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 has become something of a cliche, but it also happens to be true. If you want to do your bit for the planet, forget Tesla and other super-expensive electric vehicles: just carry on driving the same old gas-guzzling banger you’ve always had. As much, if not more, carbon tends to be expended producing a new car as actually driving one.”

Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph (£).

I own an S-Type Jaguar (V6, 3-litre) – one of the last ones to be built – and it drives as smooth as you like, and what makes it all the sweeter is knowing that every time I turn that big black cat’s engine on, a little bit of Greta Thunberg’s cult hopefully dies.

Samizdata quote of the day

The logistics chain that is Amazon, or Walmart, or even a Ralph’s, is one of the grand capitalist achievements in history. It used to be, in those heady days before the capitalists inserted themselves into the food supply system, that the working man spent 80% of income on food and rent. Sure, rent is a bit of a problem in certain places still. But food bills have fallen to perhaps 10% of household income.

We can check this too. Back in 1962 or so Mollie Orshansky noted that a poor family was spending about 30% or so of income on food. So, if we take a reasonable diet and triple it – roughly – then we’ve got a reasonable estimation of the poverty line. Sure, it was a back of the fag packet estimation and was meant to be used for a year or two while they all figured out something more sensible. But that is what the Official Poverty Line in the US is today, merely upgraded for inflation. And as general inflation has been significantly higher than food price inflation over those decades that average poor family, on the same inflation adjusted budget, is now spending 12 to 15%, not 30%, of their budget on food.

Supermarkets are the reason why. The people who own supermarkets charge a 1 or 2% margin on their activities. They get 2%, we get a 50% reduction in costs. It’s one of the great bargains of all time.

And this is what Guardian columnists complain about…

Tim Worstall

DuckDuckGo going the way of Google?

Yes, ditch Google. By all means. Just be aware that:

* Stopping your use of the Google search engine is just the start. A small, very modest start. You will have a lot more work to do to “deGoogle” from the Borg—and that’s not mentioning the rest: Facebook, Twitter, etc—though that is a vast subject, way beyond the scope of this post.

* Switching to DuckDuckGo is, if not worse, at the very least not better in the context of this culture war.

And when I say “if not worse”, it’s more rhetorical mannerism than anything else.

In your quest to reject Google and the rest of the hostiles, you will have to do your homework. If you’re looking at DuckDuckGo, start with the FEC site. You will see, for instance, that for 2019-2020, all the donations from DuckDuckGo employees have gone Left.

Let that sink in. While not all of DuckDuckGo’s 124 employees have donated, not one has donated outside of the Party line.

The Dissident Frogman

Samizdata quote of the day

When University of Edinburgh students recently censured the anthropology lecturer Neil Thin, they saw the aim of studying as “to learn how to decolonise our thinking and create an inclusive society and environment”. It’s a view that more closely resembles the medieval fusion of intellectual study and religious faith than it does the critical Enlightenment stance that supplanted it.

Mary Harrington

Samizdata quote of the day

Because of course adapting the transport system to how many people want to use it isn’t the right way to go about things. Instead, the hunt is on for the money to keep the system as it is and oversupply the transport that people aren’t going to use.

Which is why politics and government is a really shitty way to run things. It’s also a lovely example of why capitalism and markets work so well. Because the one saving grace of that slightly weird system is that it kills off things no longer desired.

We have that evidence here too. The pandemic induced shock has killed a certain portion of the retail trade. So, what’s happening there? People are thrashing around trying to shrink the retail estate to fit the desire for it. Great gaping chunks of formerly retail space are being converted to other uses. John Lewis is turning retail into office space for example – that might well not be a solution that works but they are at least trying.

The demand from politics is that all must stay the same even as all changes. Nothing so conservative as a socialist, eh?

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

“It is no surprise that a liberalism that embraced the “1619 Project’s” rewriting of the U.S.’s founding history would not stop there and try now, despite its almost invisible congressional majority, to displace the country’s originating idea of individual opportunity with a broad birth-to-death entitlement state.”

Daniel Henniger, Wall Street Journal (paywall).

Remember, for some of the hyenas of the Left, the plot of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged isn’t a warning, but an inspiration.

Samizdata quote of the day

“It is one thing to compete with China. I firmly believe we need to do that in every domain, from artificial intelligence to Covid vaccines. But the minute we start copying China, we are on the path to perdition.”

Niall Ferguson, in the Spectator. He also writes about Prof. Neil Ferguson, the character whose modelling of pandemics has had such a baleful impact on our existence.

Samizdata quote of the day

Wokeness is literally passive aggressive narcissism as state ideology. Abusers pretending to be victims. Powerful people pretending to be vulnerable. It’s 100% resistant to duty, responsibility, obligation of any kind, to anyone else whatsoever. Totalising bourgeois narcissism.

Aimee Terese

Samizdata quote of the day

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types – the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.

– G.K. Chesterton

Within a modern context, this is perhaps the most perfect description of the utterly Blairite “Conservative” Party in Britain as one might contrive.

Samizdata quote of the day

When people see those anti-lockdown memes being spread, it forces them to recognize that the world isn’t quite as monolithic as their approved media lulls them into thinking it is. The more they encounter, the more often they must recognize that their paradigms aren’t universal.

In a healthy society, it would be apparent that there were dissenting views. In a society that quashes “disinformation”, you need illicit memes to remind people that there are other views.

Bobby B

The power of pithy propaganda

This is a post about propaganda. But I am not using that word in its negative sense, but rather as a neutral technical term. Yes, yes, as it happens I pretty much agree with the sentiments being expressed by the slogans below. But this is really just me marvelling at what good sloganeers the people behind these are.

These slogans started appeared in early 2021, at least that is when I started noticing them popping up around London. And they have been steadily and tirelessly appearing every day ever since, pretty much all over town, at least the Central London parts I tend to visit (Kennington & Chelsea, Notting Hill, West End, Battersea, Wapping).

I am a sloganeer myself, and this is really just an admiring post about pithy propaganda. So, if that is not what you are going to comment about below… don’t. This post is not about anything else.

Feel like helping out? Go here!

→ Continue reading: The power of pithy propaganda

Samizdata quote of the day

[It] is possible that lockdowns will go down as one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history

Douglas Ward Allen

Not just Canada, old chap.