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

“Don’t talk to me about Partygate. Don’t talk to me about Suella Braverman’s emails. Talk to me about the fact that a 28-year-old man with devastating injuries was left in unimaginable pain and terror as fire engines drove in the other direction and ambulances stayed away. Talk to me about the fact that our emergency services step back from horrific incidents because of ‘safety fears’. Talk to me about this institutionalised cowardice, where the emergency services now make bureaucratic safety assessments rather than behaving with courage and bravery to assist people in dire need. Avoiding risk is a completely surreal principle for the emergency services to adopt. These people should take risks. They should be rushing into danger to help the men, women and children facing that danger.”

Brendan O’Neill, writing about the descriptions of shocking slowness by emergency services around the time of the Manchester terrorist attack of 2017. (Here is a link to the second report into the brutal attacks, and how services did, or did not, respond.)

Samizdata quote of the day

“The Tory vision of the country is, or should be, one where people are busy – working, thinking, travelling, prospering, bettering their lives. It involves building things and going places. It involves houses and factories, roads and cars, ports and airports, as well as parks, countryside and gardens.”

David Frost, a former member of the Boris Johnson administration, who resigned in part over things like tax hikes. I get the impression that his views are falling on deaf ears among many Conservative MPs, for whom building things, travelling, entrepreneurship, or of how life should be about a sense of adventure, are all terrible things to be banned or viewed with suspicion. Maybe we will get a political realignment at some point, where the Tories revert to their 19th Century default of being the party that largely resisted, or was snooty about, industry and an upwardly mobile class, with a different party championing such things. It may not happen, but I get the sense that there is a lot of change in the political culture at the moment. If you are a young, ambitious person, what on earth does much of the UK political order have to offer if you detest politics and want to just get on with life? The answer, for many, will be to leave.

Ve’re askink ze qvestions!”

Last Wednesday, Jodi Shaw received a Hero of Intellectual Freedom Award – and got to rap on-stage in NYC, four years after Smith College told her she couldn’t because rapping while white was racist.

The freedom to rap while white is a form of free speech it has never occurred to me to pursue, but something Jodi said struck me.

“These terms are never defined … It’s just ‘social justice’.”

“And you’re afraid to ask,” she added, because “that might put a spotlight on you,” and people will think you are racist … According to Shaw, there was an “ever-present terror” at Smith “that any unverified student allegation of racism, or any other ‘-ism,’ has the power to crush our reputations, ruin our livelihood, and even endanger the physical safety of ourselves or our family members.”

It’s not the first time a movement has refused to define its central idea.

Himmler vehemently directed “not to issue any decree concerning the definition of the term ‘Jew’ … with all these foolish commitments we will only be tying our hands.” (The quote is from Himmler’s letter to Berger, July 28th 1942, Nuremberg Document No. 626.)

Identify a respected institution. Kill it. Gut it. Wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect. I’ve seen that spot-on description of how the woke operate applied so many times – to institutions. But it’s just as true of ideas. Totalitarians always gut the ideas they proclaim of all actual meaning. The woke wear the murdered carcass of words like racism (structural racism) or justice (social justice) as a skin suit, while demanding respect.

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.