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]

I think he needs to get out more

Specifically, out of the bubble more.

“no one saw this coming” (Dominic Raab, UK Foreign Secretary)

One of many things ‘no one’ saw was the inverse analogy with Iran sending back the hostages just as President Reagan was being inaugurated. The mullahs felt no fear of President Carter but are on record as deciding to send them home to meet incoming President Reagan from a concern that:

“he might use cowboy methods”

The very same Democrat/US-‘liberal’ election rhetoric designed to make voters think Reagan might start WWIII suggested to the mullahs that he might be dangerously unpredictable – and that Carter was a pussycat

In exactly the same way, the rhetoric they used against Donald Trump was useful to him – and very undermining to Biden’s ability to ‘deal’ with the Taliban (not that Biden had much ability they needed to undermine). Brendan O’Neill has explained how wokeness hurt the west’s Afghanistan efforts, but while Trump was in the white house there was also a counter-effect. Precisely because it was Trump’s enemies who were saying ‘he’s a crazy violent nutjob who might do anything’, the Taliban were more convinced to be wary of Trump than by Trump’s own threats alone – and more convinced they need not beware of Biden.

Did no one that Raab talked to foresee that?

I’m not picking on Raab specially. There are many MP’s I’d far sooner see gone from the Tory party, and as for the current ministers of the crown, they could all do with getting out (of the bubble) more.

Samizdata quote of the day

“The `robber barons’ gave us railroads and public libraries. Zuck gave us Farmville and censorship.”

Glenn Reynolds, apropos criticisms of how Big Tech bosses such as Mark Zuckerberg carry on. For what it is worth, the censorship operated by the Facebook and other Big Tech folk is still, in my view, less serious than of the traditional government kind. If you don’t like Facebook then don’t use it. By contrast, with government, we are forced to pay taxes to the bastards, regardless of what we use or how we vote.

And by the way, most of the “robber barons” weren’t robbing anyone, but adding value and doing such evil things as producing cheaper steel, oil and transportation. Much of the anti-trust furore was built around a total failure to see competition as an active process across time, not a static sport. The “perfect competition” model of neoclassical economics has done a lot of damage.

The logic of absurdity

The authorities police their lockdown laws as if the virus was reliably woke and as reliably anti-Christian – as if PC protests had a mysterious immunity but a church service was sure to be a superspreader event.

In Canada, a Polish priest showed how to say ‘no’ to PC Karen and her colleagues (video) when they tried to halt an Easter service. When a London PC Karen did the same, the response was less forthright, but maybe the London Polish Christians will learn from their Canadian cousins’ example. Meanwhile, sympathisers advised the Londoners to celebrate Easter outside Batley Grammar School, since the police are loathe to obstruct religious gatherings there.

Interrupting a Polish church’s Easter Friday and Easter Sunday services in London (that appear to have been legitimate under current lockdown rules) while overlooking a “killthebill” protest in Bristol (that appears to have been as clearly in violation of them) allows an unfortunate interpretation: that PC Karens will bite the hand that feeds them and kiss the foot that kicks them; will bully those who defer to them and defer to those who bully them.

(For the benefit of non-UK readers, ‘the bill’ refers to a policing act before parliament. ‘The Bill’ – a.k.a ‘The Old Bill’ – is also a UK idiom for ‘the police’. The chosen hashtag of these protests could thus be seen as regrettable, as regards some of those involved, and unpleasantly appropriate as regards others.)

I think there are those in the police who do not like this message – but someone in authority in London thought it a great idea to invade an Easter service on the same weekend as the latest Bristol protest was being ‘light-touch’ policed.

If I’ve learnt one thing from my years of programming, it is that the computer does what you actually told it to do, not what you thought you were telling it to do. Humans are not computers – we often begin by hearing the propaganda, decoding the intent and doing that instead – but when the actual message is this obvious, it can cut through. If it cuts through to the extent of inspiring more churches to follow the example of the Canadian Polish priest, I’ll be a happy man. It could go beyond that.

Samizdata quote of the day

I fear, however, that we are seeing a back-drop of indecision, buck-passing and even incompetence that will leave this generation more contemptuous of leadership and authority than any I can think of before.

— Alastair Stewart, ending his Spectator article about exam results on a hopeful note.

BLM (Black Lives Murdered)

The “Black Lives Matter” movement took yet another black life on Saturday. Eight-year-old Secoriea Turner was murdered when ‘Black Lives Matter’ activists shot up the car she was in after its driver had the misfortune to exit the interstate near one of their barriers.

If they order you to take the knee, stand up. Stand up for Secoriea; don’t kneel to her murderers. Honour Secoriea Turner, who was 8 and did no harm; don’t honour George Floyd, who thrust his gun into the stomach of a pregnant black woman during a home invasion.

I could say a great deal more – but if you or I are ever in that position, the narrative’s finger will be poised over the ‘Cancel’ button. So I advise thinking about what brief words you will say, when they tell you to kneel to a bunch of murderers and you suspect the next words you utter might be the last they’ll let anyone hear in the public domain.

“Say BLM not ALM” is a performance bond

And why, you may be asking, do I think it is like a ‘performance bond’ (whatever that may be)? Here is a historical analogy:

The symbolic gesture of obeisance to Germany, made by Hungary [in winter 1938-9] but refused by Poland, was adherence to the Anti-Comintern Pact. … It was, of course, known in Berlin that the Hungarian, like the Polish, leaders of the time were vehemently, even violently, anti-communist; adherence to a German-sponsored Anti-Comintern Pact could not make them any more so. It could however be recognised as a sign of willingness to take orders from Berlin – and it was so regarded at the time. … this pact had become for the Germans a sort of performance bond to be exacted as a test of distance from the Western Powers and subordination to herself. (‘A World At Arms’, Gerhard L. Weinberg)

The Dean of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Dr Leslie Neal-Boylan, has been fired for this:

I am writing to express my concern and condemnation of the recent (and past) acts of violence against people of color. Recent events recall a tragic history of racism and bias that continue to thrive in this country. I despair for our future as a nation if we do not stand up against violence against anyone. BLACK LIVES MATTER,

If she’d stopped there, she’d still have her job – but she persisted:

but also, EVERYONE’S LIFE MATTERS. No one should have to live in fear that they will be targeted for how they look or what they believe.

It is, of course, known in the University that the ex-Dean is vehemently (though not violently) anti-racist (when she was hired a few months ago, a now deleted University website page praised her ‘visonary’ advocacy of diversity and inclusivity, especially of the disabled in the nursing field). Making her say ‘black lives matter’ and not say ‘all lives matter’ could not make her any more so. On the contrary, just as signing the anti-comintern pact meant the signers would acquiese in Hitler’s alliance with Stalin a few months later (only the Japanese, ignorant of European mores, protested against Germany’s “outrageous violation of the pact” in August 1939), so demanding the Dean say “black lives matter” but not “all lives matter” was precisely to assure her acquiescence in theories that discriminate by race and in deeds that cost black (and other) lives.

Samizdata quote of the day

Tax havens are a good thing. Without them, the cartels can continue without any competition. So, if not attending Davos really is a start to a low tax economy that forces tax competition on the globalists whether they like it or not and brings inward investment to this country, then there is cause for cautious optimism.

Longrider

Samizdata quote of the day

“By stifling his criticisms of human rights-abusing regimes, what Donald Trump may see as the projection of strength is surely viewed by America’s adversaries as weakness. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blames the United States for an attempted coup against his regime, and Trump calls to congratulate him on his suspicious election victory. North Korea murders and purges its nuclear negotiators and Trump gives Kim Jong-un a photo op on North Korean soil. Vladimir Putin counters American geopolitical and economic interests at nearly every turn, and the president can’t bring himself to say a bad word about the autocrat in the Kremlin. What American interest is being advanced by this servility?”

Noah Rothman, Commentary Magazine.

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.

Samizdata quote of the day

“As for those “bad ideas” the Kochs have, they’re the reason for whatever governing success Mr. Trump has had so far. Pro-growth cuts in tax rates, deregulation and originalist judges have been the most successful parts of the Trump agenda. And they were Koch beliefs when Mr. Trump was still donating to Bill and Hillary Clinton. The President gets credit for winning the election and making the policies happen, but the Kochs also gave his agenda major support over the last two years. Contrast that success to Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda, which has gone nowhere in Congress; his ill-thought border enforcement that ended up in the debacle of family separation; and the tariff assault that has so far raised costs for U.S. consumers and producers without any compensating trade opening. Whose ideas are the “bad” ones?”

Wall Street Journal.

Samizdata quote of the day

Surely it was sad when the Renaissance in Florence ended. Sure it is sad that the Renaissance in San Jose and Palo Alto ends. But things move on and bright productive brains meet somewhere else, most likely online now.

– A commenter writing on Eric Raymond’s “Armed and Dangerous” blog about the firing of an employee at Google for challenging certain notions around diversity in the workplace.

I think it may be too early to judge if this sort of issue is going to dent Google and hit its share price in the next few months but if this culture of SJW bullying does grip more firmly on that business, and others in Silicon Valley, then the prediction made above here may prove to be accurate.

Samizdata quote of the day

Pickup basketball is a beautiful example of the spontaneous, emergent order that arises from voluntary interaction predicated on classical liberal principles of dignity, respect for the individual, and voluntary cooperation. Every individual who has ever played pickup basketball can enumerate the rules for forming a team, playing, and interacting regardless of location, age or ethnicity- African Americans in the poorest sections of Harlem play by the same pickup rules as do those on the playgrounds of the whitest, richest suburbs in America.

Trey Goff