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 – the year reheated

We also visited the sense-dulling intersection of sports, wokeness, and science journalism, via the publication laughingly referred to as Scientific American, in which we were told, “The inequity between male and female athletes is a result not of inherent biological differences, but of biases in how they are treated in sport.” That such male-female differences and their implications for athletes have been widely studied and quantified seemed somehow to have escaped detection. That Allyson Felix, an 11-time Olympic track and field medallist, would place six hundred and eighty-ninth on a ranking of high-school boys was one of many details carefully avoided. And which again suggests that wokeness is actively stupefying, a kind of rapid-onset morony.

David Thompson, presenting us with a roundup of 2023’s lunatic antics. Read the whole thing and prepare to be stupefied by the cavalcade of idiocy.

Help me make an inspirational poster

Taking a Christmas break from my customary snarkiness, I mean this without irony. I would like to make one of those motivational posters with an inspirational quotation or slogan on it. The slogan would express an idea that I already believe strongly, only I have not yet found the best way to express it.

The starting point is a slogan that has many variants, but the version I saw first and like best is:

“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was always yours. If it does not, it never was.”

Knowing my audience, I shall link to the demotivational version as well. It’s a quote from B.J. Novak, who was probably a ray of sunshine until he played the temp in the American version of The Office.

So, the slogan for which I reach is similar to that one (the motivational version, not Novak’s), but is about acceptance rather than love. Something like:

“If you seek acceptance, don’t demand it, ask for it. If the other person says yes, you know you are truly and freely accepted. If they say no,

Then what? I don’t know what to say. I’m not sure if it’s even a good idea to mention the consequences of the other person saying “no”. I suppose I could say “better to be aware they do not accept you than to be deceived by them feigning acceptance out of fear, which will probably lead to them stabbing you in the back whenever they get the chance”, but that one’s a bit of a downer to put on a poster. The point I really want to make is that true acceptance cannot be had if the person being asked to do the accepting does not have the option to say “no”.

The reason I seek a more pithy way to express this sentiment than anything I have come up so far is that, as I said a few years back in a post called “To knock on the door is better than booting it in”, “Like some warrior cultures of old, the grievance culture holds getting what you want by asking or peaceably trading to be fit only for slaves. The superior person does not ask for what they want; they demand it.” This attitude is culturally dominant in both senses.

I can see why this disastrous misapprehension arose. There are circumstances where the only moral course is to demand one’s just rights as rights, with not the slightest hint of pleading. But there can be no right to be accepted, just as there can be no right to be loved.

A glimpse into the future: you have no rights

The point here is that if one only has a right so long as it is in accordance with the public interest, then that is tantamount to saying one does not have a right at all, because it is entirely contingent on the authorities’ view of what the public interest entails. If they have a plausible-sounding reason why depriving one of one’s property is in the public interest (spoiler alert: they almost always will have such a reason), then they can do so irrespective of one’s ‘rights’, and one’s rights therefore are of no real practical or legal consequence.

This is the position we find ourselves in, then, with respect to A1P1. We have a right to property but only insofar as we can be deprived of our possessions when it is in the public interest. We do not then really have a right to property at all, at least insofar as the ECHR goes, but more a liberty to enjoy peaceful possession of our property on the sufferance of the State. We are on implied notice that as soon as it is in the public interest to deprive us of our property, the State can do so.

David McGrogan

Strongly recommend you real the whole thing.

Samizdata quote of the day – screwed and then screwed again

Make energy expensive so industry moves abroad, then tax the goods coming back in due to their carbon content.

You pay twice.

Steve Loftus, illustrating why the Tories should and will burn to ash at the next General Election.

Samizdata quote of the day – the crisis of British politics and government

We don’t face a Brexit crisis, a migration crisis, a housing crisis, an NHS crisis, a social care crisis, an energy crisis, a productivity crisis, a deficit crisis or an education crisis — there is one universal and interconnected crisis of British politics and government.

Samuel Hooper.

The article is not new but it is still interesting.

Samizdata quote of the day – unravelling of US higher education edition

“Few phrases are as reliable as ‘my truth’ for identifying seasoned purveyors of cant and doubletalk. Truth isn’t something that can be identified or modified by a possessive pronoun. If my truth is different from your truth and your truth is different from her truth, these aren’t truths. ‘My truth’ is the device deployed to elevate the particular viewpoint of a member of a particular group or identity, by claiming the validation of the ‘truth’ for a narrow ideological cause.”

Gerard Baker, Wall Street Journal ($). He was writing about the views of the President of Harvard, Claudine Gay. As of the time of writing, Gay is still in a job, but for how long?

Samizdata quote of the day – pharma bombs

Now, remember. This study — and all the news reports about it — constantly reassures pharma bigwigs and depressed jab-takers that there’s no evidence of adverse effects from the random ‘nonsense proteins,’ the randomized proteins that 25% of their transfected cells are now making. Nothing to worry about!

But check out this very telling quote from one of the study authors, Anne Willis, who is a very upbeat kind of lady. She found that the problem just creates a very exciting opportunity for jab makers to fix it:

(Professor Anne Willis, Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit) adds it is very exciting that there is a way to fix the issue, which “massively de-risks this platform going forward”.

Screech! Hold on, wait just a minute! Slam on the brakes for a second. If fixing the issue “massively de-risks the (mRNA) platform” … that means … there are massive risks to be fixed. And that quote, ladies and gentlemen, gave away the entire game, right there, and showed us what the study authors are really thinking.

Jeff Childers

Samizdata quote of the day – the proportionality absurdity

In a time of war, everybody makes proportionality arguments. But proportionality is a fool’s game, more suited to propaganda than to reasoned judgement.

Michael Walzer

Wars are not sporting events.

Samizdata quote of the day – One reason we don’t believe certain economic claims about climate change

Jobs are a cost, not a benefit. Having to direct human labour to some task reduces the amount of such human effort that can be devoted to sating some other desire – it’s a cost. So that boast is that dealing with climate change would add 380 million costs to the global economy. Yes, obviously, this is an opportunity cost but if you’re not doing opportunity costs then whatever you’re doing it’s not economics.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day – questioning governmentalism makes you dangerous

“At its core,” Emily writes, “effective accelerationism embraces the idea that social problems can be solved purely with advances in technology, rather than by messy human deliberation.”

Your sense that technological progress has increased human abundance, and the city of San Francisco is poorly run? This is a dangerous idea.

Mike Solana

Samizdata quote of the day – misrepresenting the earthquake in Ireland

The Irish government would have us believe that the most destructive riot in Dublin in living memory was not a symptom of failed governance, but the result of an ideological fringe group going on a looting spree. That is a suspiciously convenient narrative for the powers that be, for it absolves them of all responsibility for losing control of the city. By fingering a Far Right fringe, public officials can wash their hands of any role they themselves may have played in bringing the city to the brink of anarchy.

But blaming these riots on the “far right” only serves as an excuse for not engaging in serious reflection about the deeper causes of this incendiary atmosphere, and the ensuing events. These events did not come out of nowhere and cannot be simplistically reduced to the work of a fringe “far right” mob. “Far right” talk is an excuse for not thinking hard about what led up to this and how public authorities lost control of Dublin’s city centre.

David Thunder

Samizdata quote of the day – from anti-authoritarian to bootlicker

The sad thing is that the character of the Doctor used to represent a distinctively British kind of amateur anti-authoritarianism. He took on the might of the Daleks with the equivalent of a screwdriver and a well-worn scarf. Now he surrenders to the pronoun police without so much as a quibble.

Malcolm Clark