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]

Elections have consequences – and so does arranging that they don’t

There’s a Snoopy cartoon that starts with Linus telling Violet he is running away from home. “I know a joke about running away from home”, says Violet. “A boy at a street crossing tells a friend he is running away from home. ‘Then why are you waiting here?’, she asks. ‘I’m not allowed to cross the street without permission.’, he explains.”

“That’s a riot”, replies Linus sourly, gazing down at the kerbstone on which he is standing.

Winning a referendum, electing a president – with hindsight, we can see these were not so much victories as winning the right to fight. They did not force the deep state to obey – they forced the deep state to fight. While some crudely expressed their entitlement (“The Electoral College should ignore the outcome” or “Just declare him insane”, and “Hold another referendum” or “It was only advisory”), more professional liars began a longer-term strategy to undo what was voted.

Two years later, we have reached stage two: as with Harvey Weinstein, everybody knows – and everybody knows the insiders always knew. In the US, there was no collusion, just a lot of cheating to pretend there was. In the UK, May and collaborators lied (quite a lot) to get the power to tell us we can run away from the EU just as soon as the EU gives us permission. In the US, the media’s collusion story is over. In the UK, all the papers are talking about who will succeed May. And all that means is, the deep state can be made to stand and fight.

– If you can frame a president, and the only price you pay for failing is that you didn’t succeed, then (to paraphrase the Brighton bomb terrorists) Trump has to be lucky every time; the deep state only has to be lucky once.

– If no vote is so solemn, so pledged to be decisive before and after by government and opposition, that its decision can’t be delayed forever, then votes don’t control what the deep state can do; the deep state controls what votes can do.

It’s been quite an education, watching it unfold. But they’ve had to be just a bit obvious to get here – so now they can be made to stand and fight.

“The night before the Nazi-Soviet pact was announced, I dreamed that the war had started. It was one of those dreams which … reveal to you the real state of your feelings. It taught me .. that I should be simply relieved when the long-dreaded war started.” (George Orwell, ‘My Country, Right or Left’)

In Britain, it begins with a fight for the soul of the Tory party. Some of us used to point out that our hate speech laws were not imposed on us by the EU against our rulers’ will – that May loves them, that Corbyn adores them, that Brexit was only ever going to be the start. Now we have been taught the worthlessness of establishment promises. We know there is no Brexit without a leader who wants it – and deselecting MPs who don’t. The struggle we hoped to start sometime has become the unavoidable fight of today – and we have some very angry allies.

In the US, it begins with a fight for consequences. The usual suspects intend to show that fitting up Trump has no consequences, but being un-PC has grave consequences. Trump can drain the swamp now or drown in it next time – and he has quite a lot of evidence.

The deep state, the establishment, the ‘experts’, the people who know best – they will fight. It’s our achievement (helped by their errors) that they will have to. I don’t know who will win, on either side of the pond, but

“for myself, I am an optimist; there does not seem much point in being anything else.” (Sir Winston Churchill)

What I do think is that politics tomorrow will not be like politics yesterday – that in a deep sense, what the deep state has done has already had consequences.

Samizdata quote of the day

“When hedge-fund managers and the Communist Party see eye-to-eye on any question, it’s time to be concerned.”

Peter Oborne, writing in OpenDemocracy.

The balance of forces

Guido presents evidence that we have God on our side, along with the Queen, 63% of voters, a large part of an infuriated Tory party, and the army (or at least, the parachute regiment – I’ve lived next door to a para, and suspect they would be enough). 🙂

By a possible majority of one vote (at this moment I write), parliament is not on our side but on the side of endless procrastination – nor it would seem is the PM on our side. (I’m not quite sure what happened to “I’ll stay for as long as you want me”, but I assume it’s the same thing as happened to all the other promises.)

Having God on your side is good, but if I understand the theology correctly, He protects free will by using His power to warn, not compel – and helps those who help themselves. A coincidentally-timed lightening strike is welcome – and hilarious – but while I invite all who so wish to pray hard, we should not expect lightning to strike May and Corbyn as they shake hands. 🙂

Having the Queen on your side is good (noting that all is report and she would act sooner than she would formally say in public). Normally, like the almighty, her majesty warns but does not compel. In my opinion, the more letters that arrive at Buck Palace (acknowledging her wise convention of staying out of it normally but expressing calm loyal support for her right to act when Parliament behaves irregularly), the better, and they can certainly do no harm (most of us will have already written to our MP, some with far less reason to think it could have any effect). IMHO, be brief, be polite, be properly-phrased and don’t lecture her on what action to take, just say how loyally you’d support her taking action.

Having the voters on your side is good (if it is so – opinion polls are unreliable, of course, and a bit all over the place, but less so in both respects than parliament at the moment). However the voters cannot easily compel before an election.

We also, I hope, have ourselves – the brexitters – on our side. Guido is one of those brexitters who wanted May’s deal accepted for fear of worse. I respect such people despite disagreeing with them. Now is time for both sides of that debate to leave recriminations since that ship would appear to be sailing, for better or worse. Let’s look at those options.

1) For worse: Ramsay MacDonald was the last PM to betray their party and form an alliance with the opposition and a few like-minded turncoats. Being the nominal head of an overwhelmingly other-party coalition made him largely powerless domestically, so he concentrated on foreign policy: Ramsay MacDonald was the pacifist PM of the UK during Hitler’s first three years in power. This was very useful to Hitler as he moved from its being a military parade to remove him in 1933 to having 36 infantry divisions and 6 armoured ones with which to object in 1936. That precedent is not encouraging.

2) For better: precisely because May is putting up such a sneaky fight, Brexit has proved a stronger lever than I ever hoped for exposing those who are Tory in name only, and enraging the party against them. I doubt anyone is joining the Tory party at this moment but urge all who are there to stay, pro tem. Tearing up your party card in public is a great way to warn, but remember you must not actually resign if you are to use your (imminent, I hope) chance to compel.

Oh, beware my Country

Build on the flanks of Etna where the sullen smoke-puffs float —
Or bathe in tropic waters where the lean fin dogs the boat —
Cock the gun that is not loaded, cook the frozen dynamite —
But oh, beware my Country, when my Country grows polite!

Thus ends Kipling’s poem on our national habit of becoming very polite when we are about to lose our temper.

Yesterday’s ‘March of Enraged Brexitters’ was polite. ‘Cheerfully furious’, was how someone described the chairman of one Tory constituency association who was there. Reports agree the rage was very real – and self-controlled.

Over in the US a few years ago, Tea Party marches made a similar contrast to left-wing protests (‘left areas tidier than when they arrived’ versus ‘vandalism and arson’) – which did not in the least stop politicians and the media inventing lies against the Tea Party and shrugging it off when caught. When it was clear the PC would report polite dissenters as if they were were rioting racist thugs, they did not (fortunately) get rioting racist thugs (because their understanding of their opponents was zero) but they did get something a little less restrained: Trump and his supporters were not so polite to them.

On our side of the pond, Parliament (Labour and Tory alike) promised us something very specific, as formally and solemnly as possible, in speech, proclamation and manifesto, before the referendum (if we voted for it) and before the election (unconditionally). Promising something and then taking it away is a great way to get people angry.

So, I admire the restraint of “cheerful fury”, but, between the lessons of our national character and the lessons of the Tea Party evolving into the Trump coalition, I think Parliament unwise to go on provoking it. But I also think that if Parliament were wise, we were not be where we are now.

Agreeing to disagree

Inevitably, a parliament that can agree on nothing can agree on a two-week delay. Hilariously, it’s the EU that protects us from longer delay – they disliked the last time Brits voted on them too much to want a repetition in the EUro-elections two months hence. Admirably, the DUP refuse to panic (I thought they were a luck from the start.)

Labour was whipped to vote for a second referendum (kudos to their shadow minister who resigned) whereas the Tories were not whipped, but it still failed. The idea will be debated again on April Fool’s day but the omens (not least that one 🙂 ) seem good.

May’s offers to resign get steadily more precise and shorter term. Each one brings the series nearer its end. Each one reduces her authority while she remains.

As for me, I still like deadlock. If ever there was a time for a monarch to say that, as parliament is unable to act, “we” will be its regent and just do it, now is that time, but perhaps the decision of making no decision at all would be most convincing of all. We on this blog want less government; here’s a chance to experience it

Comment away – you know you want to. 🙂

Less economy of truth, please: who pays whom?

In today’s UK, we can only envy the US its first amendment, but Brits familiar with the PC narrative on race over here still find some US excesses hard to credit. Even Brits who hang out with lefties can be astounded by the wilder shores of the US narrative.

Enthroned on this mad narrative, Ta-Nehisi Coates nevertheless gets some push-back. He’s not hard to criticise. In his own memoir, some shoving on a crowded New York escalator is the worst that white people ever did to him in propria persona, but their malign influence is everywhere: when a black kid points a gun at the young Coates, it’s the fault of whites; when a black friend is shot by a black cop in a black majority area, it’s the fault of whites.

However, those who dare question this feel they must virtue-signal even as they do so.

“Coates’s book is … angry about things we should be angry about” signals an article that shreds Coates’ memoir.

“Coates reminds us of the shame of the American inner city … His account of slavery and the ensuing discrimination against blacks is powerful and true.” says an article titled ‘The Toxic World-View of Ta-Nehisi Coates’.

While cringing white ‘liberals’ tell each other that “Coates is right about white supremacy — but that doesn’t mean that Bernie Sanders is wrong”, other critics seem to be saying that “Coates is absurd, dishonest or channeling racism – but that doesn’t mean I’m a racist for saying so.”

This lets lies survive even in the words of those fighting against them. After denouncing “genocidal whiteness”, Coates demands “reparations” for slavery. Consider the following thought experiments.

– Suppose the US government tells Mr Coates they have just learned he was in fact born in Senegal and adopted as a tiny infant by his US parents, who neglected the relevant legalities – so he is not a US citizen and should depart for his true country. In this thought experiment, Mr Coates’ true parents were not descended from slaves sold to white traders on the West African coast centuries ago. His true ancestors did not suffer from “genocidal whiteness”. How much money would Mr Coates spend on lawyers and investigators to overturn this assessment? How much money would Mr Coates pay to reacquire the legacy for which he says he should be paid?

– As another way of asking the same thing, suppose a powerful witch offers to wave her magic wand over Mr Coates. His ancestors’ past will be changed. The “genocidal whiteness” that has affected that past will be expunged. At every moment when one of his ancestors was about to be pushed onto a white trader’s ship – at every moment when the white western world was about to impinge upon them – they will instead be among the unselected, remaining in Africa. As a special bonus, the witch will ensure that they are not instead sent into the King of Dahomey’s murder spectacle, nor have their eyes gouged out by the Bemba, nor die entertaining the Ashanti, nor be eaten by a cannibal tribe. They will instead live to give rise to Ta-Nehisi Coates, still himself, but now a slave-descended citizen of Senegal from whose past all “genocidal whiteness” has been erased. How much would Mr Coates pay the witch not to wave her wand?

It seems so superfluous to point out that the sums Mr Coates would pay (in these hypothetical examples) to keep his heritage are the sums he should pay, not be paid, if his agitation for reparations ever overcame the many better, more fundamental reasons against it.

I understand the urge to utter that ‘but’but I’m not a racist, but I know evil things were done, but I’m not Adolf reborn. Even I find myself wanting to tell you that being sold as a slave by his jealous brothers, and then falsely accused by Potiphar’s lustful wife, worked out really well for Joseph in the end – but they all needed Grand Vizier Joseph’s forgiveness, not his thanks, and his giving it was an act of grace, forgoing the punishment he could so justly have inflicted. I so needed to make sure you all knew I knew that – even though I already knew you all knew I knew that. Even though I already knew what surely we all know by now: that cringing to the PC only encourages them. Even though I already knew that anyone who would have pretended not to know I thought it if I did not say it will still pretend just as hard although I have.

And that is how this need to virtue-signal lets lies survive even in the words of those fighting against them. Yes, all the perpetrators and victims are dead. Yes, how could we unravel all their clashing inheritances. Yes, reparations for the past opens a pandora’s box of endless complications. But all this general philosophy merely hides specific points. You can hate the British Empire or you can hate slavery but no-one honestly hates both – and the PC hate that fact. If Mr Coates’ ancestors had never been put on the ships, their enslaved descendants might have had to wait decades longer for the Empire to reach and free them in their homeland. Reparations for centuries-old events may be philosophically impractical in general, but focussing on that only obscures that when you indict a whole society’s dead past on behalf of another, as Coates does, then you should ask whether that society was peculiarly guilty, or peculiar only in its relative lack of guilt. Slavery was ‘the peculiar institution’ in the pre-war south. In the non-western world, it did not look peculiar – and would not today, but for the western world.

“You’re taught that on race issues you are morally obliged to suspend your usual standards of logic. Faced with a choice between some benign mendacity and being mauled, few human beings choose the latter.”

Those who do ‘choose the latter’ know what Burke did about economy of truth: “a man may speak the truth by measure that he be allowed to speak it longer”. But Burke never thought mendacity could be ‘benign’ – and nor do I. I think we should be less economical.

The Art of (No) Deal

Via Instapundit I came across this fine editorial from the New York Sun:

“Sometimes You Have To Walk”

The collapse of President Trump’s summit with the North Korean party boss, Kim Jong Un, certainly takes us back — to October 12, 1986. That’s when President Reagan stood up and walked out of the Reykjavik summit with another party boss, Mikhail Gorbachev, of the Soviet Union. We can remember it like it was yesterday. The long faces, the dire predictions, the Left’s instinct to blame the Americans.

“What appears to have happened in Iceland is this,” the New York Times editorialized. “Mr. Reagan had the chance to eliminate Soviet and U.S. medium-range nuclear weapons in Europe, to work toward a test ban on his terms, to halve nuclear arsenals in five years and to agree on huge reductions later. He said no.” The Times just didn’t see that the Hollywood actor turned president had just won the Cold War.

It’s too early in the morning — this editorial is being written at 3 a.m. at New York — to know whether that’s the kind of thing that just happened at Hanoi, whence news reports are just coming in. Messrs. Trump and Kim were supposed to have a working lunch, to be followed by the signing of some sort of agreement. The next thing you know, Mr. Trump is heading home.

It’s not too early, though, to caution against over-reacting to this development. What appears to have happened is that the Korean Reds wouldn’t agree to the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization that we seek. Absent that, we wouldn’t agree to the dismantling of all the sanctions the North Koreans seek. “Sometimes you have to walk,” Mr. Trump told the press.

Good for him, we say. It would be a fitting epitaph for any statesman.

The tags I chose for this post will serve as my only further comment.

Less economy of truth, please: who kissed whom?

Punching back against PC lies – punching back “twice as hard” – is advice instapundit likes to offer. I wish I had a pound for all the times we instead push back half as hard, conceding one absurdity to a woke idiot in the very act of gently suggesting they tone down another.

The famous picture of a sailor kissing a nurse on WWII victory day is the latest target of the wokescolds. A US lecturer describes how a crybully in his class said

“That is the photo of an assault. That man should have gone to jail.”

after which a gay (who “could never get get to the end of a sentence without mentioning it”) asked why celebrate “colonialism”. The lecturer raised a laugh against the gay by reminding him that our soldiers went to France to free it from Nazi colonialism, but in doing so he effectively let the crybully off with a remark that implied she was merely overemphasising a valid point.

Let us consider some other celebratory moments from the end of that war.

The men flinched from the kisses of the ecstatic, filthy, stinking girls who tried to swarm all over them. (Kitty Hart, ‘Return to Auschwitz’)

The only unusual part of this end-WWII description is Kitty’s clear statement that these unannounced female kisses were not only unwarned but unwanted by the US soldiers on whom they were showered. After two years in Auschwitz and months of slave-labourer-trudge westward across the dying Nazi state, Kitty and her tragically-few fellow Jewish survivors were not looking their prettiest at the liberation of Salzwedel concentration camp – and they were looking pretty aggressive. (Kitty’s memoirs describe frankly how she took an aggressive personality into Auschwitz and a more aggressive one out of it. Jews who did not, did not survive, though you also needed a lot of what Kitty Hart’s maiden name – Kitty Felix – is Latin for.)

There are many other examples. When Paris was liberated in August 1944, a great many Parisiennes threw themselves on the soldiers and kissed them without the least hint of, “Excusez-moi, monsieur, voulez-vous que je vous embrasse” beforehand – but it is not recorded that the men of General Leclerc’s French 2nd armoured division ‘flinched’ under this onslaught.

The mad logic of the woke crybully says Kitty and friends should have been jailed. After all, the nurse in the iconic protograph became friends with the sailor, met him often thereafter, posed with him for an anniversary photo, always spoke of it in positively glowing terms – in short, gave every possible proof of her willing acceptance of the kiss – whereas Kitty shamelessly admits the men her cohort kissed were anything but eager. And since those women in Paris have no better excuse than the sailor – “Les hommes ne nous résistent pas” is clearly not enough for the crybully – they must belong in jail too.

Burke said that while falsehood and deceit were allowed in no cause whatever, “a certain economy of the truth may be practiced; a man speaks the truth by measure that he be allowed to speak it longer.” He has a point – sometimes one must pick the points to make to be able to go on talking – but I think we should try to do less of it. That crybully girl merited mockery, not the PC cringe.

Samizdata quote of the day

“A termite has about 100,000 neurons and we probably get through that number over a big weekend.”

John Searle, American philosopher.

You say that like it’s a bad thing, Mr Soros

The EU could collapse in the same way the Soviet Union did, George Soros warns

Back in 1991/92, when the Soviet Union had just collapsed and the UKIP party had just formed to fight the “ever-closer-union” Maastricht Treaty, one of their posters was two pictures of the map of Europe, one captioned ‘Before’ and the other ‘After’. ‘Before’ showed Western Europe divided into many separate countries while the east was the single monolith of communism. ‘After’ showed Eastern Europe divided into many separate countries while the west was the single monolith of the EU.

In Britain, this comparison was used as an argument against the EU but Mr Soros evidently sees it differently. He

has issued a call for Europe to “please wake up” and recognize “the magnitude of the threat” it faces.

Otherwise

“the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991.”

Mr Soros blames

“the lack of legal tools for disciplining member states”

Also attracting his ire is “the outdated party system that prevails in most European countries” (I do not recall this being a problem in the old Soviet bloc), and the fact that changing the treaties that define the EU is too difficult. He also thinks the EU should not have required migrants to register in the first EU country they reached, instead of moving them on over the continent, because that made local electorates more aware of their numbers.

However Mr Soros believes all will yet be well if the Eurocrats

“awaken the sleeping pro-European majority”

Good luck with that.

Girl’s got a point

We need to be less ready to throw each other under the bus when the PC media tell us to.

In London recently, Candace Owens of Turning Point talked about globalism versus nationalism, and was asked the usual idiot question about nationalism meaning Adolf. She replied,

“Whenever we say ‘nationalism’, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. He was a National Socialist. But if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay, fine.”

Though you can be arrested for quoting Sir Winston Churchill on Islam in the UK, it is (or was, last I looked) still safe to quote him on Hitler.

I admire men who stand up for their country in defeat, even though I am on the other side. He [Hitler] had a perfect right to be a patriotic German if he chose.

That is how Churchill characterised a chance conversation with a fan of the fuhrer. So it seems Sir Winston held the same view as Candace. (Quoted in Churchill’s WWII Vol I, Chapter V, ‘The Locust Years’. In a follow-up conversation,

I happened to say, “Why is your chief so violent against the Jews?”

after which, it seems, these conversations, and Hitler’s reaction to the fan’s report on them, became less welcoming.)

Completing her answer, Candace went on to say

The problem is that he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German, everybody to look a different way. That’s not, to me, that’s not nationalism… I have no problems with nationalism. It’s globalism that I try to avoid.”

Even those who despise socialism tend to study its theories with a certain seriousness. Hannah Arendt’s study of antisemitism (despite the title of its first section being ‘Antisemitism as an outrage to common sense’) is one of far fewer that make the effort to study that subject seriously. Hannah ridicules the

hasty … identification of antisemitism with rampant nationalism and its xenophobic outbursts. … not only the Nazis but 50 years of anti-semitic history stand as evidence against the identification of antisemitism with nationalism. The first antisemitic parties … were also among the very first that banded together internationally. … they called international congresses and were concerned with a coordination of international, or at least inter-European, activities. … the Nazis nationalist propaganda was directed toward their fellow-travellers and not their convinced members … Nazi “nationalism” had more than one aspect in common with [WWII-and-after] nationalistic propaganda in the Soviet Union … The Nazis had a genuine and never revoked contempt for the narrowness of nationalism, the provincialism of the nation state, and they repeated time and time again that their “movement”, international in scope like the Bolshevik movement, was more important to them than any state …

She notes the Nazis’ “spiteful contempt” for the German people “which they had always had, but could hardly show before” (i.e. before they won power). Hitler described himself as a magnet drawing whatever was good out of the German people – “those who are left are worthless anyway”. Hannah remarks, “Even then, it was clear to those in his circle what would happen to people Hitler considered ‘worthless anyway’.” Hitler ordered that the word ‘German’ be replaced with the word ‘Aryan’ throughout the Third Reich’s legal code, institutionalising this contempt. In parallel, the Nazis eagerly recruited all the foreign antisemites they could. [All quotes are from Hannah Arendt’s ‘Origins of Totalitarianism’]

So when Candace Owens talked about Hiler’s place along the globalism versus nationalism spectrum, she seems to have an ally in Hannah Arendt.

The Covington incident showed some on our side betraying it and cringing to its enemies by believing what those enemies said happened. The Candace Owens pile-on is an example of doing the same by believing what those enemies say our words mean. Candace discusses the incident here. Anyone who cares what is true is still free to argue that (things being as they are today) she should practice replying in ways even harder to misrepresent. But they could they stand up for the facts enough to include those words ‘even harder’ when they say it.

Googling ‘Welsh evil’ (or ‘BBC stupid’)

They were thrown into ecstasies of suspicion by finding we possessed a French translation of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’. If that had been the only book they found, our doom would have been sealed. It is obvious that a person who reads ‘Mein Kampf’ must be a fascist. The next moment, however, they came across a copy of Stalin’s pamphlet ‘Ways of Liquidating Trotskyists and other Double Dealers’, which reassured them somewhat. (George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia)

The BBC has learned from Google that Welsh IP addresses are 7.2% more likely (than other UK ones) to be the origin of searches concerning Jews in conjunction with certain negative terms. Since it lists these terms, the BBC story is now a high-ranked result found by such searches – or so I assume (I have not checked, lest Google record my IP address and the BBC report that Scotland has overtaken Wales). It is suggested that Google discourage these wicked Welsh googlers by not letting these combinations auto-complete.

I see no suggestion in the story that anyone contributing to it has even risen to the level of the communist secret police by e.g. correlating these queries with others from the same IP address like ‘racism evil’. (If any of the offending IP addresses also searched for ‘islamic terrorism evil’, I assume the BBC would only be the more shocked and disgusted.)

On the rare occasions when I’ve tried to imitate a Welsh accent, I often sound like I’m trying to imitate the accent of a Pakistani speaking English. I’ve been told the two accents sound similar because a high proportion of the governesses who tutored children of natives from the Indian subcontinent in the days of the Raj were Welsh. (I have no idea why that should be so or whether it is true.) If the BBC harbours the least suspicion that some of the searchers are studying anti-semitism with a view to opposing it, or that the accent of others might indeed sound Pakistani, it does not mention it.