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]

It’s only a bloody song

“‘Arrests expected’ over anti-Catholic singing by group of Rangers fans,” the BBC reports.

Police say they expect to make arrests after footage emerged appearing to show Rangers supporters singing a sectarian song before Sunday’s Old Firm game.

A video on social media showed a group being escorted by police through Glasgow city centre while chanting an anti-Irish song referencing the famine.

In case you are wondering – and you would need the mind of a robot not to wonder – the lyrics of what I think is the song being referred to can be read here. The refrain consists of variations of “Well, the famine is over/ Why don’t you go home?”

I suppose I ought to whizz through the background. Glasgow has two famous football teams, Celtic and Rangers, collectively known as The Old Firm. Celtic was traditionally the Catholic team, Rangers the Protestant. The “troubles” in Northern Ireland sometimes have spilled over to the streets of Glasgow, though usually the conflict there is fought with fists, not guns.

The BBC goes on to quote Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins as saying that anti-Irish Catholic behaviour is “wholly unacceptable” and that “appropriate action” would be taken.

I am from an Irish family and was raised Catholic. Though my beliefs have diverged from Catholicism somewhat, I still find myself defending the Church of Rome often, because it is often slandered. I do not think I would like these particular Rangers fans if I were to meet them and I am quite sure they would not like me. Nonetheless I have a suggestion for Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins: accept it. It’s only a song. The more socially acceptable “Irish Rebel Songs” that Celtic supporters sing back are also only songs. If you treat the singing of a rude song as akin to casting a dangerous spell then people will want to try this powerful magic.

Loosely related: I recommend this conversation between Brian Micklethwait and Patrick Crozier about Northern Ireland. Though Brian describes the conversation as “low key”, both of them are willing to speculate far outside the boundaries of permitted polite opinion.

Edit: A comment to this post by Paul Marks has reminded me of another post I did about football chants back in 2014: “Up the Yids!”

Samizdata quote of the day

The American generation which counts those who gave their lives this week among their ranks has grown up with elite, institutional and expert failure not as a shocking aberration but as the default setting. Time and again, foreign policy elites have issued the wrong diagnoses and the wrong prescriptions. Economic conventional wisdom has been shattered, upended, disproven. Politics grows more bad-blooded and less serious. Claims of competence and expertise are regularly proved to be unfounded. More recently, America’s cultural elite has turned on its own country: happy to pronounce America irredeemably wicked whilst kowtowing to Chinese censors.

And after all of this, America elected a president who treated his predecessor and the last four years as an unseemly aberration and whose staff boasted that the adults were back in charge. Thanks to the decisions of those adults, young American soldiers found themselves in a deadly trap at the gates of Kabul airport.

Oliver Wiseman

An axe age, a sword age, an age when the Beeb admits rent control doesn’t work

“Why rent control isn’t working in Sweden.”

Surely Ragnarok is upon us.

Samizdata quote of the day

The deforestation statistics are startling to anybody who listens only to green activists. In 2018 a team from the University of Maryland concluded: ‘We show that – contrary to the prevailing view that forest area has declined globally – tree cover has increased by 2.24 million km². That’s 7 percent more forest globally than in 1982. New forests have been planted and old ones have regenerated naturally, as the footprint of farming shrinks, thanks to better yields.

Matt Ridley in the print version of The Spectator, article titled Viral misinformation.

Samizdata quote of the day

What is happening in USA is indeed socialist but not Marxist socialism by any reasonable definition. Moreover, the establishment embracing radical identitarianism, the hysterical obsession with race, and using huge corporations as a vector for their ideology makes this far, far more like some lunatic strain of gonzo fascism really.

The Woke anti-fascists really truly are far closer to fascism than 99% of the people they call fascist (which is pretty much everyone who is not them).

Perry de Havilland

Came for tea, stayed for the rape: a beloved children’s classic re-analysed

They’ve come for the tiger.

“Children’s book ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’ could lead to rape and harassment’ because it reinforces gender inequality that causes violence against women, campaigner claims”, reports the Mail.

It may have delighted generations of children, but The Tiger Who Came To Tea reinforces gender inequality which causes violence against women and girls, a campaigner said yesterday.

Rachel Adamson, of Zero Tolerance, a charity working to end men’s violence against women, said Judith Kerr’s 1968 classic was ‘problematic’ because of its ‘old fashioned’ portrayal of women and family dynamics.

The book sees an uninvited tiger join a young girl and her mother for tea before eating all the food in the house, drinking everything, running the taps dry and leaving.

The girl’s father then comes home and takes her and her mother to a cafe.

Miss Adamson did not call for the book to be banned but said it could be used to ‘raise a conversation’ in nurseries.

She told BBC Radio Scotland: ‘We know that gender stereotypes are harmful and they reinforce gender inequality, and that gender inequality is the cause of violence against women and girls, such as domestic abuse, rape and sexual harassment.’

Adamson questioned the tiger’s gender and why he was not female or gender neutral.

Um… would this campaigner against violence inflicted on women and girls, whose organisation specifically defends its focus on men’s violence against women really want to see a children’s book in which the enormous, physically dominant predator who blags its way into a space which a woman and a girl had thought their own and abuses their hospitality was female or transgender?

Sigh. As the Mail article points out, Judith Kerr knew a thing or two about prejudice leading to violence. Her father was a well known German Jewish writer who had to flee with his family when the Nazis came to power and put a price on his head. They only just escaped. She wrote a lightly fictionalised account of her family’s story in When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. Nonetheless, she always resisted attempts to claim that the tiger was a metaphor for Nazism. It was just a big hungry but affable tiger who ate all the buns and drank all the water in the tap.

→ Continue reading: Came for tea, stayed for the rape: a beloved children’s classic re-analysed

Samizdata quote of the day

And this is why so many people — people who are able to easily recognize totalitarianism in cults and foreign countries — cannot perceive the totalitarianism that is taking shape now, right in front of their faces (or, rather, right inside their minds). Nor can they perceive the delusional nature of the official “Covid-19” narrative, no more than those in Nazi Germany were able to perceive how completely delusional their official “master race” narrative was. Such people are neither ignorant nor stupid. They have been successfully initiated into a cult, which is essentially what totalitarianism is, albeit on a societal scale.

C. J. Hopkins, writing a mere 8 months in, this article has aged very well.

Samizdata quote of the day

A landmark study that endorsed a simple way to curb cheating is going to be retracted nearly a decade later after a group of scientists found that it relied on faked data.

– Stephanie Lee, writing A big study about honesty turns out to be based on fake data. I admit that I LOL’ed.

Next time someone tells you about The Science™, just because it is from a peer-reviewed & duly published paper does not necessarily make it true.

Samizdata quote of the day

“President Biden’s tax plans might soon make Europe look like a capitalist heaven by comparison. He wants to raise the long-term capital-gains tax from just below 24% to above 43%. Switzerland has no such tax. In Britain, inventor of the welfare state, it is 20% and in Germany 26%. On income tax, the U.S. may soon top the scale. Mr. Biden wants a top marginal income-tax rate of just below 40%. Add state and local income taxes, like California’s 13.3% for top earners, and wealthy U.S. taxpayers could pay more than their European counterparts.”

Josef Joffe, Wall Street Journal ($)

I have been covering this news story about the tax proposals in my regular day job in the banking and wealth management/media sector. Joe Biden, who has been having such a shit-show lately over Afghanistan, is equally terrible over tax and the economy, and also a bit two-faced. This is a man who, let it not be forgotten, was a senator for Delaware for many years. Delaware is a bit like a mini-“Switzerland”, one of those states that is favoured by corporations and creators of trusts (South Dakota, New Hampshire, Nevada and Alaska are similar).

The US is going to have to familiarise itself with the “Laffer Curve” all over again.

This is what so many libertarians cannot understand…

So many libertarians, such as the good fellows at Reason magazine for example (who I do like, I hasten to add), have a simplistic, dare I say dualistic notion about bad-things-done-by-private-business and bad-things-done-by-the-state. One is met with “so start up a rival company” the other with “an outrageous example of state overreach that must be opposed politically.”

And in an ideal world, yes, that makes sense. We do not live in anything resembling an ideal world.

In an era when three (two really) credit card companies and a handful of payment processors have an off-switch for pretty much any on-line business they take a dislike to (unless they are called Apple or Amazon), as more and more of the economy goes virtual, what we have is turn-key tyranny for sale to the highest bidder, and the highest bidder is always going to be a state. I am uncertain what the solution is, but as we do not live in a ‘free market’, not convinced “so go set up your own global credit card and payment processing network” adds anything meaningful to the discussion. It is a bit like saying when the local electric provider turns off the power in your office (or home) because they disapprove of what you are doing “so go set up your own electric supply company”, as if that would be allowed to happen.

Fascism is the organised attempt to introduce socialist planning with the consent of big business

– Edward Conze (1934)

The era of Covid-totalitarianism

Michael Rectenwald has written a very interesting essay Living in the Age of Covid: “The Power of the Powerless” that raises many very alarming parallels, musing on the original essay by Václav Havel The Power of the Powerless.

Just as the greengrocer was compelled to display signs of his loyalty under Soviet bloc communism, signs transmitting semantic content to which he was indifferent, so the covid citizen is compelled to display signs of compliance and complicity under the covid regime. The signs have included donning the mask and, increasingly, displaying the vaccine passport—to take part in society. And, as under communism, these displays are compulsory rituals. What function do they serve?

Let us take note: if the covid citizen were compelled to wear a sign that said, “I am afraid, therefore unquestionably obedient,” he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The covid citizen would be embarrassed and ashamed to don such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of fidelity must take the form of a sign which, at least on its surface, indicates a level of credulousness in the covid regime. It must allow the covid citizen to say, “What’s wrong with the vaccine passport? The experts say that the vaccine is necessary, for my health and that of others.” Thus, the vaccine passport helps the covid citizen to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, while at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. The vaccine passport hides them both behind the façade of something high. And that something is ideology.

The [indented] text above is my revision of a passage from Havel’s essay—with “the covid citizen” and “vaccine passport” of the covid regime replacing the greengrocer and the greengrocer’s sign of the Soviet regime. The point is to show, mutatis mutandis, the substitutability of terms. Although the vaccines have shown some efficacy at mitigating the effects of the virus, they neither protect their recipients from infection and disease nor prevent them from spreading it. And the dangers of the vaccines are not all known, although many short-term side effects, including death, have been documented. The vaccines may also be driving antibody-dependent enhancement, and, with the selective pressure they put on the virus, the production of mutations (variants). The vaccines are, after all, “state of emergency” measures, rushed into use before the necessary scientific testing to gauge their efficacy or ensure their safety could be done. Thus, they are anything but “science”—if by “science” we mean unhampered and open inquiry using the scientific method. The vaccine passport thus serves an ideological function, just like the greengrocer’s sign.

Read the whole thing.

Samizdata quote of the day

The BBC isn’t part of a free and pluralistic media, unafraid of questioning power. It is part of a State policy communication strategy which aims to convince the public to accept the authorised reality. Among these propagandist outlets the BBC is perhaps the most servile by virtue of its Charter and its reliance upon State funding.

The commercial broadcasters are also limited by Ofcom regulation and their dependence upon government advertising. The alleged pandemic saw the State become the UK’s leading advertiser.

When we consider that their second-biggest source of advertising revenue are the pharmaceutical corporations, the notion of an “independent” mainstream broadcast media in the UK is laughable.

Iain Davis