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

In effect, Google is telling the world that unmoderated, no-holds-barred exchanges are not welcome in cyberspace. Playing censor, playing government – both made possible by Google’s market power, which, in its turn, makes it susceptible to government regulation.

Susceptible and even vulnerable as they might be, I don’t expect anti-trust proceedings anywhere in the world to put an end to Google’s and Apple’s dominance in certain markets. If I have hope – if never too much – it’s for new technology and know-how both to dislodge the oligopolies and defang government censorship.

The Dilettante’s Winterings

Samizdata quote of the day

Rarely has the hypocrisy of the West’s ostensible liberals and leftists been as violently exposed as it has been this week. Between Charlottesville and Barcelona, between their fury over the former and their embarrassment at the latter, we have gained a glimpse into today’s extraordinary double standards over extremists who loathe liberty, democracy and swathes of mankind. If the extremists are white and fond of the swastika, they’ll be roundly condemned, organised against, transformed into a focal point for the activities of a flagging left. But if they’re Muslims, if it’s a misogynistic, homophobic caliphate they want to build, if their targets are ‘kuffars’ rather than pinkos or black people, they will be frowned upon, of course, but never raged against. Never organised against. They will be treated more forgivingly, and explicitly so. It’s clear now: leftists only dislike certain kinds of neo-fascism.

Brendan O’Neill

Samizdata quote of the day

Turning to communism for fear of fascism is like suicide for fear of death

Perry de Havilland.

Sadly, it is time to recycle this one yet again it seems.

Samizdata quote of the day

I found the reasons various people gave for choosing sides in the American Civil War fascinating, but the complexities of each choice have largely been ignored in contemporary discussions on the subject. I guess the BBC and their ilk prefer to stoke the flames of a race war by implying Lee was fighting to preserve slavery.

Well, they’re getting what they wanted, aren’t they?

Tim Newman

Thoughts about what happened in Virginia this weekend

“It’s becoming so clear now why the war of words between SJWs and the new white nationalists is so intense. It isn’t because they have huge ideological differences — it’s because they have so much in common. Both are obsessed with race, SJWs demanding white shame, the alt-right responding with white pride. Both view everyday life and culture through a highly racialised filter. SJWs can’t even watch a movie without counting how many lines the black actor has in comparison with the white actor so that they can rush home and tumblr about the injustice of it all. Both have a seemingly boundless capacity for self-pity. Both are convinced they’re under siege, whether by patriarchy, transphobia and the Daily Mail (SJWs) or by pinkos and blacks (white nationalists). Both have a deep censorious strain. And both crave recognition of their victimhood and flattery of their feelings. This is really what they’re fighting over — not principles or visions but who should get the coveted title of the most hard-done-by identity. They’re auditioning for social pity. “My life matters! My pain matters! I matter!” The increasing bitterness and even violence of their feud is not evidence of its substance, but the opposite: it’s the narcissism of small differences.”

Brendan O’Neill, as seen on his Facebook page. He is writing about the violence in Virginia at the weekend.

I think he is broadly right, and if we are trying to work out where the rot of identity politics comes from (the libertarian scholar Tom G Palmer actually calls it “identitarianism”) I would wager that post-modernism, and the idea that there are no objective standards of truth and value, has something to do with it. Of all the books I have read in the past decade, Prof. Stephen Hicks’ short masterpiece, Explaining Postmodernism, gets as close as I can see to putting a finger on today’s nonsense.

Speaking for myself, I had a glimpse of this retreat from reason last week when, in an online chat with a friend about the Google sacking of James Danmore, a woman jumped in to state that no matter what arguments or logic I could use to object to the firing of this man, that her “lived experience” (ie, the fact that she knows Google female employees who are upset) would outweigh it. Not logic, reason or evidence, but “lived experience”. What this person failed to realise, perhaps, was she had committed a classic stolen concept error: the very attempt to deploy “lived experience” as a sort of “I win!” itself implies that there is some sort of logic against which one can test it. If there is no logic against which one can test and evaluate one “lived experience” against another, all one has left is that the gang of those with “lived experience” A beats those with “lived experience” B. This is known as Might is Right, or the power of the mob.

And in a world where logic and reason are dethroned because of hurt feelings, the results are very unpleasant. As we are seeing now almost daily.

Update: great editorial by the Wall Street Journal. ($)

Well of course they fired him!

I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism)

James Damore

No wonder they fired him! Treat people as individuals? The man is literally Hitler. In reality, it’s precisely because the memo was reasonably argued that they freaked out. That is why the left wing media and SJW twitterati put less reasonable words in his mouth that he never wrote.

I am stuck with an Android phone, at least for now, but I am in the process of ditching GMail and Google and will probably move to Protonmail and Bing, unless someone has better suggestions.

Samizdata quote of the day

Kicking Livingstone out of London felt cathartic, but I hadn’t realised we were lucky not be shot in our beds as a result.

Graeme Archer

Samizdata quote of the day

Last night a story broke about a Google employee circulating an email to his colleagues regarding the company’s diversity policies. From skimming it, the email seemed reasonable, i.e. it wasn’t deliberately offensive or insulting. However, some people are appalled that someone working in Google holds such opinions, let alone shares them, and are calling for him to be sacked. Others are urging people not to read the email, as if it were a gorgon’s head.

This is wholly unsurprising. The immediate response from many people when faced with opinions they don’t like is to try, using fair means or foul, to silence that person. This has been going on for years, and the latest weapon in the censors’ arsenal is to try to get the person sacked, and to deprive them of their livelihood.

Tim Newman

Samizdata quote of the day

The left talks of a reality-based consensus – but they’re actually living in a consensus-based reality

Ellen

Samizdata quote of the day

More recently, Herman has disgraced himself even further by being the most prominent of a tiny band of polemicists who deny the genocide of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in July 1995 – though the remains of the victims have been located, excavated and identified.

I need hardly add, but will anyway, that Corbyn too has disputed that the documented Serb atrocities in the Balkan wars of the 1990s ever happened. He put his name to an early day motion in the House of Commons in 2004 that explicitly denied the war crimes of the Milosevic regime in Belgrade, referring to the “the fraudulent justifications for [Nato] intervening in a ‘genocide’ that never really existed in Kosovo”.

Oliver Kamm

Samizdata quote of the day

British prime minister Theresa May has boasted that she is ‘working with social-media companies to halt the spread of extremist material and hateful propaganda that is warping young minds’. She also wants corporations to ‘do more’. Indeed, the leaders of the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada have, along with a host of social-media companies, agreed to measures to censor the web. And German chancellor Angela Merkel is way ahead of the curve. In 2015, Merkel notoriously prevailed upon Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to do his bit and take down posts critical of her controversial immigration policy.

Apple’s craven obedience to Beijing’s autocratic demands typifies the general stance of the West. From the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 to Beijing’s abduction of Hong Kong booksellers today, Stalinist repression in China has never really sparked uproar among Western leaders. Yes, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson greeted the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule over Hong Kong with the limp hope that it would ‘make further progress towards a more democratic and accountable system of government’. But Western IT firms and politicians can hardly pose as guardians of internet freedom.

James Woudhuysen

Samizdata quote of the day

We have too many people who are credentialed rather than educated, and too many people who think their education creates an automatic entitlement. The problem isn’t with “merit” rising to the top, the problem is that we have a false and destructive idea of what constitutes merit.

Glenn Reynolds