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]

Nico Metten on the we-dont-want-short-and-shitty-lives lobby

I like this:

… A lot of people have this strange idea that the only thing preventing us from going off fossil fuels is the oil lobby. But it is not the oil lobby that is doing that. It is the we-dont-want-short-and-shitty-lives lobby that is behind it. In other words it is all of us. …

This is from a piece by Nico Metten for Libertarian Home, published in October of this year. That I only just gave it any serious attention is because I have been having a breather from libertarian polemics, either written by others, or doing them myself. I still haven’t properly read through this one, but already I recommend it.

It’s not that I have been entirely ignoring Nico. He is a friend of mine, and this is a photo I took of him and some of his mates in the Blackheath Halls Orchestra, at a concert of music by Debussy and Sibelius that I attended in November. The Sibelius (Symphony No. 7) was particularly good:

Nico is the guy at the back who played those big drums. Some instrumentalists can hide in an orchestra. By which I mean that they can still do some damage, but without you knowing that it’s them doing it. But the man on the big drums cannot hide. Nico was very good.

The Libertarian Home piece quoted above is also remarkable for the scathing way that Nico writes about Germany and its government. Pioneers in badness basically, once upon a time, and still. But being a German himself, Nico is allowed to say such things.

He told them what they wanted to hear

It turns out that one of Germany’s best-regarded reporters, Claas Relotius, has been doing for Der Spiegel what Jayson Blair did for the New York Times.

I have given this post the tag “Deleted by the PC Media”. That’s because we don’t have a tag called “Invented by the PC Media”. Like Blair before him, if Mr Relotius could not find the right juicy detail to enliven a story his custom was to make one up. He was at it for years. This article about the Relotius case in Der Spiegel by Ullrich Fichtner has not yet appeared in English, but the miracle of Google Translate allows me to make a guess as to how Relotius got away with it so long:

In his story about Fergus Falls, Relotius, in a hurtingly haughty way, is styling contemporary history. To have a hearty prelude, he tells us that at the entrance to the village right next to the welcome sign, a second sign was set up, “half as high, but hard to miss … On this sign, driven from thick wood into the frozen ground, stands in large, painted letters: ‘Mexicans Keep Out’ – Mexican, stay away. ”

The shield, which gives the whole story the keynote, never existed, it was only in the imagination of the author. Nevertheless, he passed the invention on as a matter of fact to hundreds of thousands of readers, just like that. And he insulted the inhabitants of Fergus Falls. It seems so, in the overall view, that people who are no longer children tell him nothing. There are exceptions, but Relotius gives the inhabitants of Fergus Falls false biographies that fit him as if he were a puppeteer. He also goes along with grotesque lies, such as that the children of the John F. Kennedy High School painted their models for the American Dream as follows: “They painted,” writes Relotius, “not a single picture of a woman. One class painted Barack Obama, two painted John D. Rockefeller.

Schoolchildren in 2018 are so enchanted by the example of John D Rockerfeller that they choose him to represent the American Dream? It seems unlikely that they would even have heard of this capitalist except as a bogeyman. But evidently it did not seem an unlikely thing to happen in Trump’s America to Der Spiegel‘s readers. Relotius told them what they wanted to hear.

Update: In the comments Rob Fisher pointed out this “Fisking” of Relotius’s article by two residents of Fergus Falls:

There are so many lies here, that my friend Jake and I had to narrow them down to top 11 most absurd lies (we couldn’t do just 10) for the purpose of this article. We’ve been working on it since the article came out in spring of 2017, but had to set it aside to attend to our lives (raising a family, managing a nonprofit organization, etc.) before coming back to it this fall, and finally wrapped things up a few weeks ago, just in time to hear today that Relotius was fired when he was exposed for fabricating many of his articles.

Dr Norman Doidge on the contrasting fates of his grandparents (and on his friend Jordan Peterson)

In his foreword to Jordan B. Peterson’s Twelve Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos (page xv), Dr Norman Doidge writes:

To understand ideology, Jordan read extensively about the Soviet gulag, but also the Holocaust and the rise of Nazism. I had never before met a person, born Christian and of my generation who was so utterly tormented by what happened in Europe to the Jews, and who had worked so hard to understand how it could have occurred. I too had studied this in depth. My own father survived Auschwitz. My grandmother was middle-aged when she stood face to face with Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi physician who conducted unspeakably cruel experiments on his victims, and she survived Auschwitz by disobeying his order to join the line with the elderly, the grey and the weak and instead slipping into a line with younger people. She avoided the gas chambers a second time by trading food for hair dye so she wouldn’t be murdered for looking too old. My grandfather, her husband, survived the Mauthausen concentration camp, but choked to death on the first piece of solid food he was given just before liberation day. …

I was going to leave it at that, but this next bit is worth quoting also, hence what’s between the brackets in the title at the top of this posting:

… I relate this, because years after we became friends, when Jordan would take a classical liberal stand for free speech, he would be accused by left-wing extremists as being a right-wing bigot.

Let me say, with all the moderation I can summon: at best, those accusers have simply not done their due diligence. I have; with a family history such as mine, one develops not only radar, but underwater sonar for right-wing bigotry; but even more important, one learns to recognize the kind of person with the comprehension, tools, good will and courage to combat it, and Jordan Peterson is that person.

“With all the moderation I can summon …”. Nice one. How to shout without shouting, so to speak.

Yet another medical serial killer

Niels Högel: German ex-nurse admits killing 100 patients

A hundred victims, and it is not even the BBC’s top story.

Towards the end of the last century I visited a very nice elderly couple, the husband of whom was a retired doctor. I noticed a flyer or newsletter sitting on their kitchen table with a heading something like “Doctors against gun violence”. At that time Dr Harold Shipman had fairly recently been arrested and the sheer number of his victims – more than two hundred – was beginning to emerge. I could not help thinking that, given that the number of people Shipman had killed by medical means exceeded by a great margin the death toll of the two largest shooting mass murders that had then occurred in the UK, Dunblane and Hungerford, maybe there was scope for a rival pamphlet called “Gun owners against medical violence”. The thought remained unspoken, of course, and a good thing too. I was not usually so flippant about mass murder even in thought: after the Dunblane massacre of primary schoolchildren I had thought about Thomas Hamilton’s victims almost every day for two years or more. Shipman’s victims did not haunt me to nearly the same extent. The same seems true of the general public. No doubt much of that was because Shipman killed the old not the young. It is not that people do not care about elderly victims, but the instinct to protect children and thus to consider the murder of a child the worst of crimes is bred in the bone. But that does not entirely explain it. Another British medical serial killer, the nurse Beverley Allitt, did target babies and children, by giving them overdoses of insulin and potassium. She murdered four children between the ages of seven weeks and eleven years and attempted to murder several others. One of those she failed to kill, Katie Phillips, was left permanently brain damaged by her attentions. This was after Katie’s twin sister Becky had already been murdered by Allitt. Yet her deeds seem almost forgotten now.

Maybe it is time for that long unspoken thought to get an airing, and for better reasons than to keep score in competitive shroud-waving. I have come away from Wikipedia shocked at how many such“angels of death” there have been, how long they have got away with it, and how high their number of victims has been. Almost more chilling than the death counts is their uncertainty: Donald Harvey, United States, 57-87. Arnfinn Nesset, Norway, 27-138+. Charles Cullen, United States 35-400+. There are plenty more on that list. And it can be practically certain that there are yet more who appear on no list, because they are still killing now.

The dream of peace

“Jeremy Corbyn: I was present at wreath-laying but don’t think I was involved”, reports the Guardian.

Jeremy Corbyn said he was present but not involved at a wreath-laying for individuals behind the group that carried out the Munich Olympic massacre, a partial admission that led to a row between him and Israel’s prime minister.

The Labour leader had been asked if Palestinian leaders linked to the Black September terror group were honoured at a memorial event he attended in Tunisia in 2014, at which victims of the 1985 Israeli airstrike in Tunis were remembered.

Corbyn said “a wreath was indeed laid” for “some of those who were killed in Paris in 1992” and added, in response to a question: “I was present at that wreath-laying, I don’t think I was actually involved in it.”

The Guardian picture shows Jeremy accidentally holding a great big wreath.

He added: “I was there because I wanted to see a fitting memorial to everyone who has died in every terrorist incident everywhere because we have to end it. You cannot pursue peace by a cycle of violence; the only way you can pursue peace [is] by a cycle of dialogue.”

Darkest Hour – film review

Last night I went with the Sage of Kettering to see Darkest Hour, based on the events around Churchill becoming Prime Minister as Germany destroys Western Europe. Overall, I would say that it is an excellent film, but with a certain flaw, perhaps a sacrifice to dramatic licence. The actor playing Churchill has done a good job of conveying the man and his quirks.

The film starts with an obviously ill Chamberlain yielding power, in the face of challenges from Attlee, the Labour Leader of the Opposition. The film seems to try to cast Lord Halifax, till then Chamberlain’s ‘sidekick’ as a villain scheming for power. Whilst any politician may well in his heart lust for power, and obviously deny any overt ambitions, Halifax does come across as a bit of a ‘villain’, who is manoeuvring for Churchill’s fall. It may be that he was simply terrified of another war (having been through the Great War and seen action) and lacked the stomach for another, i.e. he had the UK’s best interests at heart in his wrongful head. However, Churchill kisses hands with George VI, a frosty relationship going back to issues over Gallipoli and the Abdication crisis, with Halifax a personal friend of the King. The Conservative Party loath Churchill, Labour and the Liberals support him (perhaps looking forward to taking over the government in a National Coalition, and getting if not always their people, their policies in place for what turns out to be at least the next 80 years).

The situation in Europe deteriorates, and Churchill tries to make rally the French, as he grapples with the demands of office and others try to get used to his chaotic working style. Churchill is alarmed to find that the French have no ‘plan B’ should they fail to contain the Wehrmacht to their North West regions, and the situation worsens. Along with the disasters in France, Churchill’s situation weakens as those seeking a negotiated peace urge their case, with Halifax and Chamberlain (now revealed to have terminal cancer) planning to resign. Overtures are made by Halifax to Italy for Mussolini to help with some form of negotiated peace, but this comes to naught. The King goes to see Churchill, after considering leaving for Canada, and the two become mutually-supportive.

The film gives Churchill a chance to point out that Gallipoli might have worked but for delay in its implementation (he blames the Admirals only, not the Generals as well), and Roosevelt and Churchill have a chat, Churchill in an artfully concealed phone box. The gist of it is that the UK is on its own (at this point) the Neutrality Act ties Roosevelt’s hands, but by a ruse some fighters that Britain has paid for can be got to Canada.

The film takes a bit of a liberty with Churchill suddenly taking the Underground train in a surprisingly long one-stop journey and meeting ordinary people (with a bit of inclusive casting, which shows the common heritage amongst the English-speaking peoples). He finds the ordinary people are willing to fight, and this fortifies him to carry on and abandon defeatist thoughts. This almost breaks the Fourth Wall and I found it spoils the film a bit, it could have been done better. Also, there is no indication of the Communist sabotage of the Allied war effort either in France or in the UK.

Churchill goes to the full Cabinet and rallies support for resistance, the gist of his speech being that a noble end is better than surrender, and the consensus is that any peace would be under Mosleyites.

Matters come to a head with the encirclement of British and French forces around Dunkirk, with a smaller force in Calais sacrificed to buy time for Operation Dynamo, the evacuation. Brigadier Nicholson and his unit in Calais are shown, been told by telegram that they are to stand to the last, a heroic footnote that the film rightly notes. With Dynamo underway, Churchill rallies the House of Commons with another speech, and Chamberlain signals his support (as Leader of the Conservative Party), cementing Churchill’s position, Halifax looks on from the gallery in despair.

The film is not without humour. It rehashes a few of Churchill’s old jokes, and his constant drinking is a running theme, with booze at breakfast. Asked by the King how he manages to drink throughout the day, Churchill replies ‘Practice!‘. The end notes also apologise for depicting smoking, necessary for accuracy, but it grossly under-depicits the extent of smoking.

Having seen the film Dunkirk last year, I would say that this is a far better film, it tells the story of the wider context, it does not have a jarring switch in narrative and has hardly any CGI, which is only used to show the streams of refugees and the odd aerial attack.

It was noteworthy that a couple of Lefties were in our viewing, and at the end they moaned loudly about the film being patriotic (can there be higher praise with faint damnation?), and made parallels about Brexit. It is hard not to see the parallels with the Mrs May’s lamentable efforts at ‘negotiation’, but remember that Halifax today would not be a Remoaner, but a cautious Leaver. The Remoaners would be the Mosleyites, whose only changes have been in label and a different emphasis on race in politics eager for the UK to be subordinate to a foreign power hostile to our laws and customs, with some form of economic dirigisme in place.

And it still strikes me as remarkable that the Queen’s first Britannic Prime Minister was Churchill, and look at her last 5.

UPDATE:

I have found the Sage’s commentary on Lord Halifax in this very parish, from 2003. Halifax, the Holy Fool.

No wonder they were peeved

From a letter in The Times (28 September 1917):

I propose to relate a few facts which came within my knowledge in the summer of 1872, the time when the inhabitants of Aisace-Lorraine were called on to determine as to their future nationality and, on a certain day, to vote whther they would remain French or become German. I was then brought into daily contact with all classes of the inhabitants. This “option,” as it was called, was in everybody’s thoughts, as all French families in the annexed provinces had in the immediate future to decide whether they would continue to reside where they had been born, or leave their homes in order to live in France, from which they had been torn, or in some other country, or, as an alternative, to become German, with all the effects and responsibilities involved in such a change. In cases where fathers were beyond the age for conscription and there were not sons, the choice was generally in favour of remaining in homes where most of them had been born, and submitting to a foreign yoke. But the wrench was a terrible one in cases where there happened to be sons, as these, if they remained in what was soon to be called the Reichsland, would be compelled to be educated in German schools and eventually to be enrolled in the German Army. Thus it was that in many cases homes were broken up and French families hurriedly sold their property at a great sacrifice and migrated in order that they might remain French and continue to dwell in the country they loved.

I really had no idea that German rule in Alsace-Lorraine was that brutal. I understand that Bismarck was totally against the annexation. Smart cookie that Bismarck.

German cyclists competing at this year’s Tour de France

Those with French-sounding first names:
Marcel Kittel
André Greipel
Simon Geschke
Emanuel Buchmann
Marcel Sieburg

Those with first names that could be either French or German:
Paul Martens
Christian Knees
Robert Wagner
Marcus Burghardt

Those with British-sounding first names:
Tony Martin
John Degenkolb
Rick Zabel

Those that don’t seem to fall into any of the above:
Nikias Arndt
Nils Politt
Jasha Sütterlin

Those with out-and-out, no-question-about-it, traditionally German first names:
Rüdiger Selig

Update: As of this afternoon both the Marcels are out. There is a lesson in there somewhere.

Raoul Wallenberg is dead – RIP

Sweden’s Tax Agency has formally declared Raoul Wallenberg to be dead.

This is long after his disappearance at the hands of the Soviets in ‘liberated’ Budapest, where Wallenberg and others had striven to defy the Nazis and the Hungarian Arrow Cross. Of course, a diplomatic passport was no defence against the NKVD, and whatever happened to Wallenberg, he will long be remembered for his heroism, as should many others be so remembered. I recall reading a book by his colleague Per Anger, who described how a Swiss diplomat, facing an Arrow Cross death squad said something like “So go ahead, kill me, but your man in Berne will hang tomorrow morning.” and they left him alone.

How very modern-Swedish for the tax authorities to be the ones who decide if you are dead or not.

Funny how this story wasn’t made into a big Hollywood movie, just a TV movie, but then again it doesn’t portray a certain cause in a shining light.

Metamaterial mechanisms

Dezeen is, for me, a daily visit website. Why? Well, partly it’s for the, sometimes amazing, big modern buildings they feature, in among all the, usually boring, small modern buildings which are their daily bread. And partly it’s for postings like this one which appeared today, entitled “Metamaterials make it possible to create mechanisms from a single piece of plastic”.

How on earth can a single piece of plastic be a mechanism? Follow the link, and watch the little scrap of video which shows you such an object in action. Maybe you’ve already seen a door handle like this, but I never have.

What this video doesn’t show is the details of how on earth this was accomplished. If you want to know that as well, keep reading the Dezeen posting linked to above. And if you really want to get to grips with who they are and what they are up to, try reading this paper, entitled “Metamaterial Mechanisms”. I won’t be doing this myself, but this is why Samizdata has commenters.

Even though the names of those doing this (Frohnhofen, Lindsay, Kovacs, Lopes, Chen) seem to span the world, my impression, for whatever it may be worth, is that what we see here is Germany doing what Germany does best. Which is: taking some newly discovered form of creativity which more Anglo-inclined tinkerers have been tinkering with for the last few years, for the fun of it, and studying it systematically, so that it can then be studied properly, by many more people, and then done properly, on an industrial scale. Fun, in Germany (as this guy is fond of explaining), is what happens after the working day has ended.

There is a lot wrong with the world, now as always. But one good thing that shows no sign of stopping is the invention and development of amazing new gadgets, processes and manufacturing techniques. Long may this continue.

A man kills someone whilst shouting “Allahu Akbar”, but…

When I saw this, I thought…

A German man suffering from psychiatric problems stabbed four people at a train station near Munich early on Tuesday, killing one man and wounding three more in an attack investigators said did not appear to be politically motivated.

Witnesses said the alleged assailant, a 27-year-old unemployed carpenter, attacked his first victim shouting “Allahu Akbar” (‘God is Greatest’ in Arabic). Some witnesses said they also heard him shout “infidels must die“.

…Well thank goodness this killing has nothing to do with the killer’s Islamic political beliefs. Good to know. Because if he had been motivated by Islam, presumably he would have shouted something like “The best döner kebabs in München are on Leonrodstraße and I’ll kill anyone who says otherwise!”

Yeah, nothing to see here. Move along. Move along.

UPDATE to linked article: “Investigators said the suspect may have converted to Islam but there was no indication that he had been radicalized“.

…presumably because as everyone knows, killing a stranger with a knife whilst shouting “Allahu Akhbar” is not an indication of radicalization, and therefore he must be a common or garden variety nutter.

A Poem of Two Chancellors

Regular commenter Niall Kilmartin started writing this poem as part of the Erdogan poetry competition but found his thoughts turning in a different direction:

              A Poem of Two Chancellors

   Though Erdogan is just the man to merit mocking poetry,
   Another leader claims my pen, a graver cause is troubling me:
   I write of Merkel’s acts because they do not cause me levity.
   Oh Angela, was Adolf’s far-from-noble dream once also thine?
   I doubt it, yet it’s you, not he, who makes your country Judenrein
   (And these days PC tells the Jews it’s hate speech if they dare to whine).

   ”The best man for the job? Why, choose a woman!” – that’s a bitter joke
   When calling doubters ‘Nazis’ is the means by which you meanly cloak
   What kind of ‘refugees’ are brought by all this ‘kindness’ you invoke.
   We know they’re really migrants since we see they mostly are young men.
   We know young men commit most crimes in any group – it follows, then,
   That their rate (high enough at home) must here be multiplied again.

   Think you, if most of them don’t kill, it will not be like World War Two?
   (When, as you know, most Germans did not personally kill a Jew;
   When most are scared or hate-filled, acts of killing only need a few.)
   Now each one missed by Hitler will be hissed or spoken of likewise
   By migrants who care not if they are heard by one, percentage-wise
   from that subgroup who won’t just talk but will make sure that that Jew dies.

   At least I can be glad most Jews you rule can flee abroad (absurd
   that they’ll be refugees for real – and so will be by you ignored).
   A few new graves, attracting vandals hypocritically deplored,
   Alone will then commemorate them, those canaries in the mine.
   Oh Angela, was Adolf’s far-from-noble dream once also thine?
   I doubt it, yet it’s you, not he, who makes your country Judenrein.

These two lines made the poem for me:

A few new graves, attracting vandals hypocritically deplored,
Alone will then commemorate them, those canaries in the mine.

Over-fearful? I would be glad to think so. I usually do think so. But the quickest of internet searches throws up recent news stories like this one from Spiegel Online International, “Skepticism of German-Israeli Friendship Growing in Berlin”, and this one from Deutsche Welle (DW), “Immigrants Beyond the Law”. The latter story says that migrants from warzones such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are not particularly criminal but says, ‘It is a completely different story with immigrants from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia though. “Activity quotas” for North Africans are no less than 40 percent.’ Wow. You would never guess from the strapline and first few paragraphs of the DW story that it contained such a statistic as that. Such evasion is typical and does much to increase mistrust.