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

The alternative to the cornering and humiliation of Russia would be for the United States and its allies to halt or reduce their aid to Ukraine and impose a stalemate. But that would mean delivering a victory to Russia, because it would still hold more Ukrainian territory than it did in 2014 and would have gone unpunished for pervasive war crimes, including mass murder. In three or four years, a rearmed Russia, thirsting for revenge for the losses and defeats it has suffered, would do the same thing again, and against a dispirited Ukraine. If that were to happen, it would be an utter disaster for American policy and Western security. Such an imposed stalemate would be profoundly immoral, but equally to the point, it would be profoundly stupid.

So this is indeed a dangerous moment, because Putin will inevitably find himself humiliated and cornered and may very well look for a way to lash out. But as General James Wolfe said before storming the heights of Quebec in 1759, war is an option of difficulties. The error lies in thinking that one can titrate the application of violence to achieve exquisitely precise results. To the extent that the West continues to attempt to do so, it will merely ensure more mass graves like those of Bucha and Izyum, and more soldiers lying limbless or in the burn wards of Ukrainian military hospitals. So now, as ever, Churchill’s observation that courage is the virtue that makes all others possible holds, particularly for the leaders of the embattled West. Zelensky could not put it better himself.

Eliot Cohen

Samizdata quote of the day

I know enough gay people – progs, conservatives, libertarians even – to know that most of them wanted to be accepted and unashamed and then ignored (as if they were just . . . normal!) and are now looking on in horror as “their” movement gets co-opted and taken over by people with huge latex breasts with protruding nipples claiming the right to teach in high schools while dressed that way. That’s not what they wanted, and we made it possible by forcing them to construct a movement when we wouldn’t accept them living quietly amongst us. It was the existence of that ready-built movement that the latex breast people could take over that made all of this fun possible.

I can almost feel Andrew Sullivan’s pain when he says we should remove the “G” and maybe the “L” from the new LGBT movement.

Bobby B

Samizdata quote of the day

Heaven forbid trying increase gas supplies in a time of gas shortage. Amazing how many greens seem to have a convergence of interests with nice Mr. Putin. Funny that.

– Perry de Havilland on the opposition to fracking in UK from the usual suspects.

Samizdata quote of the day

We live in a world where Ricky Gervais and JK Rowling are, to everyone’s surprise, not least their own, ‘right-wing’. The supposed rule breakers such as Frankie Boyle, Nish Kumar and Stewart Lee are crushingly orthodox. Roger Waters has a portfolio of crankery going back decades but remains unbesmirched, whereas a single tweet from Winston Marshall saw him exiled from polite society. (As I write, it seems Craig L Potter of the band Elbow might be heading the same way, merely for daring to criticise trans charity Mermaids.)

Gareth Roberts (£)

Samizdata quote of the day

“German Galushchenko, the minister of energy, told the YES conference that Ukraine could potentially supply two gigawatts of power to the EU right now, but was being prevented from doing so by bureaucratic obstacles on the European side”

Niall Ferguson (not that one, the other one).

Samizdata quote of the day

Masks are like the Hindenburg line. You can retreat from all the rest, but if you ever give up the masks, the crisis is over for good. The longer the masks can be maintained, the longer they needn‘t admit defeat.

Burnley Beresford (£), commenting on an article about the persistent mask lunacy in Germany (not £).

Samizdata quote of the day

There can be no more questions from Western partner nations about the long-term prospects for Ukrainian victory on the battlefield, which should help guarantee continued large-scale support throughout what promises to be a very economically and politically difficult winter. The Ukrainian government will now be highly resilient against Russian-sponsored narratives that aim to undermine domestic faith in the Zelenskyy government. The Russian leadership faces very awkward questions about its decision to invade and the way in which it has conducted the war, and has also lost any semblance of a bargaining position to try and compel Ukraine to negotiate a settlement that might lock in some Russian gains. Finally, in the all-important area of morale, Ukrainian troops will be going into a muddy, cold and dangerous winter period with confidence in their victory, while Russian troops must come to terms with a major defeat, heavy losses, the obvious lies of their leaders, and fear of what the Spring will bring.

Justin Bronk

Samizdata quote of the day

The arc of history is long, and it bends toward reality becoming an Onion meme from a decade ago.

Antonio Garcia Martinez

I was going to tag this as “humour” but decided it was too accurate for that…

Samizdata quote of the day

And yet, Truss is far from alone in lacking political audacity, in seeming to prefer the small bureaucratic task of managing public life rather than overhauling it. In this, she’s fairly typical of today’s managerial elites. Also, Truss’s political clarity seemed to improve during the leadership contest. She even became a little more daring in what she said – for instance, by bristling against Net Zero policies. No, this doesn’t prove she’s the leader we need, but it is a reminder that politicians often find themselves, and their cojones, in the heat of battle. Will the pressures of the crisis similarly bring out Truss’s slightly edgier side? We should hope so.

Brendan O’Neill

Samizdata quote of the day

Now a partial reverse-ferret is underway. As we struggle to scrape together adequate supplies of gas for the coming winter, as the price of energy rockets to unaffordable heights, suddenly energy security is at the top of the agenda.

Today Boris Johnson is using his final speech as UK prime minister to assert the primary importance of energy security. He says the nation needs energy in the future to be ‘cheap, clean, reliable and plentiful’. And he denounces the ‘myopia’ and the ‘short-termism’ that has led the UK to not complete a single new nuclear reactor in 27 years. Johnson’s parting pledge is to build eight new nuclear reactors, at a pace of one per year.

Of course, Johnson does not name the obsession with the climate as the chief culprit – nor does he call for a rethink on unreliable renewable energy or Net Zero targets. But it is a striking change in emphasis from a PM who just nine months ago, at COP26 in Glasgow, was channelling his inner Greta, denouncing the evils of the Industrial Revolution as he tried to corral other world leaders into dismantling their energy supplies.

Fraser Myers

Samizdata quote of the day

This form of cognitive dissonance faces almost the entire population of the country with respect to lockdown. For the actual decision-makers, such as Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Dominic Cummings and Matt Hancock, admitting that lockdown was a mistake would be intolerable because it would mean also admitting to themselves that they made probably the biggest unforced error in peacetime history and are therefore not half as clever as they purport to be. For the hoi polloi, on the other hand, it would mean admitting to themselves that they were gullible and foolish, and in a moment of crisis simply decided to follow the herd – which, again, would hardly be a flattering self-portrait. Holding in one’s mind the notion that lockdown was a mistake is, in other words, irreconcilable with the notion that one went along with it and is an intelligent, thoughtful, rational actor. Nobody wants to experience the psychological consequences of trying to reconcile those notions, and they will therefore continue to avoid doing so.

Dr David McGrogan writing about ‘Why there will never be a reckoning for Lockdown’.

Samizdata quote of the day

Putin may be the proximate cause of this crisis, but the reason we were vulnerable was an intentional policy to crush fossil fuel investment

Juliet Samuel [£]