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]

It is good not to be surprised to see articles like this in the Times

But it would be even better not to have to still see articles like this in the Times:

Cannabis failures show why we need to legalise all drugs

Ian Birrell writes,

Carly Barton is a former university lecturer who suffered a stroke at the age of 24. It left her feeling as if her bones had been “replaced by red-hot pokers”. Doctors prescribed opiates of increasing strength but they left her feeling “zombied” and still in severe pain.

In desperation she smoked a joint and discovered that cannabis dulled the pain, enabling her to live a productive life. But she did not want to be a criminal and could not afford to spend thousands of pounds on private prescriptions. So she came up with a simple idea: a “cannabis card” to show police officers that she used the drug for health rather than recreational purposes.

It is thought that another million Britons who endure conditions such as arthritis, cancer and multiple sclerosis self-medicate with this drug. This is why Barton’s concept has been backed by police officers fed up with wasting their time. “I did not join the police to arrest people who are unwell and trying to manage their symptoms,” Simon Kempton, a Police Federation board member, has said.

This is a significant step forward. But why does progress on drug reform depend on ordinary citizens pushed to the limit and police officers infuriated about squandering time and resources? The reason, sadly, is that politicians privately accept their war on drugs has failed yet lack the nerve to sort out the mess they created even as it fuels gang violence and inflames racial tensions.

He goes on to describe how the police in some areas are effectively giving up on enforcing the prohibition of other drugs as well. It will not be a surprise to you that I think the outcome is good, but I feel more than a twinge of disquiet about the law effectively being changed by the will of the police. Selective enforcement can as easily be a tool of the oppressor as of the liberator. To see what I mean, amuse yourselves by making a quick list of those who are and are not subject to the Covid-19 restrictions in your area.

Related posts:

  • There should be no law to forbid people parading in paramilitary uniforms
  • The equal oppression of the laws
  • Here we go again

    ITV News reports,

    Social gatherings of more than six people to be banned in England to limit spread of coronavirus

    Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday as the Government seeks to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use a press conference on Wednesday to announce the change in the law after the number of daily positive Covid-19 cases in the UK rose to almost 3,000.

    The legal limit on social gatherings will be reduced from 30 people to six.

    It will apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors – including private homes, as well as parks, pubs and restaurants.

    It’s not like anyone needs to know what a killer still at large looks like

    The biggest UK news overnight was this:

    Birmingham stabbings: Manhunt as one killed and seven hurt.

    That BBC report dates from last night when the man who had already randomly murdered Jacob Billington was still at large. It reads:

    A knifeman who killed one man and wounded seven other people in a two-hour stabbing rampage across Birmingham city centre is being hunted by police.

    The first stabbing was in Constitution Hill at 00:30 BST then the killer moved south, apparently attacking at random, officers said.

    The stabbings did not appear terrorism related, gang related or connected to disorder, West Midlands Police said.

    Murder inquiry detectives said they were hunting a single suspect.

    The force urged anyone with CCTV or mobile footage to contact them.

    One man died, another man and a woman suffered critical injuries and five other people were left with non-life-threatening injuries.

    Ch Supt Steve Graham said the attacker went on to stab people in Livery Street, Irving Street and finally in Hurst Street, where the city’s Gay Village meets the Chinese Quarter, at about 02:20 BST.

    Police said there was no evidence the stabbings were a hate crime.

    I expect they were the non-hateful sort of stabbings. The BBC article continues,

    Ch Supt Graham said officers – some armed – remained across the city centre to reassure people.

    He added they had received a number of descriptions of the suspect but would not be releasing any details for the time being.

    So while a man who had already killed one person and murderously attacked several other men and women was still on the streets looking for more victims, the police felt the need to issue a statement about his motives, about which they could not possibly know. They did not feel the need to tell the public what he looked like, which they did know, being in possession of multiple statements from the surviving victims and other witnesses, plus CCTV footage.

    To be fair, anyone familiar with modern policing could deduce what the absence of a police description actually meant.

    *

    A related post from six years ago: Politically correct evasiveness fails on its own terms.

    There seems to be a stage missing

    Lest anyone look at the previous post and think that it is only the Yank media that thrills to the sound of breaking glass, here is our very own Evening Standard giving over its pages to Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion: “Roof spikes and the noble art of window smashing— protesting for Extinction Rebellion”.

    She writes,

    Just having left an impromptu roadblock on Millbank, I found myself yesterday suddenly among a swarm of cyclists pedalling friendly mischief around the city. There’s something about the spirit of this rebellion. When people join together in courage and love for life on earth, willing to take the punishment that will come, the system doesn’t know how to handle it. The Government itself declared a climate and ecological emergency last year, but little more than lip service has followed. On Tuesday, together with environmental organisations, academics, lawyers, and now more than 30 MPs from seven parties, we handed to Parliament on a plate a Bill fit to address the crisis. All they need to do is pass it — and all we need to do is tell them we want it.

    Away with all that pettifoggery about persuading the public. That XR want it done should be enough to make it law.

    Edit: Further demonstrating that persuasion is not their thing, Extinction Rebellion protesters block newspaper printing presses.

    Darren Grimes said it well:

    Extinction Rebellion hasn’t been ‘infiltrated’.

    Black Lives matter hasn’t been ‘infiltrated’.

    These movements were never about the environment or racial justice.

    These movements were always about control.

    They cannot win at the ballot box, so they have to use other means.

    Samizdata fuck-you quote of the day

    No need to bother, Co-op. As of today you are henceforth banned from advertising in The Spectator, in perpetuity. We will not have companies like yours use their financial might to try to influence our editorial content, which is entirely a matter for the editor.

    Andrew Neil, in response to Co-op indicating they would refuse to advertise in The Spectator due to the publication’s “transphobia

    Samizdata quote of the day

    The initial claim of media bias is not that there’s a cabal that nays no darkie jokes no never, rather that the people doing the defining think that no darkie jokes should ever be made therefore that’s what they describe as being impartial. It’s a cultural censorship not a cabalistic one. As such it’s also quite possibly unthinking, not self-aware of what it is doing. Things that cannot be said in Islington drawing rooms may not be said on TV sorta thing. Which leaves rather a lot of people who don’t hold Islington drawing room opinions outta luck.

    The very proof of this being that if a TV station starts up saying non-Isling.dr things and succeeds like wildfire then we know those views were being censored by that unconscious bias.

    It’s all going to be rather fun, isn’t it?

    Tim Worstall

    Samizdata quote of the day

    I am puzzled so many Guardianista race obsessed identitarian socialist commentators are alarmed by the sight of the British Union of Fascists in Trafalgar Square. After all, what are the BUF if not race obsessed identitarian national socialists? 🤣

    – Perry de Havilland

    Hundreds, I tell you, hundreds!

    Hundreds of demonstrators take part in Million People March

    The sad story of Scots Wikipedia

    Hats off to the Guardian for the pun in this headline:

    Shock an aw: US teenager wrote huge slice of Scots Wikipedia

    Nineteen-year-old says he is ‘devastated’ after being accused of cultural vandalism

    The Scots Wikipedia entry on the Canada goose – or “Canadae guiss” – was at first honest about its provenance. A tag warned: “The ‘Scots’ that wis uised in this airticle wis written bi a body that’s mither tongue isna Scots. Please impruive this airticle gin ye can.”

    But, as the author grew in confidence, so he removed the caveat, and continued on his Scots-writing spree.

    Now an American teenager – who does not speak Scots, the language of Robert Burns – has been revealed as responsible for almost half of the entries on the Scots language version of Wikipedia.

    If you are wondering how a nineteen year old managed to be responsible for creating or editing tens of thousands of articles, the answer is simple:

    He wrote: “I was only a 12-year-old kid when I started, and sometimes when you start something young, you can’t see that the habit you’ve developed is unhealthy and unhelpful as you get older.”

    Naming no names except my own, that sounds like a few of us here. Ten edits a day, most days, for two and a half thousand days. The work of half his life. The thing that made him special. And now they revile him for it. Believe me, I am not laughing when I call this a sad story.

    Believe me, too, when I say I do not want to mock Scots. The Samizdata “Languages” category includes many other posts by me about endangered tongues. I want them to survive and grow. A world where everyone spoke only one language would be a grey place, and one more likely to fall to tyranny. For many a soul living under oppression their knowledge of something other than the majority language has been the one window to freer times or places that the censors could not brick up. Less portentously, I like the vigorous style of Scots. The fact that it is mostly mutually intelligible with English English has been the source of endless arguments about whether it is a dialect of English or a language in its own right. It is a pity that this question has been politicised. My own opinion, for what it is worth, is that although Scots was a separate language in the Middle Ages, enough linguistic convergence has occurred to say that nowadays it is a dialect of English. There is nothing wrong with that. It would be equally valid to say Standard English and Scots are both dialects on the continuum of English (and that the group as a whole is called “English” is just a matter of historically familiar terminology, not an attribution of superiority. Brits should remember that if numbers of speakers were the criterion that decided the name of this language we would be speaking American.)

    It is a sad reflection on the state of Scots that nobody stopped “AmaryllisGardner” for five seven years. Scarcely anyone seems to have questioned him. I cannot help thinking this fiasco would never have happened if linguists and the penumbra of people who are “into” languages had not been so down on prescriptivism. After all, if there truly is no correct or incorrect way to use language, our laddie’s version of Scots has as much claim to be right as the one they speak in Glasgow.

    I am an anti-prescriptivist myself when it comes to daily life. It is wrong to sneer at anyone for their local mode of speech, and still worse to beat it out of them as was common in the past. The variety of any language that has become the standard did not do so because of any intrinsic superiority; it was mere chance. Nonetheless a command of standard English can unlock doors across the world for children in Barlanark, as it does for children in Brixton or Beijing. Fortunately children are good at picking up more than one language and code-switching between them.

    Meanwhile, in debate I will continue to extol both languages and Wikipedia as splendid examples of spontaneous order. They still are. Most of the time.

    The Royal Opera House did not perform as expected, and nor did a woman surrounded by a mob

    Sometimes I start to make a Samizdata post and then that silly business of Real Life gets in the way and the post is left to languish as a draft. And sometimes Real Life comes back months later and tells me I was right the first time: there was a story there worth talking about.

    That is how I come to be posting about a Times report dating from early June on August 27th.

    On June 10th 2020, the Times reported:

    Royal Opera House under fire for ‘silence’ on Black Lives Matter protests

    The Royal Opera House has been described as an “unrelentingly white organisation” by a senior employee who said he was “ashamed” of its silence over the death of George Floyd.

    Mark Dakin, the organisation’s technical director, said it had paid “lip service to the inclusion and progression of a black and minority ethnic workforce”.

    In an email which has been posted on the Royal Opera House intranet Mr Dakin said he had “only an exhausting, burning rage and desolate sadness that still nothing has changed . . . you continue to exclude us”.

    He said that during the Black Lives Matter protests over the killing of Mr Floyd the Royal Opera House was “silent and chooses to not even show public solidarity”.

    Mr Dakin, who joined in 2016 to run Covent Garden’s technical and production department after 20 years with the National Theatre, said that unlike other organisations the Royal Opera House had not sufficiently supported #blackouttuesday on June 2.

    Mr Dakin, who grew up as an adopted child in Bristol with a white family, also claimed that the Royal Opera House had continually declined to publicly support Black History Month.

    In an open letter posted on the website of Stage Sight Mr Dakin said he was “ashamed the organisation for which I work has chosen to exercise the privilege of staying publicly silent about the racist murder of the African American George Floyd, proactively choosing to ignore #blackouttuesday, as it always publicly ignores Black History Month.”

    Mr Dakin’s “burning rage” at the Royal Opera House for the horrible crime of not participating in his favoured hashtag campaigns that were utterly unrelated to opera seemed almost comical in June. Less so in August.

    America’s Woke Red Guards Enforcing Goodthink by Harassing D.C. Restaurants Patrons

    That was from PJ Media. A little to my surprise even the Independent seemed to have cottoned on to the idea that a mob surrounding a random woman and berating her for not making a gesture of solidarity at their demand might be a bad look. Interestingly the woman in the pink top, Lauren B. Victor, is herself a supporter of BLM but was commendably resistant to being coerced.

    Edit: The story about the harassment of the diners has been reported worldwide.

    Une foule agressive de manifestants BLM accostent des convives blancs à l’extérieur des restaurants de DC

    Los huéspedes del restaurante estaban rodeados de manifestantes enojados de Black Lives Matter: “Un regalo para Trump”

    „Heb deine Faust!“ – US-Aktivisten bedrängen Restaurantbesucherin

    At the time of writing neither the BBC nor the Guardian had any mention of it.

    Another edit: The Guardian is not merely declining to mention the Lauren Victor story, it is actively deleting mention of it by readers in comments to this opinion piece on the US election by Nathan Robinson. I assure you that my own two comments were polite and relevant but they were instantly deleted. I think I saw a couple of comments from other readers mentioning unsavoury behaviour by BLM supporters that, like my two, have now disappeared.

    An architect is struck off

    I originally read this story about the striking off of the architect Peter Kellow by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) on page 19 of my paper copy of today’s Times. The headline reads “Architect struck off for Jewish ‘cult’ claim”. However an online search of the Times website yields no such story, and no mention of Peter Kellow. Strange. Fortunately, and embarrassingly for both papers, the Daily Mail version is almost word for word the same:

    Award winning architect is struck off after he claimed Judaism is a ‘cult’ and called for ‘restraints’ to be placed on Jews who should be banned from holding public office

    An award-winning architect has been struck off for claiming Judaism is not a race but a ‘cult’.

    Cambridge-educated Peter Kellow called for ‘restraints’ to be placed on Jewish people including banning them from holding influential public office.

    In a public Facebook post, he said there was ‘no such thing as the Jewish race’ and accused them of creating ‘resentment and suspicion’.

    As a result of his behaviour, he was hauled before a disciplinary panel, found guilty of misconduct and kicked out of the profession after 47 years.

    The Architects Registration Board hearing was told that Mr Kellow made the comments in April 2019, as then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn faced accusations of anti-Semitism.

    He wrote: ‘There is no such thing as the Jewish race. This is one of the many stunts that Judaists have pulled on non-Judaists who have swallowed it whole. There is only the religion/cult of Judaism.

    ‘There is no doubt that Judaists have suffered from unfair and cruel treatment at many times in history but this was never racially motivated until the late nineteenth century and bloomed in the ideology of Adolf Hitler.

    ‘It is not far from the truth to say the Judaists were the inventors of European racism for they asserted they were racially different to the rest of us. Judaists have got themselves into a lot of trouble throughout history being subject to pogroms, ghettos and expulsions.

    ‘I am not saying this was justified, but why do we see this consistent pattern?

    ‘The problem people have and always have had with Judaism is not about race.. It is because Judaism is a cult.

    ‘What do I mean by a cult? A cult is a set of people, normally unified by a religion or quasi-religion, who try to create a society within the general society.

    Mr Kellow also included freemasonry and Sunni Islam in his definition of cults.

    He wrote: ‘Cults work against the interest of the general society as its members, in subscribing to a society within the society favour each other over the rest of us.

    ‘This naturally creates resentment and suspicion. How can you trust such people?’

    ‘How should society deal with people who through their cult activity weaken the bonds that the society needs to function well? We must put restraints on their ability to create a society within a society.’

    Mr Kellow suggested creating a public register of Jewish people, banning them from public office ‘where they could discriminate’ between Jews and non-Jews and ban from being judges.

    He also suggested banning Jewish faith schools and the wearing of religious clothing other than a skull gap.

    The Times version really was amazingly similar, although it did say “skull cap” rather than “skull gap”.

    You can read the original wording of the offending Facebook post on this archived version of the proceedings of the ARB disciplinary panel.

    He began,

    This business of “anti-semiticism” [sic] in the Labour party which is held up as racism. What is it all about really?

    The Mail and the Times cite the most important points, but I thought it was worthwhile to quote Mr Kellow’s recommended policy towards what he calls “Judaists” and to believers in other religions that he deems to be cults:

    First of all there is no question of banning them. I believe in freedom for the individual as a fundamental ideal and so if someone wishes to belong to a cult like Judaism or Freemasonry they must be free to do [sic]. But we must put restraints on their ability to create a society within a society. The main ones should be as follows

    1. Registration of the cult in a public register
    2. Registration of all adult members in a public register
    3. No cult member can hold an important public office where they are in a position to descriminate [sic] between cult members and non-cult members. For instance it is totally unacceptable lo [sic] have a Freemason or Judaist as a judge as their decisions will very like [sic] work in favour of fellow cult members. Their strong bond in their society within the society will ensure this
    4. Whereas adults are free to choose to belong to a cult, the same cannot reply [sic] to their children. The assumption that the children of cult members will be “born into” the cult is not acceptable in a civilised society. To this end, no cult can run its own “faith” schools
    5. It must be against the law to wear cult clothing in public – except something worn on the top of the head like a hat [eg Sikh turbans or Judaist skull caps]. However, penalties will only be applied when a separate law [such as a driving evidence [sic] or bank robbery] is violated.

    It is clear that Mr Kellow adheres to most of the usual tenets of twenty-first century Corbynite anti-semitism, given the customary veneer of progressive respectability by being anti several other religions as well – though he would have done better on that score to include Christianity in the list of “cults” to be restricted by law. To advocate that faith schools be banned is now fairly mainstream in left wing circles, and not only among them. The way he presented laws against Jews holding public office as being an anti-discrimination measure was clever. He only really slipped up by advocating that a register of Jews be compiled. That bright idea carried an overtone of Nazism too strong to ignore.

    Peter Kellow has some nasty opinions. But should they stop him practising as an architect?

    Samizdata quote of the day

    As George Monbiot is pointing out, but cannot bring himself to say, the government is not your environmental friend.

    Tim Worstall