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 Climate Scam is on manoeuvres

I haven’t trusted a word the BBC says about much for several decades, but I do remember a time when at least weather reports could be taken at face value.

Now I don’t even know if they are lying about that. Turns out many of the breathless inferno weather reports from southern Europe were being drastically overstated, sometimes by as much as 10 degrees!

Make no mistake, the “nudge unit” is at work, spreading its statist bullshit far and wide.

N star star star star, not N star star star star star

Either the Independent‘s “Race Correspondent” (who, to add to the comedy, is called Nadine White) has written a report almost designed to be misunderstood, or she is a satirist of genius. I present to you this story:

“Now the royal family is dragged into the n-word race row”

Juicy! Which one of ’em was it? Will Meghan’s Spotify podcast be coming back so she can discuss it? Sorry to disappoint, but the connection to the current royal family is strong as a cobweb: it seems a catalogue of gems and jewels owned by the Royal Collection “contained more than 40 mentions of offensive racial terms”. The aberrant public catalogue concerning a sub-collection of jewels, cameos, and other small items was actually published fifteen years ago in 2008 but remained on the Royal Collection’s website until the intrepid offence archaeologists of the Independent found it last Thursday. Since the cataloguing and study of the whole collection by historians is an ongoing process, those particular entries could have been written decades earlier. Here is the current webpage. Fear not, it has been purged.

And about that “offensive racial term” in the 2008 version… it wasn’t the n-word the Independent wants you to think it was.

In the latest instance, the offensive terms are mostly used to describe people of African ancestry who appear on the jewels. The words are also included in a number of names of items in the collection.

One brooch is described in the following terms: “Head of a n**** in three-quarter profile to the right, with drop-pearl earring. This type of a n****’s head is found on several sixteenth-century cameos.”

Another item depicting a white person is accompanied by this description and slur: “Athough it uses the dark layers of the stone for the profile, the features are not n*****d’.

Count the asterisks. Four, not five. Ergo it was egro, or in the final example, egroid.

UPDATE 16:20 BST: Someone at the Independent read the readers’ comments. The newspaper has now changed n**** to n***o throughout the article.

Meritocracy in America

Well, a day has gone after Independence Day, and I read this interesting article by Bloomberg ($) columnist Adrian Wooldridge about the recent SCOTUS ruling against affirmative action as it applies to higher education. The Court ruled, among other things, that such action violates the 14 Amendment. Wooldridge, who has written a book about meritocracy (he is for it), has these comments:

The most serious problem with affirmative action (and one that the court ignored) is that it is too little too late. The best way to address inequality of opportunity is at the high school level and earlier, rather than at college when most of the damage has already been done. Elite America needs to shift its focus to fixing the supply chain of talent.

The obvious way to start is to abolish affirmative action for the rich, which the court’s judgement leaves in place, despite a lot of tut-tutting, because it is based on class rather than race. Astonishingly, Harvard actively discriminates in favor of ALDCs—athletes, legacies, the Dean’s interest list and children of university employees. For one, that could cover the children of politicians and celebrities as well as people who might give the university lots of money. It also sweetens the pill of diversity for the people who administer it by discriminating in favor of the children of alumni and staff. ALDCs make up less than 5% of applicants to the university every year but 30% of freshmen.

Harvard’s “preferences for the children of donors, alumni, and faculty are no help to applicants who cannot boast their parents’ good fortune or trips to the alumni tent all their lives,” Justice Clarence Thomas acidly wrote in his opinion. ALDCs are also 67.8% white (11.4% are Asian American, 6% are Black and 5.6% are Hispanic). Other elite universities pursue similar policies.

A second method is to emphasize objective rather than subjective assessments of applicants. That means academic and objective tests such as the SATs as opposed to so-called holistic ones that take into account extracurricular activities, personal statements, and measures of potential rather achievement.

I agree with much of this but, being a classical liberal chap that I am, I am sort of opposed to any outside interference with how a private university conducts its admissions policy, period. (If such a place takes taxpayers’ money, or is even forced to do so, that’s a separate issue.) A broader point, maybe, is that in US higher education and to some degree in other Western nations, the “sheepskin effect” of having a degree from a smart university is more potent than the intellectual capital that any person may have accumulated from his or her studies. Bryan Caplan, the economics writer, has written a book where he unpacks the whole issue and argues that much of present higher education, at least in most subjects as taught today, rests on this effect, and is socially regressive to the extent that such places receive State (ie, taxpayer) funding. The issue becomes even more egregious when you have attempts, as in that of the Biden administration, to “forgive” the college loans of people who are, mostly, middle class (and disproportionately women, which plays to how we live in an increasingly “gynocentric social order”, as the “manosphere” writer Rollo Tomassi might put it. (The Supreme Court has ruled against Biden on student loans. It’s been a good week for that court.)

In my view, how Harvard, Yale, Oxford or any other place of higher learning structures its admissions is up to the people who run it. To break any dangerous hold these institutions may have is going to mean a, genuine school choice and a re-focus on excellence in schooling (and encouragement where possible of homeschooling); the closure of government education bureaucracies and the end of monopolies of teacher training certification, which is a crucial problem. We need far more people, from all different backgrounds, to be able to teach. That, in my view, is a big issue. Tinkering with Higher Ed. admissions may do some good, but it is, as Woodridge says, too late when a lot of damage has been done already.

The US Supreme Court judgement on affirmative action – a couple of brief reactions

“America doesn’t need more proficiency in Harvard’s Postmodern Nihilist indoctrination. What America needs are thousands of Neo-Enlightenment Revolutionaries.”

From a friend of mine called Steve on Facebook, writing about the US Supreme Court decision about Affirmative Action and its application to university admissions. He is pleased at the ruling, but of course hopes the students who are now able to get into university on merit, rather than via quotas, study subjects that are rather more intellectually rigrous than of late. (See Ilya Somin, who writes about these issues frequently, via Reason.)

Glenn Reynolds, who needs no introduction here, has related thoughts on his substack.

It is going to be bemusing to see the social justice crowd try and argue that Asian-Americans somehow “don’t count” in terms of the grievance bingo game that has been played recently. Popcorn is going to be in demand.

Of course, it would be even better if we stopped the whole hypenated-American thing at all, and treated people as individuals. How wild and crazy is that?

Among Asian-American voters in “blue” states, and those with children trying to get into higher education, this could have an interesting impact on how they vote in 2024.

“What we do is restrict freedoms”

– Irish Green Party Chairperson Senator Pauline O’Reilly, speaking on Tuesday, 13 Jun 2023 in the Seanad Éireann debate on the second stage of Ireland’s Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022.

I transcribed the words she speaks in the clip as follows:

“When you think about it, all law, all legislation is about the restriction of freedom. That’s exactly what we are doing here, is we are restricting freedom but we are doing it for the common good. You will see that throughout our Constitution, yes, you have rights but they are restricted for the common good.

Everything needs to be balanced. If your views on other people’s identities go to make their lives unsafe, insecure and cause them such deep discomfort that they cannot live in peace, then I believe that it is our job as legislators to restrict those freedoms for the common good.”

The official record of the whole debate can be read here. Note that, just as Hansard does for speakers in the UK parliament, the Official Report of the Oireachtas presents a slightly cleaned up version of what was actually said, though not enough to change the meaning.

According to that record, just after that clip ended she made another remark which I think needs to gain wider publicity:

One cannot do and say whatever one likes in our society, which is a society governed by laws. This is very fundamental to a legislative system. It should be one of the very fundamentals for any legislators who sit in this Chamber that they understand what we do is restrict freedoms.

Senator O’Reilly is wrong by every moral measure – but on that factual point she is not wrong.

“But I think what is happening to me is important.”

I do not know what this woman is accused of. [UPDATE: Commenter John did know, and linked to this Mark Steyn interview and this Mail story from October 2022.] It is always possible that things will look different if ever we get to hear the full story – not that Surrey Police seem inclined to tell us. But if this is half as bad as it looks, Caroline Farrow is right: it is important – and frightening.

To save space, and to keep a sequential record of them in case they disappear, I have written out the rest of the tweets in her thread as bullet points. The following was written by Caroline Farrow, not me:

  • On Monday afternoon my solicitor received a bizarre communication from Surrey police solicitors. He thought it had to do with my civil claim against them.

    After some miscommunication, they sent through a bundle for a court hearing.

    I am due in court tomorrow morning.

  • The police asked that “physical paperwork” relating to the court hearing against me in 2 days, was withheld from me.

    They wanted me to go to a court hearing without access to the accusations and alleged evidence.

  • Surrey police have applied for a stalking protection order as a result of material I have posted on Twitter.

    On page 1 of the bundle repeated misgendering is cited.

    Here are the prohibitions they are seeking tomorrow morning.

  • I will be assigned an “offender manager”.

    I will not be allowed to use any Social Media, Social Networking, Gaming, Dating (lol) site without this person’s written permission and having supplied them with usernames and passwords for all sites within 3 days.

  • In addition the following requirements are added:

    1. Allow Police Officers to enter your registered address(es), between the hours of 8am and 8pm, to conduct a risk assessment, monitor devices, and manage compliance of the order

    2. Provide your Offender Manager with any mobile, digital, or internet enabled devices for examination, review, and monitoring purposes, immediately upon request. You must also your provide your Offender Manager with any access PINs, passwords, or patterns. Examinations may be completed manually on scene, or could entail them seizing your device(s) for examination by agencies contracted by the police for that purpose. Failing to disclose the existence of a device in your possession to your Offender Manager will count as a failure to comply with this condition.

  • 3. Re-register home address every 12 months at a Police Station (within 365 days of last registration).

  • 4. Provide your Offender Manager with list of all mobile, digital, or internet enabled devices that you own or have access to use. The list must be provided within three days of the order being granted or within three days of any changes.

  • The police officer says this:

    I believe that while presenting a significant interference with the respondent’s privacy rights, it is an appropriate course of action in the circumstances.

  • Signed by Surrey Police Superintendent

    “I consider that in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 8 of HRA, an interference by this force as a public authority is in accordance with the law and is necessary.”

  • I left out another condition Surrey police are asking for.

    5. Possessing, owning or using more than one mobile phone and one SIM card, unless with written permission from your Offender Manager in the area that you reside. You must provide the telephone number and unique identifying numbers of all device(s) within three days of this order being granted or within three days of and supplying any changes within 3 days of any such change.

  • Samizdata quote of the day – identity politics bollox

    What is this “global majority” thing? The term has been promoted as an alternative to “ethnic minority”, which is seen as marginalising people from immigrant backgrounds. Westminster Council announced last year that it would adopt “Global Majority” rather than “BAME” (black, Asian and minority ethnic).

    Yet if “ethnic minority” marginalises people who have immigrant backgrounds — arguable in itself — “global majority” ends up marginalising people who don’t. Indeed, it does it in a far more explicit manner. “Ethnic minority” is a relative term. If a white British person moves to Indonesia, he or she has joined an ethnic minority. “Global majority”, on the other hand, has been defined as referring to black, Asian and “brown” people. I suppose it’s possible that progressives would accept that in Africa, white, Asian and “brown” people represent the “global majority”, but I can’t see it happening.

    Ben Sixsmith

    Why chocolate cake does not exist

    I like the style of this guy Gaius:

    Readers are invited to supply Modualwoman with a list of other nations whose cultures are nonexistent because they have been influenced by foreign persons and ideas at any point in their history. I am sure she will want to tell them this herself. While she’s at it, she can inform everyone in Britain whose ancestors came here more recently than 1714 that they are still foreigners whatever their passport says.

    When Wokes and Racists Actually Agree on Everything.

    The West – Can Western Civilization Survive? – Episode 6

    The final episode of The West is well worth watching…

    Samizdata quote of the day – the enemy class at work

    I had direct experience of how certain messages are everywhere in the culture. I recently went to a forum hosted by a large London law firm. (The event followed Chatham House rules, so I am being deliberately vague about names.) The forum was about the role of philanthropy advisors, and the kind of issues in philanthropy today. The panel included a Black guy, who is at an Oxford business school, who talked a lot about how conventional models of philanthropy are full of problems, such as how they are more about people trying to impose a view on communities and how from his point of view, philanthropy is more about supporting local people who should be in charge of their own destinies. I actually agree with quite a lot of that. But then he came out with the term “my truth”. This is post-modernism and a red flag. Another panelist said much philanthropy is questionable because the people who make lots of money and want to give it away do so in “extractive” ways or by exploiting people. He is some sort of Green and also reiterated fairly standard lines about neoliberalism, inequality and the evils of capitalism.

    Another panelist was an advisor who is also a paid-up member of the Labour Party, and she said it was necessary to have philanthropy, however much one may prefer the State to do what philanthropy does, because we cannot wait for progress. (There is a kernel of truth to that.) Two other panelists were talking the conventinal lines about the need to “understand” clients and so on.

    No-one, apart from your correspondent, challenged any of this. When I said that much of the modern philanthropy sector appears very political, and that some of these conversations are better had in Westminster, I was told by the Black guy that I had “come to the wrong place”. Further, this gentleman talked about the need to have “uncomfortable” conversations with rich donors. Others agreed. I bet it must be fantastic for a rich donor who writes a check to endow a hospital to be told he is legitimising an unjust capitalist order, or whatever. (Of course, there is nothing wrong if an advisor says, “Sorry sir, but we don’t approve of the sources of your wealth, and don’t want you as a client.”)

    Where am I going with this? Well, the room was full of largely middle-aged, middle class lawyers, charity advisors and the like. I was left feeling pretty much on my own in asking the question that I asked. And this goes for lots of other issues in the public square right now. For instance, I bet that 99% of those present fully buy the catastropic, Man-made global warming scenario, and the decarbonisation agenda. Their views are, to them, so normal and right that dissent of any kind is regarded more than just unusual, it is seen as unseemly.

    Interestingly enough, one or two people at the event came up to me and rather sheepishly said they agreed with some of what I said. I have no idea what effect my questions would have had.

    Johnathan Pearce, whose comment here was too good not to be highlighted.

    We are at the point where tolerance is not an option

    For some reason, it turns out that if someone suggests that there is something wrong with a white family having white offspring in front of a gazillion people, you are supposed to enthusiastically nod along and pass on your congratulations. Naively, I failed to comply and recklessly set out on a voyage of light-hearted piss-taking, asking immature questions such as ‘does everything have to be viewed through the prism of race, sexuality and culture?’.

    Turns out the answer is: YES! And what’s more, your skin colour dictates the type of questions you’re allowed to ask.

    – Paul Cox, writing “You’re White – You Can’t Write About This” Local Newspaper Tells Comedian.

    And apropos that, the other day commenter Ferox made this remark:

    My view has always been (and I have argued it here on this site) that if you need to know the color (or demographic trait in general) of the speaker before you know if you are offended or not, then the hate is coming from you – not from the speaker. What you hate is not what was said but the person saying it.

    Ferox, making a not unrelated point.

    The West – how did the West really get so rich? – Episode 5

    Recommended once again