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 – you can buy a scientist as easily as a politician

But the Royal Society’s recent honours to some of the world’s most controversial scientific figures reveals the decline of institutional science into ideological blobbery.

Ben Pile. The Royal Society, the world’s oldest scientific academy, has honoured Anthony Fauci, and in doing so confirmed its role as the guardian, not of empirical discovery, but politicised institutional Science.

Samizdata quote of the day – the state is not your friend, NHS edition

That the NHS has been able to avoid reckoning with its own catastrophic failure owes a great deal to how it has become sanctified in modern Britain. To the fact that it is treated and used by our cultural and political establishment as something close to a state religion. We’re not meant to challenge it. We’re meant to worship it. We’re not meant to question it. We’re meant to give ‘thanks’ to it, as we did during the early stages of the Covid pandemic.

Tim Black

Samizdata quote of the day – we are so screwed

The Tories are delivering us trussed up and oven ready for full on, overt socialism/globalism/neo-fascism rather than the underhand stuff we’ve put up with for the last 12 years.

– Spectator commenter MaryR accurately summing up the UK’s future for the next few years (£)

Samizdata quote of the day – what a debate in Oxford tells us about the continuing rise of populism

And (Winston Marshall) pointed to some glaring hypocrisies within the elite class. Like the fact they simultaneously berate the populists while taking tens if not hundreds of millions in funding from global corporations, big pharma, and big tech. Like the fact they talk endlessly about the deeply troubling events of January 6th while simultaneously ignoring the violence of radical left activists and Antifa in places like Portland, Oregon.

Like the fact they warn endlessly about the anti-democratic ethos of populism while simultaneously using overly restrictive ‘hate laws’, their links with big tech and expanded taboos to denounce free speech elites don’t like as ‘hate’, ‘misinformation’, and ‘disinformation’.

Like the fact they routinely criticise Donald Trump for refusing to accept the outcome of the election in 2020 —an outcome he should have respected—while simultaneously ignoring how elite Democrats did the same thing in 2016, describing the election as “hijacked”, how the establishment in Britain refused to accept the legitimacy of the Brexit vote, and how elites in Brussels routinely force voters back to the ballot box to vote again at referendums when they delivered the ‘wrong’ result the first time around.

Matt Goodwin

Samizdata quote of the day – to the Class of 2024: you are all diseased

Without fail, at the end of the class a few students tell me that the content of the course was diametrically opposed to what they had been taught so far. Prior, they had class discussions about the exploitative nature of the market system and its inherent unfairness; the evil and greed of corporations; and the fight of exploited workers against oppressive capitalists.

I point out to them that these paradigms imply a zero-sum world in which wealth can only be created by taking it from others, whereas they live in the positive-sum world of markets, in which wealth is created by exchange. Markets have deposited a magic wand in their hands, which allows them to freeze moments in time, observe what is currently happening in foreign lands, and conjure loved ones for a face-to-face conversation out of thin air. Kings would have given half their kingdom for such a wand, but now anyone can have it for the low, low price of $69.99 per month. Or about five hours of student work. This is how we got wealthy.

Robert Parham

Samizdata quote of the day – AI ate my homework

The only way the jobs can go is if the machines are now doing the work formerly done by humans. Which means that we gain the same output without the human labour input. That’s an increase in the productivity of human labour – the main driver of increases in human wealth.

What fucking value destruction?

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day – Dipshit: a form of the planner’s delusion

I was actually there when Boris (Yeltsin) freed food prices. Replacing that planned, understood, thing with the complexity – and the impossibility of understanding its complexity – of the market is exactly what filled the shops with food.

Now do you see the point here? The dipshittiness of the basic demand being made about AI? The lawyer is saying that unless we already understand it all we shouldn’t be using it. But the entire point of the use of these complex not-understood things is that we don’t, in fact, know how it all works. Therefore we use this miracle thing to work it out for us.

To say that we can’t use AI until we know what the result will be is the same as saying we’ve got to use economic planning because we don’t know what the market outcome will be. We’ve even that long experiment – the 20th Century – to tell us how that worked out. Those who didn’t use the not-understood complexity remained shit poor.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day – rationing is good for you, donchaknow?

Not surprisingly, take-up of smart meters has been far slower than governments have hoped. Nobody wants a device in their home whose only function will be to enable an energy company to charge them five quid for a shower before work. Yet to avoid public pushback, ministers since Miliband have falsely claimed that smart meters will help households ‘reduce bills’ and put the onus on energy retailers to implement the rollout – if they don’t show sufficient effort in enforcement of the Government’s policy, they can then be fined. Thus, the public standing of energy companies has diminished over the duration, fuelling a growing antagonism between customers and retailers, as smart meters and other policies, such as the destruction of coal-fired power stations, have caused power prices to triple since the early 2000s. Energy companies take much of the blame for Westminster’s policy failures.

Don’t misunderstand the point. This is not a defence of energy companies. Of course, companies like National Grid have their greedy eyes on the opportunities created for them by green dirigisme. But only a fool would expect them not to. And one thing that there is no scarcity of is fools in SW1A. Energy companies have been relatively candid, if one cares to look, whereas Energy and Environment Ministers, from Gummer, Yeo, and Huhne, to more ideological zombies such as Miliband and Davey, have promised that climate targets can be hit with no downsides. But whereas the targets are binding in law, the upsides they promise are not. Anyway, rationing is good for you, donchaknow?

– Ben Pile

Samizdata quote of the day – we’re ruled by ghastly shits

Andrew Malkinson has been badly done by. Very badly done by.

I was wrongly imprisoned for 17 years. Then the state released me into a legal maze

Andrew Malkinson

Nine months after a court quashed my conviction, I’m living on universal credit. Why is it so hard for victims like me to get compensation?

I do not know any of the details of the conviction, the exoneration and do not care to do so. For the only important point to make here is that the system, at the end, agreed that it made a mistake. Whether that’s a mistake of the process, the procedure, getting the wrong person, just one of those fucks ups, matters not. There was, in that system, a mistake, a man then lost 17 years of his life as a result.

Then the bloke gets fucked about because we’re ruled by ghastly shits.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day – Jerry Seinfeld college address edition

“If I messed up a funny story around my relatives, they would go ‘That’s not how you tell that joke. The prostitute has to be behind the drapes when the wife comes in.’ You went to Duke—that is an unbelievable privilege. I now have an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from Duke University. And if I can figure out a way to use that, I will. I haven’t figured anything out yet. I think it’s pretty much as useful in real life as this outfit I’m wearing. But so what? I’ll take it. My point is we’re embarrassed about things we should be proud of and proud of things we should be embarrassed about.”

Jerry Seinfeld drops some humorous truth bombs at a college speech.

Samizdata quote of the day – Eurovision Song Contest and Israel edition

“Israel placed fifth this year, due to low support in the jury voting. But it came second to Croatia in the popular vote. Though Ireland’s entrant, a “nonbinary” satanist named Bambie Thug, had called for Israel’s expulsion, Irish voters put Israel in second place. Israel topped the popular vote in Britain, Spain, Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal and Italy. Europeans may struggle to tell good tunes from bad, but they know the difference between good and evil.”

Dominic Green, Wall Street Journal ($)

For more coverage on the rather satisfying result of this admittedly silly competition, see here.

Samizdata quote of the day – loss of belief in freedom edition

“…you can’t long remain a free society if you don’t believe in freedom. And it’s no good just saying you believe in it: you have to live it. Sometimes that means politicians deciding ‘we would rather live with this injustice or this social problem than expand the state to deal with it.’ When was the last time you heard anyone say that? And that’s the problem.”

David Frost, Daily Telegraph (£)