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

It is ironic that this Cultural Revolution is being presided over by a Cavalier Prime Minister who is himself the embodiment of Libertarianism made substantial flesh. Boris Johnson faces the grim, unsmiling Roundhead figure of Sir Keir Starmer – perfectly typecast as a finger-wagging Puritan Witchfinder General. Ironic, too, that demands are being made to pull down the statue of Oliver Cromwell, the founding father of Puritanism made stone. But logic and consistency were never the hallmarks of the judgemental nay sayers to whom we must all now bow the knee.

Nigel Jones

Samizdata quote of the day

Everyone should be uncomfortable taking about ‘race’ rather than ‘people’

– Perry de Havilland.

– – –

This was in response to a message from a friend:

Work email with feedback from some diversity survey. “There were lots of comments about white colleagues being uncomfortable when talking about race.”

No shit.

Samizdata quote of the century

In a hotly contested race, this side of fusion power, Net Zero is a real contender for mankind’s stupidest idea since 1648.

– Perry de Havilland

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean”

UK Black Lives Matter on 29th June 2020:

When we say ‘Defund the police’ we mean ‘Invest in programmes that actually keep us safe like youth services, mental health and social care, education, jobs and housing. Key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system’.

UK Black Lives Matter on 21st June 2020:

We are an ABOLITIONIST movement, we do not believe in reforming the police, the state or the prison industrial complex. It is a direct contradiction to BLM for events to be held promoting reform and subduing valid criticisms of the police, the government and Boris Johnson. And when events are meant to be those heavily affected by police violence like the LGBTQIA+ Black community, this is especially disrespectful.

Perhaps I should not be so harsh. Among the multifarious possible meanings of the phrase “Defund the police” there are a few I could support. While I think about it, please send me a million pounds.

Samizdata quote of the day

Take the roiling absurdity outside America since the death of George Floyd. What does the death of a foreigner killed by a foreign policeman in a foreign land say about the state of Britain? The facts of the Home Office’s homicide index are clear enough. Between April 2016 and March 2019, 500 whites, 45 blacks and 38 others were convicted in England and Wales of murdering 583 white victims.

Over the same period, 81 blacks, 11 whites and nine others were convicted of murdering 101 black victims. Roughly 3 per cent of Britons are black. The idea that there is a racial tsunami of murder in this country is monstrous, let alone — “hands up! don’t shoot!” — one waged by our unarmed police. We are being asked to fight against a fantasy.

The Critic Magazine

Might I suggest people subscribe to this new very high quality magazine, a fine antidote to the debased opinion makers of yore.

Samizdata quote of the day

Just had to throw away some sausages, and it occurred to me: the same people complaining most about food waste are the ones who object to preservatives, aren’t they?

Why’s every social movement a puritan cult?

Guy Herbert

Samizdata quote of the day

“….the Americanisation of culture wars deserves resistance in itself. It homogenises national priorities, obscuring cultural and political differences, to such a ludicrous extent that British people end up arguing about police violence in a year when, yet again, it was revealed that the police had sat back and done next to nothing as a gang of men had groomed and raped young girls in Britain. Police brutality and overzealousness might be a particular problem in a Midwestern US state, while not being a priority in a northern English county; the globalisation of politics obscures local conditions.”

“It also distorts our understanding of the world, limiting our awareness of international affairs to those which are the focus of the narrow spectrum of social media trends. Whether you are a progressive or a conservative, you should be so in the terms of your national circumstances, and with broader frames of references than those which have been provided by social media monopolies.”

Ben Sixsmith

Samizdata quote of the day

SAGE minutes make it clear that the public was explicitly petrified in order to ensure compliance with lockdown. Mind-control is objectionable in itself, but has a real cost in lives: before a policy lever like lockdown was pulled, where was the cost/benefit analysis, or was SAGE only thinking of covid-19? Lockdown, after all, affects not just this thing over here (covid-19) but also that thing over there (cancer, cardiac, sepsis, etc.).

Through lockdown, A&E cardiac admissions have been as much as 50% down, so around 5,000 people per month have not been turning up at hospital with heart attack symptoms; heart attacks outside hospital have only a 1-in-10 chance of survival. Same story with strokes. And downstream, many cancers are touch-and-go even if you catch them early; give them a two month head-start and Stanford’s Professor Bhattacharya estimates the impact of urgent cancer referrals running 70% below normal levels will be around 18,000 deaths.

Alistair Haimes

Samizdata quote of the day

Have I got this right?

BLM are in no way responsible for the stabbings in Reading as it happened two hours after their “protest” ended.

But somehow all of us white people are still responsible for slavery 200 years after it was ended.

Is that about the gist of it?


Samizdata quote of the day

Cut off by your gas company for wrongthink? What’s stopping you drilling your own North Sea well?

– Tim Newman, nicely describing why certain strains of libertarian thought are self-defeating.

Samizdata quote of the day

True, they were hypocrites. Jefferson himself was clearly aware of the ghastly contradictions. Pity they did not apply their own wise philosophies even-handedly, but they didn’t. That is was why Samuel Johnson hated them. And yet, their good ideas stand on their own merits.

– Perry de Havilland in response to “How do you respond to people who say that the Founding Fathers were hypocrites for owning slaves?”

Samizdata quote of the day

“Rather than aiming for a better future, woke militants seek a cathartic present. Cleansing themselves and others of sin is their goal. Amidst vast inequalities of power and wealth, the woke generation bask in the eternal sunshine of their spotless virtue.”

John Gray

(As a reminder to readers, quoting a person does not imply I endorse everything that the writer in question says. Gray is a decidedly mixed bag of a thinker. Far, far too gloomy for my liking and he buys the whole Green deal, or at least he did. But this essay makes important points about the parallels between the culture war being played out in the West right now and the madness of the 15th and 16th centuries. Yes, I think those parallels are accurate. This is a rat with a long tail.)