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]

There needs to be a reckoning

‘Lockdowns’ work very well if what you want to do is to destroy a happy and prosperous society and replace it with a desert. It will cost much more as the measureless debt incurred by Rishi Sunak begins to bite in the form of taxes, inflation, shrinking real wages and ravaged pensions and social services. No wonder they dare not announce an actual Budget. It would be the most horrifying public experience since The Exorcist. So the thing to do is to win back what we lost in March.

This requires determination, ruthlessness and large numbers. But it is very easy. Parliament, very slowly waking from its long, induced coma, discusses the latest prison rules on Tuesday.

Before then, I beg and urge you to write to your MP, and to get your friends, neighbours, colleagues and family to join you. Numbers are crucial, as you will see.

On your computer, please find writetothem.com. This will direct your letter to your MP in easy steps. Then write, briefly, politely, acidly.

Say only this: ‘If on Tuesday you vote to destroy the jobs and livelihoods of others, do not expect to keep your own. When the reckoning comes for this, there will be no such thing as a safe seat. Scottish Labour MPs once thought their seats were safe. Look what happened to them.’

Do not worry about any reply you receive or do not receive. These boobies mostly cannot reason. But they can count. And if enough such emails arrive, they will at last grasp what they have done, and fear for their majorities as they should.

This is pretty much the only lawful means of resistance we still have. If you do not use it now, to the full, when are you going to do so?

And if lawful protest is ignored, what do people think is going to happen when the P45s and the bankruptcies spread like a great puce blot across the country through the miserable winter months, and next spring brings no real release?

Peter Hitchens

Welcome to the future

‘Why did it take nine hours to go 130 miles in our new electric Porsche?’, was the question Linda Barnes and her mysteriously un-named husband found themselves asking at the end of a very long day, as reported by the Guardian:

A couple from Kent have described how it took them more than nine hours to drive 130 miles home from Bournemouth as they struggled to find a working charger capable of producing enough power to their electric car.

Linda Barnes and her husband had to visit six charging stations as one after another they were either out of order, already had a queue or were the slow, older versions that would never be able to provide a fast enough charge in the time.

While the couple seem to have been “incredibly unlucky”, according to the president of the AA, Edmund King, their case highlights some of the problems that need ironing out before electric car owners can rely on the UK’s charging infrastructure.

Though beset by tribulations, Ms Barnes keeps the faith:

Linda says she now knows why most drivers charge their cars at home overnight and avoid using the public network. “Our car is lovely to drive and electric cars are the future. However, someone needs to get a grip of the charging infrastructure,” she says.

Buried deep within that paragraph lies the answer to her question.

Judicial quotes of the year – Justice Neil Gorsuch

“…we may not shelter in place when the Constitution is under attack. Things never go well when we do.”

Justice Gorsuch in ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN, NEW YORK v. ANDREW M. CUOMO, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK. The Supreme Court has injuncted pending trial Cuomo’s executive order restricting religious observance in New York, noting that although the original order had been changed since the proceedings started (a device to make the litigation moot), that actually made it more important, as a defence against arbitrary state power.

Now, just as this Court was preparing to act on their applications, the Governor loosened his restrictions, all while continuing to assert the power to tighten them again anytime as conditions warrant. So if we dismissed this case, nothing would prevent the Governor from reinstating the challenged restrictions tomorrow. And by the time a new challenge might work its way to us, he could just change them again. The Governor has fought this case at every step of the way. To turn away religious leaders bringing meritorious claims just because the Governor decided to hit the “off ” switch in the shadow of our review would be, in my view, just another sacrifice of fundamental rights in the name of judicial modesty.

The judgment of Gorsuch is full of robust language, such as:

It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques.

Bear in mind that here, the Keep Britain Free judicial review was thrown out at the English High Court partly on the basis that by the time the court heard it, the restrictions had changed (whilst the power to impose them remained). This is now under (leisurely) appeal in the English Court of Appeal. How nice it would be to have an appellate court in the country that could produce such robust defences of liberty and the rule of law, e.g.

Even if the Constitution has taken a holiday during this pandemic, it cannot become a sabbatical.

And a splendid dig:

Even if judges may impose emergency restrictions on rights that some of them have found hiding in the Constitution’s penumbras, it does not follow that the same fate should befall the textually explicit right to religious exercise.

And this:

Nothing in Jacobson purported to address, let alone approve, such serious and long-lasting intrusions into settled constitutional rights. In fact, Jacobson explained that the challenged law survived only because it did not “contravene the Constitution of the United States” or “infringe any right granted or secured by that instrument.” Id., at 25.
Tellingly no Justice now disputes any of these points. Nor does any Justice seek to explain why anything other than our usual constitutional standards should apply during the current pandemic.

Whilst the United States Supreme Court is so constituted, there is hope for the Republic, even though this was a 5-4 victory. Meanwhile in the UK, any hope of help from the courts is a deranged fantasy. But the courts may serve a purpose in demonstrating that point.

Screaming at the sky versus sitting by the sickbed

Four years ago, rage at the election of Trump expressed itself in a lot of what looked like performance art: screaming at the sky, ‘the literal shakening’ and so on. The usual celebrities as usual did not keep their promises to leave the USA if it happened – but I know from personal contacts that not all of it was cost-free to its enactors. One west-coast guy decided he had to abandon a trip abroad “because Trump may not let me back in!” This guy was a US citizen. He was not even a muslim. In fact, he was the kind of guy some muslims throw off tall buildings. But he seemed genuinely to think the risk that Trump would (and could) not let people like him back into the country exceeded the risk of his meeting one of that sect of muslims (or similar) while out of it. Much calming talk was needed to persuade him that just maybe he could risk leaving his country and returning after the inauguration as arranged, rather than endure the non-zero inconvenience of staying put. If this was performance art, it at least presented as willing to pay a small personal price.

Today, people like Sarah Hoyt feel worried about the state of US democracy. As a poll watcher in Colorado in years past, she witnessed Democrat fraud and GOP spinelessness at close quarters. Born in Portugal, she knows another political culture as well as America’s, so she has a keener sense of what could be lost. She likens her feelings to sitting by a sickbed – something she has also experienced. Sometimes you are in the hospital room with the one you love – for whom you can do almost nothing. Sometimes you can’t be with them but must sit in the waiting room – and must force yourself to plan, to think, to use the time. Sometimes you are back home where there are things you must do, other people you must care for – or at work from which you must keep earning. There is no scope for the indulgence of screaming at the sky. You have to manage your feelings as best you can.

Another way of not letting yourself fret at moments when you have nothing relevant to contribute is to let your mind step back and reflect on – for example – what these different reactions say about the rival movements they represent. At the 10,000 foot level, there are some very broad psychological similarities between the state of some people in 2016 and others today. In 2016, many hoped that faithless electors, the emoluments clause, the clause about removing an insane president, Jill Stein’s recount or finding proof that Russians hacked the voting machines would make Trump vanish like a bad dream. Today, many hope that fraud of a more domestic and familiar kind, unusual mostly only for its scale, can be demonstrated. I think they do so with better cause, of course, but that is only secondarily related to the difference in how they manage stress. I think the decision to manage stress with (relatively) more self-discipline or more self-indulgence is the more basic fact – related to who adopted which politics in the first place.

Samizdata quote of the day

Of course, we may say that it’s ok because the Green Party hasn’t a hope in hell of being elected anywhere – but that’s where you’d be wrong. As Peter Lloyd pointed out recently on TCW, it’s the minorities who rule the roost. Their green agenda is firmly in the hands of a government who are lapping it all up, and who hold power for the foreseeable future. If not them, then Labour, and they feel exactly the same way as the Tories on this issue. Never mind that renewable energy will impoverish us all and be affordable only to the wealthy.

Make no mistake, people. This will be a system of change but not for the better. Everything about the future looks uniform, including our income. No individual thought, no freedom of expression. No enterprise – not for the masses, anyway. A global structure where we all speak the same, think the same and align behind the same goals. Where we have been freed from ourselves.

Michael Fahey

Are incentives better than commands – when the goal is fraud?

In the old days, Mayor Daley commanded his goons to “vote early, vote often” and Lyndon B. Johnson ordered his fixers to write down the vote tally required.. Etc.

I think incentives work better than commands, in general. I also think that these days, when there’s a non-zero risk that even the thickest goon just might have a smartphone and a grudge, it is prudent, as well as effective, for some forms of voter fraud (not all) to avoid the overt top-down command-driven model. Teach a general political philosophy that values achieving the noble goal far above pedantically observing the rules of the process. Garnish with four years of proclaiming loudly that electing Trump president is fundamentally illegitimate (to a degree that obviously no irregularity on your side could match). Drizzle with half-a-year of normalising the burning down and looting of property to make burning or looting its owners’ votes seem trivial, while also having governors proclaim (and judges defend) rules that make doing so easy and safe.

Given the things Biden does say, I hesitate to assure you we will not find a recording of him saying “Vote months early, vote often”, but after doing the above, there was far less need for anyone to say that in so many words.

A guy with some experience investigating fraud thinks the same but (like me) he also thinks incentivised fraud has a downside.

Real errors go both ways. … errors going all one way means it is systematic across the entire organization. Different errors all going one way means that it isn’t one state, one software company, one voting method… this is everyone in the organization getting the message to move the stats one way. And they did it sloppy and across the board because although the message was sent and received, it wasn’t *organized* from the top. It was handled from the local level. It was impossible to be slick and smart, the front line knew what the top level wanted as a result and no one knew how much it would take so it became super obvious…

As statistics and examples of vote fraud accumulate – and are swiftly repeated and denied in haste from site to site on both sides by both the statistically literate and the anything but, by both the cautious and the furious – I advise investing a little thought in the underlying state(s) and model(s) that these details are intended to clarify.

I’ve given one example above – consider how much of this was incentivised, not centrally controlled. Governor Newsom could hardly tell the pair arrested for making more than 8000 fictitious voter registrations between July and October 2020 that the California Democrats only needed each activist to register a few tens or hundreds at most; incentivising enough while also restraining enough, while saying nothing overt outside one’s inner circle, is a difficult trick to pull off.

A second example is the fact that mail-in voting notoriously makes voter fraud much easier – and also, as a side-effect, makes it even easier than it already is to submit a single legitimate vote. For several reasons there was real increased turnout as well as fictional, and all of it showed up in the totals – which should be remembered when, for example, a statement about Biden underperforming Hillary or not in some context shows up far down some comment thread with any original ‘relative’ / ‘absolute’ qualifier long forgotten in the twenty repetitions the point took to get there.

A third is that when a Rasmussen poll reports 30% of Democrats saying it is likely the election was stolen from Trump, what you think that means will be affected by what you think about the (in)accuracy of polls in general – and whether you think that, like voting anomalies, polls overwhelmingly err in a pro-Democrat direction.

Cheap electricity should be a noble cause, not something to be embarrassed about

I was watching this interview with “lukewarmer” Matt Ridley, who agrees that global warming is a problem but who thinks technology and market-driven solutions are a way to address it, not State dictats. He was being asked about the UK government’s proposals (I have no great confidence this will be remotely achievable) to ban sales of petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2030. As he noted, such changes will weigh disproportionately on those on low to medium incomes. Even if electric cars and other appliance costs fall because of economies of scale, there is a high probability in my view that a push for “net zero” carbon emissions in the UK is going to require a big rise in electricity costs, and hence prices. And because energy is central to so much of our economy, that means more expensive food. More expensive everything.

Almost two centuries ago, free market lobbyists set up the Anti-Corn Law League to fight against tariffs on grain imports – and other items. Their cry was for “cheap bread”. It was a potent political message. I wonder if any political figure has the gumption to make “cheap energy” such a rallying cry. Because once the full, eye-watering cost of “net zero” becomes evident to ordinary consumers – forcing them to rip out gas appliances, lose their reliable cars and so on – the groundswell of anger is going to be considerable.

Another problem is that there is no real political opposition to this madness. The Labour Party – at least at the moment – is in thrall to this hairshirt Greenery. The Tories are for the moment rallying behind Boris Johnson although one wonders for how long once the costs come even more painfully evident. My hope is that a lot of those MPs in Midland and Northern seats who were swept in last December may be among those telling Johnson to show some realism.

Recent spending and delivery overruns on projects such as Crossrail give me no confidence the UK could create a grid to enable electricity-powered vehicles by 2030 on a scale to fill the gap left when petrol and diesel are taken off the table.

The cynic in me says that Johnson, who is mainly a political stunt artist, does not really care about the details, and will probably be retired from front-line politics, in a cushy job somewhere, once the nature of this mess comes home, and that someone else will have to clear up the mess.

Here’s another interview with Ridely about energy innovation. I can also recommend Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, which has the sort of title designed to raise the blood pressure of today’s Green humanity-diminishers.

How does this ban fit with that rename?

It can be hard to keep the narrative consistent.

It appears that BLM enthusiasts love anti-police murals but just hate the idea of a mural claiming that ‘Black preborn lives matter’. Evidently the limit on whose lives can be said to matter is strictly defined indeed.

So why is the Marie Stopes clinic renaming itself? It is true that the current racial ratios of US terminations would gladden the heart of the clinic’s eugenicist nazi-sympathising founder. But if that doesn’t bother BLM supporters, why should it bother the clinic?

BLM UK has a uniformed paramilitary militia

Yesterday in Fulham, I observed a group of ten or so men and woman striding purposefully down North End Road. They were dressed in black uniforms, with ‘tactical’ vests displaying FF Force on one side and ‘Forever Family’ on the other… and they are a Marxist militia adjunct of BLM UK. This is entirely illegal.

Upon encountering a long line of schoolchildren lined up outside a MacDonald’s, they started doing down the line chatting with the more ethnically diverse children (which was more than half of them given the area). Interestingly, the 100% English barrow boys (and girls) ignored them (they were all busy selling things at the street market) but I observed several middle eastern passers-by glaring at the militia as they interacted with the children.

2020 is starting to have a rather 1930s feel about it. The pressure cooker is starting to shake.

Ne laissez jamais une crise se perdre

As President Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said in 2008, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. I mean, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

The Daily Mail reports,

French parents are to be BANNED from home-schooling their kids as part of Emmanuel Macron’s fight back against Islamic extremism

Parents who home-school their children could face up to six months in prison under new measures to combat Islamic extremism in France.

The bill, which was unveiled on Wednesday, will make it a crime for children to be taught at home.

It is an attempt to stop children from being influenced by religious radicals, the Times reported.

It comes after the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded last month after showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his class during a lesson on free speech.

Samuel Paty was murdered by Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov, an 18-year-old Muslim Russian refugee of Chechen ethnicity.

Not home schooled then. Certainly not home schooled in France. But what about the perpetrators of other Islamic terrorist attacks in France? The relevant Wikipedia article does not make it easy to tell, since someone has decided to remove the names of the terrorists. But so far as I know none of the perpetrators of the biggest terrorist outrages in France were homeschooled. Like their counterparts in the UK they were typically products of their country’s state education system who first turned to petty crime and then were “redeemed” by Islam.

Historic first: Lord Ahmed of Rotherham to be expelled from House of Lords (you’ll never guess what for)

In the old days, peers were put to death, not expelled. In Edward VI’s time, the Venetian ambassador, dining with some six or so Englishmen, was astonished to learn that all but one of them had at least one ancestor who’d been executed for high treason. The ambassador started talking about how amazed he was at just one exception – but was promptly kicked under the table by his neighbour, who whispered in his ear, “You’re embarrassing the poor fellow – it means he’s not quite a gentleman.”

It seems Lord Ahmed of Rotherham is not quite a gentleman either. Today, the Lords Conduct Committee stated that he has done what a Lord Ahmed of Rotherham who desired to oppose stereotypes would have refrained from doing. They are treating his sexual assault of Ms Zaman on 2 March 2017 as fact. They add

at no point in the process did Lord Ahmed show any remorse or take any responsibility for any aspect of his conduct towards the complainant…

Of course, it never seemed to me that Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham was that plausible a candidate for either gentleman or lord.

– In 2009, texting on his phone while driving his Jaguar on the M1 motorway, he killed a man. He was given a 12 week prison sentence but served only 16 days. He blamed his conviction on a Jewish conspiracy.

– Also in that year, Dutch politician Geert Wilders was invited to the House of Lords by three peers of the realm to show his film FITNA, but was prevented from entering Britain by the Home Office (perhaps I should have tagged this post ‘immigration’, as well as ‘UK affairs’?). To give his party colleagues (PM Gordon Brown and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith) cover for that decision, Ahmed threatened to lead 10,000 Muslims to the Palace of Westminster to prevent Wilders from entering it, and to take the people who had arranged it to court if Wilders was let in.

Nothing about this breaking story on the BBC last I looked. I’m sure they’ll mention it sometime.

Kristallnacht versus BLM

Goering (shouting): “Why did you not kill 200 Jews instead of destroying so many valuables!”

Heydrich (defensively): “36 Jews were killed.”

[Words uttered during ministerial discussion with a representative of the German insurance industry after Kristallnacht.]

Kristallnacht was pretty-well the last of the Nazi’s anti-Jewish exercises that were more incentivised than directly commanded and supervised. They had learned the habit in their pre-power days. As the party court (the Uschla) reported afterwards, old party comrades understood that “certain hints meant more than their mere verbal contents”, so when told that “von Rath’s murder was a crime of Jewry as a whole … every party comrade should know what to do”, they went out and – to the great annoyance of Goering when he realised the economic impact – did a fantastic amount of property damage while only killing, by later standards, a derisory number of Jews.

BLM operate the same way. The stormtroopers broke glass and smashed things up, or had fire engines standing by, because fire could spread to ‘aryan’ properties, whereas BLM don’t care if black-owned businesses burn. But with the exception of that very peculiar way of not making racial distinctions, BLM have shown the same common tendency of an incentivised but loosely-commanded Western/European mob to do a lot of property damage for each life they take.

Inflation adjusted, I think the direct financial cost of Kristallnacht far exceeded that of all BLM’s destruction to date. On the other hand, by murdering the eight-year-old black girl Secoriea Turner, the black man David Dorn and various others, it looks like BLM can get into the ballpark of Heydrich’s figure just in killing ‘Lives That Matter (TM)’ – and if you also count lives that don’t matter then maybe they can compete with the higher number that were actually murdered during 9-10 November 1938.

However, BLM needed many nights of rioting to achieve this, whereas ‘Crystal Night’ was done in a day and a night. So I leave it to readers to decide “the point of precedence between a louse and a flea” – or to take Dr Johnson’s advice not to bother – as my focus here is on the specific similarities of technique I’ve mentioned.

(Just a ‘seasonal’ thought prompted by the time of year. I apologise to any who are distressed by the very dark humour of this ‘Godzilla versus King Kong’-style comparison.)