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

I didn’t look too closely when in 2015 a Conservative administration proposed changing the law on gender recognition. A few trans people want more easily to get official confirmation for the new gender they have become? Well, I thought, that’s probably OK. No skin off any part of me.

Then the issue appeared to morph into a different kind of conflict. It had clearly somewhere along the line become impermissible for those who thought that there was something ineluctable about biological sex to say so. It wasn’t whether they were correct or mistaken on the subject that was in question, but their right even to express their view.

A recognisably totalitarian declension seemed to be being imposed: if you said biological sex was real then you argued with the ability of someone who felt they should be the other sex to simply assert that uncontested. That meant you were denying their “existence” as the new sex. Which was tantamount to denying their existence as a human being. Which was close to saying you wanted them and everyone like them dead. Which is the kind of thing the Nazis did. So you’re a Nazi. And we can’t let Nazis publish Nazi thoughts in books. Or speak at universities, or sully our public spaces with their terrible prejudice.

Here I drew the line. I saw people I knew being bullied and harassed for having an opinion on biological sex (actually the majority opinion on biological sex), and even if I didn’t know whether I agreed with them, I knew that was wrong. …

David Aaronovitch in the Times (£), writing about this book by Helen Joyce, quoted by and commented upon by Mick Hartley (not £).

14 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • No one has any right be be accepted, they only have a right to be tolerated; acceptance is something you have to earn. But tolerance always has to be conditional on reciprocation, because otherwise it is cowardice at best and at worst suicidal.

  • staghounds

    The path from…

    “All we want is to be free to love”

    to…

    “Bake the cake or go to jail, motherfcker!”

    is becoming quicker and more direct.

  • bobby b

    The American Booksellers Association is now actively banning an unwoke book about teenage transsexual fads – Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: How The Trans Craze Is Harming Our Daughters.

    “ABA: ‘We’re Book Banners — But For The Left’”.

    Trans is the new untouchable.

  • Stonyground

    It used to be a cliche about the delusions suffered by the mentally Ill that some guy was convinced that he was Napoleon. We now seem to be in the situation that anyone who dares to point out that the crazy guy isn’t really Napoleon but is suffering from delusions is denounced as a hate filled bigot.

  • Flubber

    We now seem to be in the situation that anyone who dares to point out that the crazy guy isn’t really Napoleon but is suffering from delusions is denounced as a hate filled bigot.

    Well yes its a 4 lights/5 lights set up.

    And it brings to mind the classic Theodore Dalrymple quote:

    “Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

  • @stonyground

    This should be a Samizdata QotD

  • bobby b

    Effin’ Napoleonphobe. Shouldn’t even be allowed on social media.

  • Fraser Orr

    @staghounds
    The path from “All we want is to be free to love” to “Bake the cake or go to jail, motherfcker!” is becoming quicker and more direct.

    This is a such a great comment. It is a classic case of “freedom for me but not for thee.” It seems to me that the major failure of understanding of freedom is that it isn’t about freedom for me but it is the fair exchange that I tolerate that which offends me so that I may have the same right from those whom I offend. Freedom of speech is not the right to say what you want, but the demand that you tolerate others saying things you think are horrific or vile.

    It wasn’t long ago that liberals, living up to the true meaning of the word, were in a moral panic about Sarah Palin apparently (though not actually) banning books from her local library. And now those same people are threatening not only libraries but booksellers with destruction and maybe even violence if they don’t get rid of books that offend them. This is not a good time for freedom in America.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    It wasn’t long ago that liberals, living up to the true meaning of the word, were in a moral panic about Sarah Palin apparently (though not actually) banning books from her local library. And now those same people are threatening not only libraries but booksellers with destruction and maybe even violence if they don’t get rid of books that offend them. This is not a good time for freedom in America.

    Yup.

    The serious threats of censorship in America have always come overwhelmingly from the left and not the right.

    The most important thing to know about censorship is that it does generally work.

  • Paul Marks

    Politics in a place like Texas and Florida is reflected by two political parties (the Republicans and the Democrats) having different philosophies on both economic and cultural matters – and the people choosing between them.

    Politics in the United Kingdom is very different – if one watches “debates” in the House of Commons or even in local councils, it is clear that all the major political parties accept various doctrines which are taught by the education system and the mainstream media, and taught by the officials and “experts” who “advice” politicians on “their decisions”. That does not mean the “debates” are polite – far from it, but the anger and harsh words in the House of Commons are “all sound and fury signifying nothing” as everyone shares (or at least pretends to share) common assumptions – it is, for example, never about “should there have been a lockdown?” it is “we would have been better at enforcing a lockdown that you – because you are useless”, ditto Climate Change or anything else. The conflict is over how a policy is enforced – NOT what the policy should be (what the policy should be is decided by “experts” and officials – and then given to the politicians).

    Such things as support for Freedom of Speech and the defence of traditional views on such things as biological sex (or anything else), will just not be found in official circles in the United Kingdom.

    We have, on basic matters of policy, a “consensus politics” where (as I point out above) political division, which can still be very harsh, is about how policy should be carried out – NOT about what policy should be (as policy is decided by “experts” and then given to politicians by officials).

    This may go back a very long way….

    P.E. Moore (one of the mentors of T.S. Eliot – although they differed in their artistic tastes) visited Britain in the 1930s – and was struck by how all the politicians, including the Conservatives, were “Social Reformers” – they all wanted more government spending and regulations to “help the people”, yes they differed on HOW MUCH more they wanted and HOW QUICKLY it was to be done – but the basic DIRECTION of policy was common, even back then.

    Even in the early 19th century the dream of “Social Reformer” intellectuals, such as Sir Edwin Chadwick (and other followers of Jeremy Bentham) was for BOTH political parties (then the Liberals and Conservatives) to follow a policy of “Social Reform”. And by 1870s this dream had become a reality.

    Government (the state) must always grow – never shrink. Most certainly there have been exceptions to that rule over the last 150 years (such as the “Set the People Free!” campaign of Winston Churchill in the early 1950s) – but generally that has been the rule, government spending (on Social Reform) and government regulations (for the “good of the people”) must always grow – never be rolled back.

    In the present, 2021, United Kingdom governance system the room for dissent is vanishingly small – a dissenter (on political or cultural matters) just finds themselves totally out of place – and on the road to punishment.

  • Paul Marks

    Short version – in places like Texas and Florida it makes sense to talk about “left and right” and people choosing between them at election time. I do not think it makes any sense to talk in those terms in the context of the United Kingdom. If one defines “right” as smaller government and the defence of traditional society – there is no “right” here. That does NOT mean the political parties are the same – but there is no “right” in this sense in the United Kingdom, at least outside a few isolated individuals.

  • Sean

    “It used to be a cliche about the delusions suffered by the mentally Ill that some guy was convinced that he was Napoleon. We now seem to be in the situation that anyone who dares to point out that the crazy guy isn’t really Napoleon but is suffering from delusions is denounced as a hate filled bigot.”

    If you are a man and think you are Napoleon you are crazy. But if you think you are Josephine the rest of us would be crazy to say otherwise.

  • Paul Marks

    “I did not look too closely when in 2015 a Conservative administration…”

    Two mistakes there – firstly it is Conservative PARTY, that does not automatically mean Conservative beliefs. Also the “administration” is a lots of officials and experts (such as the Law Commission) & politicians are just the icing on top of the cake, or the star on top of the Christmas Tree.

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