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

Character is more important than brains. The first time I heard this assertion, it was uttered with exaggerated disdain by an Oxford history don. He went on to remark that this was a quotation from one of the leading generals of the twentieth century, a veteran of two world wars. This statement, the professor opined, clearly revealed the anti-intellectual prejudice typical of an upper-class military officer. I remember wondering even at the time whether it had occurred to him that the opposite assumption was equally typical of a middle-class academic.

Alastair Cavendish

Samizdata quote of the day

Not only is it impossible to find the climate change satire in Mr. McKay’s movie that he claims is there. Alas, there’s no market for parodying the aspects most in need of parody. Millions of us have grown too comfortable pronouncing ourselves passionate about a problem we don’t bother to understand. Our politicians have stopped asking whether policies advanced in the name of climate change (e.g., electric cars) would actually have an effect on climate change. A certain kind of Harvard left-winger won’t countenance any proposal that doesn’t also fight capitalism, racism and patriarchy. A cadre of scientists make a profession of believing whatever the media needs them to believe. They are easily recognized because they employ the modifier “existential” for a climate problem that doesn’t actually threaten human existence. In this sense, “Don’t Look Up” fails not on its own terms, but on the terms its director foists on it, because no movie would be brave enough to take on the shibboleths that have subsumed the climate debate.

Holman W Jenkins Jnr, Wall Street Journal ($) He is referring to the Netflix film Don’t Look Up.

Samizdata quote of the day

The covid measures do to the social fabric what the spike protein does to the long fibered heart muscle tissue.

– A remark in a private conversation with a German gentleman

Education and rights

Contemporary experience and history demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that virtually all parents in a free society will take full responsibility for the education of their children (in varying degrees, of course) in the same way that they care for the physical health of their children. Contrast that with a society that does not respect and protect individual rights in the name of a universal “right” to an education. The result is a society that is both immoral and unjust and that also fails to educate most children on a daily basis. We should not be surprised that a moral and just system leads to good results while an immoral and unjust system leads to bad results.

The conclusion before us is now obvious. A free, moral, and just society is one in which all individuals shall have the right and shall assume the responsibility for educating their own children.

C Bradley Thompson, on his Redneck Intellectual column, via Substack. The article I link to can be read here. Thompson is the author of America’s Revolutionary Mind, which is an excellent study, and a reminder of what a remarkable thing the Revolution in that country was, and of the intellectual and cultural antecedents of said. He also appeared on this interesting podcast about education issues.

Oh but that’s different…

If big corporations or lobbyists or foreign organisations give money to politicians twitter is outraged; if charities push political agendas and are substantially funded by those – plus by catering to an officialdom whose agenda they form a reliable claque for… crickets.

Guy Herbert

Samizdata quote of the day

Censors have a fantasy that if they get rid of all the Berensons and Mercolas and Malones, and rein in people like Joe Rogan, that all the holdouts will suddenly rush to get vaccinated. The opposite is true. If you wipe out critics, people will immediately default to higher levels of suspicion. They will now be sure there’s something wrong with the vaccine. If you want to convince audiences, you have to allow everyone to talk, even the ones you disagree with. You have to make a better case. The Substack people, thank God, still get this, but the censor’s disease of thinking there are shortcuts to trust is spreading.

Matt Taibbi

Massive revolt in Canada & Germany

How long before Twitter and YouTube takes down these videos of massive rolling demonstrations in Canada and Germany?

The problem we are facing…

An excellent summary of an serious issue we are facing by commenter phwest:

Polio and smallpox are not the right comparison to Covid. Those are DNA viruses that are largely stable. The proper comparison to COVID is influenza, a similar RNA virus, which has had a vaccine (of sorts) out for decades of limited effectiveness that requires constant annual fiddling to have any impact at all. There are real medical arguments against the COVID vaccines, the most important of which runs as follows :

Vaccinations prime the body to respond to a highly mutating virus with a specific antibody response. Eventually the virus will mutate to a form that is close enough to the original that it provokes the vaccination response, but different enough that those antibodies will not be effective. Google “Original Antigenic Sin” for more details. Changing the vaccine won’t help, because it too will be close enough to the original to provoke the production of antibodies to the original vaccine, not the updated one.

Now this isn’t any different that natural immunity, which has the same issues. This can be seen with influenza. However natural immunity is generational in the population – that is, each generation acquires immunity to the strains of influenza that were prevalent in their youth, so that as influenza cycles through the various mutations that are available a certain portion of the population has acquired immunity to that strain. This provides a degree of herd immunity that limits the spread.

This is where the risks of a universal COVID vaccine become clear. We are immunizing the entire population against a single strain of COVID. Once the virus mutates its way past the vaccine, and it will, there will be no significant portion of the population that can even acquire natural immunity to the new strains, and new vaccines won’t work for the previously vaccinated. This in particular is why vaccinating children is such a disaster. Not only don’t they need it (children appear to clear the virus through a totally different immune response system in the body, and don’t generate antibodies at all), but now they have a primed immune response and it’s the wrong one.

This is essentially the argument against flu vaccines as well (the effectiveness seen in studies is not actually the effect of the vaccine at all, just the previously acquired immunity to the flu strain in question, which the studies do not control for). And the nastiest possibility is that the flu vaccines themselves are close enough to COVID that they are behind the sharp age response in serious outcomes, as these are the populations with the highest degree of vaccination for influenza (this would be an interesting study that will NEVER be funded for obvious reasons).

Now this is not my field by any stretch, so I am simply summarizing a number of presentations I’ve seen by several immunologists. This exposition makes sense to me, but I am not pretending that I am qualified to actually judge its veracity. It is obviously not a universally held position in that field (at least I hope not). But the public health drive for universal COVID vaccination has significant opposition in the medical community, including some prominent resignations in the US advisory committees over the decision to extend the vaccine to children.

Samizdata quote of the day

“Political correctness is a moral atrocity and an infallible symptom of social and cultural rot, in essence, of a reluctance to confront reality and a manifestation of the unholy terror of plain honesty. It instils a fear in ordinary folk of calling things by their right names, of speaking truth, of even of telling jokes that might offend some sensitive soul or of uttering something that seems to violate yet another in a burgeoning tally of social taboos. The result is that a culture that hides from itself cannot expect to hide from its enemies. And America, probably the most litigious country on the planet, is in the grip of this mortal disease.”

David Solway, Notes From a Derelict Culture, page 228.

The state is not your friend…

Truly… the state is not your friend.

Samizdata quote of long ago versus yesterday

“The idea that you are successful because you are hardworking is pernicious and wrong because it means everyone who is unsuccessful is stupid and lazy.” Minouche Shafik (LSE director, quoted in The Observer / The Guardian, Saturday 22nd January 2022)

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11, King James Version)

I prefer the Bible’s less judgemental, more qualified take to the LSE director’s woke-sounding justification of why she wants to reset capitalism, replacing the “extreme individualism of the last 40 years” with the “shared endeavour” expressed in her book ‘What We Owe Each Other’. ‘The preacher’ did not say it was ‘pernicious’ to think swiftness, strength, wisdom, understanding and skill favour success – just that you’d be wise to understand that time and chance also play a part.

And other things too, perhaps. As recipient of a “too good to miss” offer from the LSE after several years at the World Bank and two years as (youngest ever, IIRC) number 2 at the Bank of England, Minouche Shafik’s career would be very impressive indeed if one assumed that her Egyptian ethnicity or female gender had been always and everywhere only a handicap to her.

Rising to the top – to resident of the White House, for example – may indeed not denote swiftness, strength, wisdom, understanding or skill (or even the honest counting of all and only legal votes), may indeed be compatible with stupidity and laziness. Being unsuccessful – losing a university post, for example, or not gaining it – may indeed not denote stupidity and laziness, may indeed be for failure to tolerate these attributes. Many an ‘expert’ isn’t.

There’s a pernicious idea around these days – that anyone who is unsuccessful is not so because they are stupid and lazy. If Minouche heard someone say “The idea that you are unsuccessful because you are the victim of prejudice is pernicious and wrong because it means everyone who is successful gained it solely through luck and privilege”, she’d not be so slow to see the need to tone it down. And that, I think, is why she’s so slow to see the absurdity of her ‘everyone’.

Samizdata quote of the day

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

– Martin Luther King

Over the last two years, I’ve discovered a lot of ‘anti-statists’ I’d have once been certain I would count on when things got tough, turned out to be timid souls with feet of clay.