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

Nobody has asked you to storm any beaches. Just to go into a shop without wearing a mask.

– the delightfully named Kung Fu Movie Guy

Mercedes, cladding and what Brian Micklethwait would say

Lewis Hamilton says he had ‘nothing to do’ with Mercedes deal with Grenfell firm

A little bit of background. A company called Kingspan sold some of the cladding that was largely responsible for the ferocity of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 70 or so people. That same company now sponsors the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team. Kingspan themselves claim that their product was used illegally and without their knowledge.

There’s more. The government, unusefully, is poking its oar in:

Meanwhile, Communities Secretary Michael Gove said the government could amend advertising rules on racing cars if Mercedes does not pull the partnership with Kingspan.

The apparent rule being invoked here is that you should not receive money from a company that has supplied a product where the misuse of that product has led to someone’s death.

Oddly enough there is another company whose name appears on Mercedes’s cars that falls into the same category. That company is Mercedes. Mercedes makes cars. Rather a lot of people have misused Mercedes cars (and lorries) over the years and – guess what – lots of people have died.

It’s actually a bit worse than that. Mercedes is the result of a merger between Daimler and Benz. It is not entirely clear to me who invented the car but the choice comes down to one of those two. So – you could argue – not only are Mercedes responsible for Mercedes car deaths but every other car death as well. That’s millions of people (I think). So, if Mercedes should stop receiving sponsorship from Kingspan it should certainly stop receiving sponsorship from Mercedes. And probably from all its other sponsors. I am sure you could make an argument.

That is, of course, if the world wished to be consistent. But of course it doesn’t. Why not? We all know why. Well, if we don’t here’s a clue: a large proportion of the people killed in Grenfell Tower were black.

While I was imagining writing this – it sounded a lot better in my imagination than it looks on the screen – I had an uneasy thought: the late Brian Micklethwait would not pen a post like this. I wondered why. I told myself that Brian would continue to ask “Why?” “Why do we get this very apparent hypocrisy?” To which I suppose the answer is that in anything involving black people a different standard is applied. “Why is that?” I imagined Brian asking. At which point I started to come to some rather dark conclusions. Which is something Brian liked to avoid. “Optimism is a tactic.” as he once said.

On reflection, I don’t think he would tackle this subject at all. He didn’t particularly like discussing identity politics even if he did once use the phrase, “woke nonsense.” He also didn’t tend to accuse people of hypocrisy. Well, at least not strangers. So, I don’t think he would have written about this even if there hadn’t been an identitarian dimension. If he had I think the title would have been something along the lines of “Why black people (and everybody else) should want freedom for themselves (and everybody else).”

Samizdata quote of the day

This case is about whether Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services regulations can abolish representative government in the creation of public health laws, and whether it can authorize closure of a school or assembly based on the unfettered opinion of an unelected official. This Court finds it cannot.

– via Bad Cattitude. Read the whole thing.

Samizdata quote of the day

Resisting tyranny depends on the courage to not conform.

Barry Brownstein

Samizdata quote of the day

The fact that Chinese state media so widely shared a particularly credulous New Yorker article by Peter Hessler about China’s coronavirus response did not escape China expert Geremie Barmé, who cautioned its author that it reminded him of “another American journalist, a man who reported from another authoritarian country nearly a century ago … Walter Duranty …”

Michael Senger

Samizdata quote of the day

Decarbonising our economy is the Greenies’ equivalent of the Soviet collectivisation of agriculture, or the Great Leap Forward. With similar effects.

Fen Tiger

Samizdata quote of the day

The most dangerous thing to do, at this point, would be to vaccinate children. The virus is not a threat to them, and if they are infected by the new forms of SARS-2 that are sure to emerge every winter, we will begin to establish – through them and the as yet unvaccinated – the layered immunity that is the only way of coming to terms with SARS-2 in the longer term. As long as the vaccinators are permitted to continue their radical and increasingly insane campaign, though, nothing will improve. Indeed, their policies threaten to bring about a semi-permanent pandemic state for generations to come.


Samizdata quote of the day

Economies and societies fall apart slowly, then a bit more, then all at once. We seem to be in the middle period of this trajectory. The slow part began March 2020 when politicians around the world imagined that it would be no big deal to shut down the economy and restart it once the virus went away. What a beautiful display of the power of government it would be, or so they believed. We’ll all have a big celebration, said the president.

The virus was never going to go away, which meant that there was no exit ramp. Congress spent money and the Fed cranked up the presses to pay the bills, while checks were stuffed into bank accounts all over the country, all to mask the growing economic devastation.

None of it worked. You cannot turn off an economy and normal social functioning and then turn them back on like a light switch. The attempt alone will necessarily cause unpredictable amounts of long-term breakage, not only of economic structures but also of the spirit of a people. Everything going on now reflects the disastrous presumption that doing that would be possible and not cause dramatic and lasting damage.

It was the greatest failure of politics in a century or perhaps in all of human history, when you consider just how many governments were involved in committing the same idiocy all at once.

Jeffrey Tucker

Samizdata quote of the day

The Prime Minister’s rhetoric was bombastic but vacuous and economically illiterate. This was an agenda for levelling down to a centrally-planned, high-tax, low-productivity economy.

– Adam Smith Institute review of the Prime Minister’s speech at the Tory conference.

Samizdata quote of the day

By the time some of the environmentalists realised who they had sold their soul to, it was too late. But what, in any case, had the alternative been? The small-is-beautiful crowd, with their patchouli-scented jumpers and their 1970s talk about limits and sovereignty, had been cancelled as eco-fascists long ago, exiled to distant smallholdings and housing co-ops with their well-thumbed copies of Tools for Conviviality and other yellowing tomes by dead white men. Now that an actual eco-fascism was on the horizon — a global merger of state and corporate power in pursuit of progress that would have made Mussolini weep like a proud grandfather — there was nothing to stand in its way.

Paul Kingsnorth

Matt Ridley on UK’s centrally planned economy

Samizdata quote of the day

The term white feminism, as it is commonly used today, is a classic example of the Kafka Trap. If you show too much interest in the lives of people of colour, you risk being accused of white saviourism — which is another way of saying you have a suspiciously condescending attitude to people of colour. But if you don’t show enough interest, you are insufficiently intersectional. You only care about the white, middle-class cisgendered women in your social circle.

White feminism is a classic example of the Kafka Trap because whatever you do is either too much or not enough. You are never right.

Tomiwa Owolade