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]

The metacontext of Madoff

Evidence is only of use to the mind that is prepared for it.

Every time I see the government of Japan (or some other government) spending yet more money, in spite of the failure of all their previous government spending orgies, I am reminded of this.

Because, of course, to them there is no such thing as evidence that expanding government spending is not a “good thing”, just as there is no such thing as evidence that trying to finance lending (“investment”) via credit/money expansion, rather than solely by real savings, is not a “good thing”.

On the contrary,
…continue The metacontext of Madoff

It is about metacontext

I vote for the fifth option, which is “There should not be a drinking age”, on the basis that it is none of the government’s damn business.

Discussion point

In your experience, dear readers, has any comment you have seen in media, whether mainstream or alternative, that refers to “neo-liberal”, “the one per cent” or “globalisation” accurately described free enterprise, the case for free trade and the advantages of severally-owned property? Because in my experience such terms almost always suggest that the metacontext (a trademarked term of this parish) of the commentator/writer is collectivist/statist to some degree. As an example, I came across someone describing today’s UK as being governed by “neoliberalism”, and was not in the least put off by my pointing out that the State now grabs
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Why Jack Powell and 1828 are not wasting their time trying to influence the Conservative Party – despite what Steve Davies says

Tomorrow evening, I am hosting a talk at my home which will be given by Jack Powell. Here’s the short biographical note that Powell sent me, to send out to my email list of potential attenders:

Jack Powell founded 1828, which is a new neoliberal news and opinion website, to champion freedom, especially within British Conservative politics. He is the editor of the website as well as being in his final year at King’s College London, studying Spanish and Portuguese.

Interesting guy. Here is the link to the 1828 website.

In the spiel about his talk that followed, Powell goes
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Charles Murray on how facts don’t change minds (and some related thoughts of the sort he would probably approve of)

I have been reading Charles Murray’s book, Coming Apart.

I recommend this book, but I doubt that I myself will be reading every word of it, and certainly not every number. This is because I am already convinced by Murray’s basic thesis, which is that that America is becoming increasing divided along class lines. The temptations of government welfare, just as you would expect, have enticed the poor into self-destructive habits far more than the rich, because the rich, being rich, are insulated by their riches from these temptations. The rich have also resisted the temptation to smash up their
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Such love as we allow

Via Tim Blair and David Thompson, I came across this thoughtful philosophical discussion compèred by Joe Gelonesi of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?

The power of the family to tilt equality hasn’t gone unnoticed, and academics and public commentators have been blowing the whistle for some time. Now, philosophers Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse have felt compelled to conduct a cool reassessment.

Swift in particular has been conflicted for some time over the curious situation that arises when a parent wants to do the best for her child but in the process makes
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Steve Baker MP on the absurdity of monetary kremlinology

I, and I am sure many other readers of and writers of Samizdata, have been following the career of Steve Baker MP, ever since he was elected MP for Wycombe in 2010. However, the last posting I did here about Baker elicited understandable scepticism from commenters about whether Baker would stick to his free market principles long enough to make any difference. Yeah, sure, he is now on the Treasury Select Committee. Big deal. Baker, like all the others, said doubters, would soon go native.

Well maybe he will, but he hasn’t yet. Not if this City A.M. report by
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Anton Howes on the industrial revolution – now available on video

One of the intellectual highlights of my year has been hearing Anton Howes (whom I first noticed while noticing the Liberty League) expound the idea that the British industrial revolution was, at heart, an ideological event. The industrial revolution happened when it did and where it did because certain people in that place and at that time started thinking differently. To put it in Samizdata-speak, the metacontext changed. Particular people changed it, not just with the industrial stuff that they did, but with what they said and wrote.

I first heard Howes give this talk at my last Friday of
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The map is not the territory

Recently some teacher acquaintances on Facebook were discussing the recent public sector strike. Some were annoyed at accusations that they had spent the day shopping. Others said they had enjoyed spending the day shopping. Someone posted a message pointing out that Jeremy Clarkson, who said rude things about the strikers, was more than welcome to do a hard job saving lives or teaching disabled children. It occurred to me that, among other things, not all and probably less than half of public servants do such worthy jobs, and in any case what is relevant is what is really going on,
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Politics is not a sport

This is pretty poor stuff from the normally astute James Forsyth. In fact, his remarks about Dan Hannan’s recent blunt comment about the UK’s Soviet-model healthcare system smacks of cowardice:

The last week has been one of the worst the Tories have had in a while. As Pete said on Friday, a bad week in August is unlikely to do lasting damage. But the Tories should learn from the events of then past few days: they have been thrown onto the defensive not by clever Labour attacks but by their own unforced errors. Alan Duncan was a fool to say
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Now for the Labour implosion

For the leader of the Labour Party and our Prime Minister things are terminally frightful, but they are now looking just as bad for the Labour Party as a whole. I have been pondering the consequences of the latest Labour electoral reverse by reading the Coffee House blog, which is now my favourite political (as in who’s-in-who’s-out) blog, as opposed to the metacontext stuff that we do here. Several points stand out:

For the benefit of those who have not been following this, Labour have just lost their twenty fifth safest seat in a by-election, to the Scottish Nationalists this
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Guido vs. Gracchi

The inimitable Guido Fawkes decides to use Samizdata to explain what he is… and what he is not.

Over on the misnamed Liberal Conspiracy blog ‘Gracchi’ proffers a serious and fair minded critique of my Guido alter ego’s oeuvre, rather than the usual “Guido is an evil baby eating Nazi who once voted Tory, does not use trackbacks and deletes comments” tripe. I will give it a reply here and defend my approach.

Clearly we all have a political agenda of some kind. Mine is the politics of anti-politics. It stems from wanting to expand the non-political space in life
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