exist in France till the 20th century.

    French liberals (like others) would have said that the mass death in Ireland in the 1840s was BECAUSE of the tax and spend polices (“Irish Property Must Pay For Irish Poverty”) policies followed – not in spite of them.

    This is because, it is argued, that massive increase of Poor Law taxes crushes the economy (for example the economy of Ireland in the 1840s) and makes worse the very poverty such increasing taxes and spending is meant to deal with.

    Hence so many American cities RIGHT NOW.