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]

Now that the EU is sorted, time to focus on opposing state overreach in Westminster

The next political war is at hand, but for tonight at least…

Christmas greetings from Samizdata

A broadside from an actual conservative

How can you continue to treat every British citizen as though they face a very high risk of being hospitalised or even dying as a result of exposure to Covid, when this patently is not true? And why pretend the NHS is overwhelmed when the Nightingale hospitals lie empty? And how, this weekend, could you have bought into and sold the public such a dodgy Covid deaths dossier, your so-called ‘realistic worst case’ scenarios that lack any credibility an excuse for lockdown?

How can you justify failing to subject lockdown to a detailed cost benefits exercise? And yet you are going down the same un-costed route again.

How can you justify outsourcing the entire educational, economic, mental and social wellbeing of the nation to ever more secretive and unaccountable NHS quangos with their own political and vested interests all supposedly under the control of Matt Hancock at the Department of Health?

Lastly, how can you, an economic liberal, be part of a government which has needlessly wrecked Britain’s economy? You and colleagues may be shielded from the onslaught that the nation is about to experience thanks to your publicly-funded salary and pension, but most others – particularly the self-employed, the sole traders and those who run small businesses – face a very different future, one that is genuinely frightening. Irresponsible doesn’t begin to describe the national economic and political catastrophe your latest lockdown decision is leading us to.

Kathy Gyngell

Question…

I do not know a single family who have adjusted or in anyways changed their Christmas plans in the last week or two due to changes in the state’s latest whims regarding Covid-19. Question: I am a lockdown sceptic but outside my bubble, are there people willingly rearraigning their lives when the state issues new edicts?

There needs to be a reckoning

‘Lockdowns’ work very well if what you want to do is to destroy a happy and prosperous society and replace it with a desert. It will cost much more as the measureless debt incurred by Rishi Sunak begins to bite in the form of taxes, inflation, shrinking real wages and ravaged pensions and social services. No wonder they dare not announce an actual Budget. It would be the most horrifying public experience since The Exorcist. So the thing to do is to win back what we lost in March.

This requires determination, ruthlessness and large numbers. But it is very easy. Parliament, very slowly waking from its long, induced coma, discusses the latest prison rules on Tuesday.

Before then, I beg and urge you to write to your MP, and to get your friends, neighbours, colleagues and family to join you. Numbers are crucial, as you will see.

On your computer, please find writetothem.com. This will direct your letter to your MP in easy steps. Then write, briefly, politely, acidly.

Say only this: ‘If on Tuesday you vote to destroy the jobs and livelihoods of others, do not expect to keep your own. When the reckoning comes for this, there will be no such thing as a safe seat. Scottish Labour MPs once thought their seats were safe. Look what happened to them.’

Do not worry about any reply you receive or do not receive. These boobies mostly cannot reason. But they can count. And if enough such emails arrive, they will at last grasp what they have done, and fear for their majorities as they should.

This is pretty much the only lawful means of resistance we still have. If you do not use it now, to the full, when are you going to do so?

And if lawful protest is ignored, what do people think is going to happen when the P45s and the bankruptcies spread like a great puce blot across the country through the miserable winter months, and next spring brings no real release?

Peter Hitchens

BLM UK has a uniformed paramilitary militia

Yesterday in Fulham, I observed a group of ten or so men and woman striding purposefully down North End Road. They were dressed in black uniforms, with ‘tactical’ vests displaying FF Force on one side and ‘Forever Family’ on the other… and they are a Marxist militia adjunct of BLM UK. This is entirely illegal.

Upon encountering a long line of schoolchildren lined up outside a MacDonald’s, they started doing down the line chatting with the more ethnically diverse children (which was more than half of them given the area). Interestingly, the 100% English barrow boys (and girls) ignored them (they were all busy selling things at the street market) but I observed several middle eastern passers-by glaring at the militia as they interacted with the children.

2020 is starting to have a rather 1930s feel about it. The pressure cooker is starting to shake.

Remember, remember…

The current government, aided & abetted fulsomely by the current opposition, are by far the greater and more extraordinary threat to our county’s health & prosperity than this very selective virus.

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Oh for the good old days when treason and plot were hatched elsewhere rather than within the structure Mr. Fawkes tried to blow up.

We are seeing the second coming of new media

On this day back in 2001, the first iteration of Samizdata haltingly plopped onto the internet, wide eyed and not quite sure what to make of itself.

Why did Samizdata happen? Because every time a ‘news’ feature appeared about the 9/11 atrocity, I and other assorted stalwarts were done shouting at the television screen (remember them?). That was the trigger, but frankly there was much more to it than just that. It was years, decades really, of seeing the mainstream media’s disconnection from common sense and observable reality on a great many issues. We were sick of the BBC, Robert Fisk, CBS, The New York Times, ITV, Dan Rather, The Guardian, CNN, all of them.

Glenn Reynolds created Instapundit and showed the way… and we followed (Samizdata was the UK’s second political blog, the first being the long vanished ‘Airstrip One’). Many more piled into the scrum, most now long extinct. Blogspot hosted most of the new online blurting initially, they were the blogosphere’s training wheels, even if most of us eventually moved elsewhere. We held blogger bashes, networked, and people got drunk and ended up with regrettable tattoos. I met Andrew Breitbart (truly amazing guy) and Arianna Huffington (um, yeah) and they were heady days, the wild west era of the opinionated internet. We had our own platform to say what we wanted to anyone who cared to listen (which back in the ‘golden age of blogging’ circa 2002-2008 was about 30,000 people a day for Samizdata, vastly more for Instapundit or Andrew Sullivan). We were social media before anyone called it social media.

But times move on.

Gradually the internet ecosphere changed, the cacophonous mosaic of a gazillion blogs were steadily overshadowed by bigger and taller things. In their place came walled gardens that commoditised the users in return for ‘free’ access, most prominently Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The very term ‘blog’ seems a bit archaic now, I tend to use the term ‘independent site’ these days. And independent sites like this one remain, as does Instapundit, but we are just part of a much bigger and far more managed internet, a fringe sitting on the edge of the new on-line mainstream media, which is what Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are, the new mainstream media with all that implies.

Heh, meet the new boss, same as the old boss; rolls of barbed wire are appearing atop the garden walls. With the internet rapidly becomes far more stage-managed and tightly controlled than I would have guessed possible almost twenty years ago, we are seeing a second wave of independent sites. And they are driven by the same discontent at the same MSM disconnect from reality that drove the first wave of new media post-9/11.

Excellent slick new operations like The Critic, Unherd, Spiked, Quillette and others are rising to the occasion, with sites using a more ‘trad’ blog-like format also still popping up, like Expunct, Lockdown Sceptics and others.

The weapons have changed a bit but battlefield looks pretty similar and the same war continues.

A monument of collective hysteria and folly

When I ventured to criticise them in a BBC interview for acting beyond their powers I received a letter from the Derbyshire police commissioner objecting to my remarks on the ground that in a crisis such things were necessary. The implication was that in a crisis the police were entitled to do whatever they thought fit, without being unduly concerned about their legal powers. That is my definition of a police state.

Lord Sumption

Art for art sake

I recently saw the question asked (and answered very haltingly): can you separate the art from the artist?

Having watched, read, listened to works by variously kinds of socialists, racists, religious wackos, and people with all manner of other assorted loathsome world views… yes, one can most certainly separate the author from the work, the artist from the art, as the works can stand on their own. One can appreciate what Leni Riefenstahl or Sergei Eisenstein or Zhang Guanzhe did without embracing the ideologies they propagandised or caring much about the artist. Daesh nasheeds are a really interesting form of music. The Joker dancing on those stairs was dancing to music written by Gary Glitter. So what? The music is fabulous.

HP Lovecraft, know these days as much for his of-his-times racism, was hugely influential culturally with many who followed for reasons unrelated to that. As a teenager, I was introduced to Lovecraft’s works by a Jamaican fan, and he had a really interesting theory as to why HPL wrote what and how he did (tl’dr: he was terrified of The Other, which informs his entire opus).

If you can’t transcend the fact people who see the world differently (and often horribly) can nevertheless make astonishingly good things… well, your loss.

Alexa? What is a ‘backlash’?

“Trump faces backlash for removing mask on return to White House”

backlash /ˈbaklaʃ/ noun: a process in which people who dislike a politician continue to dislike him, but more loudly, whilst supporters continue to support them, also more loudly

Douglas Murray gives his thoughts on looting

I LOL’ed but he is not wrong.