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

Like the Soviet Union, the United States has developed a system in which some social classes and races are officially favoured, and some are disfavoured, reflected in post-war legal innovations like affirmative action.

Affirmative action was originally introduced as a counter-measure to segregation, either of the official or unofficial variety, but as with many things its purpose evolved as bureaucracies grew. Today, government interference in private institutions is aimed at the goal of equality — not the liberal concept of equality of opportunity, but the more ambitious equality of outcomes, or “equity”.

Under this theory, each racial group should have equal representation in elite intuitions, which means that, depending on their race, Americans must achieve different scores to attend certain colleges. Equality is achieved through inequality. If this sounds illiberal, indeed un-American, that is because it is not unlike the “nationalities policies” created by communist revolutionaries, and under which the Russian majority were officially discriminated against in certain positions.

Ed West, from America has become its worst enemy.

12 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • John Lewis

    Once again, if you want to hear the truth, go to the BBC (until the young people who run the website take over).

    In common with much on Unherd the article contained at least one utter inanity. In this case it was the claim about the bbc for which the writer was roundly lampooned in the comment section. Unfortunate because there was much to discuss in what was otherwise a thought-provoking piece but as with the ubiquitous “Orange Man” snipes beloved by many of his fellow contributors he simply couldn’t resist it and by doing so devalued the impact of the rest.

    I often wonder whether I am being over-sensitive in my reactions but remain convinced that far too much ground has already been conceded in the culture war simply by people not wishing to make a fuss. On that basis while my observations might appear petty I will continue to voice them.

  • I often wonder whether I am being over-sensitive in my reactions (John Lewis, August 4, 2021 at 5:08 am)

    FWIW, I say no – do not cease noticing when people (including people nominally defending our side of the argument) concede to one lie while opposing another.

    I certainly notice when an article against some latest BLM insanity writes that Floyd was ‘murdered’ rather than using an acceptable but more general phrase that is not inconsistent with the facts of the case.


    1) If you find that noticing is making you rant and rave and/or depressed, then exercises in emotional, not factual, self-restraint may be in order.

    2) It is wise to remember the wisdom of Thomas Sowell: that if you write the most deadly unanswerable refutation of an dishonest opponent, but include the most minuscule side-reference to another matter, the opponent’s dishonesty guarantees they will reply to the side-reference and pretend to have engaged your whole article. So do not despise the generalised phrase (or the omission) that avoids conceding by avoiding raising.

    3) Occasionally our natural understanding of a phrase is (or may be) genuinely not the writer’s. Consider, for example, the following sentence (from the BBC IIRC):

    Jacques Chirac, the former French president who championed the EU, but whose later years were blighted by corruption scandals, has died aged 86

    Perhaps some readers are asking – as I did when I first saw it – what is the word ‘but’ doing in that sentence, instead of ‘and’? Our natural underlying understanding of the sentence is along the lines

    Jacques Chirac, former president of a notoriously corrupt and unrepresentative institution, whose later years were blighted by corruption scandals, has died aged 86.

    In that sentence, ‘but’ has no place. However the beeboid may not have been pushing EU propaganda but instead merely have been thinking (perhaps naturally, as it is a report of death, so obituary-like)

    Jacques Chirac, formerly a very successful politician who rose to the top of his chosen tree, but whose later years were less successful, being blighted by corruption scandals, has died aged 86.

    In that Chirac-career-focussed sentence, ‘but’ is natural.

    BUT) With these caveats noted, I say, keep right on noticing. Don’t let them edit the inside of your head.

  • Paul Marks

    In France, most certainly NOT a “right wing” country, it is unlawful for a public body to ask someone their race or religion, or to keep information on these matters.

    That is the correct position on these matters. Hurting or helping racial or religious groups (or any groups) should NOT be the business of any public body.

    As for myths – such as the one now being pushed that there used to be anti black laws in the United Kingdom (there never were such “Jim Crow” laws here), they need to be REJECTED. History is no more “relative” than mathematics is – “Jim Crow” laws did not exist in Britain (“period” as the Americans say), no more than serfdom existed in Norway or Sweden (sorry Marxists – your stage theory of history is wrong), it is not a matter of “interpretation” or “reinterpretation”.

    In the United States the existence of “Jim Crow” laws in SOME States is used as a justification for “legal” attacks on white people now – this is both an example of the “two wrongs make a right” fallacy, and absurdly out-of-date as no State has had such laws for more than half a century.

    “Ah but there is institutional, structural, racism and….” – we have now entered the intellectual world of Frankfurt School Marxism (Critical Legal Theory, Critical Race Theory, Liberation “Theology” and all the rest of it) – which is deigned to destroy “capitalist” society.

    The correct answer to Frankfurt School stuff is to REJECT the doctrines – not to try and compromise with forces that wish to utterly exterminate Western Civilisation (Central Office please note).

  • Paul Marks

    In the 1920s it was Federal Government policy to treat the members of Indian tribes (“Native Americans” is the term today) as Americans – they were accepted as American citizens in 1924 (before then someone had to choose if they were a citizen of an Indian tribe or a United States citizen – you could not be both as the same time) and a member of an Indian tribe was actually elected Vice President of the United States in 1928.

    The Vice President accepted many of the economic fallacies of the time, such as the idea that wage rates should never be cut – the “demand” fallacy, but he was certainly no worse that President Hoover (anyone who thinks that Herbert Hoover was pro free market has never researched his time in government).

    But in the 1930s things changed – members of Indian tribes were no longer to be treated like other Americans, they were going to be treated as children or mentally handicapped adults – private ownership of land and business was to be discouraged and communal ownership (under Tribal Councils) was to be pushed by the government.

    After 90 years of this policy it surely about time that this policy of socialism for “Native Americans” needs to be assessed – visits to Pine Ridge Reservation (South Dakota) and other “islands of socialism” in the United States, should convince anyone that COLLECTIVISM DOES NOT WORK. “But what about democratic local communal ownership….” no John Stuart Mill (that J.S. Mill is treated as a great supporter of liberty is one of the terrible ironies of our age) that does not work, for “democratic local communal ownership” is exactly what Pine Ridge is – and it nothing to do with the “race” of the people there, it would not work if they were all blond haired and blue eyed.

    And black people?

    Progressive Big Government policies have been pushed for some 60 years now – starting in such cities as Detroit.

    Look at the black communities in the big cities.

    It is time to stop chanting “racism” when the LEFT has been in power in these cities for so many years – unless the left are saying that they themselves are the racists (in which case they should beat themselves up – rather than attack other people).

    Government “helping” black people has not worked – in fact it has caused terrible harm to black people.

  • John B

    Affirmative action was introduced as a cover for racial and sex discrimination as decreed by the Loonie Lefties.

  • Stonyground

    “…unless the left are saying that they themselves are the racists…”

    Surely anyone who advocates so called positive discrimination in order to give some races a leg up is racist by definition. They are basically saying that some races are so inferior that they can’t compete on a level playing field and are unable to succeed on their own merits.

  • Jim

    “Surely anyone who advocates so called positive discrimination in order to give some races a leg up is racist by definition. They are basically saying that some races are so inferior that they can’t compete on a level playing field and are unable to succeed on their own merits.”

    I suspect their response would be that the entire system is ‘racist’ and thus is not a level playing field. Which of course is a circular argument, by their assessment any system that results in (for example) more white judges than black ones must by definition be racist. They do not accept the existence of the concept of a ‘level playing field’ that might result in non-whites doing less well than whites. If blacks do worse than whites then it is not a level playing field, and white racism is to blame.

    But of course the Left having no standards other then double standards, any system that results in non-whites doing better than whites is by definition fair and unbiased, as in professional sport for example.

  • Paul Marks

    I demand to be the star player on the best known basketball team – the fact that I am short, fat and mal coordinated is not relevant. If I am not made the star player and paid lots of money then it is RACISM.

    RACISIM, RACISM, RACISM – the “power structure” is oppressing me!

  • Non Emus

    If you ask a socialist to provide equity amongst the trees in the forest, he reaches for his only tool, an axe.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Love it!

  • William H. Stoddard

    Non Emus: Yes, so Rush told us in “The Trees.”

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Sounds good, Paul! Is this Marksism in action? What sort of scores would a team of pauls produce? Would affirmative action lead to equality of outcomes? In any future Olympics, would this lead to Synchronious swimming, all striving for the same score? Or an average score?