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.

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Samizdata quote of the day

Amnesty’s leaders are unable to morally distinguish between democracies that have blots on the system and totalitarian regimes where the blot is the system; nor between democracies that may err in defending themselves & terrorist attackers that deliberately target civilians

Hillel Neuer

21 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Rudolph Hucker

    OK, what’s the point?
    Has Amnesty offended Samizdata?
    Do tell.

  • Fraser Orr

    A policeman found a man searching for his keys under the streetlight. “Did you lose them here buddy”? “No I lost them in the park, but there is more light to search for them here”. The streetlight effect they call it.

    If you are Amnesty complaining about the US government who is very receptive to self flagellation, in fact they live for it, is rather more productive and politically beneficial than complaining about the slavery of the Uyghurs to the Chinese who couldn’t give a s**t what you think, and might well put you in jail for the audacity of saying it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Amnesty international is an organisation I’ve stopped taking seriously for a while.

  • Amnesty international is an organisation I’ve stopped taking seriously for a while.

    They flagellate democracies for the weakest of reasons and ignore serious, systemic abuse in others (particularly Russia, China and the Central Asian nations). For this “selective reporting” alone Amnesty have become a joke.

    I used to contribute to them in the 1990’s, but nowadays I wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire.

  • bobby b

    It was explained to me by a high muckety-muck at AI that there isn’t a lot of utility in criticizing the truly bad people, but the good people actually feel bad and try to fix things.

    Much like how I think of unarmed police. Not much major impact, but lots of feel-good stuff at the margins, similar to the new ACLU.

  • Paul Marks

    The follow up tweet-comment by Hillel Newer is better – because he explains what he is concerned about.

    A high official in Amnesty defines its role as fighting such things as “racism” and “Islamophobia” – which they claim saturate the West. These are BELIEFS – Amnesty was not set up to oppose beliefs, Amnesty was created to campaign for people persecuted for their beliefs.

    If the present leadership of Amnesty feel they can not campaign in defence of individuals persecuted for such beliefs as “racism” and “Islamophobia” then they have betrayed Amnesty – it was not created to judge beliefs (“your beliefs are wrong – so it is O.K. to persecute you”) it was set up to defend people persecuted for their beliefs – regardless of whether people in Amnesty agreed with those beliefs or not.

  • Paul Marks

    Rudolph Hucker – I have explained what the point is. Often with these things one has to click on the link and go through the discussion – as the “quote of the day” does not really explain things on its own.

    The head of Amnesty was specifically attacking France – NOT for its Hate Speech laws (which Amnesty should denounce – for they lead to people being prosecuted for the “crime” of peacefully expressing their beliefs), but for supposedly persecuting people who oppose “racism”, “sexism”, “Islamophobia” and so on – a blatant LIE.

    IF the head of Amnesty has not changed their position since 2021 (the date of the quotation), they really need to step down, as the founding principle of Amnesty is to defend people persecuted for their beliefs – NOT to judge their beliefs.

    “You are being fined for your beliefs – but your beliefs are Sexist (or whatever), so it is O.K. to punish you for your beliefs” is exactly AGAINST the basic principle of Amnesty.

  • Paul Marks

    If a “right wing” person will not defend someone who is being persecuted for their Marxist beliefs – they have no business being in Amnesty.

    If a “left wing” person will not defend someone who is being persecuted for their racist beliefs – they have no business being in Amnesty.

    It is that simple.

    If Amnesty will only defend people who have “correct” beliefs – then it is a political organisation, and should lose any charitable status.

  • Bell Curve

    OK, what’s the point?

    Amnesty criticised Ukraine for defending urban areas from Russian attacks, because that results in civilian casualties when Russia shell them. Seems Ukraine should have just let Russia take Kharkiv and Mariupol without a fight and only deploy their troops in open uninhabited country.

  • Kirk

    Anyone that thinks Amnesty International isn’t anything other than a former Soviet front organization, now run for the benefit of Russia? They’re delusional.

    Just like most of the so-called “peace organizations” in Western Europe, they were always fronts for the Soviets. Nothing they did was intended to accomplish anything other than weakening Soviet enemies.

    Same-same with the anti-nuclear and anti-oil organizations. If you look at something with no visible means of support, and discover that nearly all of their actions are intended to benefit the Soviets/Russian interests, what other conclusion can you reach?

    Evidence is there, before your eyes. Amnesty is just unmasking itself, as the Russians get desperate enough to burn their long-developed assets.

  • Lee Moore

    I gave up on Amnesty International well over 30 years ago. I felt like contributing to them on the prisoners of conscience thing, and just before I posted the cheque – yup, that long ago – I spotted that AI is against the death penalty. Which I’m not. So I looked about for a different charity on the same theme that did not have a second anti-death penalty string to its bow. And I found one (I forget the name). A few weeks later I discovered that this other charity was a subsidiary of AI with different face paint. So the cheques stopped.

    Obviousy there’s nothing remotely Commie about opposing the death penalty, and as I understand it, AI has always been against the death penalty, so there’s nothing to criticise. But the incident did wake me up a bit to the possibility that there was more to AI than I had imagined. And what I had imagined was the pure unaduterated “we support prisoners of conscience, regardless of ideology, so long as they are not violent” which could be supported by anyone across the whole political spectrum.

    But having been alerted to pay more attention, I began to notice all these indicia of first liberalism, then progressivism and then full on postmodernism fuelled lutta-Marxism that the chappie above remarks on.

    The Instapundit often reposts an iowahawk tweet that sums all this up very neatly and which captures Amnesty International to a T :

    1. Identify a respected institution.
    2. kill it.
    3. gut it.
    4. wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.

  • Alan Peakall

    I think it was Stephen Holmes in his treatment of Leo Struass in The Anatomy of Antiliberalism who wrote that the taboo on self-exemption is the moral core of liberalism. When that is synthesized with the treatment of taboo in Stephen Pinker’s The Blank Slate it is easy to recognize the pattern of dysfunctional competitive compliance with a taboo among those seeking to establish a liberal identity, just as the hoarding taboo among the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest gave rise to potlatches. Jesus of Nazareth is credited with identifying those who cannot see the beam in their own eye for the mote in their neighbour’s, but is not recorded as offering advice about those who cannot see the beam in their neighbour’s eye for the mote in their own. C S Lewis came a little closer to the point in the The Screwtape Letters (No. 14 on humility).

  • Martin

    Amnesty take a load of money off Soros so I’ve always thought they were a suspect organisation.

  • Mark

    “I wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire”.

    I would, they’d burn longer

  • Fraser Orr

    FWIW, similar to John Galt, I used to be a fan of the ACLU, although always a bit of a leftie org, they still always truly supported free speech. This is the organization that backed Nazis marching through Morton Grove. Now? They are just another leftie shill factory. It is really very sad.

  • FWIW, similar to John Galt, I used to be a fan of the ACLU

    When I lived in USA back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I used to send them money. Now, as suggested above, I too would not cross to road to piss on them if they were on fire.

  • John

    Most of the sentiments expressed here concerning AI and the ACLU also apply to various UN committees whose sole purpose seems to be condemning Israel while turning a blind eye to any wrongdoing in the other 200 or so countries notionally under their jurisdiction.

  • Paul Marks

    The quote from the head of Amnesty (in the Twitter discussion) is from 2021 – and has nothing to do with Russia and the Ukraine.

    The head of Amnesty was attacking France – as I have explained.

  • Paul Marks

    However, Hillel Neuer does, later in the Twitter thread, mention a conflict between Russia and the Ukraine in “2008” – and mention British officials of Amnesty taking a pro Russian position.

    But the quotation from the head of Amnesty that he produces, is from 2021 and is about France.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the Ukraine – the utterly evil invasion by Mr Putin has, quite understandably, distracted attention from very disturbing developments there that started BEFORE Mr Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine.

    The previous President of Ukraine defeated in the election of 2019 was being persecuted – this man (whatever one thinks of him – and I certainly do not like his pro E.U. stance) was not pro Putin. And the media was being concentrated in pro government hands – again this was happening BEFORE Mr Putin’s invasion.

    Indeed “Anti Oligarch Laws” is exactly the way that Mr Putin established a dictatorship in Russia – it was deeply disturbing to see the same tactics being used in the Ukraine before (yes – before) Mr Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine.

    “Anti Oligarch Laws” never apply to Big Business that supports the government – only to dissenting “Oligarchs”.

    For example, such laws if imposed in the United States would never be applied to Jeff Bezos or William “Bill” Gates – but would most certainly be applied to Rupert Murdoch.

    “Anti Oligarch” measures are disguised (very thinly disguised) political persecution.

    But I have no idea whether “Amnesty” has denounced such measures.

  • Mr Ed

    The UK end of Amnesty International is officially liable under the law of Great Britain for direct racial discrimination against its own staff.

    It can quite fairly be described as an organisation with a racist past, motive is irrelevant.

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