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

Wikipedia’s [neutral point of view] is dead. The original policy long since forgotten, Wikipedia no longer has an effective neutrality policy. There is a rewritten policy, but it endorses the utterly bankrupt canard that journalists should avoid what they call “false balance.” The notion that we should avoid “false balance” is directly contradictory to the original neutrality policy. As a result, even as journalists turn to opinion and activism, Wikipedia now touts controversial points of view on politics, religion, and science.

– Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia writing Wikipedia Is Badly Biased

Samizdata quote of the day

I honestly believe that if the media and ‘experts’ said that blue masks don’t work, but yellow masks do, then a significant % of the population would switch colours tomorrow… And proceed to call anyone who questions it a ‘science denier’ or ‘conspiracy theorist’.

Zuby Udezue

Samizdata quote of the day

Governments don’t oppose gig economy jobs because of a concern for working conditions, they do it because “real employees” are the most heavily taxed people in the economy, and the more of them there are the more the government can milk them for their outrageous vote buying schemes. Employees are much easier to manage and control both by employers and bureaucracies than freelancers. Consequently, bureaucracies prefer them.

Fraser Orr

Samizdata quote of the day

We are entering a world of tribal capitalism. See how Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire picked up Gina Carano. There are [The Powers That Be] and there are the outlaws.

I’m an outlaw. I’m a Kulak. Molon Labe.

Shlomo Maistre

Samizdata quote of the day

I pledge to assist my government in achieving ‘net zero carbon emissions’ by 2050, but due to the seriousness of the climate crisis I will try to achieve this by 2030 through changing my personal lifestyle to the frugal one existing before the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago.

Tony Brown

Samizdata quote of the day

No one interest group could have achieved this on its own. It required a perfect storm. It doesn’t have to be a conspiracy much less a specific plot. It only requires that the right confluence of events present themselves in a way that prompts action and cooperation.

Jeffrey Tucker writing about Who Wanted Pandemic Lockdowns?

COVID-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria – a quotation

Investigating the possibility and extension of a mass hysteria related to COVID-19 is beyond the scope of this article. In this article, we analyze a more fundamental question, namely, the role of the modern welfare state in mass hysteria. There can certainly be mass hysteria without the state in a private law society or within the context of a minimal state. This possibility exists due to the negativity bias of the human brain [55], which makes people vulnerable to delusions. Due to biological evolution, we focus on bad news as it may represent a possible threat [56]. Focusing on negative news and feeling a loss of control [57] may cause psychological stress that can develop into a hysteria and propagate to a larger group.

In a society with a minimal state, negative news may start such hysteria. Due to the negative news, some people start to believe in a threat. This threat evokes fear and begins to spread in society. Symptoms can also spread. Le Bon [58] called the spread of emotions through groups “contagion”. Once anxiety has spread and the majority of a group behaves in a certain way, there is the phenomenon of conformity, i.e., social pressure makes individuals behave in the same way as other members of the group. In the end, there may be a phenomenon that has been called emergent norms [59]: when a group establishes a norm, everyone ends up following that norm. For example, if a group decides to wear masks, everyone agrees to that norm. Emergent norms may explain the later stages of contagion. Contagion by fear can lead people to overreact strongly in a situation, even in a minimal state. Nonetheless, in a minimal state, there exist certain self-corrective mechanisms and limits that make it less likely for a mass hysteria to run out of control.

– from COVID-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria.

I strongly recommend reading this entire paper as it really does an excellent job of explaining where we are now.

Samizdata quote of the day

Arguing with race-obsessives is like walking into a room full of Hitler Youth or Red Guard and expecting to have a rational discussion. Stop wasting your time with such people.

– Perry de Havilland

Samizdata quote of the day

The chief publicist of the post-Cold War order was Francis Fukuyama, who in his 1992 book The End of History argued that with the fall of the Berlin Wall Western liberal democracy represented the final form of government. What Fukuyama got wrong after the fall of the Berlin Wall wasn’t his assessment of the strength of political forms; rather it was the depth of his philosophical model. He believed that with the end of the nearly half-century-long superpower standoff, the historical dialectic pitting conflicting political models against each other had been resolved. In fact, the dialectic just took another turn.

Just after defeating communism in the Soviet Union, America breathed new life into the communist party that survived. And instead of Western democratic principles transforming the CCP, the American establishment acquired a taste for Eastern techno-autocracy. Tech became the anchor of the U.S.-China relationship, with CCP funding driving Silicon Valley startups, thanks largely to the efforts of Dianne Feinstein, who, after Kissinger, became the second-most influential official driving the U.S.-CCP relationship for the next 20 years.

– Lee Smith, The Thirty Tyrants

Samizdata quote of the day

A totalitarian state cannot tolerate privacy, even and especially within the family, the last redoubt of dissent. Hate-speech laws do not yet cover what you say in the privacy of your own home – you can’t be prosecuted for stirring up hatred at your dining table or in the bedroom.

The [law] commission, however, finds this idea of privacy intolerable. So, if it gets its way, any words you use in your own home that are ‘likely’, even by accident, to ‘stir up hatred’ against a vast array of ‘protected’ groups – including ‘punks’, if you can believe it – could get you sent to prison for seven years. These proposals will make parents fear their own children – and children fear their siblings.

Radomir Tylecote

Samizdata quote of the day

I’m also currently helping out a journalist who has been arrested four times and had his equipment taken by the police – without warrants. He is accused of trolling people who he has never communicated with. But he has never been charged. It is all possible because of the hate laws. Being a politician and a Brexiteer, I could have the police fully employed arresting people who say very offensive things to me online. I would not do that. But some people do. We need a major overhaul of all this, because it has set in motion a load of events that are extremely unhealthy for democracy.

– Andrew Bridgen MP in “Why we must repeal our hate-speech laws

Samizdata quote of the day

Don’t back down. Don’t apologize. Don’t make clarifications, and don’t try to appease the mob. All of these will only be taken as concessions, and embolden the mob to demand more. The real Achilles’s Heel of the cancel crowd is its short attention span. Once they bully someone into submission, they move on to the next victim. It’s a system designed for quick wins. If you don’t back down, they’ll raise the pitch as far as they can—but eventually they’ll be at a loss for what to do next, and all but the most fanatical will lose interest. The few that remain, now bereft of their backup, are just what you need to teach all of them a lesson, as we did in my case.

Pedro Domingos from the excellent article “Beating Back Cancel Culture: A Case Study from the Field of Artificial Intelligence”