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 – Guardian insanity edition

“In recent years, the Guardian has devoted considerable time and energy to exposing the truth about Britain and slavery, as if we didn’t know it already. The fact that a British government was one of the first to outlaw the practise in Europe and the Royal Navy helped end the trade worldwide was to the Woke Left too little too late – which it was. But that was then and this is now, which makes it a little galling that the dead of Bristol and Liverpool and, naturally, the City of London, are being put in the dock for events that took place when ships were still propelled by sail and a woman could be hanged for stealing a sheep.”

Walter Ellis

The great thing for a while, in the minds of some, about atoning for the sins of people decades/centuries ago is that there is no real cost to oneself, although in the case of proposed reparations to the alleged descendants of slaves, the bill could be very large indeed. The absurdities and injustices this will cause, and the way it undercuts notions of personal responsibility by suggesting a whole nation should pick up a bill for something done by people a long time ago, are too obvious to need explaining in these pages. (Douglas Murray is good on the subject, as he is on most things.)

These are, as the late Robert A Heilein said, the Crazy Years.

23 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – Guardian insanity edition

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Another evil of the proposal to pay “reparations” to black people for the wrong done to their distant ancestors, and one that starts operating as soon as the suggestion becomes remotely plausible, is that businesses thinking about opening a factory or shop in an area with a large black population are scared off. They can guess that they will be the cash cow.

    Of course, as Thomas Sowell and many other black observers such as Larry Elder have pointed out, the fact that this and other “racial equity” schemes make life worse for black people is a feature not a bug for the Marxists who promote them. Revolutions don’t happen when people are prosperous.

  • NickM

    I am staggered at this. How the hell can any of this be worked out? Are we seriously saying that some potless white single mother sends her last crust to Michael Jordan? I am of (recent) Anglo-Irish stock (my dad was born in County Mayo in the Republic) so do I get reparations for the Great Famine of the 1840s? And from whom? My mother is from County Durham (England) so do I reperate myself? Do we hold a German born this century responsible for the Holocaust? I was born in Newcastle and grew up in Gateshead. Do I have a case against Norway over the Vikings? Or what about the harrowing of The North by William I? And is the later a case against France (now onto it’s Fifth Republic) or just Normandy? Where does this end?

    OK. I’m being a bit snarky here but I’m not sure what other reaction to have to such lunacy. Let’s try though… JP makes the very salient point that the UK did a lot to combat slavery including expending a fair amount of blood and treasure. We also didn’t ally with the Confederates during the US civil war (something the Confeds really wanted). All for the best. I feel no guilt over slavery – even of the bizarre multi-generational form. But lets go back to the ancestors… The RN acting against slavery was the right thing to do at the time. So rather than rending of garments and weeping and wailing about stuff from 200 years ago why don’t we do stuff about the slavery that exists right now just as my antecedents did back in the days of sail. Things like not awarding World Cups to nations that use slaves to construct stadia. Simple stuff like that.

  • phwest

    Another flaw of reparations is that they take no account of the benefits of slavery to current descendants of slaves. In particular, that were it not for the slave trade, they would not exist, and whatever descendants their slave ancestors did have would, in all likelihood, be living in abject poverty in Africa.

    Any just compensation has to consider the net harm to the individual being compensated. A simple thought experiment will show that net value to be modest if not negative. If reparations were offered under the condition that those who accept it must renounce their American citizenship and any future claims on the US government and emigrate to their African homelands, what would you have to offer to get any takers at all?

  • Steven R

    When William and a bunch of Frenchified Vikings showed up in England in 1066, fully 10% of the English were chattel slaves. Can I get in on some of those sweet, sweet reparations somehow? And let’s not forget about the time the Romans showed up and stayed for nearly 500 years. Maybe the Italians should write me a check while we’re at it. And of course my Irish ancestors had a hard time from my English and Scottish ancestors. So I should get more reparations.

    Or we could just say “Slavery and Jim Crow were terrible but they didn’t happen to you, we’ve bent over backwards to make up for those evils by pumping money hand over fist into your communities, education, and enacting stuff like Affirmative Action and quotas for employment, and you should be ashamed trying to profit off of your ancestors’ pain and suffering.”

  • DiscoveredJoys

    In a new article published May 8, 2023, in the journal Psychological Inquiry, Roy Baumeister and Brad Bushman say societies flourish by both amassing and distributing resources.

    Conservatives focus on amassing resources, while liberals concentrate on distributing resources. So if liberals (progressives) are effectively in charge they will ache to give away money to the ‘deserving’. That the money is held by ‘rich’ people is just extra sauce.

  • Steven R

    That’s got nothing to do with it. The left is just pandering for votes and if/when they get pushback from the right or the courts, they’ll just run up the “see? They’re just racists!” flag. Either way, the left wins on this issue because whites are becoming minorities in their own countries and there are enough whites who feel guilty (because they are told they must) but don’t think.

    I say go the full nine. Instead of 1.4 million per black or Irish or whatever, go 1.4 trillion per black or Irish or whatever. Make it so that even the economists in Zimbabwe have to be impressed with our inflation rates. Make it so that even the richest of Americans are ruined financially. A place where Jeff Bezos can’t afford a loaf of bread, never mind your mere multimillionaire politician. We’re destroying the countries and national economies anyway, so let’s go for it. Make the left have to get on board and own it. And then at least the right can say “you wanted fair. Here we are. Isn’t this great? And best of all, now our racial sins have been paid in full.”

  • NickM


    And I had always hoped the hard sciences were the impeneterable last redoubt.

    Looks like I was wrong.

    For the record I have a BSc in Physics. And an MSc in Astrophysics. Might as well have done something ending in “-studies”. Except I actually know things about how stuff works and not how stuff ought to work in some Gawd-awful fairyland.

    And BTW can we stop using the word “liberal” about folks who intellectually owe nothing to folks like John Locke and are utterly in the hole to Karl Marx?

    DiscoveredJoys… Of course they want to take the money from “the rich”. There is really no point robbing the poor because they have fuck all. Robin Hood wasn’t a sort off proto-egalitarian. He was just a realist.

  • Paul Marks

    Why are not the Islamic powers of North Africa and the Middle East, including Turkey, condemned by the Guardian for more than a thousand years of slave raiding – both of Europe and of Africa? Indeed why is Muhammed himself denounced as a slave trader? If slave trading in the past is so bad why is the Mayor of London not called upon to denounce Muhammed? Not that Muhammed was worse than any other leading person in the past – nearly all important people owned slaves in most societies in the past. A leader who did NOT own slaves would have been considered a freak – in most old societies.

    If I remember rightly about 10% of the population of England were slaves in the time of the Doomsday Book. Although there was a church dominated legal assembly in Westminster in 1102 that declared the buying and selling of human beings a crime, and there were repeated legal judgements against slavery in England over the centuries, there were still slaves here till the 1770s.

    The Guardian does not give a damn about slavery – it just wants (another) stick to beat the West with.

    As for the supposedly Conservative forces in the country – they are more likely to punish me than to oppose the Guardian.

  • Kirk

    About the one thing I can guarantee you is that once you’ve paid the reparations, the money will immediately wind up in the hands of the dealers selling fancy wheels for cars and other suchlike sorts.

    The reason American blacks are in poverty has rather less to do with slavery and racism than it does in their essential character. Lots and lots of blacks made it big, even back in the bad old days of Jim Crow. Ever heard of Madame C.J. Walker? No? Of course not… She was a successful black woman, the first one to become a millionaire, back around the turn of the 19th Century.

    Blacks are poverty-stricken because of their culture. Ever notice Detroit? When that city was run by the immigrant Poles and other Eastern Europeans, it was a painfully neat city of well-kept houses, gardens, and public spaces. The blacks came in, and what happened? The Democratic Party and blacks have been running Detroit since the 1950s; there’s nobody else to blame. If you look at two photos from 1945, one of Hiroshima and one of Detroit, then compare them to pictures taken today, who would you think won WWII?

    That’s the reality. They’ll hand out reparations, and the money will be pissed away, then they’ll come back for more, citing the same damn thing. It’ll be like Danegeld, and unless you get rid of the Dane, you’ll keep giving up the geld.

    Frankly, the only way I’d sign up for paying reparations would be if the people accepting them had to leave the US and never come back, along with banning the immigration of their descendants forever.

    Tell you what… You want reparations? Let’s have a totting-up of the costs associated with having blacks in America: We’ll start with the cities they’ve turned into urban hellholes, the cost of their criminality, and all the other costs associated. I’d also like to get my family’s money back from when they supported abolition and helped raise regiments like the 54th, plus all the rest of the things they did, as well as pay for the lives lost fighting the Civil War. I think I’m due some return, if that’s the way we’re gonna do it.

    I have another damn question, too: If I’m going to be dunned for the things my ancestors did, why are not also dunning the blacks for the same things? I mean, if you go back far enough, what with all the miscegenation that was going on (at least some of which had to have been consensual, if not sought out for favor…), you’re way more likely to find descent from slaveowners in American blacks than in whites… I mean, which generation are we gonna get billed for? If you go back five generations to find that the sixth was a white slaveowner, and we’re billing people for what their ancestors did, then why are we giving blacks a free pass on that? Makes just as much sense as coming after me, when I can document actual deaths and bankruptcies supporting abolition and the war effort…

  • Phil B

    I recall a science fiction short story I read in my teens (can’t remember the title or the author) but the plot was that all the money in the world was put into a big pile, the average amount per person was calculated and handed out to everyone. That way every person in the world had the same amount of money.

    Within a month you had millionaires and paupers. The millionaires, with their cash, bought hops, barley and yeast and brewed beer, sold it to the alcoholics and made their millions.

    The financially feckless fuckwits, of course, spent most of their free money on wine, women and an partying and then just wasted the rest.

    Convince me that this will not mirror the way that the reparations will work …

  • bobby b

    Reparations will never be paid. The only purpose of these discussions is so progressives can say to blacks, see, we tried, but the dirty conservatives have stolen this birthright from you – we’d really love to pay this to you, but they won’t stand for it.

    They do theater better than we do it.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b – in California it was the far left Governor Gavin Newsom who said “no” to “reparations”.

    Forcing people who have never owned slaves to pay money to people who have never been slaves, was too much – even for him. Especially as he knew that the Supreme Court would rule that paying people money on the basis of skin tone is racial discrimination – which it is.

    Some of the first slave OWNERS in the American colonies were black – should their descendants by paid money? And paid by whom? Six-hundred-thousand Americans were killed in the Civil War – more people than all other American wars put together, and out of a population that was a tiny fraction of what it is today.

    The supporters of Barack Obama made a big thing about slavery – which was odd as the Obama family were not slaves, indeed they had been slave traders (in-the-past trading slaves to the Middle East).

    In the recent Presidential election in Kenya the left, who got endless American and “international community” support, LOST. The Marxist leader of the left in Kenya has a habit of losing elections – in spite of all the support from the “international community” (including the vast “capitalist” corporations).

    Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

  • jgh

    The Englightment attitude that one is responsible solely for one’s own actions is so passe. How much better to go back to the Old Testament and sins are visted upon the sons yeah unto the seventh generation. There’s nothing like good old imposed race guilt. How many generations back did teh joos kill Jesus?

  • Snorri Godhi


    Blacks are poverty-stricken because of their culture. […]

    So far, so good — but see below.
    (And credit to Perry for letting such a comment stand.)

    That’s the reality. They’ll hand out reparations, and the money will be pissed away, then they’ll come back for more, citing the same damn thing.

    This is where Kirk gets into a gross mis-representation of Black culture.

    Not that i myself know much about Black culture, but “Theodore Dalrymple” does.
    The problem with Black culture is family values. What you earn, you are supposed to share with the extended family; and the more you earn, the more extended the family becomes.

    Dalrymple wrote about Africa, and specifically Zimbabwe; but Steve Sailer noted that the same applies to “African-Americans”.
    For instance, Black and White star athletes might earn the same amount of money, but the Whites get rich while the Blacks don’t, because the latter have to share.

    — Having said that, i note that Indians, Muslims, and Southern Europeans also have this sort of family values to some extent, but get rich anyway; at least in the US.

  • Ferox

    For instance, Black and White star athletes might earn the same amount of money, but the Whites get rich while the Blacks don’t, because the latter have to share.

    Is that why?

  • Kirk

    Snorri, I don’t “mis-represent” sh*t about black “culture”. I’ve lived among it, and dealt with it for a considerable chunk of my adult life. I know whereof I speak. Those reparations monies aren’t going anywhere near their “family”, because most of the ones I am talking about recognize no such thing.

    This ain’t idealized BS like they show on TV. I’ve observed black mothers pimping their daughters out to whatever their latest male fancy was; I’ve seen those males do the same with the girls. They don’t have “values” so much as they have appetites of the moment, and whatever they need to do to satisfy those? They’ll do it. Invest in the future? Benefit relatives? LOL… You are delusional, there. Ain’t. Happening.

    It’ll be pissed away, and having pulled the con successfully once, they’ll be back for more, and resentful/enraged when that doesn’t work. That’s the psychology; to the average feral black American, reparations will be seen as a sign of weakness, a sign of surrender. They’ll keep coming back, more and more angry about what they’re “owed”. In the end, they’ll have to be killed. Or, they’ll kill the people who aren’t giving them what they’re due.

    You really have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve seen this crap play out far too many times. It’s usually been the crab bucket effect, though… Someone gets lucky, gains success through hard work, then tries to pass that on to friends and family, who immediately waste everything and then turn on their benefactor when they won’t give them more hand-outs. It’s consistent enough that I have to speculate it’s a common psycho-social phenomenon in black “culture”, such as it is. They’ll do it with reparations, too.

  • For instance, Black and White star athletes might earn the same amount of money, but the Whites get rich while the Blacks don’t, because the latter have to share.

    Oilman, former blogger & good chum of mine Tim Newman, who worked in Nigeria, made a similar observation about Nigerians: once someone becomes successful, they are swarmed by parasitic extended family (very extended) who use social pressure to ensure they end up with so many ‘dependents’ that there was no chance they can accumulate capital… unless they got a job in UK/Europe which takes them out of that social context, at which point they were actually quite competitive.

    It’s not their race, it really is the culture.

  • bobby b

    SG –

    “The problem with Black culture is family values. What you earn, you are supposed to share with the extended family; and the more you earn, the more extended the family becomes.”

    I’m confused – aren’t you agreeing with Kirk here, that some black culture inhibits individual wealth accrual by demanding that it be distributed to anyone with a connection?

  • Snorri Godhi


    unless [Nigerians] got a job in UK/Europe which takes them out of that social context, at which point they were actually quite competitive.

    One thing that i did not mention for brevity, is what i read (iirc) in a book review of Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.

    What i read is that, for many African people, the best if not the only way to invest money is to select the most promising young man in the village and give him money to get to Europe.

    Note what that implies: people of an entire African village put their life savings into the hands of a man, trusting him to provide a return on investment, instead of living the high life. Presumably, almost all men sent to Europe do not disappoint: otherwise, Africans would have stopped sending men to Europe a long time ago. That goes to show how strong are family values in Africa.

    One negative implication of that, is that African immigrants _have_ to provide a return on investment: if they can best do so illegally, then they’ll do it illegally. It becomes necessary, then, to make it easier for them to earn money legally (easier said than done), and to make it too risky to make money illegally for them to consider it.
    This is not to deny the importance of keeping immigration under control, of course.

  • Snorri Godhi


    aren’t you agreeing with Kirk here, that some black culture inhibits individual wealth accrual by demanding that it be distributed to anyone with a connection?

    Kirk doesn’t think so; and to be fair he wrote nothing about distributing wealth in his earlier comments (iirc), only about frittering it away.

    In the last paragraph of his latest comment, however, he writes:

    Someone gets lucky, gains success through hard work, then tries to pass that on to friends and family, who immediately waste everything and then turn on their benefactor when they won’t give them more hand-outs.

    In any case, Kirk does not acknowledge the likely connection between having a social obligation to share money, and frittering away whatever money is left over. If you don’t spend it, then somebody will ask you to share it. (Successful Black athletes could open a Swiss bank account, but somehow that does not occur to them.)

  • Kirk

    It’s fairly obvious from the evidence that the way black culture “does it”… Doesn’t actually work.

    You can observe it in the micro-details; one of my guys in the Army “got lucky” when a mistaken deposit got made to him for a travel voucher, to the tune of nearly ten thousand dollars. Instead of going “Hey, waitaminute…” and reporting it, he did the stupidest thing possible: He told his entire circle of acquaintances instead of his leaders, and the acquaintances soon helped him spend the entire sum over the course of a week. They bought rims, stereos, new clothes, you name it–Even made a down payment on a car they couldn’t afford. The main guy who the erroneous payment was made to? Didn’t see much personal benefit, aside from all the “love” sent his way by his new hangers-on.

    A month or two later, the Finance types caught up with the mistake, came and demanded the money back. Unit leadership was blindsided by the whole thing, and the only person who’d noted any anomalies in the whole deal, because of all the new “bling”? Well, he’d been shushed up in both directions, hearing from above “Hey, ain’t our business…” and from below “You don’t see anything…”

    Whole thing was an epic mess, as the idjit “beneficiary” tried clawing back all of the things he’d bought his “friends”. That went about as well as you might think.

    At the time this went on, I wasn’t directly involved since it was happening in a different part of the unit than mine. Talked it over with one of my bosses, who was a black fully familiar with the whole thing, and he said he’d seen it time and time again over the course of his life. Any sort of windfall comes in? It’s ruinous; you’ve no doubt heard of “Lottery Syndrome”, wherein the winner winds up worse off after than they were before the win? This is the same thing, on steroids. His comment was that once the idjit in question had let out that he’d gotten that payment, he was doomed; if he hadn’t have become Mr. Party Time, he’d have been, at best, ostracized. At worst? Someone would have righteously murdered him for not “sharing the wealth”. The whole thing is totally inexplicable to outsiders, but there it is.

  • Kirk

    One of the many “unexpected” side-effects from paying blacks “reparations” is going to come in the form of catastrophic destruction for race relations in general.

    Probably the most formative “learning moment” in my journey from non-racist to effectively racist came living in among the blacks in a “border community” on one of their ruined city enclaves. You’d go to the supermarket there in Edgeville, where it was still somewhat civilized, and you’d observe the cartloads of steaks and prime ribs, along with stacks of other expensive luxury foods, being paid for with EBT cards.

    Meanwhile, you’re sitting there trying to work out whether or not you can afford the leaner grade of ground beef for the meatloaf you’re trying to cook for the rest of the week.

    Right about the twentieth time I went through this experience, I suddenly lost any and all sympathy for the “plight” of local blacks. It was also the same time frame when some local “yout” decided to vandalize my truck, which was caught on video from the apartment manager’s office as the squad of indigent sh*theels went through our parking lot breaking windows, taillights, and side mirrors. Nothing was ever done about that, either… Just an expense of living near the subsidized and protected criminal element, see? Productive citizens deserve that punishment, because…

    I guarantee you that the recipients of the reparations largesse are going to make a point of waving it under the noses of the people paying the bills. They can’t help themselves; that’s a certainty, not a “likelihood”.

    The things which flow from that? That’s what you need to worry about, because I guarantee you that it won’t accrue to the benefit of “race relations” or amity between races. It’ll serve as a huge red flag, and the results will, in time, likely end in a Rwanda-like genocide.

    I promise you this: Historians will have two epochs about race here in the US. One with blacks, and one after blacks, and the turning point will be “reparations”.

    Swear to God, it’s like someone’s conducting an assisted suicide in front of me, and I can’t persuade the idiot who’s doing the suiciding of what they’re actually doing.

  • Paul Marks

    California faces a 32 Billion Dollar deficit already – it can not afford “Reparations”.

    New York State spends twice (yes – double) the amount of money that Florida spends – yet has a smaller population. New York State can not afford “Reparations”.

    Other Democrat States are in the much the same semi bankrupt position (in the case of Illinois the word “semi” will soon be redundant – it will just be bankrupt).

    So the only way this insane spending, this paying of people on the basis of skin colour (illegal, unconstitutional and insane) could be financed is by the Federal Government creating more “money” from nothing.

    Most money is already just lights on computer screens (which can be manipulated, or expanded, on the whims of the powerful) – there is no connection to any commodity (not gold, not silver, not anything) so any amount of “money” can be created by the government/banker regime – for any political or cultural purpose.

    However, this means that the “money” will become worthless – although that may indeed be the plan so that the Dollar can be replaced by some international digital currency.