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]

It is good not to be surprised to see articles like this in the Times

But it would be even better not to have to still see articles like this in the Times:

Cannabis failures show why we need to legalise all drugs

Ian Birrell writes,

Carly Barton is a former university lecturer who suffered a stroke at the age of 24. It left her feeling as if her bones had been “replaced by red-hot pokers”. Doctors prescribed opiates of increasing strength but they left her feeling “zombied” and still in severe pain.

In desperation she smoked a joint and discovered that cannabis dulled the pain, enabling her to live a productive life. But she did not want to be a criminal and could not afford to spend thousands of pounds on private prescriptions. So she came up with a simple idea: a “cannabis card” to show police officers that she used the drug for health rather than recreational purposes.

It is thought that another million Britons who endure conditions such as arthritis, cancer and multiple sclerosis self-medicate with this drug. This is why Barton’s concept has been backed by police officers fed up with wasting their time. “I did not join the police to arrest people who are unwell and trying to manage their symptoms,” Simon Kempton, a Police Federation board member, has said.

This is a significant step forward. But why does progress on drug reform depend on ordinary citizens pushed to the limit and police officers infuriated about squandering time and resources? The reason, sadly, is that politicians privately accept their war on drugs has failed yet lack the nerve to sort out the mess they created even as it fuels gang violence and inflames racial tensions.

He goes on to describe how the police in some areas are effectively giving up on enforcing the prohibition of other drugs as well. It will not be a surprise to you that I think the outcome is good, but I feel more than a twinge of disquiet about the law effectively being changed by the will of the police. Selective enforcement can as easily be a tool of the oppressor as of the liberator. To see what I mean, amuse yourselves by making a quick list of those who are and are not subject to the Covid-19 restrictions in your area.

Related posts:

  • There should be no law to forbid people parading in paramilitary uniforms
  • The equal oppression of the laws
  • China’s Soweto

    The Soweto riots were the beginning of the end for Apartheid in South Africa. This is how they began:

    Black South African high school students in Soweto protested against the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974, which forced all black schools to use Afrikaans and English in a 50–50 mix as languages of instruction. The Regional Director of Bantu Education (Northern Transvaal Region), J.G. Erasmus, told Circuit Inspectors and Principals of Schools that from 1 January 1975, Afrikaans had to be used for mathematics, arithmetic, and social studies from standard five (7th grade), according to the Afrikaans Medium Decree; English would be the medium of instruction for general science and practical subjects (homecraft, needlework, woodwork, metalwork, art, agricultural science). Indigenous languages would only be used for religious instruction, music, and physical culture.

    Forty-six years later, in Inner Mongolia, sorry, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (not to be confused with the neighbouring sovereign state of Mongolia), children of another subjugated land are protesting against a decree that forces their schools to use the oppressor’s language as the medium of instruction:

    Inner Mongolia protests at China’s plans to bring in Mandarin-only lessons

    Thousands of ethnic Mongolians have protested across northern China in opposition to Beijing plans to replace the Mongolian language with Chinese in some school subjects.

    Tuesday marked the first day of a policy revealed in June, to gradually transition the language of instruction in Inner Mongolian schools from Mongolian to Mandarin Chinese. The change affects three subjects over the next three years in the autonomous region. The education bureau said Mongolian and Korean language classes would remain.

    The official explanation for the change to a bilingual education system was to ensure the curriculum and textbooks were of a high standard, and that government documents cited by analysts also referred to president Xi Jinping’s push for shared language as part of a common identity.

    However mass protests in Inner Mongolia – referred to as Southern Mongolia by ethnic rights and independence groups – have revealed the depth of fear that Mongolian would be relegated to a foreign language as part of government plans to assimilate ethnic minorities into Chinese Han culture.

    I called this China’s Soweto. But don’t expect any equivalent to UN Security Council Resolution 392.

    Other links concerning this story:

    Tightening the noose on Mongolian in Southern Mongolia

    Rare rallies in China over Mongolian language curb

    An architect is struck off

    I originally read this story about the striking off of the architect Peter Kellow by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) on page 19 of my paper copy of today’s Times. The headline reads “Architect struck off for Jewish ‘cult’ claim”. However an online search of the Times website yields no such story, and no mention of Peter Kellow. Strange. Fortunately, and embarrassingly for both papers, the Daily Mail version is almost word for word the same:

    Award winning architect is struck off after he claimed Judaism is a ‘cult’ and called for ‘restraints’ to be placed on Jews who should be banned from holding public office

    An award-winning architect has been struck off for claiming Judaism is not a race but a ‘cult’.

    Cambridge-educated Peter Kellow called for ‘restraints’ to be placed on Jewish people including banning them from holding influential public office.

    In a public Facebook post, he said there was ‘no such thing as the Jewish race’ and accused them of creating ‘resentment and suspicion’.

    As a result of his behaviour, he was hauled before a disciplinary panel, found guilty of misconduct and kicked out of the profession after 47 years.

    The Architects Registration Board hearing was told that Mr Kellow made the comments in April 2019, as then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn faced accusations of anti-Semitism.

    He wrote: ‘There is no such thing as the Jewish race. This is one of the many stunts that Judaists have pulled on non-Judaists who have swallowed it whole. There is only the religion/cult of Judaism.

    ‘There is no doubt that Judaists have suffered from unfair and cruel treatment at many times in history but this was never racially motivated until the late nineteenth century and bloomed in the ideology of Adolf Hitler.

    ‘It is not far from the truth to say the Judaists were the inventors of European racism for they asserted they were racially different to the rest of us. Judaists have got themselves into a lot of trouble throughout history being subject to pogroms, ghettos and expulsions.

    ‘I am not saying this was justified, but why do we see this consistent pattern?

    ‘The problem people have and always have had with Judaism is not about race.. It is because Judaism is a cult.

    ‘What do I mean by a cult? A cult is a set of people, normally unified by a religion or quasi-religion, who try to create a society within the general society.

    Mr Kellow also included freemasonry and Sunni Islam in his definition of cults.

    He wrote: ‘Cults work against the interest of the general society as its members, in subscribing to a society within the society favour each other over the rest of us.

    ‘This naturally creates resentment and suspicion. How can you trust such people?’

    ‘How should society deal with people who through their cult activity weaken the bonds that the society needs to function well? We must put restraints on their ability to create a society within a society.’

    Mr Kellow suggested creating a public register of Jewish people, banning them from public office ‘where they could discriminate’ between Jews and non-Jews and ban from being judges.

    He also suggested banning Jewish faith schools and the wearing of religious clothing other than a skull gap.

    The Times version really was amazingly similar, although it did say “skull cap” rather than “skull gap”.

    You can read the original wording of the offending Facebook post on this archived version of the proceedings of the ARB disciplinary panel.

    He began,

    This business of “anti-semiticism” [sic] in the Labour party which is held up as racism. What is it all about really?

    The Mail and the Times cite the most important points, but I thought it was worthwhile to quote Mr Kellow’s recommended policy towards what he calls “Judaists” and to believers in other religions that he deems to be cults:

    First of all there is no question of banning them. I believe in freedom for the individual as a fundamental ideal and so if someone wishes to belong to a cult like Judaism or Freemasonry they must be free to do [sic]. But we must put restraints on their ability to create a society within a society. The main ones should be as follows

    1. Registration of the cult in a public register
    2. Registration of all adult members in a public register
    3. No cult member can hold an important public office where they are in a position to descriminate [sic] between cult members and non-cult members. For instance it is totally unacceptable lo [sic] have a Freemason or Judaist as a judge as their decisions will very like [sic] work in favour of fellow cult members. Their strong bond in their society within the society will ensure this
    4. Whereas adults are free to choose to belong to a cult, the same cannot reply [sic] to their children. The assumption that the children of cult members will be “born into” the cult is not acceptable in a civilised society. To this end, no cult can run its own “faith” schools
    5. It must be against the law to wear cult clothing in public – except something worn on the top of the head like a hat [eg Sikh turbans or Judaist skull caps]. However, penalties will only be applied when a separate law [such as a driving evidence [sic] or bank robbery] is violated.

    It is clear that Mr Kellow adheres to most of the usual tenets of twenty-first century Corbynite anti-semitism, given the customary veneer of progressive respectability by being anti several other religions as well – though he would have done better on that score to include Christianity in the list of “cults” to be restricted by law. To advocate that faith schools be banned is now fairly mainstream in left wing circles, and not only among them. The way he presented laws against Jews holding public office as being an anti-discrimination measure was clever. He only really slipped up by advocating that a register of Jews be compiled. That bright idea carried an overtone of Nazism too strong to ignore.

    Peter Kellow has some nasty opinions. But should they stop him practising as an architect?

    VIDEO: Boris Johnson with two naked men

    No, this is not one of my clickbait headlines. The video is from 2000 and at 1:03 we see a younger, slimmer Boris express commendably libertarian views on the right to be naked in conversation with two people exercising that right.

    Sad to say, an older, fatter Boris has recently “ditched ‘libertarian’ position on obesity after coronavirus battle”, according to PoliticsHome.

    The Prime Minister is not the only one to cut a poor figure compared to his earlier self. His host on that trip to Glastonbury – for there it was that these events took place – was the singer and songwriter Billy Bragg. Bragg has always been a massive lefty, of course, but in that video from the turn of the millennium he came across as enjoying the exchange of political barbs with Johnson. In contrast, the Billy Bragg of a few days ago who wrote this miserable article in support of cancel culture in the Guardian comes across as an old man abasing himself before the cult of youth.

    Someone made a profit from finding a cure for a deadly disease. This must never happen again.

    Citizens for Financial Justice have a new article out!

    Who are they? You mean you don’t know?

    Citizens for Financial Justice is a diverse group of European partners – from local grassroots groups to large international organisations. Together, we aim to inform and connect citizens to act together to make the global financial system work better for everyone.

    We are funded by the European Union and aim to support the implementation of the Sustainable development Goals (sDGs) by mobilising EU citizens to support effective financing for development (FfD).

    A cosy arrangement. Thank God the UK is out of it. Here is the article:

    World Hepatitis Day: How Gilead Science Profits from Hepatitis Deaths

    Alternative title #1: How Gilead Science Profits from Ending Hepatitis Deaths

    Alternative title #2: How the Profit Motive Led Gilead Science to Find a Cure for Hepatitis C

    Guys, my apologies. I have to do some work – work work, can you believe that? – so when I remembered that I had already written a post that said what I wanted to say about about this lethal idiocy, I decided simply to post it again. It is seventeen years old. It does not require updating.

    Life is still tough for the owners of lazy slaves

    An extract:

    Now, just possibly you the reader aren’t very sympathetic. Just possibly you opine that the slaveowners had only themselves to blame – “Well, of course,” you are saying, “it’s no surprise that if people are forced to work for nothing then they don’t bust a gut.”

    So why do so many people expect these familiar laws of human behaviour to suddenly change when the time is now and the work to be done is AIDS research?

    In this link Stephen Pollard quotes Roger Bate, writing in the Wall Street Journal, as saying that AIDS drug development is trending downwards.

    Why the decline?

    Because the drugs companies no longer believe that they are going to get rich out of AIDS research. In fact they begin to doubt they will get any compensation at all. They read the newspapers, they study the speeches of politicians, and they sense that the popular wind is blowing against them. They think, probably rightly, that governments will either force them to sell at a loss drugs that were developed at huge expense or will bypass them and the law entirely by buying generic copies of patent drugs. Governments, after all, are the ones who can change the law when it is inconvenient. One minute the authorities will come down like a ton of bricks on pirate music or pirate videos. The next minute they will say that it is ‘unacceptable greed’ for companies to actually want to profit from patents on medical discoveries. I accept that there are subtleties and genuine conflicts of principle in the field of intellectual property – but the bottom line is that if pharma companies get nothing but abuse for the work they put in they bloody well won’t put in much more of it. Just as for the slaves, it’s no surprise that if people are forced to work for nothing then they don’t bust a gut.

    But what if she did consent?

    The BBC reports,

    ‘Rough sex’ defence will be banned, says justice minister

    The so-called “rough sex gone wrong” defence will be outlawed in new domestic abuse legislation, a justice minister has told MPs.

    Alex Chalk said it was “unconscionable” that the defence can be used in court to justify or excuse the death of a woman “simply because she consented”.

    “Simply”? Is the fact of her consent unimportant, then? If a woman (or indeed a man) chooses to engage in rough sex and as a consequence is accidentally killed by their partner then that does excuse their death, in the sense that any person who accidentally kills another person is excused from the guilt of murder. Depending on circumstances they may be guilty of a lesser crime, reckless endangerment perhaps – I do not know the legal details. But murder requires an intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.

    He said it would be made “crystal clear” in the Domestic Abuse Bill that it was not acceptable.

    The bill, for England and Wales, is due to become law later this year.

    Jess Phillips, Labour’s shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, spoke on an amendment proposed by Labour MP Harriet Harman and Conservative MP Mark Garnier to the legislation, to prevent lawyers from using the defence, but withdrew it following assurances from Mr Chalk.

    The campaign group We Can’t Consent To This, which wants the defence outlawed, said the minister’s response was “a big step forward”.

    The very name of their group treats adult women like children. If this group wants to ban rough sex, they should have the guts to come out and say so. Some of their complaint seems to be that the rough sex defence has been used by men who truly were murderers to delude a jury into acquitting them. But the same could be said of any defence against any criminal charge: all of them will have at some time been successfully used to enable guilty men to go free. What alternative system do they suggest? The great eighteenth century jurist William Blackstone said, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” Would they prefer to reverse that ratio?

    The State’s lament: ‘A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened;’

    Thus went the UK government’s discussion paper on increasing social distancing on 22nd March 2020.

    The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging. To be effective this must also empower people by making clear the actions they can take to reduce the threat.

    There were other considerations:

    Hong Kong’s experience:

    Having a good understanding of the risk has been found to be positively associated with adoption of COVID-19 social distancing measures in Hong Kong

    And carrots:

    Incentivisation
    6. Social approval: Social approval can be a powerful source of reward. Not only can this be provided directly by highlighting examples of good practice and providing strong social encouragement and approval in communications; members of the community can be encouraged to provide it to each other. This can have a beneficial spill-over effect of promoting social cohesion. Communication strategies should provide social approval for desired behaviours and promote social approval within the community.

    And of course, coercion, along with ‘social disapproval’:

    Coercion
    7. Compulsion: Experience with UK enforcement legislation such as compulsory seat belt use suggests that, with adequate preparation, rapid change can be achieved (16). Some other countries have introduced mandatory self-isolation on a wide scale without evidence of major public unrest and a large majority of the UK’s population appear to be supportive of more coercive measures. For example, 64% adults in Great Britain said they would support putting London under a ‘lock down’ (17). However, data from Italy and South Korea suggest that for aggressive protective measures to be effective, special attention should be devoted to those population groups that are more at risk (18). In addition, communities need to be engaged to minimise risk of negative effects. Consideration should be given to enacting legislation, with community involvement, to compel key social distancing measures.

    8. Social disapproval: Social disapproval from one’s community can play an important role in preventing anti-social behaviour or discouraging failure to enact pro-social behaviour (15). However, this needs to be carefully managed to avoid victimisation, scapegoating and misdirected criticism. It needs to be accompanied by clear messaging and promotion of strong collective identity. Consideration should be given to use of social disapproval but with a strong caveat around unwanted negative consequences.

    So, for us rats in the lab, we can see the experimental parameters. I can’t find the words ‘rights‘, ‘freedom‘, ‘free‘ or ‘liberty‘ anywhere in this document. I can see this, my emphasis in bold, with the lie about people being ‘asked’:

    9. Community resourcing: People are being asked to give up valued activities and access to resources for an extended period. These need to be compensated for by ensuring that people have access to opportunities for social contact and rewarding activities that can be undertaken in the home, and to resources such as food. Adequately resourced community infrastructure and mobilisation needs to be developed rapidly and with coverage across all communities (6, 15).

    10. Reducing inequity: Adherence to these measures is likely to be undermined by perceived inequity in their impact on different sections of the population, especially those who are already disadvantaged, e.g. those in rented accommodation and those working in precarious employment. Reducing costs of phone calls, data downloads etc. by ‘responsibility deals’ or government subsidies should be considered.

    Just in case you don’t think that this is an experiment, there is a reference to methodology including this, but read the whole thing:

    The criteria go under the acronym, APEASE (Acceptability, Practicability, Effectiveness, Affordability, Spill-over effects, Equity)

    Edit: Just after Paul’s comment, a bit more has just come out, from 25th February 2020, about the risk of disorder, foreseeing a risk of PPE shortage on 25th February 2020, so they knew that they could be short long before they did anything about it:
    The last paragraph says it all:

    Promote a sense of collectivism: All messaging should reinforce a sense of community, that “we are all in this together.” This will avoid increasing tensions between different groups (including between responding agencies and the public); promote social norms around behaviours; and lead to self-policing within communities around important behaviours.

    Samizdata quote of the day

    The only thing I want a war on is a war on government wars.

    Hector Dummond

    The signs of the times, they are a-changing…

    England may soon have new road signs for pedestrians. We have some new signs coming out, to remind us about ‘social distancing’. Here are the samples taken from the .gov.uk website.

    What are these signs for? The UK government’s Department of Transport is clearly playing the long game in short order in the war on freedom and against the private motor vehicle, er.., Covid-19 in England. On Saturday 9th May 2020, guidance came out for local councils (who manage most of the road space) to make changes to road use to facilitate the use of ‘roadspace’ by cyclists and pedestrians. This has been done by providing new ‘guidance’ to local councils on under The Traffic Management Act 2004. So the response to this epidemic is clearly going to be rather more ‘permanent’ than temporary, the government is engaged in not just a reaction to widespread respiratory tract infections and the inability of the NHS to provide health care. Take a look at some of the wording:

    “The government therefore expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel.”

    “When the country gets back to work, we need them to carry on cycling, and to be joined by millions more. With public transport capacity reduced, the roads in our largest cities, in particular, may not be able to cope without it. We also know that in the new world, pedestrians will need more space. Indications are that there is a significant link between COVID-19 recovery and fitness. Active travel can help us become more resilient.”

    A new world, are we on Mars? It goes on:

    “We recognise this moment for what it is: a once in a generation opportunity to deliver a lasting transformative change in how we make short journeys in our towns and cities. According to the National Travel Survey, in 2017-18 over 40% of urban journeys were under 2 miles – perfectly suited to walking and cycling.”

    Never let a crisis go to waste.

    “Active travel is affordable, delivers significant health benefits, has been shown to improve wellbeing, mitigates congestion, improves air quality and has no carbon emissions at the point of use. Towns and cities based around active travel will have happier and healthier citizens as well as lasting local economic benefits.”

    Will those citizens be happier and healthier cycling to work in the cold November rain? Sorry, I assumed that there will be any meaningful jobs left by then. Why haven’t they been cycling already? ‘…no carbon emissions at the point of use…’, really? I think it means ‘carbon dioxide’ of course. But if anyone rides a pushbike and doesn’t emit carbon dioxide, whether immediately or via lactic acid metabolism, they will be dead.‘…lasting local economic benefits…’: Never mind the bigger picture. The bull is big on this and they know it and don’t care.

    So all this is what the Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Grant Shapps, a sort of Bruce Foxton lookalike, has in mind. He seems to be there to make the rest of the Cabinet look good, and who has a very trustworthy past.

    Is, in this ‘new world’, (their words) HS2 going to be viable as this virus will still be deemed a threat in 2030 or whenever it is ready, and the train will be ‘socially-distanced’? Don’t hold your breath, unless you want to reduce carbon emissions.

    Whatever the UK Prime Minister says tonight, the UK government is clearly using this situation as an opportunity to regulate ever more closely every aspect of our lives. This is Mr Johnson’s green agenda bursting out into the open, the Khmer Vert with Covid-1984.

    Identifying the socially-undistanced elements…

    I read (iirc in one of Viktor Suvorov’s books) that in the Ukraine of the 1930s, a peasant who was not starving and thin automatically came under suspicion of food hoarding. Whereas, in besieged WW2 Leningrad, the populace were starving, and I read somewhere that there was a sub-stratum of the population who had unusually rosy cheeks and an almost healthy glow compared to their starving fellow citizens, they were not under suspicion by the Party. These were not privileged Party members, but cannibals, who had resorted to devouring the abundant supplies of human flesh.

    Grim as that was, and we are nowhere near anything like that yet, I can’t help but noticing that the impact of the CCP-Covid-19-Terror is beginning to show in people. This is a country where, whilst not illegal per se, getting a haircut other than from a member of your household (and how many live alone or with those unable to help) necessarily involves leaving your home (or someone else leaving there’s) without ‘reasonable excuse’ under the (not quite limited) excuses, so if your hair is now neat and short, or dyed or coloured in your usual fashion for those so inclined, you might come under suspicion of having failed to have followed ‘social distancing rules’ or having patronised a business operating illegally. Will we see a ‘haircut hotline’ open up for us to denounce a neighbour whose thatch is well-trimmed?

    Will we have Ministers of the Crown denouncing professional haircutting at the daily 5pm press conference, a ‘Two Minute Hate’ against the ‘Socially Undistanced’ (or should be the ‘Unsocially distanced’)?

    What else might be a give-away in this new culture of conformity? Looking unconcerned as the economy collapses, or not clapping the sky when the time comes to applaud the NHS?

    There is more to be done. Perhaps to deter breaching of ‘social distancing’ in those elements of the populace who pay for ‘personal services’, the Queen could grant a Royal Charter to a new organisation “RASEL – The Royal Anti-Sex League“, that might give the Duke of York, who currently seems to be at a loose end, a useful role as its Patron should he seek a new role and a spot of image polishing, there’s not much use for his Airmiles at the moment, and even if there were, he might wish to avoid countries with US extradition treaties, just in case he is unjustly accused.

    Another reason why state funding of political parties is a bad idea

    “Viktor Orban ruins his rivals with power grab”, the Times reports.

    Under a regime described by critics as the “omnipotence law”, Mr Orban’s government is able to take sweeping measures to tackle the coronavirus epidemic without parliamentary approval.

    Within days of the reform it announced that parties, banks, multinational corporations and local councils would be obliged to pay into a £3.3 billion national fund designed to cushion the blow to the Hungarian economy.

    Political parties must hand over half of the grants they receive from the state, a total of about £2.8 million, Gergely Gulyas, one of Mr Orban’s closest ministerial allies, said. The measure will apply to all Hungarian parties, including Fidesz, the prime minister’s party, which is backed by businesses that have benefited from public contracts. Some of its struggling rivals, however, are heavily reliant on public funding. Jobbik, the largest opposition party in the National Assembly, is still reeling from a fine of nearly £1 million after auditors found that it had underpaid for billboard advertising.

    Emphasis added. From what little I know of Hungarian politics, the Jobbik and Fidesz parties seem to have swapped bodies. I hold no brief for either. But I can sympathise with the plight of anybody – or any body – that suddenly has their financial support kicked away. Unfortunately that is what happens when the state pays your bills: what the state gives, the state can take away. Hence the “self ownership” tag on this post.

    As I wrote the above, I remembered having written something very similar before. That post was about the last of the Kalahari Bushmen. The plight of the last opposition parties of Hungary is not quite as desperate as theirs, but give it time.

    We are all Uighurs now.

    The ramblings of our Prime Minister this evening, no data, no projections, no reasoning other than the projected incompetence of our nationalised health care system, no laws cited (but they are there), and have been since 10th February 2020, backed up by threats and fear-mongering, announcing restrictions on the UK in an echo of what the Chinese Communist Party is imposing on Uighurs, evidence the triumph of the Chinese Communist Party in crushing the West, without (and indeed on account of not) lifting a finger.

    And yet the borders remain open, as far as we know, to flights from hotspots such as China, Italy, Spain and Iran. This has all been thought through, and Johnson is content that it be so, is he being played or a player? if we wanted loo roll shortages and economic chaos and inflation we’d have voted in Corbyn last December, a man who is in power in terms of outcomes, but is not in office.