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]

Comparing Hamas to the Nazis is wrong…

People compare Hamas to Nazis.

That’s not fair. Nazis knew killing Jews was wrong. That’s why they did it in secret, mostly in Poland at isolated death camps (Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka, Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec). At war’s end covered over their crimes, burned documents, destroyed gas chambers & denied it after.

Hamas is bragging about murdering Jews, posting videos on social media & declaring “Allahu Akbar”

If you do not support Israel & the Jews, you are literally worse than the Nazis.


After studying the Holocaust & its deniers for 30 years I didn’t think it possible anyone could top that. I was wrong.

Michael Shermer

Samizdata quote of the day – Ouch!

Disney used to touch our hearts, now they touch us inappropriately

– “Just a turtle

Samizdata quote of the day – truth is what the state wants it to be

So it is now official: a state-owned major television channel, required by its licence to ensure that its factual programmes “must not materially mislead the audience”, can broadcast blatant lies without reprimand, let alone sanction: provided, it would seem, that the lies are about British colonial policy. If that is how Ofcom interprets its regulatory duties, Netflix can relax.

David Elstein

The very existence of Ofcom, not to mention state-owned channels, indicates UK has not been a ‘free country’ for a very long time.

Samizdata quote of the day – the age of absurdity

I’ve said previously we’re living in an age of tragedy. I’m not too sure about that anymore. I think we’ve advanced further than tragedy. We’re entering an age of absurdity. Consider German climate policy. Germany, as we keep hearing, is incomparably more adult, more advanced, more modern, and in every way superior to bungling Britain. But in Germany, the result of their closing down of nuclear and going for renewables has been an increased reliance on the dirtiest kind of coal. Well, this is tragic, but it’s even more than tragic. It is completely absurd.

And it’s difficult to put these arguments forward because people start shouting at you or they start crying or they say they can’t get up in the morning. I rather brutally suggest: “Well don’t. Stay in bed until you get a better reason for getting up. And if you don’t, well, there we are. Progress always has casualties.”

John Gray

Samizdata quote of the day – investment is an expense

Investment is an expense and don’t let anyone tell you different – not even a fashionable professor.

Tim Worstall, who is probably annoyed at how often he has to state the bleedin’ obvious.

Samizdata quote of the day – the totalitarian takeover

Of course, if we stop burning fossil fuels society will collapse. Yet this is what our leaders are determined to do. Their radical stupidity tends toward totalitarian measures, leading to total destruction. Such is the nature of today’s ruling elites (who believe in cutting back fossil fuel use). Andrew Lobaczewski, who described the psychologically abnormal profile of the totalitarian politician, warned that many people spend their lives under the influence of abnormal personalities. Lobaczewski wrote, “When I explained … that they had been under the influence of a psychologically abnormal person for years, accepting her delusional world as real and participating (with perceived honor) in her vindictiveness … the shock temporarily stifled their indignation.”

J.R. Nyquist

Samizdata quote of the day – We are the majority

Those of us who believe that children can’t consent to serious medical interventions, that rational debate is better than name-calling, that countries need borders, that freedom of expression is better than censorship, are in the majority. That’s why we need the JK Rowlings, Bari Weisses and Jordan Petersons of the world. They shatter the illusion of consensus and give us a fighting chance against the tyranny of the minority. And this is why the way to end cancel culture is to embrace the cancelled, to make sure that people who speak up are rewarded for it, and to encourage others to say “ENOUGH”.

Konstantin Kisin

Samizdata quote of the day – Who fact-checks the fact-checkers?

Who fact-checks the fact-checkers? Whatever you do, don’t ask Marianna Spring. If new revelations are to be believed, the BBC’s ‘disinformation and social-media correspondent’ – who has been showered with awards, praise, broadsheet profiles and glossy photoshoots for her putative one-woman stand against online lies and conspiracy theories – can’t even be trusted to produce a relatively factual CV.

Tom Slater

Samizdata quote of the day – bad ideas lead to worse places

The playdate, you might say, was the harmless practice of a bad theory. Indeed, this was more or less the Redditor’s point, a man who said he himself fits in the “brown” category (his Reddit handle suggesting that, ethnically, he’s a mix of Iranian and Pakistani). He didn’t mean his post to go viral and feed a national frenzy of racist threats against his kids’ school. He wasn’t really complaining that white families were being injured by this playdate. He was speaking more abstractly. This weekend gathering was an instantiation of a bad model, which blandly self-perpetuates thanks to strong incentives, and to its unchallenged, foundational status in key institutions. It is often tolerated in practice partly because, in individual instances such as our local playdate, you have to put your First Principle glasses on and sort of squint to see what the problem is: “I suppose the effect of such an invitation is to exclude white families from the casual Saturday playdate on the Upper Yard, sort of, I guess. I hadn’t really thought of it like that before.”

Matt Feeney

Indiana Jones and the Renovation of Relics

These few paragraphs, transcribed from a (warning, very long) video essay by The Little Platoon about Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, contain lots of interesting ideas. I do not have time to fact check it all, so please argue about it in the comments section.

Why do old things belong in museums? Because history and nostalgia rely on the same thing: a letting go; a leaving be; that switch in the collective subconscious that manifests in the want to preserve rather than to renovate. Increasingly common demands to lift artifacts from western museums and return them to their ancestral homes are more of a desire to renovate than to preserve. Lost amidst the tediously ahistorical narratives around colonial exploitation is the fact that historical preservation requires an act of will backed up by resources and learning. The marbles probably were better off in Elgin’s indelicate hands than they were adorning the ammo dump the Ottomans made of the Parthenon, much of which was blown up anyway when the Venetians, as only Venetians could, decided to shell it.

And Indian archaeology began as a purely colonial exercise. It was the likes of Sir William Jones, James Prinsep and the Asiatic Society, that thought it worth digging up India’s forgotten past and translating its fading texts: documenting its undocumented history, and rescuing relics from the longstanding and, it must be said, understandable native tendency to break them up and turn them into new buildings.

It’s an unpopular fact but it is a fact nonetheless that orientalists taught the Orient a great deal about itself because the west was rich enough to afford the luxury of knowledge. And it’s that, by the way, not capitalism that motivated Indiana Jones, whatever Phoebe Waller-Bridge might tell you later. Capitalism is actually not very good with history, and I speak as an ardent capitalist. Capitalism is a thing that demands new ways to find a material profit, and it’s instinctively uncomfortable with letting things move from present to past tense. Those old Indians turning ancient Buddhist relics into railway sleepers were arguably more capitalistic than the capitalistic orientalists like Jones and Prinsep who rescued them for posterity. And they were much more so than Islamist or Hindutva nutters who, much like the Nazis, would rather destroy heresy than preserve history.

But it’s the constant need to renew, to renovate, that seems to have taken hold in our own countries in our own times. Coming closer to the subject of this video, it’s the reason we cannot let old things lie. We don’t know how to make what our ancestors made. We can only bend their relics into new shapes. Indiana Jones belongs in our metaphorical museum (I think the original trilogy does currently sit in the library of congress) but the character himself has been dressed up and wheeled out and recontextualised and generally renovated twice since then, to worse results each time. Someone somewhere believes there’s monetary value to be extracted from re-using him which denies his sufficient value as history. It’s kind of ironic, really. Indy wants to rescue relics from those who would want to put them to new financial and material ends; he wants relics preserved as they are, studied and untouched, not put to heathen purposes, because they’ve had their day and no good can come of re-employing them. If, however you find yourself watching Dial of Destiny and you find your face melting, it’s because Disney couldn’t help but go to that big old warehouse, find the wooden crate, pull out the ark and open it on our screen to our collective horror.

Disney are the René Belloqs, the Walter Donovans of our world; Philistines, not Philanthropists donating treasures to the public.

How to break world-building in fiction

Here is a rant about how “current day” ideas injected anachronistically into science fiction spoils things a little.

He is certainly very animated, but he does not quite hit the nail on the head. I replied:

Separate pronouns, body type and voice options are pretty normal in RPGs now. The only problem would be if the world-building and storyline draw too much on “current day” Californian politics, and not enough on interesting [science fiction] ideas.

Here is an example of the sort of thing I am talking about, from On His Majesty’s Secret Service by Charlie Higson.

Beckett was an ex-Tory MP, famous for providing covid/vaccines/mask-wearing/5G conspiracy theories, which had spilled over into the usual anti-immigrant, anti-EU, anti-BBC, anti-MSM, anti-cultural Marxist, Climate Change Denial pronouncements. It was an anti-trans diatribe that had eventually got him kicked out of the party and he’d soon after set up the ‘New Freedom Party.’

Bond was struck by something. It was a long while since he’d been at any kind of function that was almost entirely full of men. It felt strange. There was not even a pretence at diversity here. AEthelstan hadn’t been the least bit concerned about ensuring that half of the people he’d hired to carry out his coup should be women, or non-white, or disabled.

It is a fourth-wall-breaking shopping list (complete with forward slashes) of things the author does not like. It reveals that the author is only aware of un-nuanced caricatures of his political opponents. It stretches credibility that this is what a competent MI6 agent would be thinking about while infiltrating a meeting, and it makes no logical sense that he should be “struck” by any of this when he already knows all the opinions of the caricature villain.

Now we know we are not reading fiction set in a credible world that makes sense, and that everything that occurs within its world serves only to amuse the author’s preoccupations.

One fear when starting to read a new author is of getting several books into a multi-volume epic before it becomes apparent that the functioning of the fictional world is premised entirely on price controls solving all the problems, or some other impossible notion. At least this is so blatant, as if a teenager was writing it after reading Teen Vogue too much, I know not to start.

Samizdata quote of the day – tortured science edition

Prior to this, in November 2018, academics at Queen Mary University of London were due to publish a study in the Lancet that found schemes like ULEZ make no difference to children’s health. It took the LEZ (Low Emission Zone), the precursor policy to ULEZ, introduced in 2008, which levied fines on lorries, buses and coaches, and examined its impact on over 2,000 children. ‘Despite… improvements in air quality, there was no evidence of improvements in the proportion of children with small lungs or asthma symptoms over this period’, it concluded. Unhappy with these findings, the mayor’s office wrote to the lead author, Professor Chris Griffiths, and asked him to change the conclusion. ‘It reads like LEZ or similar have no impact at all’, deputy mayor Rodrigues complained. Griffiths refused to budge. ‘It’s difficult to alter the sentence you refer to as it’s what we set out to look for but didn’t find’, he replied. The study was published unaltered the next day, but the deputy mayor’s intent was clear – to rewrite science to meet City Hall’s agenda.

Fraser Myers