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

Whenever I hear people stereotyping based on gender. “Women vote this way”, “Men act in this manner”, I am reminded of the great contrast between Britain’s two women Prime Ministers. Thatcher, won a brilliant renegotiation of the EEC, trounced the unions, denationalized vast swaths of obscene nationalized industries, and was one of the four people instrumental in ending the cold war. May, the other lady from number 10, apparently couldn’t negotiate the purchase of a sausage supper for fifty quid in the local fish and chip shop.

Apparently, it is more to do with the content of your character than the content of your underpants.

Fraser Orr

Samizdata quote of the day

For instance, antifa groups have objected strongly to being lumped in with the Tommy Robinsons and Proud Boys of this world, whom they vehemently oppose. But they have no grounds to complain. The Guardian reports that these same activists welcomed PayPal’s ban on McInnes. They are all too comfortable with big corporates policing political activity, they just want other people to be policed.

Regardless of one’s political views, we should be as worried by PayPal’s decision to bar Tommy Robinson as its decision to bar antifa groups. We need to push back against PayPal’s attempts to clamp down on groups it considers to be hateful or intolerant, and we need to challenge those who want to outsource censorship to the tech giants.

Fraser Myers

Epik domain registrar against censorship

Much as Paypal has shown that it can stop providing services to customers for what appear to be political reasons, the domain name registrar GoDaddy stopped providing services to Gab, resulting in their web site disappearing from the internet.

Recently they found an alternative registrar, Epik, who have written a blog post about why they decided to accept Gab as a customer.

De-platforming a haven of free speech is not about left or right. Anyone who remembers studying civics is familiar with the concept of inalienable rights — rights that a worthy government can only protect but would have no moral authority to take away. The idea of Natural Law and Inalienable Rights dates back to Ancient Greece, if not before. Tolerance for competing views — including those protected by Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press — is not an American concept even though the Founding Fathers of the United States built a prosperous nation around the concept.

Refusing service to a customer does not violate the non-aggression principle, but when you need a service provider to help you speak to people it is very useful to find one who thinks that freedom of speech is a good thing. Epik should be commended for their stance, and more importantly, their stance is a reason to use their services.

To make sure there are service providers who take your business, it is helpful if there are plenty to choose from and that at least some of them have friendly policies. For this it helps if there are low barriers to entry and minimal state interference in the policies of service providers. Points of centralisation can be a problem. About this, Epik say:

In the domain name world, we often talk about domain ownership. The reality is that we are mostly leasing domains from registries, who in turn is often regulated by a regulator ICANN. Recently I have been a vocal advocate for Forever domain registrations whereby a domain is free of ongoing expense. At the moment, this is possible through Epik though there is still more work to do to make this a risk-free industry norm. The danger of not proactively embracing digital sovereignty, in all its forms, is that the digital world will inevitably find a way to achieve it, with or without domain names.

Various government bodies are in charge of various parts of domain registration, depending on where you are in the world. Technology to decentralise this would be helpful. Perhaps something like Namecoin could be the answer, or perhaps there is another way yet.

Samizdata quote of the day

In Great Britain, with changes in the type of work people do, and as capital has been reallocated from manufacturing to services, real household income has increased across every wage bracket. According to the Survey of Personal Incomes, families in the 90th percentile were paid 32 percent more in 2017 than they were in 1994. During this period, the bottom 20 percent experienced average annual real growth of between one percent and two percent, figures not matched by most of the rest of the income distribution range, so how can that old canard that “the poor keep getting poorer” possibly be true?

Neema Parvini

The dog park paper

Some epic, god-level trolling has occurred. A group of left-wing academics (about whom Jonathan wrote below, as did Libertarian Home) became concerned that *extreme* left wing politics was getting in the way of certain kinds of sociology research. They submitted ridiculous papers to test the level of critical thinking of the editors and reviewers of certain kinds of journals.

The dog park paper is very entertaining. It was published in a journal called Gender, Place and Culture.

The data suggest that the deciding variable for whether or not a human would interfere in a dog’s rape/humping incident was the dog’s gender. When a male dog was raping/humping another male dog, humans attempted to intervene 97% of the time. When a male dog was raping/humping a female dog, humans only attempted to intervene 32% of the time.

The Twitter account Real Peer Review called out the article when it was published, before they knew it was a spoof. They are now posting commentary on the peer review of the paper.

It is all highly amusing. It is also useful, both to reveal the silliness of the silly ideas, and to understand the evil of them. In the video, James A. Lindsay explains:

There’s this kind of religious architecture in their mind where privilege is sin. Privilege is evil. And then they’ve identified education as the place where it has to be fixed. So you can come up with these really nasty arguments, like ‘let’s put white kids in chains on the floor at school as an educational opportunity’. And if you frame it in terms of overcoming privilege, and you frame their resistance — that they won’t want this to happen to them, that they would complain about this — in terms of ‘oh they only complain about that because they’re privileged and they can’t handle it because their privilege made them weak.’: then it’s right in.

Incidentally, this author is not surprised that “women’s and gender studies, feminist studies, race studies, sexuality studies, fat studies, queer studies, cultural studies, and sociology” are prone to politicisation. It is much harder to politicise bridge building and electronic circuit design.

Addendum: From the NYT article about this:

“What strikes me about stunts like this is their fundamental meanness,” Sean Carroll, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology, wrote on Twitter. “No attempt to intellectually engage with ideas you disagree with; just trolling for lulz.”

Jacob T. Levy, a political theorist at McGill University in Montreal, said in an interview that even some colleagues who are not fans of identity-oriented scholarship are looking at the hoax and saying “this is potentially unethical and doesn’t show what they think it is showing.”

Besides, he added, “We all recognize that this kind of thing could also be done in our disciplines if people were willing to dedicate a year to it.”

No. You can’t troll a physics journal for lulz. I propose that the usefulness of your school of thought is in inverse proportion to its susceptibility to being trolled for lulz. Attempting the latter is a way to measure the former.

Wise advice…

Dear “Barmier than most,”

I sympathize. It must be dreadful for a eurocrat of your breeding and position to have to deal with ordinary people like the British. However, their great weakness is that they are, at heart, a nation of shopkeepers. It’s trade they want, so sign a deal that gives them it, and present it to your European masters as a triumph, in which the Brits have been tricked into doing the sordid stuff like buying and selling goods, leaving the far classier Europeans to loftily pursue “the European Project,” making pious homilies about “moving towards an ever-greater union of peoples.” The Brits will fall for it because they are just money-grubbers who have no soul, whereas the Europeans, especially the French, who always found the Brits rather strange, will enjoy feeling superior.

Agatha Antigone

Samizdata quote of the day

Hatred is a transformative power. It can make the innocuous into the menacing. So it has become a weapon of choice. The left has used hate to transform President Trump into a symbol of the new racism, not a flawed president but a systemic evil. And he must be opposed as one opposes racism, with a scorched-earth absolutism.

Shelby Steele, writing ‘Why the Left is consumed with hate’.

Samizdata quote of the day

The correct answer is that the BBC can go boil their heads.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

Which is to say that I understand the importance of the causes that equal opportunity activists and progressive academics are ostensibly championing. But pursuit of greater fairness and equality cannot be allowed to interfere with dispassionate academic study. No matter how unwelcome the implications of a logical argument may be, it must be allowed to stand or fall on its merits not its desirability or political utility.

Ted Hill

Samizdata quote of the day

Leave means leave

Marina Wheeler

What could have caused the crisis in Venezuela? It is a total mystery

It was tides. No, chemtrails. Or Trump? No, Jews, you can never go wrong blaming Jews. Or maybe it was just ‘bad luck‘. Or perhaps Brexit? Ah, it was global warming! Yes, global warming is what stymied the wise policies of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. For sure.

Perry de Havilland, helpfully providing feedback when a thoughtful fellow on Twitter suggested we need to figure out what caused the crisis in Venezuela.

Samizdata quote of the day

I tried to get people to care about the pointless “security” provided by the TSA, which I see, in part, as obedience training for the American public to be docile in the face of having their rights yanked from them.

Surprise, surprise, scanners are toddling off from the airport to other areas of American life. Recently, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a plan to begin deploying full-body scanners in the LA subway system.

Amy Alkon, The Trajectory Of The Restriction Of Privacy And Freedom