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]

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.

Because everything is easily solved by pledging more money.
No tax rises required.
No cuts to other services.
No need to set the conditions for a growing economy to take in more tax.
A fairer society means pledging to pay for everything, absolutely FREE
It’s that easy!
Have a £5,000 cash injection every day.
Hell, why not have £10,000?
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.

Boris’ speech of welcome to COP26 delegates

Fellow world leaders and others, we meet at a grave time. I’ve consulted the extinction clock, which chronicles the tireless work of those who alert us to the dangers of climate change, and clearly there is no cause for levity.

Firstly, let me welcome you all to this conference on the dangers of Global Warming caused by our abuse of fossil fuels. I hope each of you had a good flight. Joe Biden tells me he can’t recall seeing any ice beneath him as Air Force One flew over the Arctic – no surprise there, as we were warned it would be ice-free all summer from 2017, and have no ice in the month of September from 2015, and be ice-free all year round from September 2016. As regards delegates from the central US, I’m sorry the Hoover dam has spent all of 2021 as a dry hole, but console yourselves with the reflection that it has not produced a drop of drinking water or electricity since the end of 2016, so it makes little difference.

Secondly, let me reassure you that the heavy rain of the last few days does not mean Glasgow is about to drown from a combination of rising sea levels and extreme weather events. It was very sad when London and other British cities vanished beneath the waves at the end of December 2019, but this effect of climate change was well-predicted beforehand, so I’m glad to welcome people who surely despise as much as I do any so-called supporters of the climate cause who spent December 2019 complaining about my election and Brexit instead. But while we know that climate change is making extreme weather events (heavy rain in Glasgow, for example) more common, I observe that only some notorious science deniers are claiming that anything apocalyptically bad could happen during this conference.

Now to the agenda: item one, apologies for absence.

– No-one from the Maldives can be with us because those beautiful islands vanished beneath the sea at the end of 2018. My grief when that happened would have been greater still, had not the islanders already died of thirst after climate change exhausted their supplies of fresh water at the end of 1991. (And if they had survived these earlier disasters, they would surely have perished in the tropical climate catastrophe of 2020.)

– Similarly, we have no delegates from the city of Adelaide, which ran out of drinking water at the end of March 2009 (or was it the end of December 2007?). Looking on the antipodean bright side, at least their fellow countrymen were well-warned that (since June 2020) snow in the ‘Australian Alps’ has been almost as unknown as it is to British children born since 2000, so any Australian delegates who like skiing were spared the temptation to choose Australian snow over Scottish rain. (Australians can condole with the Swiss and Austrian delegates – all their glaciers disappeared last December.)

Item two: what can we do about climate change? Sadly, nothing. I have it on the authority of Prince Charles himself that the deadline for taking action, after which global warming became irreversible, expired in January of this year, and I can only wonder at the royal optimism which set it as recently as that. As a Tory, I of course ridiculed the last Labour PM’s assertion that action on global warming would be too late unless done before December 8, 2009 (five months before he had to face his first and only election!). Since then, however, so many warnings (from figures of great authority in the climate change consensus) have expired that it would be ridiculous in me to dispute His Royal Highness’ assurance that time was most definitely up on January 24th, given that it was definitely up a good six months earlier (June 28, 2020), everyone having been thrown out of the last chance saloon half a year before that (December 1, 2019), after the final opportunity to do anything about it went by a good six weeks earlier (October 16, 2019). And let’s face it: all these warnings were hopeful almost to the point of being deniers, since we all know time had already run out back in September 14, 2016 – or May 24, 2016 – and we passed the “point of no return” in December 2014.

So let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we fry.

“He told me it was now his apartment because he’s an anarchist and nobody owns anything.”

The indefatigable Andy Ngô reports a little falling out among Antifa comrades Sean Gabriel Lopez and Camillo Masagli:

Mr Lopez, who goes by the name “No$hu”, tweeted at 6:35 PM on Oct 18, 2021:


Camillo ( who you know as trumpet man) and his girlfriend just tried to overtake my apartment. I let them stay there after they reached out to me from Seattle, telling me that they were houseless and needed help. I paid for their train ticket and gave them my space to stay in.

And at 6:40 PM.

He told me it was now his apartment because he’s an anarchist and nobody owns anything. I asked them to leave, and that only made them more angry. They than [sic] made threats while standing between me and the exit, but I was able to leave that night after letting them calm down.

Not to blow my own trumpet regarding “trumpet man”, but I predicted this ten years ago: “Upon what basis can an Occupy protest ask someone to leave?”