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]

Samizdata quote of the day

Imagine that we did have some arbiter of what was true, what was not. Then the definition of truth will be whatever the consensus is, wouldn’t it? Something which might well benefit those who agree with that status quo in beliefs but does rather militate against the basic ideas of either free speech or a free press.

Yes, of course, actual free speech and press is messy, chaotic and not as many would like. But that’s rather the point, so is liberty those three things. Trying to limit that press and speech will be a constraint upon that liberty too.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

“What all of this points to is a new kind of protest. There is a new generation for whom protesting is largely indistinguishable from a music festival. It has the same vibe, the same style, and the same constituency: the non-working classes, who define themselves through culture rather than labour, and who see themselves as having more in common with global technocratic institutions like the EU than they do with some of the people who live in their own towns (but on the other side of the tracks). If this is radicalism – which it isn’t – then it is passive radicalism. It is an entirely contradictory phenomenon, where on the one hand protesters are telling us actual Nazism is making a comeback, but on the other hand they’re not going to do anything about it except chill out in Trafalgar Square and post to Instagram a photo of them and their friends holding a ‘FUCK TRUMP’ placard.”

Brendan O’Neill

I avoided all this dreck by spending the weekend in South Devon, drinking local beer, swimming in the sea and walking on the hills above, with no internet access, no TV (which meant not watching the World Cup final). Heaven.

Samizdata quote of the day

As a woman, I am much more interested in protecting the right to free speech than I am in catering to the possibly-offended. If we are raising girls to feel damaged by a photo of a woman in a bikini, my goodness we need to do better.

Kate Andrews

Samizdata quote of the day

Even the use of that N word to point out how different things are today as opposed to that past is to be verboten? In a media training exercise?

Well, yes, it appears so. As with the various versions of Huckleberry Finn which excise the word – despite its centrality to the moral point that Twain was making.

Do note the point being made here. Which isn’t that there’s some problem with the resignation or firing – Schnatter was running a business using other peoples’ money, offending the mores of the time and place loses them money, bye bye. It’s to ponder whether the mores are quite what they ought to be. The use as an epithet we’re all on board with being unacceptable. The use as an historical reference perhaps less so.

Tim Worstall, pointing out the lunacy of firing someone for saying ‘nigger’ even to illustrate it’s use by someone in the past. This turns the word ‘nigger’ into a magic spell, decontextualised of meaning in a way that is very ‘Frankfurt School’.

Samizdata quote of the day

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable

John F. Kennedy

I am not exactly a fan of the late JFK but I find this quote timely.

Samizdata quote of the day

Every decent person who understands why America has a constitutionally protected press wants to see the press succeed. As the only unregulated private sector industry in America, the free press’s entire existence is based on afflicting the single most comforted institution throughout human history: centralized authority. Afflicting and comforting anyone else is secondary. The truth—and a genuine commitment to its pursuit—must take precedence, even when it runs contrary to the interests of whoever is deemed afflicted or comforted. Journalism humbles itself in finding truth in a complex world. Activism pursues its ends with righteous certainty. Journalism is the work of describing and understanding reality; activism is the work of refashioning it. Journalists act as impediments to the acquisition of power; activists pursue power.

Robert Showah

Samizdata quote of the day

Congratulations Mr. Brokenshire, you’ve just killed every buy-to-let mortgage. of which there were 1.8 million even back in 2015. It’s a standard clause in every single one of those mortgages that they be rented out on a six or 12-month shorthold assured tenancy. The reason being that in the event of default the bank or building society understandably wants to be able to sell the place without having to deal with an immovable sitting tenant.

No one has any problem with increasing the choices available in terms of types and terms of tenancies. But imposing new terms on all landlords and tenants either means that 1.8 million rental dwellings are off the market, or we’ve got to persuade every bank and building society in the country to alter their existing contracts. For a price, of course.

We might, then, politely suggest that this hasn’t been properly thought through. Although of course we’d never compare James Brokenshire to Tony Blair, I’m not too clear who that would be unfair to.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

A few weeks ago in central London, I watched a group of protestors holding aloft anarchist signs as they demanded greater government spending. They seemed almost as confused as the fellow who tweeted me his denunciations of globalisation the other day – using a mobile device made in Korea and software written in California.

Douglas Carswell, Rebel, page 295.

The 20th century saw the state getting bigger and bigger, and thus the citizen getting smaller and smaller

In NZ, the UK or Australia, one may own a rifle or shotgun, but it has to be locked in a cabinet when not in use. Thus, it is of no use for a sudden life or death situation. A twelve bore which is locked in a steel cabinet will not save you when you need it.

I must say I find it odd that in the UK, NZ and Oz it is legal to own guns for all reasons except self-defence, which is the most basic and obvious reason to own one. It was not always like this, but the 20th century saw the state getting bigger and bigger, and thus the citizen getting smaller and smaller.

The one part of the UK where ownership of a pistol for self-defence is still legal is Northern Ireland, but even that is for the convenience of the state. They found that builders, contractors and other suppliers of goods and services to the state were refusing to work for them any more, as they were targetted by the IRA. The only way the state could get its jobs done was to allow these people to own a pistol and a small amount of ammunition (25 rounds I believe). So there is no general right to be armed in self-defence even in NI, it is just something the state had to allow for its own survival.

The NI situation is something which is never talked about, however. About 10,000 people in a population of 1.5 million carry a pistol for self-defence. Carried across to the mainland, that would be 400,000 armed citizens. The powers that be don’t want the peons getting any ideas above their station.

JohnK making some very cogent points on Natalie’s article here on Samizdata.

Samizdata quote of the day

Of course, Dugin’s vehement attacks on ‘American liberalism’ expose his dishonesty and the incoherence of his selectively relativist philosophy. If a culture can only be legitimately judged through its own lens, then by what right does Dugin attack American liberalism to begin with? Surely his attacks on liberalism are as worthless as liberal attacks on Russian illiberalism. Dugin’s 1997 book, which contains a detailed account of what Russian global domination might look like, certainly involves the imposition of a Russian system on the rest of mankind, and to the benefit of no one but Russia.

Robert James

Samizdata quote of the day

Meet the new face of Ukip: The free speech extremists who could make Ukip dangerous again

Mikey Smith‘s headline of a Mirror article about UKIP. Now it does not matter a damn what you think of UKIP, but the idea that supporting free speech itself can make you an ‘extremist’ is breathtaking and frankly absurd: you either support free speech or you support state approved speech, there is no middle ground.

Samizdata quote of the day

That there are now more overweight humans than starving humans is one of mankind’s greatest achievements.

Damien Counsell has said it many times. Good for him.