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

To a great extent, the threat to free speech posed by iPlod will depend upon how its employees exercise their discretion and whether they’re politically neutral. Unfortunately, it will be staffed by the same sort of quangocrats that run the Advertising Standards Authority, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and Public Health England, and we know from experience that these busybodies will use whatever powers they have to extend the reach of the nanny state. That nearly always involves enforcing left-wing orthodoxy, whether consciously or not.

Toby Young

Samizdata quote of the day

Just as Gutenberg’s printing press awakened the masses to the wisdom of the ancients, and the desktop computer put enormous computational power into the hands of ordinary people, low cost, off-the-shelf space technology is ushering in a new era of entrepreneurial ambition and human self-awareness. An audacity of spirit is sweeping the globe and small business’ ability to produce spacefaring individuals is altering the long arc of human history guided by an invisible hand of invention and adaptation. It is advances like these, placing new creative tools into the hands of empowered individuals and small groups, that have shaped our destiny as humans. Whether it be campfires, currencies, or corporations, nothing so profoundly shapes the destiny and evolution of humankind as those inventions that empower everyday people. Today we are bearing witness to this power being applied to the boundless frontier called space.

Charles Beames

Samizdata quote of the day

Canute’s point wasn’t that he could control the tides and waves. Rather, that fawning courtiers needed to learn the lesson of the limit to State competence. A thousand years later we’re still waiting for the lesson to sink in.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.

– Frederick Hayek, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism

Samizdata quote of the day

In his 1968 book The Population Bomb, biologist Paul Ehrlich from Stanford University wrote that “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” That year, food supply in 34 out of 152 countries surveyed amounted to less than 2,000 calories per person per day. That was true of only 2 out of 173 countries surveyed in 2013. Today famines have all but disappeared outside of war zones.

Marian Tupy

Samizdata quote of the day

But in the post-war period, rights have been transformed from negative freedoms to positive goods for the individual, such as education and employment, and then to positive goods for groups, including the protection of identities. With each step there has been a move away from holding the authority of the state to account, towards empowering the state over goods which it is increasingly difficult to guarantee. The result is that the state has become more coercive in its attempts to deliver those goods.

Don Trubshaw

Samizdata quote of the day

However, despite all that, I find it difficult to have any sympathy for the man. Perhaps because he is such an incorrigible arsehole?

– Our temperate friend Longrider discussing Julian Assange.

Samizdata quote of the day

The ability of the ‘sensible centre’ to define other people’s labels is rapidly decaying as they are mid-suicide collectively & are unaware their sense of rapture is a lack of oxygen to the brain. A Great Realignment is coming & we’ll see some very strange alliances until the new normal emerges.

– Perry de Havilland

Samizdata quote of the day

The left-wing intellectuals treat Socialism similarly, defining it by its outcome. If it doesn’t succeed in bringing about the said fairness and harmony with production in the hands of the workers, then it can’t have been Socialism. And out of the window goes the real world, the one we live in. If we were to say that Socialism seeks to achieve these goals, we’d be able to judge if it has ever succeeded to any degree. Because it never has, we’d be entitled to conclude that it doesn’t work. Kristian says it’s like performing a raindance. If it is done as an attempt to bring rain, we’d be able to judge how effective it was in practice. But if a raindance is defined as “a dance that brings rain,” then any dance that didn’t do that was clearly not a raindance.

Madsen Pirie

Samizdata misheard remark of the year

Venue: a very noisy Adam Smith Institute gathering at the House of Lord a few days ago.

Her: Putin and Trump are in favour of Brexit, does that make you question your support?
Me: Hitler liked dogs, should that make dog owners question their choice of pets?
Her: Fair point, like me Hitler was a libertarian.
Me: Um… what? Hitler was a… libertarian?
Her: Vegetarian!
Me: Ah. It is rather noisy here.

Samizdata quote of the day

There should be no such thing as a ‘hate crime’… If someone gets assaulted & hit with a brick, their identity group should not make the crime more or less of a crime. And stating an opinion should never be a crime (such as what gender someone else is).

– Perry de Havilland, discussing this amongst other things.

Samizdata quote of the day

Unfortunately we are at the stage now where the streets (so to speak) need to go visit their MPs, rather than the other way around. Voting is not the only way to express a political opinion.

– Perry de Havilland, who is just cheerfully channelling the zeitgeist