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

It was also Blair’s government that criminalised the right to silence at British ports. Thanks to Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, to this day any person may be detained and questioned, with no need for reasonable grounds. It remains a criminal offence not to answer questions during such an interrogation. These laws were originally intended for Irish Republicans, and came to be used largely for jihadist terrorism — but typical of government mission creep, they were eventually applied to obstruct controversial journalism. The most publicised example of this occurred in 2013, when Glen Greenwald’s partner David Miranda was detained under these powers at Heathrow airport for nine hours.

– Maajid Nawaz discussing Blair’s constant war on freedom

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • bobby b

    If you pass a law that says “you cannot do this” and expect that it will only be applied to those you dislike, well, good luck with that.

  • Flubber

    Something that the people who call for censorship never learn either..

  • Carlos Dangerfield

    I begin to see why Glen Greenwald has been showing signs of common sense lately.

  • Lee Moore

    It’s a reasonable expectation, so long as the people enforcing the law are your people.

  • APL

    bobby b: “If you pass a law that says “you cannot do this” and expect that it will only be applied to those you dislike, well, good luck with that.”

    If only Tony Blair or one of his henchmen, the drunkard Alasdair Campbell for example, had gotten snared by one of the Blairite laws, that might have been some reconciliation. But no, the plague ship Blair sails on its way, if ever there were a case for isolating an individual, Tony Blair is it.

    Having said that, the useless, supposedly freedom loving Tory party have repealed not one of Blair’s iniquitous laws, and they’ve been in control now, for a decade.

  • Lee Moore

    The Tories may have been in office for a decade but they have not been in control for a decade. It’s really only since Boris won the last election that they’ve had a proper working majority. No doubt they’d claim they’ve been preoccupied with Brexit and Covid. But it’s impossible to imagine a Labour government with a majority of 80 failing to ram through a whole bucketload of Labour stuff, just in it’s first year.

  • James Strong

    A story from a former colleague of mine, working in the Arabian Gulf but resident in a country in South America, with a British passport with lots of stamps from both those countries.

    At Passport Control at Heathrow the Immigration Officer asked him

    ‘How long will you be staying in Britain?’

    He answered: ‘As long as I please.’

    The official just handed the passport back.

    Maybe the official was just making light conversation, maybe my colleague was a bit rude. But in those days my colleague was not commiting a crime with his answer. And that’s as it should be.

  • Lee Moore

    Making jocular remarks to immigration officers is one of those things, like juggling knives, that you have an absolute right to do, but which are nevertheless more likely to be enjoyed as a spectator sport.

  • lucklucky

    I started to get a warning from Firefox related to Samizdata.

  • Mr Ed

    On our return from Portugal, the Sage of Kettering was in a ‘confrontation’ with officious British Border Force staff, who challenged him as the automatic gates at passport control weren’t so ‘automatic’. A delay of a few minutes ensued as he was officiously hectored, despite holding a British passport. He simply resorted to the question “Do you want me to complain?” at which point they backed off, doubtless in fear of hours of form-filling as they documented their actions (it was not the fear of any ultimate consequences for them, I would assume, but the process), for them too, the process is the punishment.

  • I started to get a warning from Firefox related to Samizdata.

    Really? I don’t.

  • bobby b

    I’ve gotten a warning from FF when clicking on Samizdata a (very) few times in the past month. One of those “boy, you’d better know just what you’re in for if you enter this site” sort of statements. If I get it again, I’ll copy the actual wording.

    Also, I had T-Mobile as a cell carrier until about four months ago. Samizdata was completely blocked for me on that network – their Web Guard feature had it set as “harmful.”

    It always gives me a little terroristic frisson to be told explicitly that I’m being a danger to society by coming here! Woo hoo!

  • It may be a US thing (Bobby b is in the US – Minnesota last I heard; remind me where you are, lucklucky?) related to yours truly and others here having dared to suggest that the 43k or so votes across 3 states that put Biden over the top in the electoral college may not have been honestly acquired – nor indeed, some of those that got him to 269 in the first place. The timing seems coincidental, but I note that a noticeable ramping-up of cancel culture generally is occurring, so it might be just our general lack of wokeness. All this kind of thing is very vehmic – like the denizens of a Kafka novel, we may endlessly guess but never know why things occur, only that they do. 🙂

    I’m unsurprised it’s a Firefox thing. I stopped using Mozilla’s Firefox a while back. I read Samizdata on Brave – the browser made by the Mozilla co-founder that Mozilla cancel-cultured just days after he was named CEO of Mozilla.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed – I had forgotten about that, but then my memory is not very good these days.

    As for the decline of the principles of law – Dr Sean Gabb used to point out that many of the basic principles of the Common Law were already under attack even when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, and one could back much further than that.

    Some people used to protest about all this in the House of Commons – John Enoch Powell (boo-hiss “racist” – whatever) being the leading warning voice. Sadly his warnings were ignored.

    Former Chief Justice Hewitt issued warnings about the growth of administrative power (the rule of officials and the decline of basic Common Law rights) back in 1929 “The New Despotism” – but his warnings were disregarded.

    Philosophically this is due to the domination of such thinkers as Jeremy Bentham, David Hume, Thomas Hobbes and Francis Bacon (judges lions UNDER the throne – and “New Atlantis”) in British thought (Dr Gabb would not agree with me on this).

    None of these thinkers believed there were rights AGAINST the state – and all of them held that “the law” was just what the rulers ORDERED (law as commands of the state). They did not believe that there were principles of law (based on natural justice) that it was unlawful for the ruler or rulers to break.

    This, in turn, goes back to their view of what a human is – their denial of personhood, the “I”, the de facto denial that humans were human BEINGS (agents – free will, moral agency).

    As the ancient philosophers knew “it all goes back to the nature of man”.

    If one takes the view of what a human is of, say, Thomas Hobbes then “freedom” is just an absence of external restraint, say water gashing out after a dam is blown up (not a good thing). “Freedom” does not mean moral choices to someone like Hobbes – because humans are not really people (persons) and are incapable of moral choices.

    With this view of freedom (of liberty) it has no moral importance – so state tyranny is fine.

    David Hume, Jeremy Bentham and others believed much the same thing – they just used more polite language than Thomas Hobbes did.

    This is what the British establishment are taught at school and university – so it is hardly surprising they do not, generally, have a high regard for the liberty of the subject (something they have been taught, philosophically, does not really exist in any moral sense).

  • Paul Marks

    Go to home of most teachers (in elite schools) and university lecturers – you are very unlikely to see books by such thinkers as Ralph Cudworth or Thomas Reid on their book shelves.

    If they have heard of these thinkers at all they do not side with them – siding instead with their foes, such as Thomas Hobbes and David Hume.

    We can argue over John Stuart Mill – I take the view that James McCosh took, that the philosophy that Mill followed undermined his political conclusions (and his political conclusions are NOT what many libertarians think they are anyway), but others may disagree. But we can not get to the Bill of Rights (British or American – or that of the States) from the philosophy of Sir Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes or Jeremy Bentham.

    The principles of the Common Law are based in ideas of natural justice – if the ideas of natural justice go (which they have), the principles of the Common Law eventually go as well.

  • lucklucky

    I am in Portugal.
    I am moving for other browsers but i need to have a save files extension that able to do it in pdf format. Does Brave have it?

  • APL

    Surely, the winner in the most gormless public information appeal?

    Did your grandmother ( while identifying as a rapist, obviously ) assault two women in Edinburgh in 2015 ? If she’s beyond suspicion, she’s our gal!

  • lucklucky (March 4, 2021 at 8:27 pm), my (not recently updated) Brave installation does not offer as PDF from the save menu but it does offer as PDF via the print menu.

  • Creator of Brave building new search engine.

    I see the article’s throwaway line

    Hardly anyone uses Firefox.

    as an exaggeration (and Brave has yet to make the bigtime). And I must agree with it that Eich’s chosen new goal of a google-independent search engine is no holiday job. However way to go, Brendan! I wish him the best of luck.

  • I have been using Brave for a while now & I noted that Avast Anti-Virus recently started supporting Brave with its browser-cleaning functions, so it does seem to be gaining traction.