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]

Out: Labour is about collective action. I’m listening to you. In: Take the debate off social media. Only experts should comment.

Here is Angela Rayner MP writing in the website Labour List on 13th January 2020 and making her pitch to Labour members for the job of Leader of the Labour Party: “Leadership starts with listening – and I want to hear from you”

As a trade union organiser for most of my life, I know this isn’t done through top-down structures. Our movement’s story is of collective action to achieve change. I don’t have all the answers – no one person does. But I know a few million people who can help.

That’s why I’m asking members, affiliates, councillors, candidates
…continue Out: Labour is about collective action. I’m listening to you. In: Take the debate off social media. Only experts should comment.

Sometimes experts get it right!

I now lurk on Twitter, and more recently, also on Facebook. Today, on Facebook, via Matt Ridley, this:

Still don’t know the link etiquette when quoting social media discoveries on a blog, so no link.

Usually, the most remembered prophecies are the ones that were proved totally wrong. Metal ships will all sink, aeroplanes can’t fly, cars will never catch on in Europe because chauffeurs, and so on. But this prophecy was – pretty much – right. And what’s more it came from someone running the very business he is prophesying about. He didn’t get everything about the mobile
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There are experts and there are “experts”

As I work away at a talk I am to give tomorrow evening at Christian Michel’s, I am also, of course, wandering about in the www. And during the latest wandering I was provoked into thinking about another talk, one that I will be hosting rather than giving, on the last Friday of February. Marc Sidwell will, that evening, be speaking about: “Twilight of the Wonks? Promoting freedom in a post-expert world”.

This rather witty cartoon, which I came across here, is very pertinent to Marc Sidwell’s talk, I think:

This cartoon is now to be seen all over
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When people cite experts, be careful

So the idea this letter represents mainstream economics must be challenged. When Sky is reporting it without an alternative viewpoint, it can mislead the public. But this also shows something interesting about the political left. People across the political spectrum like to appeal to the authority of “experts” to improve credibility. But for the left, this is crucial. Unlike supporters of markets, left-wing interventionists believe experts can direct economic activity for us. Building up the idea that “experts” support these interventions and believe they work is therefore of critical importance to obtaining public acceptance.

– Ryan Bourne, Institute of Economic
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An ‘arrogance’ of experts?

They are at it again. Medical experts are advising the state that they should mass medicate the population of Britain against a non-infectious disorder.

Perhaps a ‘totalitarianism’ of experts might be more accurate as Food Standards Agency seem to think it is the super-owner of the bodies of everyone in the country.

The State…and its experts… do not know best

Mad cow disease (vCJD), foot-and-mouth, MMR, salmonella in eggs… the list goes on and on. The reality of life is that no one has a monopoly on insight, intelligence and information. Yet the state would have us believe that in their case when they say something, is somehow of a higher order compared to any other institution or individual. After all, it that was not the case, how could the fact the state backs its views with the threat of violence be justified?

Yet time and time again we are told in patronising tones that the state’s experts know best,
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Celebrity experts save the world!

I am trying not to laugh as I watch rock musician Bono hold forth on satellite television about issues of Third World debt and so on at the World Economic Forum held in New York. Perhaps we can look forward to getting Britney Spears on the fight against terrorism, Mick Jagger on Aids and Tiger Woods on global warming. I guess I am being irreverent, but what the heck, it’s Friday!

Samizdata quote of the day

There’s a great deal of vanity involved in all of this. Our political elites, encouraged by a priestly caste of experts, love to pose as miracle-workers. To them, and to us who elect them to office, I would every day recite Ormerod’s final dictum: “We may intend to achieve a particular outcome, but the complexity of the world, even in apparently simple situations, appears to be so great that it is not within our power to ordain the future.” Only when this lesson is internalised will we begin to emerge from the age of failure.

– Martin Gurri

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A Modest Proposal for containing Monkeypox

The WHO has proclaimed Monkeypox a global health emergency.

A major study in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that Monkeypox is being driven overwhelmingly by sex between men. Yesterday the CDC reported the first two child monkeypox cases in the US:

“California toddler and an infant in D.C. were likely infected by ‘household contacts’ and both had contact with gay or bisexual men, CDC chief says”

Although the report is consistent with the study, I suspect Ian Miles Cheong thinks the phrase “between men“ may be understating the age range involved. “Are we allowed to ask any questions?”,
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If you really think “2000 Mules” has been debunked, allow comments

The Guardian has acknowledged there might be an elephant a mule in the room.

Trump’s ‘big lie’ hits cinemas: the film claiming to investigate voter fraud

2000 Mules has been resoundingly debunked by factcheckers, but the film has earned praise from Trump and other Republicans

Not having seen 2000 Mules, I will offer no opinion on how convincing it is. But I do have some advice for the Guardian, and other media outlets too, and it is advice that would be exactly the same whether the claims made in Dinesh D’Souza’s film turn out to be right or wrong. If
…continue If you really think “2000 Mules” has been debunked, allow comments

Woke rage reveals a fact about the transition pipeline from schools to social services

Some Texan childcare social workers are so “distraught” that a new law regulates their handling of trans kids that they say they will resign! (We’ll see if woke bureaucrats’ promises to resign are worth more than woke celebrities’ promises to quit the US if Reagan/Bush/Trump became president.)

If anything could be more where all is most in their self-revealingly woke article, it is the moment (about half-way through) where a social worker tells of their horror at the thought of having to investigate a report of a parent giving their child trans drugs. Previously any such report had instantly been
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Let the medical heretics speak. You don’t have to believe them, but let them speak.

Most people prefer experts, of course, especially when it comes to health care. As a surgeon myself, I can hardly object to that tendency. But a problem arises when some of those experts exert outsized influence over the opinions of other experts and thereby establish an orthodoxy enforced by a priesthood. If anyone, expert or otherwise, questions the orthodoxy, they commit heresy. The result is groupthink, which undermines the scientific process.

From Against Scientific Gatekeeping, an excellent, measured essay for Reason magazine by Jeffrey A. Singer. He draws on his own experience of changes in medical best practice during his
…continue Let the medical heretics speak. You don’t have to believe them, but let them speak.