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 – not a conspiracy theory

The media have taken umbrage at some of the rhetoric of the [15 minute city] schemes’ critics. Some opponents have referred to the scheme as akin to a ‘climate lockdown’, which The Times dismisses as an ‘outlandish claim’. While some conspiracy theorists may take this term literally, others will no doubt recognise it as a polemical line. After all, while Oxford residents will not be forced to stay indoors, they will be encouraged not to drive and to remain as much as possible in their 15-minute district. It’s hard not to see at least some parallels between this green-inspired scheme and the Covid ‘Stay at Home’ mentality. (Indeed, the term ‘climate lockdown’ was coined by the green movement itself, which marvelled at the supposed ecological benefits of the Covid lockdowns.)

Laurie Wastell

Samizdata quote of the day – a pox on antipodean authoritarianism

We almost certainly haven’t seen the last of Ardern. No doubt a plum job at the United Nations, the World Health Organisation or some other ghastly supranational body beckons. Nor have we seen the last of the elitist politics that she came to represent. It’s high time we had a reckoning with this ‘kindly’ authoritarianism.

Tom Slater

Samizdata quote of the day – the King is not your friend

This argument hints at why so many rich, virtue-signalling celebrities argue not just for Net Zero but ‘Real’ Zero, with the banning of all fossil fuel use. King Charles said in 2009 that the age of consumerism and convenience was over, although the multi-mansion owning monarch presumably doesn’t think such desperate restrictions apply to himself. Manheimer notes that fossil fuel has extended the benefits of civilisation to billions, but its job is not yet complete. “To spread the benefits of modern civilisation to the entire human family would require much more energy, as well as newer sources,” he adds.

[…]

In Manheimer’s view, the partnership among self-interested businesses, grandstanding politicians and alarmist campaigners, “truly is an unholy alliance”. The climate industrial complex does not promote discussion on how to overcome this challenge in a way that will be best for everyone. “We should not be surprised or impressed that those who stand to make a profit are among the loudest calling for politicians to act,” he added.

Chris Morrison, Net Zero will lead to the end of modern civilisation

Samizdata quote of the day – offence taken edition

Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right

Great Grass MCR Ltd 😀

Samizdata quote of the day – national suicide pact edition

Ending fossil-fuel consumption now would be a disaster. It would obliterate our already weak energy security, subjecting households and industry to exorbitant energy costs and unreliable supplies. Travel would be severely limited. The farming industry would be gutted by restrictions on fertiliser use and farm vehicles, threatening food security. Last year, we saw the devastating impact these kinds of green farming policies can have in Sri Lanka, where food production was devastated.

Regrettably, for all the antagonistic posturing of Tory politicians and eco-activists alike, the political class and XR already agree on many issues. Britain is already committed to Net Zero. There are legally binding targets to decarbonise the UK by 2050. And the dire impact of this policy can already be seen in the persistent threat of blackouts and the broader energy-supply crisis. A further acceleration of Net Zero, as demanded by XR, would only accelerate the damage that is already being done.

Lauren Smith

Samizdata quote of the day – pessimism edition

Surely no year could be as bad as 2020, which had seen families sundered, schools closed and businesses destroyed in a hysterical over-reaction. After all, by December 2020, the second lockdown had ended and the UK had begun its vaccine rollout. The new year, it seemed safe to assume, would see a return to normality.

Boy, did we get that wrong. On 6 January 2021, another lockdown was imposed. It lasted, in one form or another, until July – and, even then, a noisy coalition of public sector unions, BBC panic-mongers, skivers, malingerers and mask-fetishists fought to prolong it.

The original justification for the restrictions had collapsed by April 2020. Sweden, which stuck to the plan that the UK had prepared in cooler-headed times, saw its cases peak and fall in line with everyone else’s, and now turns out to have had the lowest excess death rate of any OECD state.

But, by 2021, dirigisme had taken on a force of its own, and lockdowns were a policy in search of a rationale. “Flatten the curve” became “Protect the NHS”, then “Wait for the rollout”, then “Stop new variants”, then “Yeah, but Long Covid”.

Daniel Hannan (£) on how mankind experienced 65 years of progress towards peace, democracy and the rule of law, but now a new age of illiberalism beckons

Samizdata quote of the day – intolerance for tolerance

Like so many things on the left, they went from asking us to tolerate something to demanding we celebrate it.

Roger Williams

Samizdata quote of the day – €uro-corruption edition

In this sense, the problem of EU corruption, rather than being a bug in the system, should be seen as an inherent consequence of the supranationalisation of politics. Making the EU “more democratic” won’t change the fact that the lack of a European demos represents an insurmountable obstacle to the creation of a European democracy, even if Brussels was interested in going in that direction (which it isn’t). The number of corrupt officials involved in the amateurish Qatargate scandal is of little importance; for the EU, it is already too late.

Thomas Fazi

Samizdata quote of the day – NewSpeak edition

Antiracism means dividing people by race.
Equity means segregation and racial preferences.
Man means woman.

Wanjiru Njoya

Samizdata quote of the day – awkward facts and evidence

But the Conspiracy Theory story is wearing pretty thin, as awkward facts and evidence pour in showing that many of the pandemic dissenters were largely right, all along. Their central claim – our central claim – was that powerful institutions with a massive influence over the public sphere were propping up the interests of a handful of large actors, at the expense of ordinary people’s health and life prospects.

The central claim was not that there was a single, centrally coordinated “conspiracy” against the common good, but that there was an unhappy convergence of elite interests around a particular narrative, that was extremely destructive to society at large. A series of ill-advised and reckless societal interventions were legitimated by a simplistic narrative that was plugged incessantly by Big Government, Big Media, and Big Pharma. And anyone who spoke out against that narrative was treated as a nut-case conspiracy theorists or a “fringe epidemiologist,” and frequently censored on trumped-up “misinformation” charges.

David Thunder

Samizdata quote of the day – Twitter wars edition

Schiff and Takano ostensibly are just asking questions and urging Musk to step up enforcement of Twitter’s ban on “hateful conduct.” But they are doing that in their official capacity as members of Congress, a job that gives them no authority to police speech or insist that anyone else do so. To the contrary, the First Amendment explicitly bars Congress from “abridging the freedom of speech.” By publicly pressuring Musk to censor “hate speech,” which is indisputably covered by the First Amendment, Schiff and Takano are trying to indirectly accomplish something that the Constitution forbids.

Because government officials have the power to make life difficult for social media companies through regulation, litigation, and legislation, their demands for “action” always carry an implicit threat. Schiff and Takano’s letter is an example of the “jawboning against speech” that Cato Institute policy analyst Will Duffield describes in a recent report. “Government officials can use informal pressure—bullying, threatening, and cajoling—to sway the decisions of private platforms and limit the publication of disfavored speech,” Duffield notes. “The use of this informal pressure, known as jawboning, is growing. Left unchecked, it threatens to become normalized as an extraconstitutional method of speech regulation.”

Jacob Sullum

Samizdata quote of the day

COVID is only a problem for people with some form of compromised immunity and/or comorbidity.

It has always been thus.

As Dr McCullough would say – “it is amenable to risk stratification and effective early treatment” (whatever “it” is, which you will understand is not actually that important if you read on).

The “hammer” approach is actually a great analogy. It’s just like this other one: “A sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

My favourite way of expressing it at the time was taking a homogenous approach to tackling a heterogeneous problem.

Absurd, illogical, inefficient, doomed to inevitably fail even absolutely let alone in terms of relative cost/benefit.

Several months later, the best epidemiologists in the world articulated it in The Great Barrington Declaration.

What’s truly incredible is that any of this needs saying. I can still clearly recollect Covidians arguing that it was not easier to protect the vulnerable (who were already mainly corralled in hospitals and care homes anyway) who numbered no more than 2% of the population, than it was to shut down the other 98%.

Joel Smalley