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]

Great to see pushback against the Online Safety Bill, but…

What is the phenomenon called when a council faced with budget cuts never says it will have to cut the number of sustainability managers and diversity officers, only that it will have to close the libraries and sell off the public parks? Like NHS “shroud-waving”, but more general?

I genuinely am frightened by the Online Safety Bill, but I suspect that the Wikimedia UK people are waving whatever one waves:

“UK readers may lose access to Wikipedia amid online safety bill requirements”, reports the Guardian.

Wikipedia could be made inaccessible to UK readers due to issues over complying with the online safety bill, a charity affiliated with the website has warned.

Lucy Crompton-Reid, the chief executive of Wikimedia UK, warned the popular site could be blocked because it will not carry out age verification if required to do so by the bill.

Crompton-Reid told the BBC it was “definitely possible that one of the most visited websites in the world – and a vital source of freely accessible knowledge and information for millions of people – won’t be accessible to UK readers (let alone UK-based contributors)”.


She added: “The increased bureaucracy imposed by this bill will have the effect that only the really big players with significant compliance budgets will be able to operate in the UK market. This could have dire consequences on the information ecosystem here and is, in my view, quite the opposite of what the legislation originally set out to achieve.”

18 comments to Great to see pushback against the Online Safety Bill, but…

  • David

    One “benefit” that the lockdown has brought is an increase in the number of people who work from home and all those WFH people use VPNs (Virtual Private Network- it encrypts your traffic). So it’s not as if they can ban VPNs like China mostly has. And a VPN can make you look as if you are in another country…

  • Paul Marks

    There is a serious lack of people in public life who really believe in liberty – or can even define liberty clearly.

    And those people in public life who can define liberty and do believe in it, are too often like me – crippled by despair.

    Still there are little signs of hope in the world – for example the voters of far away Paraguay just rejected “the international community” (the totalitarianism by the instalment plan people) and its “rules based order” (sexual mutilation of children – and the rest of FAKE liberalism), and re elected a conservative government – a real conservative government.

  • Paul Marks

    The DEI (“diversity, equity and inclusion”) agenda – Frankfurt School Marxism, “Critical Theory” can be clearly traced back to Herbert Marcuse and others. Some ministers in the British government know this (I have heard them say so) – but they seem unable to do anything to stop it, “in office, but not in power”.

    The “Online Safety Bill” – even more censorship and control, in line with the cultural aspect of Agenda 2030, which is supported by nearly all governments and major corporations.

    More Saint-Simon than Karl Marx. An alliance of Big Government and Big Business – led by the fiat money Credit Bubble banks, and in the name of “the science”.

  • Roué le Jour

    I think of it as the threatening to close the Children’s Hospital gambit after Sir Humphrey.

    If you follow this through to its logical conclusion, increasing bureaucrats when money is available and reducing services when it is not, you reach a state of bureaucratic Nirvana, a department whose only function is to manage, with full DEI compliance, the perks and pensions of previous members of the department.

  • Paul Marks

    Roue le Jour – sadly so.

  • Deep Lurker

    I first hear of it as the “Washington Monument Syndrome“, decades ago in the pre-internet age.

  • Fred the Fourth

    During a recent us gov “shutdown”, Mt Rushmore monument was closed. So closed, that park police chased away people who had stopped at highway pull-outs to take a look at it from a distance.

    Our tax dollars at work.

  • Fred the Fourth

    Regulation are good. Especially when combined with technology.

    A few years ago a California gov bureaucrat was bragging on radio about the new mandate for all state agencies to have any forms needed by citizens to be on the web. His gleeful example was “Suppose you want to open a haircut shop. Now, the twelve agencies controlling such companies can all be reached online. Isn’t that great!”

    Twelve. State. Agencies. Plus, of course, the several additional federal, county, and city agencies.

    For a barbershop.

  • Paul Marks

    Fred the Forth – God damn them, God damn them to Hell.

    It is a basic principle of the Common Law (upheld by Chief Justice Coke – in the cast of Dr Bonham in 1610) that any person may peacefully undertake any trade or profession, without any permit or license from any official.

    In 19th century America this included both medicine (doctors – the American Medical Association was a guild-scam from the start, pushing its cartel in State after State) and the law – Mr Lincoln was just rail hand when he decided to practice law (without going to any college).

    Now they demand twelve agencies to cut hair – God damn them, Go damn them to Hell.

  • Paul Marks

    For the record – California demands licenses for more trades than any other State.

    The beliefs of such authorities can be summed up in one word – liberticide.

  • bobby b

    Kind of ironic that the big fear is that Wikipedia might be an unintended target of the OSB.

    Wikipedia is so incredibly woke – and dishonest, and wrong – that it is the epitome of bad, unsafe internet. It has good works in factual areas such as “2+2=4” and “mitochondria are small”, but anything that contains a moral statement or judgment is badly skewed.

    But they really need have no fear. Wikipedia will be granted exemptions and exceptions to any such rules, and will of course be reachable in spite of the OSB.

    No right-leaning website will be granted such latitude. “Unsafe” really means “might damage the electoral chances of the left.”

  • Michael

    I think, as an American, our founders missed, or failed to account for, the rise of the bureaucracy, which by examination one can readily see that it is firmly in control, and that the rest of politics are the sound and the fury.

    Some joke that a good start would be 500 lawyers on the bottom of the ocean, but only if you could add bureaucrats in equal numbers, until the situation improves.

  • Schrödinger's Dog

    Do most people care about liberty? The general acceptance of the COVID lockdowns and other restrictions makes me think not. I’m now of the opinion that, so long as most people are warm, fed and well entertained, the government can do pretty much whatever it likes.

    The other issue is that we’ve got very good indeed at disseminating news. A story can spread across the world in minutes, whilst it’s bad news that gets the ratings. Suppose, Fred the Fourth, that all those Californian rules relating to barbershops were repealed. Anyone wanting to open a barbershop only had to put a sign over his premises and he’d be good to go. Now, suppose some of those barbers didn’t follow good hygiene practice, and people got sick from having their hair cut with dirty instruments – and a few of them even died. This would be all over the media and millions of people would suddenly be convinced they were dicing with death every time they visited the barber’s. Inevitably, they would demand regulation of barbers, even though the chances of anything bad happening to them personally were miniscule. Indeed, regulation rarely occurs ex nihilo: usually it is a response to some problem. But once in place, a regulation inevitably expands, until you have twelve state agencies regulating barbers.

  • David

    Alternatively, Schrodinger’s dog. The barbers that injured people would go out of business while the ones that looked after their customers would prosper. No bureaucracy is needed. Where it is needed, such as not permitting bakers to use chalk and other fillers to be used in bread, then do it. I’d much sooner we go the British way of permitting anything that isn’t forbidden than the European way (Code Napoleon?) of only permitting what is specified and everything else is forbidden.

  • bobby b

    Use the market instead of the regulatory state. Only go to barbers (and plumbers, doctors, lawyers, etc.) who have been able to purchase liability insurance. The insurers who risk their own money on barbers do their research, and normally won’t insure the bad ones.

  • Fraser Orr

    Some joke that a good start would be 500 lawyers on the bottom of the ocean, but only if you could add bureaucrats in equal numbers, until the situation improves.

    In defense of my good friend here BobbyB I’d say that everybody hates lawyers until they need one, then they love lawyers. On the other hand I don’t ever remember needing a bureaucrat except when I’d be put in jail for not doing what they said.

    Ultimately the problem with, for example, Barbers, is this idea that we need the government to fix things, and only the government can fix things. There are lots of powerful market forces that can keep barbers and every other type of business in line. For barbers there are a few things suggested here like liability insurance, or reputation, and of course an alternative is guilds or unions that certify the skill of the barber. (Of course guilds or unions also try to make cartels which need to be resisted, but that’s another story.) We have lots of businesses with shady reputations like car repair shops, financial advisors, real estate agents and so forth that are mostly unregulated and we deal fine with them (I just posted on FB asking for a recommendation from my friends for a good electrician, for example. I can chose what my friend says or pay double for someone with an union imprimatur. Both are perfectly good strategies.)

    And as someone said, in the past it was hard to disseminate this sort of information, now it is trivially easy.

    You need only look at the lengths some vendors go to try to get your to remove your one star rating or negative comment on Amazon to see how effective that is.

    Did you know that that USP, US Pharmacopeia, label on your supplements and similar products comes from an entirely private organization, as does the UL certification on your electrical goods, or the Red Lion label on your british eggs, to name a few?

    What does counteract that though is when a company becomes really large and dominant. When that happens the little guy has no power and they can use their size to push aside any competing start ups.

    And companies often get big on the back of government regulations through things like rent seeking, patents, zoning laws, exclusionary regulations, regulatory approvals etc.

    The problem is that to most people “capitalism” means “rich fat cats trying to exploit you” and “government” means “honest, decent people looking out for your best interests.” The reality is almost exactly reversed. It is why I hate the word “capitalism”. Better to say free markets where customers and providers cooperating together. Providers providing what people want in exchange for what they both think it is worth. It is a beautiful thing and doesn’t involve Mr. Money Bags screwing you over, or Mr. Politician pitting one group against the other or sicing the police on you to bend the knee, so he can become rich and powerful.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b – yes wikipedia has gone from something that “anyone can edit” to a site where collectivist moderators delete dissent (and punish dissenters) and do not even allow people targeted for savage lying “articles” to reply.

    Wikipedia is an example of the Western world, it is what the Frankfurt School “Critical Theory” (which is anything but “critical” – it is dogmatic and does not tolerate independent thought) dominated education system has led to.

  • Paul Marks

    As I have just said on another thread – although the economy is heading towards a form of Saint-Simonism (the Corporate “public-private partnership” stuff that later inspired Mussolini and Klaus Schwab) the CULTURAL attack, which pushes censorship, is Marxist – specifically Frankfurt School Marxist with its “protection of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups” (indeed the Home Office has had Marxist academic advisers since at least the 1970s).

    Some ministers in the present government know this, they have said it. But they seem unable to stop such things as the “On Line Safety Bill” – it is very hard not to fall into despair.

    And too many Conservative Members of Parliament think in the following way “I have been insulted horribly on-line – this Bill will stop that, therefore it is a good thing”.

    They can not grasp that it is their defenders, NOT the people who say such dreadful things about themselves and their families, who will be subjected to even more censorship under the Bill – when it becomes an Act.

    Like the conservatives in the United States who supported such things as “Civil Asset Forfeiture” (local, State and Federal governments stealing money and property from people – without proving they are the profits of crime) and the unconstitutional powers of the FBI and other Police State entities, these British Conservatives are going to be “hosted on their own petard”.

    The body they think will protect them – will destroy them.