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

I’m a boring trad Tory middle England bloke with a wife, two annoying kiddies, a cat that can’t be arsed to chase mice and a dog that eats the post. But when I read Chris Whitty was being hounded by activists, instead of being shocked and going tsk, tsk, my first thought was: good. I hope you were afraid, just like you made us afraid.

But then I thought about it. I’m a nominal Christian after all. Is that really the way to make things better? Is this ever the right thing to do?

And the conclusion I’ve come to is yes. Yes it is. Until people with authority & power feel their own lives & sense of security will take a turn for the worse as a consequence of them messing up so many other people’s lives, nothing will change, at least not for the better. I don’t wear a mask anymore, anywhere, and I just ignore the half hearted bloke on the door telling me to. I’m done. I visit my family whenever I want because I’m done. I am so utterly done with this madness. I’m at the point things kicking off ugly would be a relief because that way the bad things are going in two directions and not just one.

I want this to be just disobedience but I’m up whatever at this point.

John Collier

The mask comes off

No longer about health. Canada will prevent groups from gathering in order to stop the spread of ‘unauthorized information’.

The point has been reached where this has to be resisted ‘by every and any means necessary’.

Samizdata quote of the day

As a teenager, I saw old-stone American university buildings on TV, and was enthralled by their dignified appearance. Later, I came across a book in my hometown that explained that the American university was a special place, unlike its Chinese counterpart, as devoted to the cultivation of the enduring longings of the human soul. To assist in man’s hunger to know, to understand, and to seek truth, is its highest mission.

The longing for a spot in one of those buildings tormented me for decades. I longed to meet great minds and curious souls and explore the essential ideas with them. How could one not yearn for a place where students were challenged to think the unthinkable, to question convention, and to debate each other on ideas, when she had been imprisoned for years in the Chinese classroom where all subjects were stripped of all elements of beauty and imagination and left with only naked utility?

Two decades later, I sit in one of those buildings, having claimed my spot only to find that thinking is discouraged, dissent suppressed, and ideological loyalty is the prerequisite for flourishing in the institution of higher learning.

Habi Zhang

Samizdata quote of the day

Anti-racists go on to make a full-throated argument for cultural relativism. “To be an antiracist is to see all cultures in all their differences as on the same level, as equals,” writes Kendi. This is rank sophistry. If anti-racists really viewed all cultures as equally valid, and not subject to judgment “by the arbitrary standard of any single culture,” they’d have no basis for claiming that the U.S. is a “racist” nation or that apartheid South Africa or the Jim Crow-era South was any worse than any other, more tolerant culture. More to the point, if you “deny objectivity,” then what grounds have you to say that racism is indeed a thing that should be opposed? As Ravi Zacharias once put it: “In some cultures they love their neighbors; in other cultures, they eat them. Do you have any preference?” According to anti-racism, you cannot. There is no value, educational or otherwise, in a doctrine whose principles, when taken at face value, reject the very basis of its existence.

Fredrick Hess & Grant Addison discussing ‘anti-racists’ who are anything but.

Samizdata quote of the day

For these CEOs, the problem isn’t just the media and external critics: The wokeness is coming from inside the building. At dinner parties, they ask each other the same question: How do we keep woke activists off the payroll? “It’s the first thing they want to talk about these days,” a vice president at a venture-capital shop told me. “It’s the crazy, activist, political stuff. I’ve not met a founder who doesn’t think it’s a problem. There’s a state of what the fuck?”

Peter Savodnik

Samizdata quote of the day

When Ikea pulled its GBN ads yesterday, it said it wanted to make sure the content on the channel was in line with the firm’s ‘humanistic values’. You might ask what humanism has to do with selling flat-pack furniture. More to the point, what does humanism have to do with spying on employees – something else Ikea has been up to of late?

[…]

It’s also worth noting that while Ikea is pulling promotional material from GBN, it has previously edited its promotional materials for use in Saudi Arabia, to better align with the regime’s values. In 2012, it was forced to apologise after it was found to have airbrushed women out of images in its catalogue.

Tom Slater, Ikea and the con of woke capitalism

Samizdata quote of the day

“Build back better” means build back what government action over the last year and a half has destroyed, but with more state control this time, and with civil society ever more regulated. In the blink of an eye, we finished the transition from a common-law-rights based society to a state-permission based society. The last thing we need is the people responsible for this calamity deciding what “improving how the world responds to pandemics” means, because it means making this farce permanent, just changing the excuse each time.

– Perry de Havilland ranting about the G7 absurdities.

Samizdata quote of the day

And frankly, a lot of what DARPA did was crap, like SDI. They had successes, but if you spend decades doing research projects some are going to work. The question is whether this works better than leaving money in the pockets of the likes of Dyson and Bezos, or whether the government should take a shot.

The UK version doesn’t have a government customer. It’s being led by the department of business, energy and industrial strategy who are some of the most worthless of all bureaucrats in government. People like Amanda Solloway are going to pick the person to lead this. Do you want someone who thinks HS2 is a super great idea selecting the person who is going to pick where to direct blue sky research?

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

I’ve heard from doctors who’ve been reported to their departments for criticizing residents for being late. (It was seen by their trainees as an act of racism.) I’ve heard from doctors who’ve stopped giving trainees honest feedback for fear of retaliation. I’ve spoken to those who have seen clinicians and residents refuse to treat patients based on their race or their perceived conservative politics.

Some of these doctors say that there is a “purge” underway in the world of American medicine: question the current orthodoxy and you will be pushed out. They are so worried about the dangers of speaking out about their concerns that they will not let me identify them except by the region of the country where they work.

“People are afraid to speak honestly,” said a doctor who immigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union. “It’s like back to the USSR, where you could only speak to the ones you trust.” If the authorities found out, you could lose your job, your status, you could go to jail or worse. The fear here is not dissimilar.

When doctors do speak out, shared another, “the reaction is savage. And you better be tenured and you better have very thick skin.”

Katie Herzog, writing What happens when doctors can’t tell the truth?

Samizdata quote of the day

The United States under Biden and Harris and the UK under Boris Johnson are set to travel in very different directions. While America is accelerating down the segregationist cul-de-sac; Britain is seeking a way out.

Alex Story

Samizdata quote of the day

I visited the Soviet Union forty years ago and was heartened to find that the Russians I met all assumed the government was lying about everything. I do find it very depressing how many people today seem to believe the western governments.

– Commenter Roué le Jour

Samizdata quote of the day

The management and communication during the epidemic has been plagued by misleading statistics, the cherry-picking of the worst data, alarmist language, horror-film-style advertising, one-sided media coverage and coercive language and tactics, all of which I wrote about in my new book, A State of Fear.

Bludgeoning people with ‘nudge’ (behavioural psychology), weaponising fear, and tightly controlling the narrative risk undermining the public’s trust in government, public-health messaging and the media. This is the third time I have reported on anti-lockdown protests for spiked, and the third time I have been slack-jawed by the lack of honesty in how the media misrepresents the scale and purpose of these protests. This mistrust can be read clearly in the placards.

Laura Dodsworth