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 – assault the surveillance state

Two unanticipated events in 2016 completely shocked our ruling class: the election of Trump in the U.S. and the Brexit vote in the U.K. Our elites did not respond by examining the disconnect between their core assumptions and the will of the people. Instead they decided that, sure, democracy is all fine and well, but naturally, democracy must be protected from these unruly people.

After all, the people often don’t know what’s good for them. So those who know better must acquire the capacity to monitor and control the will of the people if we are to ‘defend democracy’. The means for doing this in the digital age, our ruling class divined, is by monitoring populations’ behaviors and shaping their thinking by controlling the flow of information online. The idea of censorship once again became chic.

Aaron Kheriaty

Samizdata quote of the day

“Today’s DEI and ESG grievance industries are blowin’ in the wind. Three steps to redemption: Forget merit and striving for the highest level. Push equity over excellence. Feel virtuous. There are uproars because we don’t have enough female crash-test dummies—or paper straws, trigger warnings, unisex bathrooms, wind farms, disarmed police, censored songs or sidewalk tents for the `unhoused.’ These are vacuous 21st-century versions of protest songs. Feels good. Does nothing. Greta Thunberg’s “How Dare You?” topped the charts.”

Andy Kessler, WSJ ($).

What I like about this article is that it shows how uncreative, indeed often vacuous, many of those who are making so much noise in the public square of opinion are. I mean, what the hell have any of them created that, you might think, will be marvelled over in 50 years’ time? Name one business process, invention, life-changing discovery, major work of art, great novel, work of sculpture, great piece of architecture, new sporting contest, anything. Take all the time you need. (I am not sure that entities such as Bitcoin, blockchain, 3-D printing, reusable rockets or AI count as these are from hated science, which comes from evil Western civilisation.) And that’s a problem, because the disconnect between the “culture wars” racket and the actual, positive stuff going on is becoming more and more chasmic.

Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.

Samizdata quote of the day

“A free society is only maintained to the extent that everyone is a dissident.”

Jordan Peterson.

Samizdata quote of the day – a question of evil

Today Moscow repeats its crime by invading Ukraine, by denying the existence of a Ukrainian nation. Think also of Russia’s accomplices in the West — those monstrous liars and accessories after the fact, who say that Ukraine and NATO are responsible for the war in Ukraine, or say that we must (for our own sake) allow the Ukrainian people to be butchered and oppressed again. It was shameful enough that the world stood by and believed the lies and tolerated Stalin’s genocide against Ukraine. But now, today, it unfolds again! And the dictator in Moscow finds no shortage of apologists and helpers in the West. They misrepresent those, like myself, who think Ukraine should be assisted, by calling us warmongers — as if we are advocating war with Russia. But there is no such advocacy. Ukrainians are already fighting because they have been invaded. It is their war, not ours. But we do have a moral obligation to help them. Furthermore, the evil they are fighting also wants to destroy us.


Samizdata quote of the day – the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history

One naturally wants to believe that an issue one is involved in is of world-historical importance. But as the judge himself wrote in the decision, “If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.” That, my friends, is a strong claim, but as I have previously argued, an entirely accurate one.

Aaron Kheriaty

Cubans know the alternative to freedom

When I asked my five-year-old grandson what he knew about George Washington, all he could say was, “He owned slaves.” That’s how Washington is remembered today: slaves, bad teeth, and a face on the dollar bill. But he won the Revolutionary War by sheer force of character; the precedents he set as our first chief executive embodied the ideology of freedom and remain in effect today. Other great men of similar talents behaved quite differently. Napoleon began as first consul, then promoted himself to emperor. Simón Bolívar went from liberator to dictator. By contrast, Washington voluntarily and with much relief relinquished power and ended his days as a farmer at Mount Vernon. That was unusual, unlikely—and exceptional.

Martin Gurri on how he sees July 4th

Samizdata quote of the day – yes, lapsed atheism is a thing

First, it was clear to me that to attempt to challenge Islamic extremism with facts and logic as Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris had done was to fail on purpose. Despite their efforts, most of the Western world today operates under de facto blasphemy laws which are enforced not by religious activists lobbying for censorship but by knife-wielding fanatics and suicide bombers.

The liberalism that the new atheists so enthusiastically espoused, the idea that we should be free to criticise, mock and satirise anything, including religion, only works when the Government is willing to protect you from the consequences. In seeking to liberate us from the tyrannical instincts of dogmatic Christians, the new atheists delivered us into the hands of a different and far more pernicious religious zealotry from which the ordinary citizen has no security at all.

Konstantin Kisin

Samizdata quote of the day – Conservatives who conserve nothing

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

Samizdata quote of the day – wilfully misrepresenting minorities

The identitarian left’s nightmarish image of Britain is utterly divorced from reality. It also flies in the face of ethnic minorities’ own view of the UK, wilfully misrepresenting their experiences. Many groups are very content with life in Britain and are optimistic about the future. Yes, they believe that more needs to be done to strengthen equality of opportunity. They no doubt still experience challenges. But ethnic minorities generally view Britain as a place in which people have a chance to thrive.

Rakib Ehsan

Samizdata quote of the day – the awkward truth about free speech

Is it ever possible to take a neutral position on the importance of free speech? The task certainly seems quite difficult. As Vogue’s favourite philosopher, Amia Srinivasan, notes this month in the London Review of Books, many Right-wingers seem to assert the value of free speech, mainly or even only to make room for political views the Left would prefer smothered at birth. Occasionally, someone on the Right will complain about the suppression of a position or person they don’t agree with, but usually more to avoid complaints of inconsistency than anything else.

The Left, however, also has its blind spots — many of which are apparent in Srinivasan’s essay. Scathing about the new Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act’s attempt to create a culture which promotes academic freedom in UK universities, she barely acknowledges the problems diagnosed by its authors and defenders. Instead, as many a defensive-sounding progressive has implied before her, real cancellation almost never happens in academia — except, of course, where it happens to exactly those people who deserve it (cough).

Kathleen Stock

Samizdata quote of the day – until there are consequences, nothing changes

Lockdown ruined Britain – and our deluded leaders couldn’t care less.

It was a catastrophic error: we should have pursued a liberal Swedish or Floridian approach. Lockdowns saved or extended comparatively few lives but inflicted huge economic, social, health and psychological damage, left behind a ticking cancer time bomb and caused or exacerbated most of the pathologies of contemporary Britain.

Yet there is something very wrong with our national conversation: why are we so reluctant to accept our mistakes, to connect the dots, to link lockdowns with Broken Britain? How is Matt Hancock able, with a straight face, to tell the Covid Inquiry that Britain must prepare for wider, earlier and more stringent lockdowns in the face of future pandemics? The delusion is staggering, the hypocrisy sickening, the mendacity breath-taking.

Allister Heath

Samizdata quote of the day – the death of the Tories

Literary critic Cyril Connolly said that the war between the generations is the only war in which everyone changes sides eventually. He was wrong. Politics is war, of course; and the Conservative Party switched en masse years ago. Unencumbered by any meaningful philosophy, they just marched from right to left.

Theresa May sounds for all the world like a Labour back-bencher buttering up the party big guns. It’s difficult listening. That said, I fully understand her desire to put the boot in. Who wouldn’t?

The death of the Tories is not a tragedy in and of itself. The carcass can rot for all I care. It’s what they haven’t done. What they failed to deliver. And all the fucking about.

One thing they did manage to do? Create a hell-ish environment in the institutions. Everything is in place. Labour will REALLY be able to wreak their identitarian havoc. Just wait and see. We’ll probably be asked to express our gender preferences through the medium of interpretive dance. And that’ll be the sensible option.

Seriously though – they’ll finish their revolution. And with it, the country. Nobody will be able to do a damn thing about it.

Dr Philip Kiszely