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]

Freedom and free movement

Some propositions:

1. Freedom is a good thing. It is good in itself and it leads to good outcomes.

2. Freedom includes “free movement”.

3. Free movement is a bad thing. It leads to bad outcomes.

I can imagine some of the responses to this.

Freedom of movement is a success.

Really?

Anti-Jewish sit-in at Liverpool Street Station.

Still think it’s a success? I’d love to know what you would regard as failure.

Freedom of movement worked in the US in the 19th Century.

Yes, but not anywhere else. And certainly not here, and not now.

I know some great immigrants (and their descendants).

And so do I.

I’d go to war with her.

…and her.

The issue is not with those who come in small numbers. Or the ones who marry in. It’s with the ones who arrive en masse, live separately and learn to despise the natives.

There are problems but these would be solved with more freedom. If we abolished discrimination laws, hate speech laws etc things would be better. If we abolished planning (US=zoning) laws, the NHS and state education a lot of the pressures that immigration causes would be eased.

I am not sure that abolishing hate laws etc is even possible. People who find themselves mocked for their immutable characteristics are going to try to do something about it. Abolishing planning etc would be a good thing but that would do nothing to reduce the problems caused by mass migration. By making migration even more attractive it might even make them worse.

If you ditch freedom of movement where do you stop? freedom of speech, property rights?

That is the bit that troubles me the most. I want to believe that libertarianism has universal application. But what if it doesn’t? Here is an idea. Matters concerning the tribe are off-limits. Who is a member of the tribe? Where shall the tribe live? How shall the tribe defend itself? are simply outside the realm of libertarianism.

Update 5/11/23. When commenters started to mention the welfare state I had something of an “Oh drat!” moment. I’d simply forgotten to mention it. And it is a plausible explanation for both mass migration and its failure.

So, how do we assess the claim? We need to find examples of unsuccessful mass migration in the absence of a welfare state (or similar). This is not an easy thing to do. Welfare states and transport becoming affordable to even the world’s poorest came about at about the same time. There are a couple of counter-examples. Irish immigration to Belfast in the 19th Century for example. There were no Irishmen in Belfast before about 1800. There was no welfare state. There was lots of immigration to the shipyards and other industries. And by 1858 (if memory serves) there was lots of trouble. Another example which I can’t find was in a comment left here maybe 15 years ago. The commenter pointed out that Singapore had no welfare state, lots of immigration and ethnic tensions.

The state of Private Eye

It is unlikely to be one of those subjects that ought to grab more than fleeting attention, but being a man of the media and with a liking for satire, wit and a good investigative story, like many of my fellow Gen-Xers, I used to read Private Eye. The magazine, founded in the “Satire Boom” period of the 1960s (this is ancient history today), has achieved a few notable scalps over the years. These days, in my view, it is increasingly rather conventional in its hatreds and targets.

And its recent front page around the Israel/Hamas conflict seems all of a piece with this mindset.

Hamas in its own words: “We will do this again and again”.

The video embedded in this tweet from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows Ghazi Hamad of the Hamas Political Bureau speaking on LBC Television, a Lebanese TV channel, on October 24th 2023. What follows is my transcription of the first minute of this video clip. I often do this, transcribe what was said on video into writing, to make it easier for people to search for and cite the relevant words later.

*

Ghazi Hamad: “Israel is a country that has no place on our land. We must remove that country because it constitutes a security, military, and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nation and must be finished.”

“We are not ashamed to say this with full force.”

“We must teach Israel a lesson and we will do this again and again.”

“The Al-Aqsa Flood is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth, because we have the determination, the resolve, and the capabilities to fight.”

Interviewer: “Will we have to pay a price?”

Ghazi Hamad: “Yes, and we are ready to pay it. We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.”

“We did not want to harm civilians, but there were complications on the ground, and there was a party in the area with (civilian) population. It was a large area, across 40 kilometres… The occupation must come to an end.”

Interviewer: “Occupation where? In the Gaza Strip?”

Ghazi Hamad: “No, I am talking about all the Palestinian lands.”

Interviewer: “Does that mean the annihilation of Israel?”

Ghazi Hamad: “Yes, of course.”

Samizdata quote of the day – unsurprisingly totalitarians support totalitarianism

“The kinds of people who are willing to justify, minimize, or deny the slaughter of millions by the likes of Stalin and Mao are unlikely to blanch at Hamas’ much smaller-scale atrocities. If you are willing to embrace the Great Leap Forward, Stalin’s purges, or Lenin’s Red Terror, there is probably no limit to what you will accept, so long as you think it is moving the world in the right direction.”

Ilya Somin, in an article that goes into the details of why so many on the Left have adopted a version of the oldest hatred.

Intersectionality in today’s NHS

Dr Wahid Asif Shaida has worked as an NHS doctor for a practice in Harrow for more than twenty years. He is described as having a senior role at the surgery as a mentor and trainer for recently-qualified doctors.

Remember the Hizb ut-Tahrir member who led the chant for jihad the other day?

Same guy.

London jihad demo leader is NHS doctor: Islamic extremist’s double life as a suburban GP is exposed

The firebrand leader of an extremist Islamic group that called for ‘jihad’ at an anti-Israel protest works as an NHS GP under a different name, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

As head of Hizb ut-Tahrir in the UK, Abdul Wahid celebrated the barbaric Hamas terror attacks that slaughtered 1,400 Jewish men, women and children earlier this month as a ‘very welcome punch on the nose’ to Israel.

But he has also spent more than 20 years practising as a family doctor under his real name, Dr Wahid Asif Shaida.

The lever wasn’t long enough

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world”, the great mathematician Archimedes is supposed to have said.

Maybe it was their company name that led Anglo-Dutch consumer packaged goods company Unilever to briefly decide that their real mission was not making shampoo, soap, washing power and assorted packaged food products but to take it upon themselves to move the world. The world moved all right, away from these irritating people who were trying to shove it around.

“Unilever to tone down social purpose after ‘virtue-signalling’ backlash”, reports the Telegraph.

Unilever will no longer seek to “force-fit” all of its brands with a social purpose, its new chief executive said, following a backlash over the company’s “virtue-signalling”.

Hein Schumacher, who took over from Alan Jope in July, said for some of its brands, giving them a social or environmental purpose “simply won’t be relevant or it will be an unwelcome distraction”.

He added: “I believe that a social and environmental purpose is not something that we should force-fit on every brand.”

It marks a change in position from Mr Jope, who placed social purpose at the centre of his strategy for Unilever. In 2019, he pledged to sell off brands that “are not able to stand for something more important than just making your hair shiny, your skin soft, your clothes whiter or your food tastier”.

Can anyone tell me if this pledge was fulfilled, and if so which brands were sold to other companies? I like the sound of products whose makers feel that there is nothing more important than manufacturing them to perform their functions well.

The stance prompted a backlash from the City, amid growing frustration at blue chip companies for prioritising fashionable causes over profits.

Terry Smith, one of Britain’s best-known investors, has criticised Unilever for becoming “obsessed” with its public image and accused the company of “virtue signalling” rather than focusing on financial performance.

He said in January last year: “A company which feels it has to define the purpose of Hellmann’s mayonnaise has, in our view, clearly lost the plot.”

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Schumacher said Unilever was not “giving up on purpose-led brands” altogether. He said for some brands such as Dove, giving them a social or environmental purpose was “logical”, as it made them more attractive for shoppers. Dove uses the idea of “real beauty” in its marketing campaigns, featuring women with different body types.

The Unilever chief said Ben & Jerry’s was another of its brands which has a “clear purpose”.

The ice cream brand is known for adopting stances on political issues, championing causes including protecting the environment and defending LGTBQ+ and refugee rights.

However, Unilever has clashed with Ben & Jerry’s over its activism in the past. Mr Jope told the ice cream company in July last year it should steer clear of “straying into geopolitics” after the brand attempted to boycott the Palestinian occupied territories. Unilever later sold Ben & Jerry’s Israeli operations.

Ben & Jerry’s has not spoken publicly about the Israel-Hamas conflict since the war broke out.

Mr Schumacher said on Thursday: “They’ve been vocal indeed before because of the social mission that Ben and Jerry’s definitely has. On the conflict, I just have no comment at the moment. It’s not a topic of discussion.”

Tellingly, the Telegraph article adds that the “social mission” to boycott the Palestinian occupied territories did not apply to occupied territories nearer home where Unilever’s profits were at stake:

Mr Schumacher has also come under pressure to address Unilever’s decision to keep selling its products in Russia since taking over as chief executive.

The Telegraph revealed earlier this year that Ukrainian veterans had written directly to Mr Schumacher, urging him to quit Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. They warned Unilever staff risked being conscripted into the war.

Schumacher’s response was to emit words:

On Thursday, Mr Schumacher said Unilever would continue to look at its options, adding: “It is clear that the containment actions that we have taken minimise Unilever’s economic contribution to the Russian state.”

Arrestable and non-arrestable offences during religious protests

Ten months ago, a woman called Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was arrested for silently praying outside an abortion clinic.

For days ago, a man whose name the police know but have not made public was not arrested for asking a “What is the solution to liberate people from the concentration camp called Palestine?” Then the man standing at his side led the crowd in chanting “Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!” – and he wasn’t arrested either. This took place at a protest in London on 21st October organised by the Islamic Fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

I do not think either Isabel Vaughan-Spruce or the two Hizb ut-Tahrir members should have been arrested. I have two main reasons for this view. Firstly, I believe in free speech (well, free mental recitation in Vaughan-Spruce’s case). Secondly, I want to know what the likes of Hizb ut-Tahrir are saying and I want other people to know. The media have sugar-coated Muslim extremism for long enough.

But if we are going to have anyone arrested for religiously motivated protest, why should it be her rather than them? Here is the Metropolitan Police’s own explanation:

Specialist officers have assessed the video and have not identified any offences arising from the specific clip. We have also sought advice from specialist Crown Prosecution Service lawyers who have reached the same conclusion.

However, recognising the way language like this will be interpreted by the public and the divisive impact it will have, officers identified the man involved and spoke to him to discourage any repeat of similar chanting.

We are also aware of photos from the same protest showing signs and banners referring to ‘Muslim armies’.

While there are varying interpretations of what the language on the placards should be interpreted to mean, officers must take decisions based on the wording actually used.

Such care for exactitude in whether words spoken at a protest met the threshold for being an offence would be admirable if the police applied the same care to everyone. But they don’t. Ben Sixsmith, writing for The Critic, lists twelve things more arrestable than calling for Jihad.

UPDATE: This video, which I found via Dr Eli David, shows a crowd of Muslims marching down a street in London. Someone shouts (into a microphone judging from the sound) the following words, “We’ll find some Jews here! We want the Zionists! We want their blood!” Meanwhile a policeman walks beside them, saying nothing.

Samizdata quote of the day – Hamas unleashed hell

IDF spokesman Daniel Agari steps up to deliver some preliminary remarks. “We want people to understand what we are fighting for,” he says. “This is something else. Something has happened to Israel. This is not about rage or righteousness but the sense that this is a crime vs humanity. This is good v bad. Death v life. These [terrorists] will do anything. [commit any crime]. And it’s nothing to do with Islam,” he adds. It is a refrain I hear through the event. Clearly the word has come down to make a clear separation between Hamas, the wider Palestinians and, above all, with Islam.

What is also clear is the emotion. Agari is technically a media mouthpiece, but he veers into rhetoric. “Why did they strap GoPros to themselves? Why do they call the family of who they murdered? Because they are proud of what they did.”

– David Patrikarakos writing I watched Hamas unleash hell. Not easy reading, nor should it be, but read it all. And then spit on the next Hamas apologist you see.

Breaking the cycle of violence

We are most of us familiar enough with how the cycle of violence works in the Middle East but for those who aren’t here is a quick summary:

1. Palestinian terrorists commit outrage.

2. Israel resolves to do “something”.

3. “Something” turns out to be against international law and attracts international condemnation.

4. “Something” turns into nothing.

5. See 1.

There are two ways out of this. One, Israel does nothing. Two, Israel ignores international law.

The “do nothing” option sounds suspiciously like defeat and generally-speaking that sounds like a bad thing. So, I’m with Israel ignoring international law. Which means rather than all this “Palestinians bombed their own car park” malarkey, I look forward to the day when the Israelis say, “Yes, we bombed the car park. We intended to do it, are proud of the fact and we will continue to bomb car parks and any other target that will lead to the deaths of 500 ‘innocent’ civilians until the Palestinians surrender.”

All those in favour of a ceasefire between Hamas & Israel…

All those in favour of a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, raise your hands now…

Samizdata quote of the day – Israel edition

“Hamas is the enemy not only of Jews, but of the Palestinians themselves. Israel hoped that when Gaza was evacuated it would become an economic powerhouse. Had that happened, many Israelis would have been prepared to withdraw from most of the West Bank. The purpose of Zionism, after all, was to provide a homeland for Jews, not to rule over another people. But Gaza chose a different path, electing Hamas in 2006; and when, in 2017, an Israeli minister said he would help Gaza economically if it renounced terror, Mahmoud al-zahar, a Hamas co-founder, said that if Gaza had wanted to be like Singapore, it would have done so already.”

Vernon Bogdanor, professor of government, King’s College, London. (Item in Daily Telegraph behind the paywall.) The professor delivers a succinct summation of the moral depravity of Hamas, and by those who, through evasion of the facts, seek to excuse its actions. As an aside, there is another reason that the writer doesn’t spell out for why Hamas will not renounce terror: it is in many ways like the Mafia, or what Sinn Fein/IRA was and became: a gangster group that enjoys the trappings of power, including the money (as shown by how some of its political leaders reside in comfort, hundreds of miles away, in Qatar, etc).

The BBC frequently does tell people “who to support and who to condemn”

Four days ago John Simpson of the BBC wrote this article, “Why BBC doesn’t call Hamas militants ‘terrorists’ – John Simpson”, in which he said, “It’s simply not the BBC’s job to tell people who to support and who to condemn – who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.”

It may not be in its job description – it may be contrary to its job description – but the BBC tells people who are the good guys and who are the bad guys all the time. Here is why I know that. For several years I was one of the contributors to the “Biased BBC” blog, which in those days was on Blogspot but now is at https://biasedbbc.tv/. Eventually, I gradually stopped posting there due to a combination of burnout and the political centre of gravity of the blog having moved away from my own views. But before that there was a period of years when I used to post some example of BBC bias almost every day. People would send them in, or I would see them myself. And there was never a day when I could find no example to cite; there were only days when I did not post because I was doing something other than the damn blog.

As an exercise in nostalgia, yesterday morning I clicked on the BBC News website to see what I could see. And, just like the old days, I found something immediately. (I did not post it then because during the day I was doing something other than the damn blog.)

Like John Simpson, Katya Adler, the BBC’s Europe editor, is a veteran BBC journalist who has done much good work. I’m sure she thinks of herself as impartial. I am sure that she genuinely did not see the words I am about to quote as endorsing or condemning any particular view. The article concerned is headlined “Polish election: Expected political earthquake delights Brussels”, and it includes the words:

“In Poland’s case, Brussels withheld billions of euros of funds, pointing at the Polish government taking away women’s rights over their own bodies by virtually outlawing abortion, and threatening the independence of the judiciary and press freedom too by taking hold of the state broadcaster.”

The line about Polish politics is expressing an opinion. The line about abortion is expressing an opinion. Can a professional journalist like Ms Adler conceivably be unaware that the phrase “taking away women’s rights over their own bodies by virtually outlawing abortion”, assuming as it does that the foetus is merely part of the woman’s body, firmly takes one side in the abortion debate? The answer is yes, she can be unaware of it, because she is a well-connected, well-educated member of the more intellectual segment of the British upper middle class, who spends most of her time with colleagues of a similar background to herself. She joined the BBC in 1998. At that time the only major newspaper that carried BBC job adverts was the Guardian.

It could be worse. The British chattering classes are often silly and vain, but those who rose to prominence in the 1970s, 80s and 90s still have much of the liberal ethos of their parents in them. They want to believe, and so they do believe, that the rest of the world shares their kindly liberal values. They particularly want to believe that all their colleagues in the BBC World Service are “BBC people” in the same sense they are.

This belief is false.

Since John Simpson posted his piece, it has come out that several of the BBC’s Arabic language correspondents felt it was their job to “tell people who to support and who to condemn”, and the answers were “Hamas” and “Israel” respectively: “BBC reporters in the Middle East appear to justify killing of civilians by Hamas”

Mahmoud Sheleib, a BBC News senior broadcast journalist, tweeted suggesting that young Israelis were effectively combatants.

“[I see] In front of me on Al Jazeera, their so-called civilians are standing armed alongside the police and shooting because they basically don’t have any civilians among the youth. This is what the ignorant often don’t know. I am in favour of fighting them with love, yes, this is the solution.” Followed by a laughing emoji.

The Cairo-based journalist also took part in a Twitter conversation in which he joked about a woman whose grandmother was abducted by Hamas receiving an “inheritance”.

Aya Hossam,who describes herself as a broadcast journalist at BBC Arabic, liked a tweet saying: “Every member of the Zionist entity served in the army at some point in his life, whether men or women, and they all had victims of explicit violations… This term “civilians” applies to the animals and pets that live there and they are not seriously at fault.”

She later retweeted a message which included the phrase “the Zionist must know that he will live as a thief and a usurper”.

Hossam is a freelancer, but Sheleib is a senior correspondent.

Those two were not the only ones. Sally Nabil, Salma Khattab, Sanna Khoury and Amr Fekry were four more examples of BBC journalists happy to take the side of Hamas in public. Their BBC colleague Nada Abdelsamad was particularly enthusiastic:

Nada Abdelsamad, a Beirut-based programmes editor at BBC Arabic, retweeted a video of Israelis hiding in fear entitled: “settlers hiding inside a tin container in fear of the Palestinian resistance warriors”. This came with a hashtag translated as “promise of the hereafter”, a quranic reference to killing of the Jews.