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 – are liberal conservatives sleeping with the enemy?

Tony Blair is a political virtuoso, whatever one thinks of his policies or ideas, and he stated the position very clearly. The 21st century is not a battle between capitalism and socialism. It is one between progress – that is, liberal progress – and conservatism. It follows that anybody who describes themselves as a ‘liberal conservative’ is sleeping with the enemy – or very badly confused.


Liberalism, fascism, and communism are all in essence justifications for a mode of rule which is fundamentally ‘princely’: all are predicated on the idea that the population is in some way benighted or corrupted and incapable of simply being left to its own devices, and therefore that government’s task is to reform it from the ground up (and indeed, that this is the basic narrative of History).

Against this stands conservatism, which alone among political philosophies holds that it is not that the people are benighted or corrupted when left to their own devices, but in fact that it is they who are the true repository of virtue. Goodness inheres not in the State, but in the familial, social, communal and religious institutions which people naturally create, and naturally congregate towards, and it is through embedding oneself within these institutions that one is made truly free – in the sense not of being free from ties, but in the sense of being free to realise one’s true potential. This does not exactly mean that there is no need for the State to exist at all, because man is fallen and there is a requirement for laws to be enforced and the people to be protected. But it means that the justification for the existence of the State derives from its reflecting, and preserving, the social norms of society, and its capacity to preserve that society’s way of life in a stable and secure way across time.

David McGrogan, in a virtuoso article There is no such thing as liberal conservatism

Samizdata quote of the day – Israel edition

“Hamas is the enemy not only of Jews, but of the Palestinians themselves. Israel hoped that when Gaza was evacuated it would become an economic powerhouse. Had that happened, many Israelis would have been prepared to withdraw from most of the West Bank. The purpose of Zionism, after all, was to provide a homeland for Jews, not to rule over another people. But Gaza chose a different path, electing Hamas in 2006; and when, in 2017, an Israeli minister said he would help Gaza economically if it renounced terror, Mahmoud al-zahar, a Hamas co-founder, said that if Gaza had wanted to be like Singapore, it would have done so already.”

Vernon Bogdanor, professor of government, King’s College, London. (Item in Daily Telegraph behind the paywall.) The professor delivers a succinct summation of the moral depravity of Hamas, and by those who, through evasion of the facts, seek to excuse its actions. As an aside, there is another reason that the writer doesn’t spell out for why Hamas will not renounce terror: it is in many ways like the Mafia, or what Sinn Fein/IRA was and became: a gangster group that enjoys the trappings of power, including the money (as shown by how some of its political leaders reside in comfort, hundreds of miles away, in Qatar, etc).

Hillary Clinton says Trump supporters may need to be ‘deprogrammed’

These are Hillary Clinton’s own words, calmly reported by the Guardian as if there were nothing unusual about a politician in a democratic country calling for forcible deprogramming of their political opponents:

Hillary Clinton says Trump supporters may need to be ‘deprogrammed’

Supporters of Donald Trump may need to be “deprogrammed” as if they were cult members, Hillary Clinton said.

“Sadly, so many of those extremists … take their marching orders from Donald Trump, who has no credibility left by any measure,” the former first lady, senator, secretary of state and Democratic nominee for president told CNN.

“He’s only in it for himself. He’s now defending himself in civil actions and criminal actions. And when do they break with him? Because at some point maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members. But something needs to happen.”

Hillary Clinton said those words during an interview conducted on 5th October by CNN’s Christine Amanpour. Here is CNN’s own video report about it:

Clinton calls for ‘formal deprogramming’ of MAGA ‘cult members’

The section about deprogramming starts at 1:40. Note that Christine Amanpour raises no objection to the proposal but merely enquires about the practicalities.

Samizdata quote of the day – if heat pumps and EVs were better they’d sell themselves

Thanks to the cult ideology of Net Zero some governments, including our own, have started trying to destroy the entire basis of human brilliance and ingenuity in a way that has no parallel other than in totalitarian states.

If electric cars represented an overall improvement on internal combustion engine (ICE) cars by being collectively better to drive, cheaper to buy and run, at least as easy to ‘refuel’, had longer (or even equivalent) ranges, used less energy, lasted longer, had better resale value, were less environmentally damaging through being easier to make, using less metals and were easier to recycle, they’d sell themselves. Those are all minimum standards the Government could have set, but hasn’t.

Guy de la Bédoyère

The latest justification for censorship: protecting the UK’s precious and fragile broadcast ecology

Adam Boulton is a journalist and broadcaster who is a regular panelist on TalkTV, a competitor to GB News.

Some background: GB News presenters Laurence Fox and Dan Wootton both are currently suspended while the station investigates some crass remarks from Fox about a female journalist for Joe News, Ava-Santina Evans. You can hear what he said on the clip embedded in this report by Metro magazine: Dan Wootton suspended and investigated by GB News over Laurence Fox’s misogynistic Ava Evans remarks.

Fox’s sexual comments about Evans (“Who’d want to shag that?”) and Wootton’s sniggering at them were oafish, but I do not see what Evans has to complain about given that she has made almost identical remarks herself:

But, as ever, it’s OK when the Left does it. Last week the Guardian ran a piece by Alexandra Topping called “Russell Brand and why the allegations took so long to surface”. She said, rather defensively I thought, that “multiple experts” had told her it was from fear of Brand suing for libel. OK, the experts do have a point about Britain’s libel laws, and that is why I am making absolutely no comment about the criminal accusations against him and ask you to do likewise, but fear of libel does not explain why Brand remained a star for years despite making on-air sexual remarks about a woman in a manner far worse than anything Laurence Fox has done.

The truly disgusting behaviour of Brand and Jonathan Ross towards Andrew Sachs and Georgina Baillie in 2008 did not stop the Guardian’s George Monbiot calling Brand one of his “heroes” in 2014 and saying “He’s the best thing that has happened to the left in years”.

Brand did not cease being on the left. Until these allegations came out on September 16th, he was due to contribute to book called “Poetry for the Many” edited by Jeremy Corbyn and the trade unionist Len McCluskey. But Brand’s views had ceased to be an asset to the left, certainly to the sort of left that flourishes in the current broadcast ecology.

Samizdata quote of the day – communitarianism is ultimately totalitarianism

To Blair and his circle, then, the individual did not precede society – as Hobbes and Locke had it. People are born into an existing social compact and have obligations towards it that they do not necessarily choose. Other figures in New Labour’s stable of philosophers included Anthony Giddens, who offered the phrase “no rights without responsibilities” as the slogan of the Third Way, as well as the communitarian theorist Amitai Etzioni.

New Labour proceeded to govern in this spirit, with the political strategist Philip Gould crystallising these ideas into a policy agenda. The New Labour years saw the beginnings of Stakeholder governance, which envisages society as a compact of chartered interest groups – faiths, ethnicities, capital, labour – who have a right to be consulted on all matters of public policy. This is an anti-liberal idea: it formally dispenses with the individual citizen as the primary political unit, and denies the rights of voting majorities – a basic premise of liberal democracy. The establishment of protected characteristics is another example; it was premised on the idea that, in the eyes of the law, you were a member of a community first and an individual second.

J Sorel

Samizdata quote of the day – the total state is all around you

What we are talking about, then, is really political reason on steroids. And it has two necessary consequences. Foucault’s assertion was that political reason was both ‘individualising and totalising’. Again, this is not difficult to understand, but worth spelling out. The state’s impulse is always to atomise the population, such that each and every individual first and foremost looks to their relationship to the state as the most important in their lives. And this is at the same time necessarily a totalising impulse, as it installs the state as the very essence of society, without which the latter simply cannot survive, let along flourish.

This is the basis of political reason, but why is it so? Regular readers will I hope forgive me for returning to Machiavelli, who made things perfectly clear: ‘[A] wise ruler…must think of a method by which his citizens will need the state and himself at all times and in every circumstance. Then they will always be loyal to him.’ Needing the state in order to address systems of patriarchal domination and toxic masculinity while ensuring everybody enjoys their right to pleasurable, satisfying and safe sex were probably not at the forefront of his mind. But the logic of CSE is impeccably ‘prince-like’ in character all the same. It is predicated on a construction of a vulnerable, benighted and ignorant populace, who simply cannot be expected to govern their own affairs, and must look to the state at every turn – even when ‘managing’ their relationships and even when having sex.

David McGrogan

Samizdata quote of the day – the totalitarian takeover

Of course, if we stop burning fossil fuels society will collapse. Yet this is what our leaders are determined to do. Their radical stupidity tends toward totalitarian measures, leading to total destruction. Such is the nature of today’s ruling elites (who believe in cutting back fossil fuel use). Andrew Lobaczewski, who described the psychologically abnormal profile of the totalitarian politician, warned that many people spend their lives under the influence of abnormal personalities. Lobaczewski wrote, “When I explained … that they had been under the influence of a psychologically abnormal person for years, accepting her delusional world as real and participating (with perceived honor) in her vindictiveness … the shock temporarily stifled their indignation.”

J.R. Nyquist

Samizdata quote of the day – the Fusion of Technology and Law

But this is not all that the Energy Bill 2023 does, and here we come to a fresher development in the relationship between law and the state. Importantly, Brownsword has recently been suggesting that we are rapidly advancing into the next iteration of law – Law 3.0 – in which law becomes essentially self-executing through technology and, indeed, the very exercise of subjecting human conduct to rules becomes subsumed by technological management. Here, the creation of rules itself will become seen as archaic, with technology providing us with better – more efficient, more rational, more effective – forms of justice than those available to the flawed system of law which we currently respect. The end result (the apotheosis of Law 3.0, as it were), will be the merging of technology with law, such that the requirement for rules to exist will disappear and human conduct will be more or less entirely managed by technology.

David McGrogan

The mayor of London reads Leviathan and applies its lessons to cheese

Hobbes was right. We must have government. If men were to try to live without ‘a common Power to keep them all in awe’, life would be ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’, there would be ‘a perpetuall warre of every man against his neighbour’, and there would be adverts for cheese on the London Underground.

City AM reports,

TfL [Transport for London] has left a cheese company’s bosses feeling blue after banning ads depicting their products on the tube – saying the diet staple is too unhealthy.

London’s transport network has been cracking down on unhealthy food advertising on the tube, but according to The Times this now includes the dairy favourite.

The founder of Cheese Geek, Edward Hancock, said the ban was “crazy” and said he couldn’t understand why fizzy drink ads were allowed on the network but not artisan cheeses.

Hancock said cheese “has been shown in numerous recent studies to be beneficial for health.”

TfL banned high fat advertising in 2019. It was intended to capture fast food but appears to have widened in scope to high-end cheddar.

TfL said the cheese ads – which were to be part of a campaign run by Workspace, the office provider and consultancy – could not go on the network because TfL uses “the Food Standards Agency’s model to define foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt.”

I think Sadiq Khan got to the bit in Leviathan about “Power to keep them all in awe” and thought, “I like the sound of that”.

“The UK’s Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it’s dead”

The Register’s Rupert Goodwins is right to describe the Bill as “stupid” but, I regret to say, probably mistaken in describing it as “dead”. It has long since passed the Commons. Its progress through the Lords is almost complete. But a few more sharp thrusts like this one might yet kill the beast:

The British state is a world class incompetent at protecting its own data. In the past couple of weeks alone, we have seen the hacking of the Electoral Commission, the state body in charge of elections, the mass exposure of birth, marriage and death data, and the bulk release of confidential personnel information of a number of police forces, most notably the Police Service Northern Ireland. This was immediately picked up by terrorists who like killing police. It doesn’t get worse than that.

This same state is, of course, the one demanding that to “protect children,” it should get access to whatever encrypted citizen communication it likes via the Online Safety Bill, which is now rumored to be going through British Parliament in October. This is akin to giving an alcoholic uncle the keys to every booze shop in town to “protect children”: you will find Uncle in a drunken coma with the doors wide open and the stock disappearing by the vanload.

Samizdata quote of the day – the West and China share the same fate

It was managerialism that emerged as the true winner of the 20th century’s ideological battles. As Orwell prophesied in 1945: “Capitalism is disappearing, but Socialism is not replacing it. What is now arising is a new kind of planned, centralised society which will be neither capitalist nor, in any accepted sense of the word, democratic.” China is just a bit further down the path towards this same totalitarian future. The West is following.