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 terms of the massively deluded concerning economics as we all know John McDonnell is one of life’s winners. Anyone who can possibly observe the past 40 years and decide that capitalism as failed is clearly, obviously, either nuts or ignorant. True, he saw through the Senior Lecturer but still. He is though insisting that a Labour victory, with those associated policies of uncompensated nationalisation, yet more of the country’s investment running through government, will raise the value of sterling.

This might, you know, not happen.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

I have a friend, let’s call her Karen. Karen bootstrapped several Portland businesses, including a coffee shop. She walks in one day and the barista, who is trans, says she had a man come in earlier wearing a MAGA cap and is she obliged to serve people like him? Karen asks, did he say something to you? No, says the barista, but he’s a white supremacist. Karen tells her, first, you don’t know that, and second, you cannot discriminate based on the way someone is dressed. And that, Karen thinks, is that, but no, the barista relays the story to another barista we will call Jen, who goes onto Facebook and posts, “My boss Karen is a Nazi.” Karen learns of this while she is on vacation. She calls her manager and tells her to get Jen into the office. Jen may intuit as much, as when the manager says she needs to speak with her, Jen gets on the floor behind the espresso bar and curls into a fetal position. And you might think, if anyone should maybe not be in customer service, it’s Jen, but no, people prove sympathetic to her and the other barista’s fears and start an online inquisition and can Karen prove she is not a Nazi? And should she not be more concerned with the safety of her employees than some random Republican wanting a cup of coffee?

– Nancy Rommelmann, from ‘Portlandization: It can happen to a place near you

Samizdata quote of the day

The appeal of Millennial Socialism rests on the delusion that the democratic, bottom-up socialism Millennial Socialists aspire to is a fundamentally novel aspiration, and that nobody in history has ever tried to build anything like this before.

But it is not a new aspiration. This was precisely what Chávez’s and Maduro’s “21st Century Socialism” was also about, which is why it used to be so popular in the West. A moratorium on the V-word would just play into the hands of those who now want to pretend that none of this ever happened, and that “Millennial Socialism” is novel, untried and untested.

So no, I absolutely won’t stop banging on about it, and if you don’t want to hear it, tough luck, because I’ll bore you with it anyway. We shouldn’t stop banging on about Venezuela until the Left stops banging on about socialism.

Kristian Niemietz

Samizdata quote of the day

British companies, pension funds may have to report climate risks – Did you vote Tory thinking this is what you were supporting? Keep that in mind next time you are tempted to vote for the people doing this

– Perry de Havilland, commenting on this.

Samizdata quote of the day

It’s interesting that the people who believe that throwing a milkshake in someone’s face shouldn’t be considered assault are often the same people who believe that ‘saying things’ should be.

Ricky Gervais

Samizdata quote of the day

Government crowds out productive research by betting on the wrong horses—those who seek funding by dipping their hands in the public till. As Ridley puts it, “If the government spends money on the wrong kind of science, it tends to stop people working on the right kind of science.” Before you cheer for politicians promising medical breakthroughs, realise their actions may prevent the discovery of cancer cures.

Barry Brownstein

Samizdata quote of the day

The very concept of ​​progress—of the continual betterment of the human condition through the application of science and the spread of freedom—was a product of the European Enlightenment, as Kishore Mahbubani reminds us. These thinkers were among the first to advance the idea that humanity’s problems are soluble, and that we are not condemned to misery and misfortune. The spectacular progress that ensued, first for the West and then increasingly also for the rest, was a matter not of historical necessity, but of diligent human effort and struggle. Pessimism is not just factually wrong, it is also harmful because it undermines our confidence in our ability to bring about further progress. The best argument that progress is possible is that it has been achieved in the past.

Maarten Boudry

Samizdata quote of the day

I say let the Nazis speak. There is no evidence that the alt-right’s propagandists can turn impressionable YouTube viewers into deranged mass-shooters. We have little to fear from open debate. Let the Nazis preach white separatism and white supremacy. Let them deny the Holocaust. Let everybody see how full of shit they are. Let them openly sell a product nobody wants. These ideas have been around for decades, and few people are persuaded by them. There is significant reason to believe that Twilight Sparkle will prevail over the alt-right in the marketplace of ideas.

Daniel Friedman

Samizdata quote of the day

One of the least-read but most important sections of Nineteen Eighty-Four is the appendix which outlines ‘The principles of Newspeak’ – how the regime rewrote and redefined the English language to suit its ends.

Take the priceless word ‘free’. This word, writes Orwell, ‘still existed in Newspeak, but could only be used in such statements as “The dog is free from lice” or “This field is free from weeds.” It could not be used in its old sense of “politically free” or “intellectually free”, since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts.’

That redefinition of free to mean the restrictive ‘freedom from’ rather than the liberating ‘freedom to’ is a feature of modern political discourse. A few years ago, when the UK authorities were pushing for the ban on smoking in public places, I wrote about the public-health crusaders’ new slogan ‘smokefree’ as a classic example of Orwell’s Newspeak – a made-up word that turns the concept of freedom into a real denial of the freedom to smoke. A ban on public smoking might be good for public health, I noted then, but the twisting of language being used to justify it would prove unhealthy for public debate.

Mick Hume

Samizdata quote of the day

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

Just a periodic reminder from Frédéric 😉

Samizdata quote of the day

I’ve been pondering the Jo Brand acid “joke”. Sensible reaction: “Crap joke but just a joke, move along, nothing to see here.”

But maybe HMS Sensible had sailed, so perhaps every indignant reaction the Left has to jokes they dislike must be embraced & rammed down their throats as well. My strong preference is “For fuck sake, stop trying to get people fired over crap jokes, no matter how awful” and just apply that to everyone. But if that is not going to be an option, then perhaps we need to share the pain without mercy. The golden rule when people shoot at you is… shoot back

– Perry de Havilland

Samizdata quote of the day

“Socialism always begins with a universal vision for the brotherhood of man and ends with people having to eat their own pets.”

– Toby Young, found via Guido Fawkes, who has video.