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]

Out: “Follow the science”. In: “Let the hate flow through you”

Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you.

“Telling people to ‘follow the science’ won’t save the planet. But they will fight for justice”, writes Amy Westervelt in the Guardian:

The climate emergency has clear themes with heroes and villains. Describing it this way is how to build a movement

The biggest success of the fossil fuel industry’s decades-long campaign to push doubt about climate science is that it forced the conversation about the climate crisis to centre on science.

It’s not that we didn’t need scientific research into climate change, or that we don’t need plenty more of it. Or even that we don’t need to do a better job of explaining basic science to people, across the board (hello, Covid). But at this moment, “believe science” is too high a bar for something that demands urgent action. Believing science requires understanding it in the first place. In the US, the world’s second biggest carbon polluter, fewer than 40% of the population are college educated and in many states, schools in the public system don’t have climate science on the curriculum. So where should this belief – strong enough to push for large-scale social and behavioural change – be rooted exactly?

People don’t need to know anything at all about climate science to know that a profound injustice has occurred here that needs to be righted.

The most recommended comment was by someone called “Pilotchute”. It started by quoting Ms Westervelt’s claim that the the US entering the Second World War was an example of “social change driven by moral outrage at the power being wielded by the few over the many”.

Pilotchute responded:

?
OK, nothing to do with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines then.
Ironic misinterpretation really, given the underlying “ordinary folk are too stupid to understand . . .” thrust to the article.

Tomorrow I will wish peace and goodwill to all men

Today, however…

Though I did kind of like the contemplative thief at 08:16.

Everybody but me probably knows the explanation for this

Sometimes if one does an internet search for the headline of an article, one will find it in several different places on the internet.

For instance the article that Johnathan Pearce linked to in this post, a piece by Gerard Baker for the Wall Street Journal with the title “Biden Emerges as Progressive Government’s Mr. Bad Example” turned up in a site calling itself “Daily News 4 U” which offers “News for you all day” in English, German and Filipino. The headline seems to have lost the final word “example” but apart from that it is the same article.

It could be that the WSJ has a particularly active syndication sales department, I suppose. Though one would think they would get the headline right.

Whether or not the route by which an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on 20th December reappeared in Daily News 4 U on 21st December was entirely … homologated, there is no mystery about why a little-known news site would want to re-publish an article by an established columnist alongside lots and lots and lots of articles by columnists from all over the world.

But there is a related phenomenon which I do not understand.

On December 14th an opinion piece by Bret Stephens in the New York Times caused a stir. Its headline was “Biden Should Not Run Again — and He Should Say He Won’t.” The full article is behind a paywall, but here are the opening paragraphs:

Is it a good idea for Joe Biden to run for re-election in 2024? And, if he runs again and wins, would it be good for the United States to have a president who is 86 — the age Biden would be at the end of a second term?

I put these questions bluntly because they need to be discussed candidly, not just whispered constantly.

In the 1980s, it was fair game for reputable reporters to ask whether Ronald Reagan was too old for the presidency, at a time when he was several years younger than Biden is today. Donald Trump’s apparent difficulty holding a glass and his constricted vocabulary repeatedly prompted unflattering speculation about his health, mental and otherwise. And Joe Biden’s memory lapses were a source of mirth among his Democratic primary rivals, at least until he won the nomination.

Yet it’s now considered horrible manners to raise concerns about Biden’s age and health. As if doing so can only play into Trump’s hands. As if the president’s well-being is nobody’s business but his own. As if it doesn’t much matter whether he has the fortitude for the world’s most important job, so long as his aides can adroitly fill the gaps. As if accusations of ageism and a giant shushing sound from media elites can keep the issue off the public mind.

And here is the Uncanny Valley version from an outlet called “Lightlynews.com”:

Is it a good suggestion for Joe Biden to run for re-election in 2024? And, if he runs once more and wins, would it not be good for the United States to have a president who’s 86 — the age Biden can be on the finish of a second time period?

I put these questions bluntly as a result of they must be mentioned candidly, not simply whispered continuously.

In the 1980s, it was honest sport for respected reporters to ask whether or not Ronald Reagan was too previous for the presidency, at a time when he was a number of years youthful than Biden is in the present day. Donald Trump’s obvious issue holding a glass and his constricted vocabulary repeatedly prompted unflattering hypothesis about his well being, psychological and in any other case. And Joe Biden’s reminiscence lapses had been a supply of mirth amongst his Democratic major rivals, a minimum of till he received the nomination.

Yet it’s now thought-about horrible manners to lift considerations about Biden’s age and well being. As if doing so can solely play into Trump’s arms. As if the president’s well-being is no one’s enterprise however his personal. As if it doesn’t a lot matter whether or not he has the fortitude for the world’s most essential job, as long as his aides can adroitly fill the gaps. As if accusations of ageism and a large shushing sound from media elites can preserve the problem off the general public thoughts.

The level of similarity between this and the original is too great to save the publishers from a lawsuit, but let’s be real, the example of the Gerard Baker article and many others suggests that no lawsuit is likely. Why did someone bother to pass this article through the word-grinder, when it is clear they could have just copied the real thing with less trouble and no greater risk?

Samizdata quote of the day

A brand new medRxiv pre-print study entitled: “The BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 reprograms both adaptive and innate immune responses” has graced our world. This paper is so important and it provides evidence to support what many prominent immunologists and vaccinologists have been saying for a long time, including myself. These COVID-19 mRNA injectable products are causing, yes, causing, immune system dysregulation – and not just in the context of the adaptive system, but in the context of the innate system. Not only that, but these findings provide very good reasons as to why we are seeing resurgences of latent viral infections and other adverse events reported in VAERS (and other adverse event reporting systems) and perhaps more importantly, why we should under no circumstances inject this crap into our children.

Jessica Rose

Never apologise. Explain without apology.

“In politics apologies just make things worse”, writes Daniel Finkelstein in the Times. The subtitle to his piece is “Boris Johnson should be sorry about the Owen Paterson affair but actually saying so would do him more harm than good”, and that sums up the article: the rather bleak observation that in politics apologies do not pay. Finkelstein stresses that he is not saying they shouldn’t work, just that they usually don’t. To illustrate this he cites an experiment carried out by Cass Sunstein:

In Cass Sunstein’s recent book This Is Not Normal he describes two pieces of work that seek to measure the impact an apology has on people’s opinion of the person doing the apologising.

The first uses two real events. In a survey respondents were told about an occasion when the senator Rand Paul seemed to suggest that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was wrong to forbid private discrimination on the basis of race. They were also told of the difficulty Lawrence Summers got himself into as president of Harvard University. Summers had talked about genetic differences between men and women that might influence their scientific interest and ability.

Different versions of each of these stories were tested. Some respondents were told that Paul or Summers had apologised and tried to make amends; some were told they had toughed it out. Would you vote for senator Paul? Should Summers face negative consequences?

For Paul, an apology made no difference. For Summers the apology produced a serious negative reaction. And indeed in real life Paul avoided an explicit apology and remained a senator while Summers repeatedly apologised yet had to resign.

That was Finkelstein quoting Sunstein. This is me: neither Rand Paul nor Larry Summers should have apologised. The inefficacy of apology as a tactic had very little to do with it. They should not have cringed, they should have roared.

Senator Paul was right to say what he did. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was wrong to forbid private discrimination on the basis of race. The various US Civil Rights Acts were utterly right to sweep away the state-mandated apartheid of the Old South, and to dismantle the system of legal dirty tricks designed to make it almost impossible for black Americans to actually exercise their theoretical right to vote. But they should have left individuals alone. There would now be less racism, not more, if the US government had stuck to its job of enforcing the equal application of the laws and had kept out of men’s souls. Instead for my entire lifetime it has been trying to help the poor, poor blacks and reform the wicked, wicked whites. The keenest supporters of that policy proclaim its utter failure: they tell us that fifty-seven years after the Act white supremacy is embedded in every American institution. So let’s take them at their word, cease pursuing this obviously futile strategy, and try something else.

Lawrence Summers was also right to say what he did, which was that people should be unafraid to honestly consider all hypotheses as to why there are fewer women in science and engineering, including the one that men just tend to be better at science and engineering. He was right to say that no hypothesis should be off the table, and even if he had been wrong about that particular hypothesis (speaking as a woman who was once in that world, I don’t think he was wrong), he was right to raise the question. Harvard’s decline from a place of free scientific enquiry to a training ground for little Lysenkos became almost inevitable from the moment it forced out its last independent president. Not that the other American universities or the British ones are much better. They are all full of people each competing to apologise the most fervently for their own institution’s sinful existence. I begin to think that, here, too, the best thing might be to take them at their word.

The Welsh Senedd just voted for Covid passports because of a Zoom glitch

“Covid pass plans agreed in knife-edge Senedd vote”, the BBC reports:

Mandatory Covid passes in nightclubs and large events will be introduced in Wales as planned on 11 October after Welsh ministers won a knife-edge Senedd vote.

The measures were agreed with 28 politicians voting for and 27 voting against.

It came despite politicians in the opposition uniting against the plans.

The public will be expected to show evidence of being fully vaccinated or having a recent negative Covid test.

Conservative Vale of Clwyd Member of the Senedd (MS) Gareth Davies did not take part in the vote, with the Tories citing “technical difficulties” for what happened.

[…]

Ahead of the vote, Conservative MS Darren Millar could be heard telling Presiding Officer Elin Jones: “I’m sorry we still have a member who is desperately trying to get into Zoom.”

Ms Jones replied that she would still hold the vote: “We have made every opportunity possible for that named member to get in, including sharing my personal phone.”

I was not without sympathy for Elin Jones, the presiding officer. It has happened many times in many assemblies that a vote passed or failed because a member could not physically reach the chamber in time. One cannot spin things out forever. There has to be a cut-off point.

I can also see the reasoning behind the Labour-controlled Senedd’s refusal to re-run the vote.

Asked about holding a re-run of the vote, Eluned Morgan [Baroness Morgan of Ely, Minister for Health and Social Services in the Welsh Government] told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast with Claire Summers that that is “not how democratic processes work”.

“You don’t keep on having a vote until you get the answer that you want,” she said.

I do see her point, though I also note that both Elin Jones and Eluned Morgan were entirely in favour of re-running a vote until they got the answer they wanted when it came to the popular vote to leave the European Union.

I digress. Though this vote imposing Covid passports on Wales will stand, a bad smell hangs over the manner of its passing. Enough people have shared the experience of struggling to log into Zoom meetings since this pandemic began to ensure that sympathy with Gareth Davies will be widespread. Another thing… I tried to think of a way of saying “some people will think this looks suspicious” without sounding like a conspiracist myself but there isn’t one. All I can do is state for the record that I think this incident was a cock-up, not a conspiracy. But the trouble with every combination of voting and technology is that the process is opaque. If Gareth Davies had failed to reach the chamber in time because his car had got stuck in traffic, he and we could all be reasonably sure that was all that had happened. There is no such instinctive assurance that no one’s thumb was on the scale with Zoom. The Senedd should dump this “hybrid model” or whatever they call it where some members meet in person and others clock in, or fail to clock in, via Zoom. Stop mucking around, earn your pay, go back to meeting in person.

Astonishingly, Broness Morgan actually boasted of Welsh Labour’s mandate to pass this law:

“What we know is that the people of Wales want to be protected.”

“We had a huge mandate as a result of the election because of our cautious approach.”

Baroness, your mandate for this is about one electron thick.

Ctrl-F “frack” 0/0

The government has published this UK gas supply explainer.

There has recently been widespread media coverage of wholesale gas prices, and the effect this could have on household energy bills. The impact on certain areas of industry, and its ability to continue production, has also attracted attention.

This explainer sets out the background to the issue and the action the government is taking to protect the UK’s energy supply, industry, and consumers.

Natural gas prices have been steadily rising across the globe this year for a number of reasons. This has affected Europe, including the UK, as well as other countries around the world.

Later, the author of the “explainer” reassures us consumers that energy prices may not go up as much as one might expect:

The high wholesale gas prices that are currently visible may not be the actual prices being paid by all consumers.

This is because major energy suppliers purchase much of their wholesale supplies many months in advance, giving protection to them and their customers from short-term price spikes.

The Energy Price Cap is also in place to protect millions of customers from the sudden increases in global gas prices this winter. Despite the rising costs of wholesale energy, the cap still saves 15 million households up to £100 a year.

Isn’t it nice that the government protects consumers by stopping energy firms passing on price rises?

Completely unrelated: Four more small energy firms could go bust next week, the BBC reports.

Some of you may remember that the Bishop Hill blog used to cover climate and energy issues in a moderate and well-informed way. Unless I missed the announcement of a move, that blog does not seem to have been active since 2019. However I recently found that the Bishop is on Twitter, one of the few reasons left to visit that horrible place.

“The app will contact people at random asking them to provide proof of their location within 15 minutes”

How will South Australia’s home quarantine trial work?

Premier Steven Marshall said he hoped the trial would be expanded to international travellers in “subsequent weeks”, making it a national first.

Those in home-based quarantine will need to download an app, developed by the South Australian Government, to prove they are staying home while required to.

People wanting to return to South Australia and home quarantine will have to apply to SA Health.

They will have to prove they have a place to isolate during their quarantine period and must also be fully vaccinated.

Those who are approved will have to download the South Australian Government home quarantine app, which uses geo-location and facial recognition software to track those in quarantine.

The app will contact people at random asking them to provide proof of their location within 15 minutes.

The report is by Sara Garcia and Rory McClaren of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, via “Australia Traded Away Too Much Liberty” by Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic and (for the second time in two days) Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.

Far from being ashamed of this Orwellian project, Premier Steven Marshall says “I think every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app.”

Samizdata quote of the day

The deforestation statistics are startling to anybody who listens only to green activists. In 2018 a team from the University of Maryland concluded: ‘We show that – contrary to the prevailing view that forest area has declined globally – tree cover has increased by 2.24 million km². That’s 7 percent more forest globally than in 1982. New forests have been planted and old ones have regenerated naturally, as the footprint of farming shrinks, thanks to better yields.

Matt Ridley in the print version of The Spectator, article titled Viral misinformation.

Samizdata quote of the day

A landmark study that endorsed a simple way to curb cheating is going to be retracted nearly a decade later after a group of scientists found that it relied on faked data.

– Stephanie Lee, writing A big study about honesty turns out to be based on fake data. I admit that I LOL’ed.

Next time someone tells you about The Science™, just because it is from a peer-reviewed & duly published paper does not necessarily make it true.

Samizdata quote of the day

“Politicians have spent trillions of dollars subsidizing renewable energy with no effect on climate. Nuclear power, which would sharply reduce CO2, is taboo among the greens. Innovation in developing low-cost natural gas, which substitutes for coal, may have done more than any government policy to reduce U.S. emissions. Yet President Biden wants to crush the gas industry with regulation. The IPCC report doesn’t justify putting the U.S. economy into the hands of government. A sensible climate policy will continue to monitor trends, while allowing a free economy to find solutions and build the wealth that will allow for adaptation and amelioration if the worst happens. This lacks the drama of the Apocalypse, but it will better serve the world.”

Wall Street Journal, responding to the latest IPCC report on global warming (aka climate change).

Lockdowns probably don’t work because the alternative scenario they supposedly protect against isn’t real

Lockdowns are claimed to be “effective” against a modelled counter-factual of mass deaths if they aren’t done. If the counter-factual is wrong then lockdowns by definition cannot be “effective”. And we know the counter-factuals are very wrong because model predictions keep being falsified, over and over, most recently with UK freedom day. Note that all the models for COVID at the start were predicting a single giant wave. They couldn’t predict anything else because they assumed only lockdowns can stop epidemics and that otherwise a virus will simply keep spreading exponentially until 100% of the population has been infected. With no understanding of natural immunity, nor for how long SARS-CoV-2 had really been spreading in the population before mass testing started, they had to make this assumption in order to make predictions, but it renders their model useless. They ended up confidently asserting nonsensical scenarios on the back of very incomplete scientific understanding, something which our broken and brainwashed society was totally unable to push back against.

So: lockdowns probably don’t work because the alternative scenario they supposedly protect against isn’t real, because they’re based on bad understandings of probability and biology, and because the germ theory on which lockdown theory rests appears to be incomplete. And underneath it all, because the “experts” who push this theory know no more about viruses or disease than you or I do.

Norman Powers, in a comment under an article with a somewhat different article rather different topic Will Trump bring down DeSantis?