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

Forty years ago, in 1978, 18 farmers from the village of Xiaogang in China, met at night in secret. They had seen subsistence and famine. Exhausted and emaciated, they lacked the energy to work the collective fields as Party discipline required. A few years earlier they had seen 67 of their 120 population starve to death in the “Great Leap Forward” Now they took matters into their own hands. By flickering lights (none had seen electricity), they came forward in turn to sign a document dividing up the collective farm into individual family plots, whose owners could keep most of the proceeds of their labours.

They knew the dangers, and added a clause to the contract pledging that if any were betrayed and executed, the others would raise their children until aged 18. Following that historic contract, the village produced more food next harvest than it had in the previous 5 years combined.

Madsen Pirie

Samizdata quote of the day

Even for The Guardian managing two logical fallacies in the one editorial is pretty good going. But that’s what they achieve in this one on funding the NHS. They manage both to get the Keynesian – and by extension, modern monetary theory – idea of deficit financing wrong and also the implications of the National Health Service being the efficient manner of organising health care. Actually, this is such a misunderstanding that I suspect it’s been written by Aditya Chakrabortty

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

Sometimes I think maybe I’m becoming too strict as I age. Maybe this is all a natural evolution of a technology. But I can’t close my eyes to what’s happening: A loss of intellectual power and diversity, and on the great potentials it could have for our troubled time. In the past, the web was powerful and serious enough to land me in jail. Today it feels like little more than entertainment. So much that even Iran doesn’t take some — Instagram, for instance — serious enough to block.

I miss when people took time to be exposed to different opinions, and bothered to read more than a paragraph or 140 characters. I miss the days when I could write something on my own blog, publish on my own domain, without taking an equal time to promote it on numerous social networks; when nobody cared about likes and reshares.

That’s the web I remember before jail. That’s the web we have to save.

Hossein Derakhshan, who is speaking at State of the Net in Trieste today

Samizdata quote of the day

Media breaths a sigh of relief that a raccoon climbing Union Bank of Switzerland building in Minnesota distracts public from Trump’s diplomatic success with North Korea. Next: IRS audits raccoon & announces he has a Swiss bank account & ties to Vladimir Putin #MPRaccoon

Perry de Havilland

Samizdata quote of the day

If the Left could see themselves through the eyes of neoliberalism, they would see people whose motives might be laudable, but whose methodology is not. They are seen not only as economic illiterates, but as ones with no sense of history, no knowledge, or even concern, with what has happened before. They appear as people whose fixation with theory lifts them above the practicalities of the world as it is. Their proposals are just as impractical, error-strewn and doomed to failure as they were the last time they were tried. Human nature as it is, not as it might be, often thwarts their intent. It exists in the real world, where neoliberalism has its roots and works with the grain of human nature, not against it.

Madsen Pirie

Samizdata quote of the day

What is more, if I want to hold lectures or seminars on the topic of empire, I will do so privately, since I cannot be sure that my critics will behave civilly. On one occasion recently, I held a day-conference to discuss Bruce Gilley’s controversial article, “The Case for Colonialism,” and found myself having to use pseudonyms to hide the identities of some participants. One young scholar only attended on condition that his name nowhere appear on print, nor his face on any photograph, lest his senior colleagues find out and kill his career. What this shows is that the legal right to freedom of speech is not enough. What’s also needed are colleagues who are willing to conduct themselves according to informal norms of civility and responsible, rational exchange. Clearly some colleagues are not so willing. So the question is, will middle-managers in universities—faculty and college heads—do anything to uphold norms of civility against colleagues who trample over them, or will they abrogate their civic responsibility and off-load it onto the courts?

Nigel Biggar

Samizdata quote of the day

Oxfam America, who presumably are concerned they may have to pay the going rate for white hookers if Trump’s ban on admitting starving teenage waifs from third-world disaster zones is upheld.

Tim Newman

Samizdata quote of the day

Recent acts of manly valour have all come from men from traditional cultures where they’ve never heard of sexual politics. We recently watched online as Mamoudou Gassama, an illegal migrant from Mali, scaled a tower block in a Paris suburb to save a child about to fall to his death. ‘Luckily, there was someone who was physically fit and who had the courage to go and get the child,’ a firefighter told a French news agency. We can’t call them firemen, although that is what they were. No French man or woman came forward to save the child. In 2015 a migrant from Tunisia rescued two children from a burning building near Paris.

Jane Kelly

Aunt Agatha is in roaring non-diet extra added salt form today!

Undoubtedly you are a prima donna, but this is a good thing. Imagine if we had to depend for harmless entertainment on the likes of your mates, Nicola Sturgeon, Anna Soubry, and other pompous assholes. At least you are unashamedly a figure of much merriment. My advice is that you should trade on this. Start dressing up as some of the cartoon characters you want banned from cereal boxes. And imagine the fun if you burst into a Parliamentary Committee Room dressed appropriately and shouting, “The Milky Bars are on me!”

Agatha Antigone

Samizdata quote of the day

The Turkish cab drivers aren’t opposing Uber because it is bent. But because it is honest.

– ‘Chester Draws’ commenting on the Continental Telegraph.

Longrider does not react awfully well to virtue signalling

Fuck off! Seriously, just fuck off. We are not responsible for what happened before we were born. My own family, for example, comes from a mix of poor Irish, French and Scottish stock. One died destitute in a workhouse. So, sure, we did well out of the transatlantic slave trade. I do not feel guilty, I will not feel guilty and I’ll be damned if I apologise or give money to people as a consequence of something that happened hundreds of years before my birth and for which I have no responsibility. Whitten can go fuck himself with a pineapple wrapped in razor-wire, the vile little creep.

Longrider

Samizdata quote of the day

Holocaust denial is, of course, completely irrational, has no basis in historical fact, and is almost always motivated by deep-seated racism. But there are no specific laws against Holocaust denial in the UK. Britain has even resisted attempts to enforce an EU directive outlawing Holocaust denial. In 2008, British courts prevented the extradition of suspected Holocaust denier Frederick Toben to Germany.

No matter how abhorrent Holocaust denial is, there are important reasons not to ban it in law. Deborah Lipstadt, who successfully defended a libel suit from the notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving, argues against giving politicians ‘the power to legislate history’. Banning Holocaust denial simply turns deniers into martyrs. It should be defeated by the facts, not by the law, argues Lipstadt.

Fraser Myers