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]

Don’t worry, their programming does not allow them to harm humans

Pelosi glitches out, randomly says “Good morning, Sunday morning” in middle of interview

‘It’s estimated that 200 million people have died — probably by the time I finish this talk,’ said Biden.

It’s not like anyone needs to know what a killer still at large looks like

The biggest UK news overnight was this:

Birmingham stabbings: Manhunt as one killed and seven hurt.

That BBC report dates from last night when the man who had already randomly murdered Jacob Billington was still at large. It reads:

A knifeman who killed one man and wounded seven other people in a two-hour stabbing rampage across Birmingham city centre is being hunted by police.

The first stabbing was in Constitution Hill at 00:30 BST then the killer moved south, apparently attacking at random, officers said.

The stabbings did not appear terrorism related, gang related or connected to disorder, West Midlands Police said.

Murder inquiry detectives said they were hunting a single suspect.

The force urged anyone with CCTV or mobile footage to contact them.

One man died, another man and a woman suffered critical injuries and five other people were left with non-life-threatening injuries.

Ch Supt Steve Graham said the attacker went on to stab people in Livery Street, Irving Street and finally in Hurst Street, where the city’s Gay Village meets the Chinese Quarter, at about 02:20 BST.

Police said there was no evidence the stabbings were a hate crime.

I expect they were the non-hateful sort of stabbings. The BBC article continues,

Ch Supt Graham said officers – some armed – remained across the city centre to reassure people.

He added they had received a number of descriptions of the suspect but would not be releasing any details for the time being.

So while a man who had already killed one person and murderously attacked several other men and women was still on the streets looking for more victims, the police felt the need to issue a statement about his motives, about which they could not possibly know. They did not feel the need to tell the public what he looked like, which they did know, being in possession of multiple statements from the surviving victims and other witnesses, plus CCTV footage.

To be fair, anyone familiar with modern policing could deduce what the absence of a police description actually meant.

*

A related post from six years ago: Politically correct evasiveness fails on its own terms.

The Royal Opera House did not perform as expected, and nor did a woman surrounded by a mob

Sometimes I start to make a Samizdata post and then that silly business of Real Life gets in the way and the post is left to languish as a draft. And sometimes Real Life comes back months later and tells me I was right the first time: there was a story there worth talking about.

That is how I come to be posting about a Times report dating from early June on August 27th.

On June 10th 2020, the Times reported:

Royal Opera House under fire for ‘silence’ on Black Lives Matter protests

The Royal Opera House has been described as an “unrelentingly white organisation” by a senior employee who said he was “ashamed” of its silence over the death of George Floyd.

Mark Dakin, the organisation’s technical director, said it had paid “lip service to the inclusion and progression of a black and minority ethnic workforce”.

In an email which has been posted on the Royal Opera House intranet Mr Dakin said he had “only an exhausting, burning rage and desolate sadness that still nothing has changed . . . you continue to exclude us”.

He said that during the Black Lives Matter protests over the killing of Mr Floyd the Royal Opera House was “silent and chooses to not even show public solidarity”.

Mr Dakin, who joined in 2016 to run Covent Garden’s technical and production department after 20 years with the National Theatre, said that unlike other organisations the Royal Opera House had not sufficiently supported #blackouttuesday on June 2.

Mr Dakin, who grew up as an adopted child in Bristol with a white family, also claimed that the Royal Opera House had continually declined to publicly support Black History Month.

In an open letter posted on the website of Stage Sight Mr Dakin said he was “ashamed the organisation for which I work has chosen to exercise the privilege of staying publicly silent about the racist murder of the African American George Floyd, proactively choosing to ignore #blackouttuesday, as it always publicly ignores Black History Month.”

Mr Dakin’s “burning rage” at the Royal Opera House for the horrible crime of not participating in his favoured hashtag campaigns that were utterly unrelated to opera seemed almost comical in June. Less so in August.

America’s Woke Red Guards Enforcing Goodthink by Harassing D.C. Restaurants Patrons

That was from PJ Media. A little to my surprise even the Independent seemed to have cottoned on to the idea that a mob surrounding a random woman and berating her for not making a gesture of solidarity at their demand might be a bad look. Interestingly the woman in the pink top, Lauren B. Victor, is herself a supporter of BLM but was commendably resistant to being coerced.

Edit: The story about the harassment of the diners has been reported worldwide.

Une foule agressive de manifestants BLM accostent des convives blancs à l’extérieur des restaurants de DC

Los huéspedes del restaurante estaban rodeados de manifestantes enojados de Black Lives Matter: “Un regalo para Trump”

„Heb deine Faust!“ – US-Aktivisten bedrängen Restaurantbesucherin

At the time of writing neither the BBC nor the Guardian had any mention of it.

Another edit: The Guardian is not merely declining to mention the Lauren Victor story, it is actively deleting mention of it by readers in comments to this opinion piece on the US election by Nathan Robinson. I assure you that my own two comments were polite and relevant but they were instantly deleted. I think I saw a couple of comments from other readers mentioning unsavoury behaviour by BLM supporters that, like my two, have now disappeared.

Thomas Sowell quote of the day

In 1960, he worked as an economist with the Labor Department. His task was to study the sugar industry in Puerto Rico, where the department enforced a minimum-wage law. Upon discovering that unemployment was rising with each increase in the minimum wage, Sowell wondered whether the law was causing the rise—as standard economic theory would predict. His coworkers had a different take: unemployment was rising because a hurricane had destroyed crops. Eventually, Sowell came up with a way to decide between the competing theories: “What we need,” he told his coworkers excitedly, “are statistics on the amount of sugarcane standing in the field before the hurricanes came through Puerto Rico.” He was met with a “stunned silence,” and his idea was dismissed out of hand. After all, administering the minimum-wage law “employed a significant fraction of all the people who worked there.”

This was not an isolated experience.

Coleman Hughes’ article on Sowell has much information that I knew and much that I didn’t. I’m unsurprised to learn that Sowell has even more admirers than I guessed …

[Stephen] Pinker, a Harvard psychologist and leading public intellectual, named Sowell the most underrated writer in history. [Kayne] West, for his part, tweeted out a handful of Sowell quotes to millions of followers in 2018.

… or that the woke whites who pretend they care about respect for blacks are the ones doing the underrating:

Like others with similar views on race, Sowell has encountered countless smears, though the usual avenues of attack—accusations of racism, privilege, and all the rest—have not been available. Someone should have told Aidan Byrne, who reviewed one of Sowell’s books for the London School of Economics blog. Doubtless convinced that he was delivering a devastating blow, Byrne quipped: “easy for a rich white man to say.”

Aidan’s review has been updated to remove that line (credit to ‘Blog Admin’ who properly notes its former presence at the end of the article).

There are still some scientists left

The BBC reports,

Hydroxychloroquine being ‘discarded prematurely’, say scientists

The Oxford University-led trial is aiming to enrol 40,000 frontline workers around the world.

Investigators hope the large-scale, double-blind randomised study will show if early use of the treatment prevents the virus from getting worse.

“We know now that it doesn’t work in treatment of hospitalised patients,” says Prof Nick White, one of the study’s investigators.

“But it’s still is a medicine that may prove beneficial in preventing Covid-19.”

The UK medicines regulatory body MHRA halted hydroxychloroquine trials, following a now-discredited paper in The Lancet claiming it caused harms.

Trials resumed in late June but the investigators says these concerns over safety, and the drug’s politicisation, have made it difficult to get participants.

I know nothing about medicine and have no opinion as to whether Hydroxychloroquine is any use in treating the coronavirus or as a preventative. But I know enough about the history of science to be deeply frightened by this:

And social media companies have removed viral online posts by doctors who reject the scientific consensus, praising the drug’s effectiveness.

I am just glad to see that there are still scientists such as Professor White who keep an open mind and are willing to go on the record as saying that the politicisation of Hydroxychloroquine may have cost lives. In fact there is no “may” about it: whether Trump is wrong or right on this occasion, the politicisation of science always costs lives. The politicisation of science is the cessation of science.

Samizdata quote of the day

“….the Americanisation of culture wars deserves resistance in itself. It homogenises national priorities, obscuring cultural and political differences, to such a ludicrous extent that British people end up arguing about police violence in a year when, yet again, it was revealed that the police had sat back and done next to nothing as a gang of men had groomed and raped young girls in Britain. Police brutality and overzealousness might be a particular problem in a Midwestern US state, while not being a priority in a northern English county; the globalisation of politics obscures local conditions.”

“It also distorts our understanding of the world, limiting our awareness of international affairs to those which are the focus of the narrow spectrum of social media trends. Whether you are a progressive or a conservative, you should be so in the terms of your national circumstances, and with broader frames of references than those which have been provided by social media monopolies.”

Ben Sixsmith

Person of colour dares not sign name

It shouldn’t affect the strength of my argument above, but for the record, I write as a person of color. My family have been personally victimized by men like Floyd. We are aware of the condescending depredations of the Democrat party against our race. The humiliating assumption that we are too stupid to do STEM, that we need special help and lower requirements to get ahead in life, is richly familiar to us. I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to deal with open fascists, who at least would be straightforward in calling me a subhuman, and who are unlikely to share my race.

The well-written open letter from the professor with no (safe to add) name is on pastebin, having (of course) been removed from where it was first put. Other links to the text are here and here.

(I wrote this as a Samizdata Quote of the Day – h/t instapundit – but decided the title needed to tell you something not in the bit I quoted. Read the whole thing.)

An excited delirium of political correctness

Given the irrational and potentially violent, dangerous, and lethal behaviour of an Excited Delirium Syndrome subject, any law enforcement officer interaction with a person in this situation risks significant injury or death to either the officer or the subject who has a potentially lethal medical syndrome. This already challenging situation has the potential for intense public scrutiny coupled with the expectation of a perfect outcome. Anything less creates a situation of potential public outrage. Unfortunately, this dangerous medical situation makes perfect outcomes difficult in many circumstances.

White Paper Report on Excited Delirium Syndrome, issued by the American College of Emergency Physicians, September 10th 2009

Ya think?!

When we get to see the bodycam videos of the police officers, we’ll know whether George Floyd had Excited Delirium Syndrome. Had the officers switched off their cams beforehand, that absence (like Hillary Clinton’s missing emails) would speak volumes. If the cams show a calm Mr Floyd ready to be put in a police car, then the officers’ defence of excited delirium will be tossed with contempt. As we’ve heard nothing about the cams from the media, they may not support the narrative.

– in the video we have been allowed to see, a panicking Mr Floyd says he can’t breathe – showing that he can breathe but it’s not doing him much good. Despite his being able to breathe, and so speak, his organs are begging for oxygen they’re increasingly not getting. That fits final-stage Excited Delirium Syndrome.

– His autopsy showed fentanyl and methamphetamine. That drug cocktail is good for giving yourself Excited Delirium Syndrome, especially when it is far from your first time.

I hope we get to find out at the trial, if not before. Till then, if anyone tries to make you swallow the media’s narrative whole, add a pinch of salt.

Meanwhile, this grim subject at least raises a grimly amusing question: are the politically correct experiencing a kind of excited delirium syndrome? Some common symptoms are very much present, especially in the rioters:

remorse… and understanding of surroundings … are absent in such subjects. … subjects are known to be irrational, often violent … delirium and agitation … destructive or bizarre behavior generating calls to police … ongoing struggle despite futility … Subjects are incoherent and combative … delusional, paranoid

Not yet observed in the rioters (AFAIK) are

unusual physical strength and stamina

nor

Impervious to pain

(unless it’s the pain of others), and I don’t think we’ve yet had a chance to observe whether the rioters would show

Significant resistance to physical restraint

or an absence of “normal fear and … rational thoughts for safety”, as there has not been much physical restraint, let alone cause for the rioters to feel afraid. Since we are clearly in the early “sudden onset” stage of “violence and hyperactivity”, it is no surprise we have not yet seen any symptoms from the syndrome’s late stage:

“sudden cessation of struggle, respiratory arrest and death.” (The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 2010)

If we make the diagnosis, how should we treat excited delirium in the politically correct?

the specific physical control methods employed should optimally minimize the time spent struggling, while safely achieving physical control. The use of multiple personnel with training in safe physical control measures is encouraged. … research is needed to establish field protocols and techniques that allow police, emergency medical services and hospital personnel to interact with these agitated, aggressive patients in a manner safe both for the patients and the providers.

I share the writers’ desire for safety all round, but while this research on how to achieve it proceeds, I refer readers to the top-of-post quote: these perfect outcomes are ‘difficult’ – and these US physicians seem to have perfected the art of English understatement. (I assume this belief – that achieving swift safe control is essential, to end the subject’s wild agitated activity that is speeding his own death – is part of why the elected Minneapolis authorities teach their police to use knee-to-neck-hold as department policy.)

A less technical summary seems to be saying the same thing.

Deescalation does not have a high likelihood of changing outcomes significantly …

The subjects require physical restraint (this is because if they continue to struggle it accelerates the death) …

Once the decision to do this has been made, action needs to be swift and efficient …

I feel sure this is the treatment the rioters need. Whether it would have been (or indeed was) also the right (albeit, sadly, too late) treatment for Mr Floyd is something the bodycam videos will tell us.

—-
(In the above quotes, I have expanded ‘ExDS’ to ‘Excited Delirium Syndrome’, ‘LEO’ to ‘law enforcement officer’ or just ‘officer’, and ‘EMS’ to ’emergency medical services’, for ease of reading.)

Security against what?

“China proposes controversial Hong Kong security law”, reports the BBC:

China is proposing to introduce a new security law in Hong Kong that could ban sedition, secession and subversion.

And:

Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, which provides the territory certain freedoms not available on the mainland, does require its government to bring in a security law. It had tried to enact the so-called “sedition law” in 2003 but more than 500,000 people took to the streets and it was dropped.

I would have welcomed more information on this mysterious clause in the Basic Law that requires Hong Kong’s government “to bring in a security law”. On what timescale? Who is the judge as to whether a security law does or does not meet this mysterious requirement? Oh yes, and SECURITY FROM WHAT?

But that paragraph was a model of robust independent reporting compared to this one:

A mainland source told the South China Morning Post that Beijing had decided Hong Kong would not be able to pass its own security law and the NPC would have to take the responsibility.

That makes it sound as if Hong Kong’s parliamentarians were not clever enough to pass this law, or that they were dodging the “responsibility” of passing it the way a negligent father might dodge his maintenance payments. To be charitable, these are the words of a “mainland source”, that is, a man whose tongue is operated from a distance by a controller with a joystick, but why does the British Broadcasting Corporation let pass without challenge the Orwellian language of the Chinese Communist Party? We do not have to do that. We are not in the EU any more.

Of what crimes do the contents of your bookshelves convict you?

My mother was in her early teens in World War II. I once asked her what it was like not to know who would win. Alas, I cannot remember in detail how she answered, but among the things she said was that she did not speculate about it much because any such discussion would have been instantly quashed by her father, a former soldier, with some words along the lines of “There will be no defeatist talk in this family, young lady!”

Yet this atmosphere of stern patriotism did not stop her openly reading a translation of Hitler’s Mein Kampf on the principle of “Know thy enemy”.

“Owning a book isn’t a declaration of belief,” writes Janice Turner in the Times.

Journalists own a lot of odd books. Some are sent to us unsolicited, others we buy to illuminate a news story. That Michael Gove, a former Times columnist, has The War Path by Holocaust-denying historian David Irving nestling among Alastair Campbell diaries and Stalin biographies does not alarm me. But the online outrage at a photograph showing this book on Gove’s shelves does.

Because if I’d covered, say, the 1996 libel case brought by Irving I’d have bought his work, too. Why? Curiosity; the desire to quote from original sources; to hear Irving’s authorial voice; to understand how he magicked away mass murder. Later, my piece written, I’d have squeezed it in my unruly shelves with Mike Tyson’s Undisputed Truth and Naomi Wolf’s Vagina.

At this point I feel I ought to mention that the original Times article has that last word in italics.

Yet owning Irving’s book was to activist-journalist Owen Jones a window into Gove’s dark soul. On Twitter, people questioned why you’d read Irving rather than his many critics, as if they couldn’t trust their own minds not to be swayed. Gove was accused of “proudly displayed” antisemitism in his home. But books are not posters or cushions, mere expressions of personal taste.

What is the correct thing to do when you’ve read this book, in case some visiting fool concludes you’re a Nazi? Donating it to a charity shop risks further dissemination of evil. Well, you could burn it. That always goes well.

Here is Owen Jones’s tweet in all its glory.

Which of the books on your shelves would make you wish you had enabled the “blur background” function before turning on Zoom?

Apart from the obvious – a copy of Chavs by Owen Jones – I have three coffee-table books of reproductions of selected articles from the English language edition of Signal magazine, issued by the Wehrmachtpropaganda from 1940-1945. (It continued to publish an English language edition even after the US entered the war, ostensibly for the benefit of the Channel Islanders.)

How about you? Confess all and the tribunal will be merciful.

Big Tech platforms – are they common carriers? Clearly not.

Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo protect themselves from liability springing from what gets published on their platforms by claiming to be common carriers, like a phone company or ISP. But they are clearly nothing of the sort.

I have a saved file copy of this for later publication in case this video is also taken down. This is not about whether or not you support or oppose the lockdown, this is about being allowed to say what you think about it and why. Here is the original video.

Is Political Correctness most fatal to those with co-morbidities?

My team and I knew the president’s comments could trigger a backlash against the idea of UV light as a treatment, which might hinder our ability to get the word out. We decided to create a YouTube account, upload a video animation we had created, and tweet it out. It received some 50,000 views in 24 hours.

Then YouTube took it down. So did Vimeo. Twitter suspended our account. The narrative changed from whether UV light can be used to treat Covid-19 to “Aytu is being censored”.

These days, politics seems to dictate that if one party says, “The sky is blue,” the other party is obligated to reply, “No, it’s not, and you’re a terrible human being for thinking that.” That leaves no room for science, in which the data speak for themselves, regardless of ideology, and only when they’re ready.

(Quoted from a Wall Street Journal article – paywalled, but relevant quotes are on instapundit.)

I read an article that mentioned Aytu yesterday.

In fact, the president’s reference was to Ultraviolet catheter technology. It was recently in the news and Dr Birx was unfamiliar with it. Here’s how it works.

The first link still works because it goes to Aytu’s own website. The second no longer does because it goes to Vimeo; today, it shows the VimeUhOh page.

One of the great questions of our time is whether the left is innately inferior to the right, innately more intolerant of all thought but its own, innately determined to live in its bubble and make others do the same, or else it is not and its current state is wholly an artefact of its current media power.

One view is that there is no such superiority in either approaches or statistics, that too dominating a control of the megaphone makes any group live in an ever-narrowing bubble. If Donald (in some alternative world that is so not this) could do more than just drain the swamp a bit, could actually transform its denizens into people as fervent for making America great again as they now are for cancel culture, then (according to this view) the right would take no more time than the left did to establish a mirror culture of censoring freedom-hatred, and would not generate significantly greater internal resistance than the left’s mavericks currently offer to those the left empower.

A rival view is that the innate vice of the left is lying but the innate vice of the right is violence. Hitler lied a lot and Stalin murdered (and tortured) a lot (arguably more than Hitler in his longer period of rule) but the most fundamental law of Hitler’s land was “Thou shalt kill” and the most fundamental law of Stalin’s land was “Thou shalt bear false witness”.

– Stalin killed like a gangland lawyer: if the inconvenient witness can’t be made to stutter out the prepared story in court then he’d better be fitted with concrete overshoes at the bottom of Lake Michigan, but the court case, not his death, is what matters. When the story is that socialist agriculture works, that means there are a lot of peasants to kill, but it doesn’t matter which individuals get shot, which die of starvation, which die of slave labour in the gulag, and which survive, so long as the useful idiots can go on thinking socialism is wonderful on the farm. It does not matter which of the “two traditions, as a dark age historian would say, about the death in modern times of the vice premier of the soviet state” are true – was he shot at once or left to die years later in a camp – because the story of his confession is what matters. The lie matters and to protect it communists replaced an encyclopaedia article on Beria with one on the Bering Sea, they scrubbed Beria’s image from a Metropole Hotel corridor’s photograph in the early hours of the morning after he died, they painted a smiling young man (or sometimes a woman in a large hat) over Beria’s image on giant posters of the ruling group in cities and towns across Russia. The lie is everything.

– Hitler lied like a general – pretend you won’t attack then do attack, pretend to attack on the right then actually attack on the left – but once the lie had achieved its practical effect, once the enemy were surprised and routed, he spent less time maintaining the lie. What mattered was maximising enemy casualties, tracking and killing every last one of the fleeing foe, treating “the flight of a few Jews from torture and slow death as a matter of the gravest concern”. (Although left-wing lying has much to do with it and also honest debaters may honestly debate, this difference in focus between the communist and nazi regimes is a part of why, although nazi is short for National Socialist, Hitler is perceived as right-wing.)

A third view is that the right is simply better than the left: more anchored in reality, applying principles more likely to produce good outcomes and better able to protect those who hold them from corruption. The right is to the left as capitalism is to communism. In a capitalist state, you will find some who are unworthily rich and some who are unworthily poor. In a communist state, you’ll find a lot more of both and a lot less wealth overall. Likewise with right and left (if your focus is the last century or two; most holders of this view would concede that, as you go further back in time, opportunities to make debating points that challenge it increase).

My own opinion, FWIW, is that all three are true. I think the right compared to the left would resemble capitalism compared to socialism even if the MSM and the tech oligarchs were more balanced. I think that a degenerate-right culture will typically manifest more in a trend to violence than to lying, while a degenerate-left culture’s stereotypical indicators will be the reverse. And I support free speech because I think that while some political movements, like some people, have stronger characters than others, the power to silence criticism is a very dangerous temptation to any.