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]

Well he does have a point…

The next version of the Stugna software is going to have a “share to social media” button on the screen

– ‘Disruptive Politics

Cultural appropriation alert: ‘English understatement’ detected in New York

Readers of this blog know that I sometimes use the writing style called ‘English understatement’ – and though I’m Scottish, I’m also British and have a claim to it. So when I read

“a homeless shelter worker and people close to Ms. Leyden questioned whether, despite her gender identity, Ms. Harvey should have been placed in a homeless shelter for women, given her history of attacking and murdering them.”

I definitely felt my culture was being appropriated.

However, I’m not sure whom to accuse. Instapundit referred me to Liberty Unyielding, who prefaced their quote of it with ‘As the New York Times notes,’, and the NYT may just be quoting the remark of the nurse practitioner who ran the intake interview at the shelter. She obeyed her supervisor’s order to admit the recently-paroled-yet-again-as-now-harmless and even more recently reclassified-as-now-female Harvey, but even after the murder of Susan Leyden (whose body parts were so chopped up and miscellaneously discarded that determining her gender identity, never mind her identity, may have taken the pathologist some time), it could be the nurse thought it prudent to express her agenda-questioning doubts only in this very cautiously-phrased way. So I’m not clear whom I should demand be cancelled by Twitter, Facebook and everyone else.

Meanwhile, I clearly have to work harder on my English understatement skills if I am to keep our culture distinct from the one across the pond. In the good old days when Trump was in the White House, there was no doubt which side of the Atlantic stood for understatement and which didn’t, but it now appears that when the cabal stole the election they also stole that clarity. I am working as best I can to recreate it, and welcome in advance any commenter’s constructive critique of how well or otherwise I’m succeeding.

BTW, I wasn’t looking, still less hoping, for occasion to write more posts like this one – but that’s not the only thing in the last two years that I was not looking or hoping for.

Thou shalt not blaspheme against the True Faith

Someone posted this on Twitter…

And Twitter suspended their account. Thou shalt not blaspheme against the True Faith.

A Modest Proposal for containing Monkeypox

The WHO has proclaimed Monkeypox a global health emergency.

A major study in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that Monkeypox is being driven overwhelmingly by sex between men. Yesterday the CDC reported the first two child monkeypox cases in the US:

“California toddler and an infant in D.C. were likely infected by ‘household contacts’ and both had contact with gay or bisexual men, CDC chief says”

Although the report is consistent with the study, I suspect Ian Miles Cheong thinks the phrase “between men may be understating the age range involved. “Are we allowed to ask any questions?”, he tweeted – to which the literal answer may be ‘no’, since Twitter has announced it will censor those who use the word ‘Groomers’, and I suggest the question Ian has not (yet) asked might involve that word.

However, I have a question – a modest proposal (and it truly is modest, as it would be dishonestly vain of me to pretend it was my idea; I owe it all to the inspiration of Professor Neil Ferguson and Dr Fauci).

Why don’t we just ban male homosexual sex – for three weeks “to Flatten the Curve” or fifteen days “to Slow the Spread” or whatever period sounds good? (How long hardly matters, provided it’s long enough to prepare a case for banning it for a lot longer. Here again, I must modestly disclaim all inventiveness of my own. I owe the idea of banning briefly, then using that time to get the ban extended to Dr Deborah Birx.)

Of course, such regulations reduce liberty – but surely global health experts have established beyond question these last two years that liberty can and should be sacrificed whenever the WHO declares a global health emergency.

Of course, Sweden claimed they would (and did) get a better outcome through doing much less by regulation, leaving far more of the distancing and restraint decisions to individual discretion – but the health authorities and media of most of the rest of the western political world treated the idea as ridiculous then, and do not call themselves ridiculous now.

So I put it to my readers that it would be absurd for those who guided us through the last pandemic not to enact my modest proposal for handling this one (especially as the rules would be easier to draft, since I’ve a vague notion that there’s an old law that could be revived to ban this unhealthy behaviour).

I post this to make an important political point

Please tell me what it is in the comments. Via Seth Dillon of the Babylon Bee, who offers one suggestion.

Convinced governments have massive cash reserves they’re keeping from you just to be evil?

Then you will LOVE this ABSOLUTELY FREE (and gloriously 70’s K-Tel) video brought to you by “Mercurius”, “SNP Economics Explained”. It isn’t just for Scotland. It works for YOUR government, too, GUARANTEED.

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Have a £5,000 cash injection every day.
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Now that’s compassionate!

Understanding the Ukrainian psyche

There is a Russian literary classic called “Mumu” by Turgenev, the story of a mute serf who bonded with a dog called Mumu, because that was all the serf could pronounce. But when his master ordered him to drown Mumu, despite this love for the dog, he obeyed…

If Mumu was Ukrainian
If Mumu was Ukrainian

An utter croc

“Boris Johnson has said any peace talks over Ukraine are likely to fail as he compared holding talks with Vladimir Putin to negotiating with a crocodile.”

BBC reports that Boris Johnson made crocophobic remarks today, with LGBTQIAC activists decrying this blatant display of Tory prejudice as “triggering”. A Tory spokesman dismissed the criticism as “a complete croc”.

A timely warning from Daniel Hannan

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

P J O’Rourke – 1947 – 2022

The deaths of those whom you have met and influenced you for the better is a kick in the gut, a punch on the nose and reminder that cancer really, really sucks. And that is the sort of sentence that the late P J O’ Rourke, literary jester, mocker of fashionable nostrums, lover of fast cars and travel to dangerous places, could have written.

I met Mr O’Rourke about a decade ago, in what was the aftermath of the 2008 financial smash. He was charming company (my wife was bowled over by him – you have to watch these silver-tongued Irishmen) and retained the fizz that I recall from his coruscating book, Republican Party Reptile. I read that, I think, in around 1989, and then got my hands on anything he wrote. When he became a traveling correspondent for RollingStone magazine (a fact that today strikes one as impossible, such is the tribalism of our culture), I followed his columns closely. Parliament of Whores, written in the early 1990s and on the cusp of the Bill Clinton decade, stands the test of time as a brilliantly funny takedown of Big Government. Then came classics such as Eat The Rich and All The Trouble In The World.

I don’t quite think he kept the standard of searing wit + commentary at that level into the later 90s and into the current century. He did “serious stuff” with an amusing turn, such as a fine book about Adam Smith (he discusses it here) and could turn on the brilliance, but I think some of the energy had fallen off. He was a Dad with all the responsibilities that brings, and younger and less funny and more aggressive voices began to dominate the noise level in the public square. (Or maybe that is a sign that I am getting old, ahem.) O’Rourke, to the anger of some, wasn’t a Trump fan, and said so. He moved quite more explicitly libertarian, having a gig at the CATO Institute think tank. By his early 70s, I did not read or hear much of his doings, and that was a shame in the age of Greta, Cancel Culture, “Save the NHS”, Great Resets, Chinese nastiness and the Keto Diet. (I am kidding slightly about the last point.)

P J O’Rourke’s death saddens me as much as did that of two other fine men whom I met over the years and who died from cancer over the past couple of years: Brian Micklethwait and Sir Roger Scruton. They were all very different men, but they shared a common love of liberty, a mischievous wit and a hatred of cant. (See an essay here by Brian about O’Rourke’s essay on the wonders of fast cars and how Brian saw some of the same lessons from the innovations around music tech.)

I will miss P J O’Rourke and his chuckling, optimistic and sane voice. And I will miss the chance to share another whisky and cigar with him too.

The work of construction

As the author says, this is a long thread, but in these days of uncertainty when so many yearn for examples of selfless effort for the common cause, well worth your time.

I found #15… disturbing.

Edit: Hat-tip to Duncan S in the comments – the original creators of this inspiring drama were Phil Shearrer and his son Kyle Shearrer back in 2015.

An academic hoax at Cornell University

On December 17th the Times reported,

Hoaxes sometimes have their uses in reducing certain states of mind to an absurdity. By playing on some common credulity they show how blind it is. One has just happened in America.

The report goes on to say that “the audience were not aware that the lecture was a parody. Indeed, it was such a success that the hoaxers were frightened and would have kept the joke to themselves, if it had not been revealed” and that now “[the hoaxers] are not popular in Ithaca, especially as a large part of the faculty and undergraduates of Cornell University were hoaxed.”

A lecture given to “a packed and brilliant audience” at an elite American educational institution turned out to be a fake? Surely you jest?

Well, I do, but not in the sense that this hoax lecture did not happen, but in the sense that the December 17th of the report was December 17th 1921. The lecture was on the topic of dreams in Freudian psychology and was given by a person who claimed to be a friend and pupil of of Freud. One can see why lines such as “A dreamer does know what he dreams, but he does not know what he knows and therefore believes what he does not know” went down well with the audience.

Alan Sokal and the trio of Peter Boghossian, James A. Lindsay, and Helen Pluckrose are heirs of a well established tradition, but it is a sad sign of the times that the absurd statements they produced to mimic the prevalent academic style of their time were merely ugly, whereas the equivalent in 1921 had something of the beauty of the later paintings of Claude Monet.