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 – social manias, epiphanies, and being ornery

We like to think we are ‘modern,’ as every population in the present has always fancied themselves, and we like to think we’re too rational and scientific to subscribe to lunacies like phrenology or bloodletting with leeches. But we’re the same as we’ve always been, just as vulnerable to getting seized en masse by goofball ideas as we ever were. ‘Some people are born in the wrong body’ is right in there. One of the passages in MANIA I’m most attached to is the one in which the narrator explains that she used to be confounded by mass atrocities of the past, but now they all made sense: Nazi concentration camps, Pol Pot’s killing fields, Stalin’s show trials, Mao’s cultural revolution. That’s what I concluded after Covid, when in the land of the Magna Carta literally overnight people abdicated every civil right that they had the very day before imagined to be their birthright: free speech, freedom of assembly, a free press, free movement, even the right to leave your own home. Obviously people will believe anything, and for something like National Socialism to triumph in the UK it would take Adolf Hitler at the most about three weeks.

– Lionel Shriver via Laura Dodsworth

Samizdata quote of the day – The unbearable sanctimony of the ‘pro-Palestine’ set

The moral hubris of these people is mind-blowing. Imagine how drunk on your own righteousness you would have to be, how in love with your own virtuous reflection, to imagine that your decision to boogie or not to boogie could reshape events in the Middle East. The idea that Olly Alexander withdrawing from Eurovision might help save Gaza is only outdone in dumbness by the idea that his remaining in Eurovision to yelp ‘Peace now!’ might help save Gaza. I hate to break it to you, fellas, but no one in Gaza, Israel, Iran, Qatar, America or anywhere else outside of the hip eateries of Dalston gives a solitary shit whether ‘Dizzy’ happens or not.

Brendan O’Neill

Samizdata quote of the day – the annals of state efficiency: only 75 years late

The government, in that form of the NHS, is only 75 years late in having a plan for that thing that they’ve been in charge of all these decades.

And there are people who disagree with us when we mutter that perhaps government planning isn’t the way to do things, eh?

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day – Yuval Noah Harari: ever wilder and sillier

“(Yuval Noah Harari is) really the worst prophet I’ve ever read,” says Megliloi. “Most of the predictions he made in the first book — that wars were over, that pandemics were over — went wrong. “Were we moving, as he claimed in Sapiens, towards empires? No, national sovereignty has been reasserted.”

Harari’s predictions have become even wilder and sillier. AI might produce a “useless class” of people, he predicted, since they “don’t have any skills that the new economy needs”. No wonder Dominic Sandbrook noted in 2018 how much he was beginning to resemble Alan Partridge. Others suggest he is becoming ever more messianic. While Harari is scathing about formal religion, he appears to be creating an ersatz religion of his own, Wesley J Smith suggested in a 2018 essay.

Andrew Orlowski

Gaza is in cultural crisis

Samizdata quote of the day – How did American capitalism mutate into American corporatism?

In free enterprise, the old rule is that the customer is always right. That’s a wonderful system sometimes called consumer sovereignty. Its advent in history, dating perhaps from the 16th century, represented a tremendous advance over the old guild system of feudalism and certainly a major step over ancient despotisms. It’s been the rallying cry of market-based economics ever since.

What happens, however, when government itself becomes a main and even dominant customer? The ethos of private enterprise is thereby changed. No longer primarily interested in serving the general public, enterprise turns its attention to serving its powerful masters in the halls of the state, gradually weaving close relationships and forming a ruling class that becomes a conspiracy against the public.

This used to go by the name “crony capitalism” which perhaps describes some of the problems on a small scale. This is another level of reality that needs an entirely different name. That name is corporatism, a coinage from the 1930s and a synonym for fascism back before that became a curse word due to wartime alliances. Corporatism is a specific thing, not capitalism and not socialism but a system of private property ownership with cartelized industry that primarily serves the state.

The old binaries of the public and private sector – widely assumed by every main ideological system –have become so blurred that they no longer make much sense. And yet we are ideologically and philosophically unprepared to deal with this new world with anything like intellectual insight. Not only that, it can be extremely difficult even to tell the good guys from the bad guys in the news stream. We hardly know anymore for whom to cheer or boo in the great struggles of our time.

Jeffrey Tucker

Samizdata quote of the day – pondering the Ides of March

People are losing the spirit of the Ides of March. It’s not about just stabbing. It’s about coming together to stab in groups.

– Joseph Scrimshaw

Samizdata quote of the day – it’s all in the punctuation

I have long been of the opinion that Google’s old motto was merely lacking in the proper punctuation. Whenever a Google employee thought, “Should I do the right thing?”, they looked to the company motto for their answer: “Don’t. Be Evil.”


Samizdata quote of the day – COVID: All Australian governments failed completely

In summary, Covid-19 posed very little risk to people of good health. The use of the tri-nutrient repurposed medicines approach can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of infections, the requirement for hospitalisation and, if commenced early, will prevent admission to ICU in severely ill patients. Covid patients should be managed initially by trained, qualified and experienced medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and scientists utilising nutritional immunology. The entire population should be educated as to the value of these nutrients and it should not be a difficult task. We could be pandemic free in six to to eight weeks if these approaches were adopted. Furthermore, other serious issues that have arisen from the poor management of the pandemic are the coercion to force vaccinate, the lack of informed consent provided to patients, the attacks on doctors and healthcare workers who spoke out about their concerns regarding the toxicity of the vaccines and lost their jobs, the very high levels of vaccination injuries and deaths and in particular the vaccine-induced deaths of Australian children, and the government’s refusal to withdraw the vaccines. All powerful reasons for a broad-based Royal Commission.

I speak on behalf of all the medical practitioners and health care workers who are trained in nutritional therapeutics, who understand the power of the above mentioned approaches and who know they work from the available science and experience, but, are too afraid of speaking out.

Professor Ian Brighthope. This applies to the majority of governments, not just Australia, but I heartly recommend reading the whole thing for the very valuable health advice.

Samizdata quote of the day – Faustus in Westminster

That is the detail of what Faustus does after selling his soul. Part of the moral of the play, I suppose, is the disparity between what the Doctor imagines he will do with the time given to him and what he actually ends up doing with it. For, as readers of the play will know, Faustus ends up wasting his time in a pretty big way.

One thinks: you plotted to dislodge your boss and then spent multiple evenings debating Liz Truss – for this?

You would have thought that if you knew you were going to be claimed by the Devil in a few years’ time you would go high on the hog at least. Tick off all the items on your bucket list or the like. But Faustus wastes his time. Indeed he ends up doing bathetic things – like playing schoolboy pranks on the Pope.

This aspect of the play returned to me often during the Boris Johnson years. Here, after all, was a man whose lifetime ambition seemed to be to hold the highest office in the land. After years of japing and jestering, and a certain amount of leadership too, he got there. And then what did he do? A bit of Brexit, admittedly. Then a whole dollop more green. A lot of stupid posts about his dog, and an awful lot of fibs, and then – bang – it was all over. The Devil came for him, and although he was not allowed as much time as Faustus is, it was still possible to look at him and say: ‘What did you do with your time? Why did you waste it? OK – you tweaked some noses. So what? What was it all for?’

Tragically, the same thought now occurs with Rishi Sunak. For once again we have a Conservative prime minister who has clearly had his eyes set on this prize for a very long time. Goodness knows, this was a man who was willing to serve as a junior minister during Theresa May’s premiership.

And then, after a cunning campaign to unseat and replace his boss, he finally achieved his goal. And for what?

Douglas Murray

Samizdata quote of the day – UK government overreaching again

But the proposed UK law would go beyond just FaceTime and iMessage to encompass all Apple products.

Earlier in January, civil liberties groups including Big Brother Watch, Liberty, Open Rights Group and Privacy International, put out a joint briefing opposing parts of the bill.

The groups said they were concerned the proposed changes would “force technology companies, including those based overseas, to inform the government of any plans to improve security or privacy measures on their platforms so that the government can consider serving a notice to prevent such changes”.

They added this would be “effectively transforming private companies into arms of the surveillance state and eroding the security of devices and the internet.”

Zoe Kleinman

Meme of the month… Gazalighting