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]

“The app will contact people at random asking them to provide proof of their location within 15 minutes”

How will South Australia’s home quarantine trial work?

Premier Steven Marshall said he hoped the trial would be expanded to international travellers in “subsequent weeks”, making it a national first.

Those in home-based quarantine will need to download an app, developed by the South Australian Government, to prove they are staying home while required to.

People wanting to return to South Australia and home quarantine will have to apply to SA Health.

They will have to prove they have a place to isolate during their quarantine period and must also be fully vaccinated.

Those who are approved will have to download the South Australian Government home quarantine app, which uses geo-location and facial recognition software to track those in quarantine.

The app will contact people at random asking them to provide proof of their location within 15 minutes.

The report is by Sara Garcia and Rory McClaren of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, via “Australia Traded Away Too Much Liberty” by Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic and (for the second time in two days) Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.

Far from being ashamed of this Orwellian project, Premier Steven Marshall says “I think every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app.”

It’s only a bloody song

“‘Arrests expected’ over anti-Catholic singing by group of Rangers fans,” the BBC reports.

Police say they expect to make arrests after footage emerged appearing to show Rangers supporters singing a sectarian song before Sunday’s Old Firm game.

A video on social media showed a group being escorted by police through Glasgow city centre while chanting an anti-Irish song referencing the famine.

In case you are wondering – and you would need the mind of a robot not to wonder – the lyrics of what I think is the song being referred to can be read here. The refrain consists of variations of “Well, the famine is over/ Why don’t you go home?”

I suppose I ought to whizz through the background. Glasgow has two famous football teams, Celtic and Rangers, collectively known as The Old Firm. Celtic was traditionally the Catholic team, Rangers the Protestant. The “troubles” in Northern Ireland sometimes have spilled over to the streets of Glasgow, though usually the conflict there is fought with fists, not guns.

The BBC goes on to quote Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins as saying that anti-Irish Catholic behaviour is “wholly unacceptable” and that “appropriate action” would be taken.

I am from an Irish family and was raised Catholic. Though my beliefs have diverged from Catholicism somewhat, I still find myself defending the Church of Rome often, because it is often slandered. I do not think I would like these particular Rangers fans if I were to meet them and I am quite sure they would not like me. Nonetheless I have a suggestion for Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins: accept it. It’s only a song. The more socially acceptable “Irish Rebel Songs” that Celtic supporters sing back are also only songs. If you treat the singing of a rude song as akin to casting a dangerous spell then people will want to try this powerful magic.

Loosely related: I recommend this conversation between Brian Micklethwait and Patrick Crozier about Northern Ireland. Though Brian describes the conversation as “low key”, both of them are willing to speculate far outside the boundaries of permitted polite opinion.

Edit: A comment to this post by Paul Marks has reminded me of another post I did about football chants back in 2014: “Up the Yids!”

An axe age, a sword age, an age when the Beeb admits rent control doesn’t work

“Why rent control isn’t working in Sweden.”

Surely Ragnarok is upon us.

This is what so many libertarians cannot understand…

So many libertarians, such as the good fellows at Reason magazine for example (who I do like, I hasten to add), have a simplistic, dare I say dualistic notion about bad-things-done-by-private-business and bad-things-done-by-the-state. One is met with “so start up a rival company” the other with “an outrageous example of state overreach that must be opposed politically.”

And in an ideal world, yes, that makes sense. We do not live in anything resembling an ideal world.

In an era when three (two really) credit card companies and a handful of payment processors have an off-switch for pretty much any on-line business they take a dislike to (unless they are called Apple or Amazon), as more and more of the economy goes virtual, what we have is turn-key tyranny for sale to the highest bidder, and the highest bidder is always going to be a state. I am uncertain what the solution is, but as we do not live in a ‘free market’, not convinced “so go set up your own global credit card and payment processing network” adds anything meaningful to the discussion. It is a bit like saying when the local electric provider turns off the power in your office (or home) because they disapprove of what you are doing “so go set up your own electric supply company”, as if that would be allowed to happen.

Fascism is the organised attempt to introduce socialist planning with the consent of big business

– Edward Conze (1934)

“We need information crimes”

Until Brexit, “Green Molly” a.k.a. Molly Scott Cato was a Green Party MEP. She is currently the Green Party External Communications Coordinator and Speaker on Economy and Finance.

On July 29th she tweeted,

UK Covid patients tell of regrets over refusing jab

These stories make me terribly sad

She was referring to this Guardian article. Thus far, I agreed with her. The Guardian article by Sarah Marsh is unashamedly emotional, but it derives its power to convince by letting named ordinary people speak for themselves. However Ms Scott Cato thinks that humans speaking to other humans about their own brush with death or the deaths of their relatives is not a good enough persuasive strategy. She continued,

But they also make me angry with people who spread lies on social media

In the information age it seems to me we need information crimes

And punishments to match

In a sense Ms Scott Cato is right. She does need information crimes. Her party and the worldwide Green movement (of which parties with “Green” in their name are a minor part) have a vision for humanity that goes far beyond trees and whales, and they know they will not get the public to comply if gadflies and malcontents are allowed to bring up information that contradicts the official line. In particular they need information that shows how many of their previous predictions never came to pass to be criminalised.

Related:

“George Monbiot comes out in favour of censorship”, a post I made in January about Mr Monbiot’s article “Covid lies cost lives – we have a duty to clamp down on them”.

And found via Instapundit today, “‘Health misinformation’ should be a federal crime, First Amendment law professor says”.

The state is not your friend… example 57,459

The idea, then, that Boris and his Cabinet would have been able to simply sit there, apparently passively, while the virus ‘let rip’, was pretty implausible once the Chinese and Italians had gone into lockdown. The urge to do things would have been overwhelming. And it remains to this day. Letting the immune systems and common sense of the public take care of matters is anathema to our leaders, because it doesn’t involve them taking bold action or, indeed, doing anything much at all. This goes against the grain of their very psyches: in their own minds, they envisage themselves ‘winning’ in the war against Covid through their brilliant decision-making and uber-competence, and being hoisted onto the shoulders of the grateful populace and paraded through the streets accordingly. They don’t want nature to take the credit which they believe is theirs. In fact, it is pretty clear that they don’t really want the virus to reach natural equilibrium at all – they want to defeat it, preferably through some fabulous scheme.

David McGrogan, an Associate Professor of Law at Northumbria Law School

Samizdata quote of the day

Then do we give them back their freedom? Not at all. Then we move the goalposts, making freedom conditional on more and more people getting the vaccine. Until we make it to so-called ‘Freedom Day’, a month later than originally planned, and Boris Johnson chooses then to tell young people that their freedom to do the things they enjoy will be dependent on receiving a vaccine.

A vaccine that uses experimental technology and was rushed through trials without waiting for the full safety data (trials which will never now conclude as the control groups have been vaccinated). A vaccine, or rather vaccines, which the authorities now acknowledge increase the risk of dangerous blood clotting and heart conditions, particularly in younger people. Vaccines for which there are now more reports of fatalities in the U.S. than all other vaccines put together for the past 30 years.

– Will Jones writing about The Great Betrayal

Lockdown Sceptics becomes Daily Sceptic

The name of this website is about to change from Lockdown Sceptics to the Daily Sceptic. I intended this change to coincide with the bonfire of the coronavirus restrictions – the long-awaited terminus – but ‘Freedom Day’ has turned out to be a damp squib. Not only have many of the restrictions remained in place, but it’s been made clear by Chris Whitty and others that any freedoms we’ve been granted today will be snatched away as soon as the NHS comes under pressure again.

Toby Young

I have been supporting the excellent & tireless Lockdown Sceptics & will continued to support Daily Sceptic. Samizdata.net’s sidebar link has been duly updated.

Samizdata quote of the day

The path from…

   “All we want is to be free to love”

to…

   “Bake the cake or go to jail, motherfcker!”

is becoming quicker and more direct.

staghounds

Deleting the weather report to make the rain go away

“Facebook axes team over far-right data”, says the Times.

Facebook has disbanded one of its teams after the data they produced suggested that far-right commentators outperformed all other users.

Facebook executives, including Sir Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister, became concerned that the CrowdTangle tool was being used by journalists to produce embarrassing evidence that right-wing content was read more than anything else on the platform.

The analytics tool is owned by Facebook but is available to the public. It is one of the only ways for users to measure how well a post is doing in terms of being shared, commented on, liked or receiving a reaction emoji.

Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs, told colleagues last September that he was concerned “our own tools are helping journos to consolidate the wrong narrative”, according to The New York Times.

CrowdTangle’s data showed that in the US the links posted on Facebook to other websites which got the most engagement was to content by right-wing commentators such as Ben Shapiro and the Fox News host Sean Hannity, and to right-wing sites including Breitbart and Newsmax.

A commenter called LucasTheCat gave me the title for this post when they responded, “This is strange for two reasons – none of the commentators listed are what I would consider to be ‘far right’ and isn’t removing the report – the same as taking the weather report out of your paper – because you don’t like the weather – or am I missing something?”

By the way, the idea that Nick Clegg was released on the world deliberately is a fringe conspiracy theory that Facebook has rightly banned. The current theory is that he was accidentally leaked from an insufficiently secured British political system.

It was a bad career move to be the first one to object

“Parents’ disgust as Labour council hires actor in rainbow coloured monkey costume with fake penis and nipples to appear at library event encouraging children to read”, reports the Daily Mail.

Parents have voiced their disgust after a Labour council hired an actor in a rainbow-coloured monkey costume with a fake penis and nipples to appear at a library event for children.

The Redbridge Libraries Summer Reading Challenge run by Redbridge Council in east London set up the event but the library has since apologised for the ‘inappropriate’ costume.

A full investigation has also been launched by the council to get to the bottom of how taxpayers’ money was used to hire the actors.

Labour councillor Jas Athwal has apologised and tweeted: ‘I was appalled by the incident in Redbridge Libraries on Saturday.

‘Completely inappropriate and deeply offensive performers were hired by independent contractor Vision who manage Redbridge libraries and leisure centres.

So it was just a mistake, then? The actors’ agency mixed up the booking for the children’s library with the one for the Pride parade? Not quite. Early complainers were blocked on twitter and told off for “lecturing”. It seems the same performers in the same costumes have appeared in other libraries. The Labour council can repeat the words “independent contractor” all they want but nobody is under the impression that this would be equally likely to happen under a Conservative council. The SNP, however…

I was haunted by one of the pictures in the Mail story that shows a woman in a burka walking by in the street while the rainbow monkey man moons her. He thinks performance, she thinks insult. I do not think that woman is likely to take her kid to the next Summer Reading Challenge. That is a pity: it concerns me that so many British Muslim children do not read well. However my opinions about rainbow monkey man strutting his stuff in the public street are difficult to summarise and are not the topic of this post. I talked about some of the friction that arises when groups with very different mores exert their right to parade in a post from two years ago called ‘If you want Pride you must allow the cry of “Shame!”’ which concerned events in Walthamstow, which like nearby Redbridge has a substantial Muslim population.

What I wanted to talk about this time related more to the events in the library, specifically the question asked on Twitter by Janice Turner of the Times: “I would really love a detailed breakdown of the commissioning process whereby Redbridge council commissioned the Rainbow Dildo Butt Monkey as a means to teach children to read.” How did this happen? Why did no one question it? Someone looked up Mandinga Arts on the internet and ticked the box saying yes they want that costume for an event aimed at children of primary school age. The actor got into said costume, arranged his dildo, and set off for the library. Did someone direct him to the children’s section? At the library the staff no doubt shuffled their feet a bit (the staff member at the earlier event at Exeter library seemed to have been taken aback by the full frontal) but so far as I can tell the eventual complaint came from a parent, not a librarian, despite the fact that it should have been obvious that many of the ethnic minority and working class parents and children libraries say they want to reach most would be repelled by this. No one spoke up. Why not?

My guess as to the answer is the title of this post.

Samizdata quote of the day

At least her blasphemy law would be religiously inclusive. She namechecked Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, Ram, Buddha and Guru Nanak as some figures whose dignity should also be protected, concluding: ‘When striking the careful balance to protect such emotional harms, can there and should there be a hierarchy of sentiments?’

So there we have it – a British MP in 2021 wondering out loud if people should be punished for disrespecting gods, messiahs, gurus and prophets. It goes without saying that if Shah were ever to succeed in this, it would be curtains for free speech any more than it already is: free speech was, after all, built on the right to blaspheme.

Tom Slater