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

South Africa has until recently been a decent model for other countries to orient their policies toward. But if the continent’s biggest economic engine moves more and more in the direction of Zimbabwe, then economic growth, investor confidence, and, most important, average people going about their daily lives will suffer not only in South Africa but in the nearby countries with which it trades and does business.

John Fund

Samizdata quote of the day

It is a pity that the lifeblood of industry in this country is small businesses, and by small I don’t mean the UK definition of “SME”, I mean a handful of people, mostly one person, doing their trade.

The Conservative Party is transfixed on big business, that they can regulate, and the Labour Party wants more public services under government control, there is literally no-one standing up for the one-man bands of the country that keep us afloat.

Under many of the big enterprises are a collection of qualified individuals, major service companies frequently use freelancers. For them, there is no requirement to commit under the company banner, and subsequently the consequences of not having holiday, sickness, guaranteed work, etc, so it is not a great choice but one many people are willing to take nevertheless.

Every time there is some form of new regulation or taxation it is the one-man operations that suffer the most. The big business can suck up expenses or tax increases without a problem and the public sector is exempt, just ignores them, or gets someone else to pay for it.

The Tories and the Left hate the single operators – and it shows.

Runcie Balspune

Samizdata quote of the day

And do note that interesting little difference between London and New York. In NYC you must have a medallion to gain a taxi permit. The money from the restriction on the number of cabs flowed to those who owned the medallions, to those who controlled access. London Black Cabs were not so restricted – so it was the drivers who gained the higher incomes from the customers being screwed. But if we restrict the number of drivers with a middleman like Uber controlling the access then it’s going to be Uber – as with the medallions – who gains, not the drivers.

Seriously, this is nuts, Sadiq Khan really is proposing that Uber should have monopoly profits thrust upon it. And why the Hell is a Mayor of London proposing that? Evil or ignorant, your choice.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata mystery quote of the day

Something horrible flits across the background in scenes from Afghanistan, scuttling out of sight. There it is, a brief blue or black flash, a grotesque Scream 1, 2 and 3 personified – a woman. The top-to-toe burka, with its sinister, airless little grille, is more than an instrument of persecution, it is a public tarring and feathering of female sexuality. It transforms any woman into an object of defilement too untouchably disgusting to be seen. It is a garment of lurid sexual suggestiveness: what rampant desire and desirability lurks and leers beneath its dark mysteries? In its objectifying of women, it turns them into cowering creatures demanding and expecting violence and victimisation. Forget cultural sensibilities.

– Before you click on this link to see who wrote this about burqa-clad women, take a guess…

Samizdata quote of the day

That’s really what is annoying [Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times]. He’s got a newsroom with 1,000 or more people turning out perhaps one, possibly two, pieces each a week. All to impeccable journalistic standards as to process and near no diversity of viewpoint nor thought at all. Then along come some bunch of teenage scribblers, some of them even without Masters degree in journalism, producing stuff that people actually want to read. How Very Dare They?

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

I have never seen so many lefties attacking a Labour leader. And I have never seen so many grass roots Tories attacking a Tory leader. It is a bizarre race to the bottom in which who wins the next election will be based on which despised leader least nauseates their own side.

– Perry de Havilland

Samizdata quote of the day

And then there’s that rather larger point that if the censor gets to decide what can appear on Facebook then what about claims in the wider media? The opinion pages of all newspapers carry pieces which at least some, on any particular point, will claim is fake including – oft with respect to Oliver Kamm – the use of and and/or or. That a genetic male claiming they are female is correct or not? Which answer – no they ain’t, only if they have surgery or whatever they say – is fake news or not?

To give anyone the power to decide upon fake news on any part of the media is to give the same prodnoses and authoritarians the power to censor it all.

Well, except the Guardian, obviously – “It accuses them of profiting” – if you’ve not made a profit in a decade then you can’t be accused of that now, can you?

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

Now, on top of all of that, if some Muslim goes ahead and dares to criticize her religion, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, you also see a lot of liberals turn against her. I have my political differences with Ayaan, but really, if someone is rejecting Islam because she likes liberal Enlightenment values, because she believes in gender equality and human rights and freedom of speech, then you’d like your Western counterparts to support her. But often they don’t. When Salman Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses, which was his right to do, many liberals just shunned him.

Ali Rizvi

Samizdata quote of the day

Since nasty, backward British voters cannot be trusted to believe in or vote for the right things, we need human rights imposed on us at a European level, so that present and future UK governments could not dial back certain rights or entitlements even if they wanted to. This is predicated on the belief that democracy, popular will, should not trump everything, which is actually a perfectly reasonable position – any good constitution should have checks and balances built in to it in order to prevent the passion of the moment finding its way onto the statute books without due discussion, diligence and consideration of the rights of dissenting minorities.

But the academic Left’s naive approach assumes that the EU will always be a force for the kind of socially progressive agenda that its academics seek to champion. By defending a structure which permanently paints the UK as the authoritarian bad guy and the EU as the right-dispensing good guys, it provides no defence in the event that the EU flips and takes a less expansive view of human rights than is currently the case. And this is more than a theoretical, irrelevant supposition – with the rise of populists and authoritarians throughout Europe, a time may eventually come when some decidedly illiberal policies flow down from Brussels. And what defence would Britain then have, given that the Left trust European voters and politicians over British people to be the final arbiter of rights and freedoms in the UK?

Thus, at best this “resist Brexit to preserve women’s rights” movement is guilty of exceptionally short-term, two-dimensional, narrow thinking in which the policy thought most likely to guarantee certain rights and entitlements today is mistakenly held as the optimal policy for the longer-term, and at worst it is as contemptuous of women as it is of democracy itself.

Samuel Hooper

Samizdata quote of the day

As Mr Monbiot put it in Wednesday’s article, he believes that “… the ultra-rich [have] learned how to buy the political system.” If this were true, what would we expect to observe? For example, would the share of aggregate income tax paid by the highest one percent of earners have increased or decreased? (It has increased.) Would government spending on state schools, to which the ultra-rich rarely send their children, have increased or decreased? (It has increased.) Would Remainers or Leavers have won the Brexit referendum? (Leavers won.)

These look like disconfirmations of Mr Monbiotis hypothesis. He does not bother to explain them away, being apparently unconcerned by consistency with observed facts. Nevertheless, I am sure he could if he tried. This is not because his hypothesis that the ultra-rich have bought the political system is true, but because it is merely a slogan. It has no testable implications. It does not answer to reality in the way that scientific hypotheses do. It is, thus, what Popper deemed pseudo-science.

Jamie Whyte

Samizdata quote of the day

Jeremy Corbyn and his party of enablers have mainstreamed anti-Semitism in Britain in ways Oswald Mosley could only dream about, so I hope the Brownshirt Left will understand why their grimaces and posturing about ‘extremism’ might not be awfully credible

– Perry de Havilland, referring to this.

Aunty Agatha dispenses useful advice…

Agatha offers sage advice to another worthy:

I think you should undertake a single-handed voyage around the world. I know you have no experience of sailing, but that’s never stopped you taking on other jobs. Just think of the advantages. It would put a tan on that pasty pudgy face. It would take you out of circulation for a year, which would do wonders for your reputation and the quality of your newspaper. You could easily get sponsorship from some of your Russian friends, and announce you’re doing it unpaid for charity, maybe the Clinton Foundation? Go on, do it!

Oh boy, who can this person be?