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

A new update issued by watchdog groups on climate change indicated this afternoon that we only have 12 seconds left until climate change destroys the planet.

We previously thought we had just 12 years, then 10 years, but the latest update indicates that we have well under a minute.

“The earth will be totally destroyed in the next, oh, 12 seconds,” said Beto O’Rourke at a rally. “If you don’t give the government a bunch of money and power, it will happen. Trust me.”

“So hand over the cash, guys,” he said. “Like, now. I’m super serious.”

This tragic development means that humanity won’t have time to correct climate change, and our writers probably won’t even have time to finish thi…

The Babylon Bee

Samizdata quote of the day

Are they really such idiots to poison you in a place where suspicions point only at them? It’s a good question. For now I can say one thing with certainty: the people in power in Russia are really quite stupid guys. It seems to you that in their actions you need to look for secret meaning or a rational purpose. But in fact they are just stupid, malicious and obsessed with money.

Alexei Navalny

Samizdata quote of the day

Perhaps the first blow to the technocratic mentality came with personal computers, pioneered not by bureaucratic think tanks, but by college kids and hobbyists. Then in 2000, the private firm Celera beat the government-run Human Genome Project in mapping the human genome, despite the government’s almost decade-long head start.

Today, the leaders in space technology are not at NASA but at private firms such as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX. True, these companies benefit from government subsidies — some of them shockingly wasteful — but nonetheless, they are demonstrating once again economic advantages of private industry over government management of technology. According to Ed Hudgins, an expert on space privatization, “as a government bureaucracy, NASA simply can’t be efficient. Every decision must be vetted and procedures followed that have more to do with protecting butts than protecting safety and keeping costs reasonable.” Private companies, by contrast, are not only faster at changing plans when necessary, but they have the incentive to do so, because they—unlike government entities—must bear the costs of their mistakes.

Timothy Sandefur

Samizdata quote of the day

Also back on the front page is world-famous self-improvement guru Tony Robbins himself, whose signature line may be: “There’s no such thing as failure. There is only feedback.” Well, Robbins just got some feedback from his publisher, which cancelled his book deal after BuzzFeed reported that he berated victims of rape and domestic violence, used racial slurs, and exposed himself to female staffers and fans. (The trifecta of professional suicide in today’s era of #MeToo and #BLM.)

The Robbins affair is the latest embarrassment for a movement that has seen its share of them since Tony became the Pope of Empowerment. But America’s obsession with incubating positivity and happiness has always amounted to less than meets the eye. For at least a half-century we’ve been putting the cart before the horse when it comes to aspirational thinking, and evidence suggests that individuals and society are both suffering for it.

Steve Salerno

Samizdata quote of the day

I spent two summers speaking about the Modern Slavery Act to female factory workers in Sri Lanka’s free trade zones, which are industrial areas with a number of garment factories that supply many foreign companies. I found there is intense pressure on local managers to clean up their assembly lines in such a way that the western companies which hire them could not be accused of modern slavery. The pressure to appear “clean” results in an unhealthy working environment.

It also limits women’s freedom in a number of ways. For instance, a number of women I spoke to engaged in part-time sex work to make extra money outside of their factory jobs. This work was of their own choosing – and very different to the sexual trafficking or exploitation that the Modern Slavery Act is also designed to stop. But local managers feared it would be seen by Western auditors as exploitation and threaten their contracts. As one factory manager told me: “If we do not fire part-time sex workers, our factories can get blacklisted, and our orders will be cancelled.”

Sandya Hewamanne

Samizdata quote of the day

There’s sufficient evidence that Stanley Kubrick directed the fake moon landing film, but being a perfectionist he did it on location.

Runcie Balspune

Samizdata quote of the day

The UK is following the USA in adopting conviction-free, hell, trial-free presumption of guilt. It starts with ‘obvious’ bad guys but as USA’s example with asset forfeiture shows, it doesn’t stop there.

– Perry de Havilland, discussing this.

Samizdata quote of the day

In terms of the massively deluded concerning economics as we all know John McDonnell is one of life’s winners. Anyone who can possibly observe the past 40 years and decide that capitalism as failed is clearly, obviously, either nuts or ignorant. True, he saw through the Senior Lecturer but still. He is though insisting that a Labour victory, with those associated policies of uncompensated nationalisation, yet more of the country’s investment running through government, will raise the value of sterling.

This might, you know, not happen.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

The appeal of Millennial Socialism rests on the delusion that the democratic, bottom-up socialism Millennial Socialists aspire to is a fundamentally novel aspiration, and that nobody in history has ever tried to build anything like this before.

But it is not a new aspiration. This was precisely what Chávez’s and Maduro’s “21st Century Socialism” was also about, which is why it used to be so popular in the West. A moratorium on the V-word would just play into the hands of those who now want to pretend that none of this ever happened, and that “Millennial Socialism” is novel, untried and untested.

So no, I absolutely won’t stop banging on about it, and if you don’t want to hear it, tough luck, because I’ll bore you with it anyway. We shouldn’t stop banging on about Venezuela until the Left stops banging on about socialism.

Kristian Niemietz

Samizdata quote of the day

British companies, pension funds may have to report climate risks – Did you vote Tory thinking this is what you were supporting? Keep that in mind next time you are tempted to vote for the people doing this

– Perry de Havilland, commenting on this.

Samizdata quote of the day

It’s interesting that the people who believe that throwing a milkshake in someone’s face shouldn’t be considered assault are often the same people who believe that ‘saying things’ should be.

Ricky Gervais

Samizdata quote of the day

The very concept of ​​progress—of the continual betterment of the human condition through the application of science and the spread of freedom—was a product of the European Enlightenment, as Kishore Mahbubani reminds us. These thinkers were among the first to advance the idea that humanity’s problems are soluble, and that we are not condemned to misery and misfortune. The spectacular progress that ensued, first for the West and then increasingly also for the rest, was a matter not of historical necessity, but of diligent human effort and struggle. Pessimism is not just factually wrong, it is also harmful because it undermines our confidence in our ability to bring about further progress. The best argument that progress is possible is that it has been achieved in the past.

Maarten Boudry