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 watchers do not like it when you watch them…

Our masters do not think it is appropriate for us to observe and record the fact we are being observed and recorded…

That reminds me of of something I posted in 2002.

Samizdata quote of the day

Even the use of that N word to point out how different things are today as opposed to that past is to be verboten? In a media training exercise?

Well, yes, it appears so. As with the various versions of Huckleberry Finn which excise the word – despite its centrality to the moral point that Twain was making.

Do note the point being made here. Which isn’t that there’s some problem with the resignation or firing – Schnatter was running a business using other peoples’ money, offending the mores of the time and place loses them money, bye bye. It’s to ponder whether the mores are quite what they ought to be. The use as an epithet we’re all on board with being unacceptable. The use as an historical reference perhaps less so.

Tim Worstall, pointing out the lunacy of firing someone for saying ‘nigger’ even to illustrate it’s use by someone in the past. This turns the word ‘nigger’ into a magic spell, decontextualised of meaning in a way that is very ‘Frankfurt School’.

The ‘Baby Trump over London’ balloon is being hailed as a triumph of freedom of expression…

And I agree, it is.

And so…

Let’s make ‘Giant Sadiq Khan ‘baby balloon to fly over London’ happen.

Works for me. I gave them some money.

This is how I see it…

The future in Britain is actually quite clear: either Theresa May gets deposed and we get a meaningful Brexit of some kind, or we get Prime Minister Corbyn by a big margin in the next election. It doesn’t matter if you think Brexit is good or bad, or want it to happen or not happen, the Referendum vote was what it was, and that is where we are now.

Corbyn cannot win on his own merits, but Theresa May can hand him victory by making the Tory vote largely implode. Only May can deliver the UK to Corbyn.

The government did not have to hold a referendum, it chose to for several reasons more to do with internal Tory politics than anything else. But it did hold one, and having done so whilst being really quite unambiguous about what the issue was…

… it cannot then effectively ignore the result without delegitimizing not just the party but the British state itself, with serious long term consequences for the very stability of our culture. May must go or a great many even worse things are going to happen, and I hope that is obvious to dispassionate observers on both sides of the actual vote.

Why Dan Hannan never went native…

The indefatigable Madsen Pirie has written an interesting article about Dan Hannan, describing how his background influences helped him avoid that oh so typical fate of many an idealistic soul: going native when joining an institution which generally opposes your underpinning views, in this case getting co-opted by the European Parliament.

The 20th century saw the state getting bigger and bigger, and thus the citizen getting smaller and smaller

In NZ, the UK or Australia, one may own a rifle or shotgun, but it has to be locked in a cabinet when not in use. Thus, it is of no use for a sudden life or death situation. A twelve bore which is locked in a steel cabinet will not save you when you need it.

I must say I find it odd that in the UK, NZ and Oz it is legal to own guns for all reasons except self-defence, which is the most basic and obvious reason to own one. It was not always like this, but the 20th century saw the state getting bigger and bigger, and thus the citizen getting smaller and smaller.

The one part of the UK where ownership of a pistol for self-defence is still legal is Northern Ireland, but even that is for the convenience of the state. They found that builders, contractors and other suppliers of goods and services to the state were refusing to work for them any more, as they were targetted by the IRA. The only way the state could get its jobs done was to allow these people to own a pistol and a small amount of ammunition (25 rounds I believe). So there is no general right to be armed in self-defence even in NI, it is just something the state had to allow for its own survival.

The NI situation is something which is never talked about, however. About 10,000 people in a population of 1.5 million carry a pistol for self-defence. Carried across to the mainland, that would be 400,000 armed citizens. The powers that be don’t want the peons getting any ideas above their station.

JohnK making some very cogent points on Natalie’s article here on Samizdata.

Samizdata quote of the day

Meet the new face of Ukip: The free speech extremists who could make Ukip dangerous again

Mikey Smith‘s headline of a Mirror article about UKIP. Now it does not matter a damn what you think of UKIP, but the idea that supporting free speech itself can make you an ‘extremist’ is breathtaking and frankly absurd: you either support free speech or you support state approved speech, there is no middle ground.

Samizdata quote of the day

“Liberal, democratic” is something that we’re all in favour of. It’s the definition of those words which is the difficulty. The older and correct meaning of liberal would have us all doing whatever the hell we want as long as our doing so doesn’t impact upon the rights of others to do the same. A regulatory system which bans large motors on vacuum cleaners for our own good is not liberal in this sense. We also can’t throw the bastards out so it’s not democratic.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

Sometimes I think maybe I’m becoming too strict as I age. Maybe this is all a natural evolution of a technology. But I can’t close my eyes to what’s happening: A loss of intellectual power and diversity, and on the great potentials it could have for our troubled time. In the past, the web was powerful and serious enough to land me in jail. Today it feels like little more than entertainment. So much that even Iran doesn’t take some — Instagram, for instance — serious enough to block.

I miss when people took time to be exposed to different opinions, and bothered to read more than a paragraph or 140 characters. I miss the days when I could write something on my own blog, publish on my own domain, without taking an equal time to promote it on numerous social networks; when nobody cared about likes and reshares.

That’s the web I remember before jail. That’s the web we have to save.

Hossein Derakhshan, who is speaking at State of the Net in Trieste today

Samizdata quote of the day

What is more, if I want to hold lectures or seminars on the topic of empire, I will do so privately, since I cannot be sure that my critics will behave civilly. On one occasion recently, I held a day-conference to discuss Bruce Gilley’s controversial article, “The Case for Colonialism,” and found myself having to use pseudonyms to hide the identities of some participants. One young scholar only attended on condition that his name nowhere appear on print, nor his face on any photograph, lest his senior colleagues find out and kill his career. What this shows is that the legal right to freedom of speech is not enough. What’s also needed are colleagues who are willing to conduct themselves according to informal norms of civility and responsible, rational exchange. Clearly some colleagues are not so willing. So the question is, will middle-managers in universities—faculty and college heads—do anything to uphold norms of civility against colleagues who trample over them, or will they abrogate their civic responsibility and off-load it onto the courts?

Nigel Biggar

Either justice is blind or it is not justice at all

I am not entirely out of sympathy with the Francis Turner view of Tommy Robinson ‘doing a Gandhi’, but not entirely convinced either (in that Gandhi never denied he was indeed breaking the law, whereas Robinson seemed rather surprised when he was arrested). And like Francis Turner, I agree that even if Robinson is a ‘racist’ these days (and I have no deeply held views on that, but suspect he is not), it does not in and of itself mean many of the points he has raised are wrong.

But I also have grave objections to how this whole thing has been reported by people on the ‘Right’, usually the same people who keep telling me (an actual resident of London, and someone who contrary to rumours does venture out of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, into the trackless wastes of North End Road, Camden, Bermondsey & Hackney, all without encountering burqua-police), that London is Londonistan & women are fearful of going out in short skirts these days… and not just in Salafist blighted Tower Hamlets, but pretty much everywhere. It is quite simply, a steaming pile of arrant nonsense that anyone wandering around London on a sunny day can see for themselves.

My reaction to the reporting on L’Affaire Tommy Robinson on many sites was part of my journey from being a Mark Steyn fanboy to someone who thinks he & several others like him who I once widely admired, have become people I am not willing to automatically trust anymore. When they are right they are right, and when they are not, they are not.

Yes, my reactions to the mass rapes in certain working-class areas like Rotherham (to name but one) and the utterly not-fit-for-purpose police & political establishment was in many ways like their reactions, but my notions of how to make sure it does not keep happening again and again is different. I do not think the ‘Right’ should become like a mirror image of the SJW Left, inventing their own facts. I do not think the ‘solution’ to identity politics & institutions being rotted from the inside by political correctness, is a different set of identity politics ostensibly pushing the other way, but rather an attack on all identity politics.

So, the reason I am unsympathetic to undeniably ghastly rapists going unpunished due to the establishment’s fear of being accused of ‘racism’ & ‘Islamophobia’, is the same reason I am not very sympathetic to Tommy Robinson, the designated ‘good guy’, getting a free pass for possibly prejudicial shenanigans around a courthouse. Might a character more sympathetic to the establishment sensibilities have merely been warned away instead? Possibly so, but that would just be another example of the system not working, rather than a good thing. Either justice is blind or it is not justice at all.

Yes, Islam (and indeed everything else) must not be beyond criticism. But that does not mean everyone who engages in much needed criticism of Islam should themselves be immune to criticism if they also make unwise choices.

It seems that Sinn Fein & the DUP are in a state of furious agreement…

I found this amusing…

Sinn Fein also pushed back against Mrs Foster’s claims their supporters could turn to the DUP over the issue of abortion. A [Sinn Fein] spokesman told Sky News: “The issue of abortion is not a Unionist versus Nationalist issue.”

So as the DUP have said anti-abotion Catholics who usually support Sinn Fein might vote DUP due to the issue of abortion, it would appear that the DUP and the Sinn Fein spokeman both agree with the contention that “The issue of abortion is not a Unionist versus Nationalist issue.” 🤣