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 feels weird to be explaining the perils of censorship to Americans. It was they who taught me about the absolute value of free speech. It was their readiness—so cool, so confident—to entertain the most heterodox ideas that had made me understand why the Soviet Union never stood a chance against their country. Do I really need to be telling Americans that censorship makes us dumb? That it limits our ability to assess reality and to make the decisions that are best for us, both as individuals and as a society? Do I really need to be telling progressives that progress is impossible without the freedom to think, speak and argue? And do I really need to be telling social justice warriors that social justice is a mere pipe dream in any society that hews to a single, rigid ideological narrative—or that unfreedom of expression oppresses the oppressed and empowers the powerful?

Of course, America is not the Soviet Union, and American governmental bodies aren’t the ones doing the censoring. Nor have the clampdowns on dissent been all-encompassing. But they are still enormously effective, partly because so many groups and individuals now depend heavily on privately owned internet platforms to reach their audiences. The conservative social media platform Parler was effectively silenced when Big Tech wiped it off the internet. The New York Post’s audience was massively curtailed when Twitter froze its account in response to its publication of a damaging story about Hunter Biden on the eve of the US presidential election. (Twitter then tagged the story as “harmful” and joined Facebook in preventing people from sharing it.) For a year and a half, people were ridiculed and kicked out of polite company for suggesting that Covid-19 may have originated in a lab in Wuhan as social media muzzled debate on this crucial subject. Today we are learning that this is a highly realistic hypothesis.

Izabella Tabarovksy

23 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Roué le Jour

    America is not the Soviet Union

    People in the Soviet Union assumed as a matter of course the government was lying, a startling number of people in the west still don’t get it.

  • Stonyground

    I put this on the end of the previous thread but I think that it might be more appropriate to put it here.

    I have been unable to access Samizdata for the past few days, the site simply wouldn’t load. I tried loading via the link on Longrider’s blogroll and got a page from Sky broadband shield, which is the built in nanny program. As far as I’m aware, the settings on this are exactly as they came when we got the package as we don’t generally encounter the blocker at all. The reason given was that the site contained “Weapons, violence and hate.” I thought that you should know about this.

    I’m a little curious to know why, after I’ve been visiting this site for years, this has happened now. Does someone have to make a complaint? The page had a box to make comments and I commented that the description of the site was absurd and that I was concerned that the blocker was being misused to suppress other people’s political views.

  • and that I was concerned that the blocker was being misused to suppress other people’s political views.

    That would be my guess. And of course we have a scary pistol on a book in the header 🤪

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Stonyground,

    I remember being unable to access Samizdata from work (ahem!) several years ago, because it referred to “weapons”. But I’ve never had any problems with my home internet.

  • There are a number of places I cannot properly access when using Firefox with NoScript and Privacy Badger. This is so even when I tell NoScript that these places are okay, and turn off Privacy Badger for that site. However, the latest, greatest Microsoft Edge can view and use them with ease.

    I like my privacy, but there’s a point where it is a problem. Then, and only then, I use Edge. And close it as soon as I’ve done the job. Try different browsers.

  • NickM

    I use Sky internet and access to Samizdata is not an issue at all. For the record this is primarily via Firefox with Privacy Badger.

  • Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

    Maybe it is time to start editing your bookmarks to point, not to the domain name, but to the actual IP.
    I strongly suspect that the censorship is taking place at the dns resolution level. For all we can tell, (without some spelunking with wireshark or such), firefox is using a dns site which is doing the censorship. Using the IP directly circumvents that ‘damage’, just like the ‘net is supposed to!

    A ping tells me that samizdata.net is at 66.228.36.240.

    PING samizdata.net (66.228.36.240) 56(84) bytes of data.
    64 bytes from http://www.samizdata.net (66.228.36.240): icmp_seq=1 ttl=55 time=32.7 ms

  • Ferox

    In Windows, you can edit your Hosts file so that samizdata.net points to the correct IP. That way, if your ISP blocks you from resolving the domain name, you can still get to the site.

    Since Google runs one of the most popular DNS, and they are fascists to the core, its probably not a bad idea to get static IPs for all the sites you like to visit.

  • Ferox

    Maybe it is time to start editing your bookmarks to point, not to the domain name, but to the actual IP.

    By the way, this is not likely to work properly. An html file usually points to a long list of resources, most of which will be found by referencing the domain name rather than the IP. This means that even if you manage to load the top-level html file by putting the IP address directly into your browser address bar, all the resources in the file won’t load. So the page will be borked, and might not load properly at all.

    On the other hand, editing the Hosts file to resolve the domain name will allow it to load properly – as long as the IP address you are specifying is still correct.

    Samizdata.net needs to find a way to let its users find the current correct IP address from a third-party resource, just in case a member of the neo-fascisti are blocking them from resolving it.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . the current correct IP address . . . ”

    Does this change over time?

  • Stonyground

    I’ve been coming here for several years and never had a problem until now. I had to change the settings at my end which just meant marking this site as allowed. Everything else is presumably at the default settings that it came with.

  • Ferox

    Does this change over time?

    It can, depending on their webhost.

  • Bruce Hoult

    I think you have to ask yourself: who is pushing this censorship in the west? Who is pushing the current extreme partisanship, the cancel culture, the demands to believe and repeat absurdities?

    I don’t believe it is happening by accident — or because it is inevitable. There are powerful entities who wish to see the west fail, but couldn’t achieve it via military (let alone economic) means.

  • I tried loading via the link on Longrider’s blogroll

    That’s how I access it and it’s working fine for me.

  • Stonyground

    Yes, the problem was at my end. I was using the nanny program on its default setting and it suddenly decided that the site was nasty.

  • Stonyground

    Slightly OT but there is a video here of a black Trump supporter berating people in a queue for fuel. Nobody seems to be answering back.
    https://ogdaa.blogspot.com/2021/05/damn-he-sounds-little-peeved.html?m=1

  • Paul Marks

    The sort of Marxism that has such influence in the West is not Classical Marxism – it is Frankfurt School Marxism, which “Stalin” and the Soviet Union despised, and they were correct to do so. Classical Marxism is WRONG – it is a false theory of both history and economics. But Frankfurt School Marxism is not even a formed theory of history or economics – it is a lot of words (vast mountains of words) that, mostly, do not mean anything – other than “capitalism” is “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobic” and now “transphobic” (the concept of a “transexual” was not really a big thing when the Frankfurt School writers started out).

    The “exploitation” and “oppression” of Classical Marxism is still there – but without the economic and historical theory to back it up. The absence of any real basis should make Frankfurt School Marxism weak – but it, bizarrely, makes Frankfurt School Marxism (“Woke”) doctrine, incredibly strong.

    “RACIST!”, “Denier!”, “Transphobe!”, “Islamophobe!” screams the figure as it tries to rip out your throat with its teeth – and it is disconcerting to find out that the figure (backed by hundreds of other lunatics who are trying tear you to pieces) is a Professor of Moral Philosophy at an American university. How can you reason with people who think nothing of shooting dead someone for the “crime” of wearing MAGA cap (yes – they have done that). How do you say “could you please explain your economic theory?” to hundreds of screaming savages (normally from wealthy families) who are trying to kill you?

    It did not start out this way – it started with cowards, people who were so afraid of the word “racist” that they let the left take over most institutions because they were afraid of it being used on them.

    And the “Alt Right” made things WORSE – because they embraced the charges “O.K. I am a racist, sexist,….. death to the N words, women should be pregnant-barefoot-and-in-the-kitchen” – it was MADNESS the madness of being accused of things so many times, that some people scream “YES” – much in the way that some people (often not Royalists) would scream out “Long Live the King” (or French to that effect) in the middle of a crowd of Revolutionaries – knowing that they would be torn apart.

    And now the FBI and the “Justice” system are gone, and the military is being indoctrinated, and police forces are being transformed.

    “Law” is whatever the left say it is – and the only people who will be punished are “on the right”. And the Corporations (dependent on the Federal Reserve – and controlled by “educated” managers).

    “The United States is not the Soviet Union” – well let us wait and see. It may well end up in chaos rather than formal tyranny.

    “Paul – the really high Corporate types believe in Technocracy not Frankfurt School Marxism”.

    And what practical difference does that make?

    Technocracy (the doctrines of Saint Simon and his followers) is just as totalitarian as Marxism – indeed Saint Simonists inspired Karl Marx.

    Klaus Schwab and the rest of the international elite do not believe in Freedom of Speech – or any basic liberty.

    “You will own nothing and you will be happy” – you will SAY you are happy, or else you will be starve.

    You see it is not just the United States – is is the world, they want liberty dead everywhere.

  • Paul Marks

    Historic temperature figures, Early Treatment for Covid 19 (half a million dead), voting figures – the American government (and the establishment generally) lies about everything – the Frankfurt School types AND the “Technocracy” supporters care no more about the truth than the Soviet Union did.

    As for the writers the lady read in the American university – the “feminists” and the “black writers” (I bet that Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams were not on the list) are part of the problem, not the solution. The Soviet Union was correct to (at least privately) despise these Frankfurt School types – and that thug Putin still does (and that is one thing this thief and murderer has not got wrong). Not that Mr Putin is a Classical Marxist – no he is just a very large scale criminal, like Al Capone.

    That is the choice we face today – Al Capone (Mr Putin), or Mayor Lightfoot.

    Both would rob and kill you – Mayor Lightfoot would just scream “RACIST” at you first.

  • staghounds

    The people taxing away the wealth aren’t always the bad guys.

    The people using forced labour aren’t always the bad guys.

    The people burning babies aren’t always the bad guys.

    The people trying to silence and censor are ALWAYS the bad guys.

  • Rob

    American governmental bodies aren’t the ones doing the censoring

    They have sub-contracted it to private companies, so nothing to see here.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    I sometimes wonder if we should recapitulate political history in schools, so that students know (as in ‘ken’, to experience, instead of book-learning) what censorship is. Teachers could first correct all the students’ essays, so they say the opposite of what the students mean, then have fewer and fewer essays so corrected, and, in the final year, whatever they right is left alone. That would teach them about censorship!

  • Paul Marks

    staghounds.

    Today the pro censorship people are also the people in support of forced labour (Disney thanking the People’s Republic of China for the slave labour from their concentration camps, or the general leftist demand that doctors and nurses perform abortions and sex change operations even if they regard such things as utterly wrong), and they are the same people who support burning babies (or selling their remains) after they kill them.

    Politics is oddly simply today – for example the American Democrats support all the things you mention.

    In the past one faced a choice “well they are against censorship, but they also have other positions which are terrible” – that is no longer true, the bad guys are bad on EVERYTHING.

  • Suburbanbanshee

    I still remember when I got into an argument with a leftish friend about the policies of used bookstores. I was explaining that used bookstore owners might buy almost any book, but they don’t have to buy every book and they don’t have to stock all the books they buy. They stock the books that they think they can sell, and they probably have somebody else in mind for any books they don’t think they can sell at their own store.

    Well, she got all upset, about how this was censorship, and especially if you had a used bookstore that was supposed to be family-friendly, or had sections for kids and sections for adults, or anything at all in the way of marketing and targeting audiences. I couldn’t believe that she thought bookstores worked that way, except for the owners who literally couldn’t be bothered, and had enough all-adult, no-kids, foot traffic to manage.

    But now, all my leftish friends are all about how bookstores shouldn’t be allowed to stock or sell things that they don’t like, and how writers they don’t like should not get contracts, or be allowed to self-publish, or even be allowed to write chalk drawings on the sidewalk. It’s two sides of the same coin — they’ve never understood how personal likes and business ethics and business sense are supposed to interact, not replace each other.

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