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

“Today’s DEI and ESG grievance industries are blowin’ in the wind. Three steps to redemption: Forget merit and striving for the highest level. Push equity over excellence. Feel virtuous. There are uproars because we don’t have enough female crash-test dummies—or paper straws, trigger warnings, unisex bathrooms, wind farms, disarmed police, censored songs or sidewalk tents for the `unhoused.’ These are vacuous 21st-century versions of protest songs. Feels good. Does nothing. Greta Thunberg’s “How Dare You?” topped the charts.”

Andy Kessler, WSJ ($).

What I like about this article is that it shows how uncreative, indeed often vacuous, many of those who are making so much noise in the public square of opinion are. I mean, what the hell have any of them created that, you might think, will be marvelled over in 50 years’ time? Name one business process, invention, life-changing discovery, major work of art, great novel, work of sculpture, great piece of architecture, new sporting contest, anything. Take all the time you need. (I am not sure that entities such as Bitcoin, blockchain, 3-D printing, reusable rockets or AI count as these are from hated science, which comes from evil Western civilisation.) And that’s a problem, because the disconnect between the “culture wars” racket and the actual, positive stuff going on is becoming more and more chasmic.

Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.

17 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Stonyground

    How Dare You, I believe that was 10cc.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    At their rare best such people are critics, not creators. And they are not often any good as critics.

    It reminded me of the way that the EU aspires to be “regulatory superpower”. The concept is not self-evidently wrong: it is possible for a polity to gain soft power by having a good legal system, widely recognised as fair. But the EU boasts of having the dumbed down, quantity-not-quality, version of that. Look at all these millions of laws and regulations we have! Are we not mighty?

    In the same way, there was a time when some of the things the Woke talk go on and on about, such as unconscious bias or white privilege, were fresh insights. They have long since rotted away by now.

  • bobby b

    Just to play the obvious Devil’s Advocate point: the brakes on my car do nothing towards getting me to my destination, but they do serve an important purpose in my drive. They impede progress and add nothing to forward motion. But . . . . sometimes you need to just stop.

  • Paul Marks.

    The names change – DEI can become EDI and ESG can also have its name changed, but the objective always remains the same – power-and-control.

    Sadly international government and corporate bodies are obsessed with this totalitarian agenda.

    This is not just a few activists – this is the most powerful groups in our society.

  • Phil B

    What I’d like to see is some kind of identity card that specifies if you are fully on board with the woke agenda or not.

    Then if you need a medical operation, you present your card and will be allocated a surgeon that was admitted to medical school based solely on their skin colour, was nodded through exams, regardless of their actual performance and selected for the post “because …”.

    Similarly, if you want to fly then the pilot would be an affirmative appointment (based on the same reasoning) etc. and so forth.

    That way they could virtue themselves to an early grave and leave the rest of us non woke card carrying people alone.

  • Colli

    I would like to think that at least people fifty years from now would see the damage of these ideas, and not try them again. Unfortunately, the fact that today it is seen by many people as acceptable, even respectable, to support communism, an ideology so recently responsible for unimaginable loss of life, does not give me much hope.
    I do not understand why almost no one would say that they support Nazism, but many would approve of implementing communism. No one claims, for example, that the Nazis were not “real Nazis”, so Nazism should be tried again, and yet equivalent claims are made about communism. Why is this? What makes people believe so much in such a failed system?

  • Stonyground

    “What makes people believe so much in such a failed system?”

    There is an attempt at an explanation in the last chapter of the book, ‘Socialism, The Failed Idea That Never Dies’ by Kristian Niemietz. There is a certain sense of fair play that seems to be hard wired into us that might have worked for hunter gatherer societies.

  • Paul Marks.

    The failing system we live under is not, strictly speaking, socialism – it is closer to a Corporate State, “Public-Private Partnership” “Stakeholder Capitalism”. With hindsight this was the agenda as far back as the Rio conference of 1992 – when most governments (and leading corporate figures) agreed to what came to be called Agenda 21 (now Agenda 2030 – or just Sustainable Development goals).

    As such people as the Canadian billionaire (and United Nations official) Maurice Strong and American David Rockefeller freely admitted – “Global Warming” was not really at the core of the campaign, they (and very many others) had always wanted international governance on the basis of a partnership between governments and leading corporations (such as Credit Money banks).

    Arguably such people as the late Mr Strong were socialists (or even Marxists) – but the failing system we live under is not really socialism, it would be better described as “Corporatism” (the public-private partnership idea of Dr Klaus Schwab and Mussolini long before him) and “Technocracy” – a very old idea that can be traced back to Henri Saint-Simon, or even to Francis Bacon.

    Tyranny in the name of “the science” and where governments and corporations (everything from banks to “Big Pharma”) work together to crush liberty.

  • Paul Marks.

    The capstone of tyranny, which is not yet achieved, will be fully digital currency (it is part digital already) and “smart cities” – it will be “sold” to people as follows….

    “The cities are chaos [quite true – although this is the deliberate result of Progressive policies] – this new development will mean an end to the drug trade, an end to prostitution, an end to child pornography – with every transaction open to inspection, people will no longer spend money on terrible things, and robbery will be pointless as the robber will not be able to sell what they steal!”

    It will all sound wonderful – everyone will “safe and secure” in the hands of governments and the corporations.

    And nature will also be protected – “rewilding” (outside the controlled smart cities) will “save the planet” – “if we do not do this – the world will die!”

  • JJM

    Three steps to redemption

    Hmm… the key weakness of Wokery as an ideological cult would seem to be that it offers absolutely no redemption at all. No matter the sins you confess, you are still held culpable.

    Ultimately, there’s nowhere to take that.

  • jgh

    they (and very many others) had always wanted international governance
    Don’t these morons realise that World Gornment means Government by China? 1.5billion outvotres 350million.

    the key weakness of Wokery as an ideological cult would seem to be that it offers absolutely no redemption at all.
    How dare The Enlightenment have happened, how DARE! people be responsible solely for their own actions, and not for the actions of others, how ****DARE**** peiople not be punished for the actions of multiple generations of ancestors. BURN THE JEWS/ROMANS/NORMANS/VIKINGS/SPANISH/MONGOLS/whatever.

  • NickM

    I have a problem with the term “technocracy”. Because it isn’t. A true “technocrat” would at least know The Calculus of Newton and Leibniz. This lot don’t. They believe sociology is a science which it isn’t. Neither is Marxism. History is not a science. Perhaps you’re thinking Nick’s saying, “If only our leaders knew how to do partial differentiation then we’d be entering the sun lit uplands!” No. I am absolutely not. The problem is, to mangle a term from Sigmund Fraud, “physics envy”. They see the power of true science (antibiotics, moon landings, nuclear bombs…) and they try and steal the (lab) coat of science to give whatever idiocy they are promoting whether it be Green, Red or Black some sort of illusion of an objective basis. That governance isn’t (or rather shouldn’t) be about spreadsheets and curve fitting but about principles doesn’t occur to the “technocrats”.

    I know enough maths and science to know it has a scope. It is incredibly powerful within the correct sphere. When people attempt to glue pseudo-science onto the arts and humanities as a veneer of authority then you can almost guarantee all Hell will follow. It is a recipe for disaster because it is mistaking a posidrive for a hammer. Different issues require different tools.

    What, of course, makes it much worse is playing “Let’s Pretend!” science. Calling something “science” when it is out of the field of science and not acknowledging that it is ideology rather thsn evidence or theory (real theory*) because that is at best trying to turn a screw with a mallet.

    I appreciate you very rarely using stats and such to justify your arguments. That is how it should be in the context of what you tend to write about. Other areas… For sure! Bring out the graphs! When appropriate.

    As to Francis Bacon. I would say “Yes”. But it goes way further back. Plato’s “Republic”? Even the old Commie Bertrand Russell didn’t like that. In his “History of Western Philosophy” he is bang-on the money about how it would turn out.

    Social engineers attempting to don the clothes of science are performing a wicked betrayal of both the sciences and the humanities.

    *Arthur Eddington had this to say, “It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory.” Now what was the great astrophysicist getting at there? This is my take… Unless there is understanding there is only correlation and the later is not truth. For example take the miasma theory of cholera. The stink did correlate with the disease but it was not the cause. Both were caused by microbes (Antonie van Leeuwenhoek’s “animalcules**).

    **I do just love that term. I love it because it’s cute and also because the guy clearly had no idea what he was observing and didn’t pretend otherwise. He was a cloth merchant and used his microscope to inspect the weave of his products. Then he saw little critters…

  • Y. Knott

    “… will be marvelled over in 50 years’ time?”

    It’ll be marvelled over alright, but not for the reasons all of its woke SJW pontificators so fondly imagine it will; overreaching hubris is always marvelled-over in the future, when its authors are safely dead-and-gone and history looks back, not in anger, but in a sort of bemused disbelief that anybody could’ve been so stupid, even back then. Its future edginess and relevance will be perhaps best summed-up with a comment I glommed from a Siskel & Ebert review of the one Pearl Harbour movie: ” – and if you walk out of the cinema reciting lines of dialogue, it won’t be because you admired them…”

  • jgh

    In 50 years’ time it will be as the 1950s observed pre-WW1 eugenics.

  • Paul Marks.

    NickM – there is a massive difference between real science and “The Science” and it goes back a very long way.

    It certainly does not start with the rigging of such things as historic temperature figures that one sees today – although real scientists (as opposed to establishment, grant funded, “scientists”) would be horrified by such data tampering.

    It goes all the way back to, at least, Francis Bacon – who declared that people who taught that the Earth went round the Sun should be punished, not refuted in open discussion – punished (that is an example of what is called “The Science” today – punishment rather than open debate).

    The international establishment did not invent “The Science” lies at the time of Covid (denying that there were effective Early Treatments, pushing toxic injections – and so on). The concept of “scientific” lies to push Collectivism goes back as far as one can look.

    The concept of the “Noble Lie” (“noble” because the lies push Collectivism) goes back to Plato.

    As does the concept of Double Think – we shall accept that the planets move for the purposes of navigation, but we shall teach that the planets do NOT move.

    Censorship – again nothing new, that is in Plato as well.

    “But Paul the establishment lies about Covid killed people” – yes, but remember the international establishment do not believe that people (free will beings) exist.

    Dr Klaus Schwab and others will trot out philosophers (in the tradition of Hobbes, Hume and Bentham) who will “prove” that people, persons, do-not-exist, that we are just flesh robots – that we have no personhood, no free will.

    If persons do not exist, if there are no free will beings (subjects – not just objects) it obviously does not matter if these human shaped flesh robots are enslaved or killed – so the international establishment are doing nothing wrong.

  • Paul Marks.

    At least the head or National Westminster (NatWest) bank has now resigned.

    It is unlikely that we will see the end of Credit Bubble Banking or the Credit Money dependent Corporations this side of economic collapse – but we should at least demand the following.

    No Corporation (incorporation being a gift of the state) should be allowed to discriminate against either customers or employees on the basis of these people peacefully expressing their political or cultural opinions – such things as DEI (in Britain EDI) and ESG should not be practiced by banks or other Corporations.

    For example, it is totally unacceptable that people can not write about their political or cultural beliefs – out of fear of being victimised by Corporate employers for going against DEI or ESG.

  • Kirk


    You said:

    Arthur Eddington had this to say, “It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory.” Now what was the great astrophysicist getting at there? This is my take… Unless there is understanding there is only correlation and the later is not truth. For example take the miasma theory of cholera. The stink did correlate with the disease but it was not the cause. Both were caused by microbes (Antonie van Leeuwenhoek’s “animalcules**).

    I get the good sense in what you’re saying, but… I think it needs to be pointed out that until theory is validated through experimentation and careful observation, you’ve really not completed the loop.

    Without that loop being closed, stopping at “observation must be confirmed by theory” is incomplete and utterly inadequate. Oftentimes, good “theory” fails utterly under test, and to jump immediately on the first theory you like on any issue is a massive mistake. Which we see demonstrated on the daily, all around us. You have to temper things by actually using the scientific method, which calls for verification through experimentation and continued ongoing validation by observation to ensure that conditions haven’t changed.

    I really dislike the enshrinement of what Eddington said there, which makes it sound as if you’re done, once you’ve come up with a plausible theory of whatever it was you were dealing with. I’m afraid that it just isn’t so; it’s like stating Boyd’s OODA loop as “Orient, Decide” and leaving it at that. It is, in other words, entirely incomplete.