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]

We need to listen to Black Lives Matter

We need to listen to BLM so we know what sort of people they are.

Janet Powe of BLM UK writes:

SEWELL COMMISSION WAS WRITTEN BY HOUSE SLAVES

Note for readers from outside the UK: a report recently issued by the government Commission for Race and Ethnic Disparities said that, although racism still remains in the United Kingdom, the UK’s relative success in removing race-based disparity in education and the economy “should be regarded as a model for other white-majority countries”. The black man being called a “house slave” by Janet Powe is the Chair of the Commission, Dr Tony Sewell, an educational consultant and author.

A Cambridge professor of postcolonial studies, Dr Priyamvada Gopal, was also displeased by the report. Dr Gopal first questioned whether Dr Sewell really had a doctorate, and, when informed that he did, set a new standard for gracious acknowledgement of error by saying that “Even Dr Goebbels had a research PhD.”

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.

A heretic speaks, the mob… cheers?

“Boris Johnson will be branded a Covid serial killer but no one will lay a glove on our bloated NHS”, writes Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times.

Jeremy Clarkson that Jeremy Clarkson – is rich and famous and has a well-established persona as an opinionated loudmouth. He can get away with saying things that the ordinary man or woman could not get away with. Nonetheless, I wonder if he did not take a swig of liquid courage before typing this heresy:

All those things contributed to our high death toll, but none to quite the extent of the biggest problem. And this certainly won’t be raised in the inquiry. That the NHS is useless.

Oh I know you’re all flying those rainbow flags and that every night last year you went out and banged your saucepans together. So you don’t want to hear it. But you were clapping a big, stupid, expensive monster.

I’m not talking about the doctors and the nurses, of course. Many of them are far from useless. But the organisation they work for? Dear God in heaven, it’s so far past its sell-by date, you’d die from taking a single whiff of it.

The problem is simple. Unlike every successful entity, it does not exist to make money. It exists to spend it.

If he did, he didn’t have to. The Times commenters loved it. Here are the first sentences of the most recommended comments:

“Bullseye Mr Clarkson, and whilst the vast majority of care staff are acceptable, good or excellent, there is a significant minority who shouldn’t be in the job. Laziness being the main problem.”

“You are omitting the elephant in the room – hospital hygiene.”

“Clarkson is spot on. Abolish the NHS, it’s useless.”

“Nailed it. My heart sank the other day when I saw a survey which suggested that the NHS was the thing which made most Britons most proud.”

“JC is spot on. The NHS is a sacred cow and no politician would dare to challenge its behemoth incompetence as they’d be unelectable.”

“As a doctor of over 25 years I can sadly recognise this theme. The are a whole raft of people I work with that I can’t help but think “if their job didn’t exist it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference”.”

As ever, remember that Times commenters are not representative of the nation. They are not even representative of Times readers. But I do not think you would have seen that response from Times commenters to the opinion that the National Health Service is a “big, stupid, expensive monster” before the pandemic.

By the way, many of the comments go out of their way to express gratitude to NHS staff, and several of them say that the vaccine rollout has shown the NHS at its best. But in all the praise there is something reminiscent of the way Britons spoke of the British Empire in 1945. The Empire’s extent was never greater than in the year of victory. But they knew in their hearts it had to go.

Argentine leader Alberto Fernandez tests positive for the coronavirus…

Reuters tell us that Argentine leader Alberto Fernandez says he tests positive for the coronavirus

He is white, male, 62 years old and he says he is in good health. He is the national leader, so presumably lives in a nice post code. Sounds like he has exactly the same risk profile as me (well, other than the national leader bit. If I was the UK’s national leader, there would scarcely be an unoccupied lamppost in Westminster).

So, using the Oxford University Covid-19 risk calculator, what chance does Alberto Fernandez have of snuffing it? Presumably the same as me if I get infected; which I did in March 2020 (spoiler – I am not posting this via Ouija board from beyond. Two weeks in bed, ten days more to get smell and taste back, done.). Therefore, unless he is telling porkies about being in otherwise good health:

(a) Absolute risk = 0.0256% 1 in 3,906

(b) Absolute risk with no risk factors = 0.0227% 1 in 4,405

In other words, I do not give a damn that the leader of Argentina has covid-19, and frankly neither should Alberto Fernandez. The only thing newsworthy about this article is that the utter scrotes who run Reuters want you to think this is newsworthy.

I urge everyone to use the Oxford University Covid-19 risk calculator and share your figures. Get your friends, family, co-workers, neighbours, even your enemies, to do likewise. Maybe, just maybe, your enemy will figure out you are not the one they should be annoyed at after all.

Get an informed idea if you are meaningfully at risk. And if you are, then you absolutely should isolate, protect yourself and take this seriously.

But if not, and you do not live with anyone who is seriously at risk… protest, argue, be difficult, make people demanding compliance work hard to force your compliance, organise covid speakeasy gatherings, send money to support Lockdown Sceptics and their ilk. Do something, almost anything is better than nothing, even if all you do is make it unmistakably clear that you are only complying due to coercion, in spite of thinking this whole thing is utter madness. And say it every time. Ask people if they have spent 60 seconds of their time to use the risk calculator, and if not, why not?

Throw a brick through the Overton window. Stand the fuck up for yourself.

Samizdata quote of the day

Yep, Deliveroo must be banned because consumers like it. That’s The Guardian we know and love, right?

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

For centuries, women have fought for the right to bodily autonomy. Having an abortion is a medical intervention, and women are just as entitled to it as any other treatment. But by adopting a philosophy which surrenders our medical autonomy to the state, we are hypothetically giving governments the power to ban abortions. Moreover, we are giving them the power to enforce them, if they so choose.

The rights of the individual to assess risk and prioritise the quality of their own life has been forgotten

In the past 12 months, dramatic shifts in mainstream attitudes to public health have moved us closer to this reality. The rights of the individual to assess risk and prioritise the quality of their own life has not only been forgotten — it has been scoffed at and derided, as though it never existed in the first place. The precedent set by the smallest step towards this broken philosophy is incredibly dangerous. Over the next few weeks, we must all ask ourselves what kind of world we want our children to grow up in. Do we grant them ownership of their bodies — indeed, their self, their soul, their identities? Or do we bequeath that ownership to the state? Some may argue that vaccine passports are the first step towards eradicating a disease. Rather, they are the first step towards the eradication of basic human rights.

Tom Moran

The UGLY truth about the Covid-19 lockdowns – Part 2

And while you are still in Covid-19(84) mode, if you have not run your details though the Oxford University Covid-19 risk calculator, now would be a good time to do so and to share that link with others.

Update: I have asked PANDA to repost the videos on Vimeo, Odysee & BitChute now that the utterly toxic YouTube has removed them.

Update 2: Screw YouTube, the original video now reposted from Vimeo. It is also on Odysee. Will repost this one (Part 2) when it is also available again. (Update 2a: Vimeo also deleted it, reposted via Odysee).

Update 3: BitChute to the rescue! Part 2 reposted.

Samizdata quote of the day

I saw this via Instapundit and have to share:

“Tweedy party-at-the-Verso-loft n+1 leftists aren’t making money. 33 year olds who follow Tik Tok trends for a living and communicate in slang that’s fifteen years too young for them aren’t making money. Arrogant white nerdoliberals with Warby Parkers and Moleskine collections aren’t making money. Sports bloggers who provide sports news and commentary but with attitude aren’t making money. Softening khaki dads struggling to understand Bitcoin and intersectionality in an effort to survive their next inevitable layoff aren’t making money. Talented and unfulfilled women writers who have learned too late that women’s media is a ghetto they will struggle to escape for the rest of their careers aren’t making money. Aspiring young data scientists who labor over their spreadsheets for hours only to see others copy and past[e] their R graphs without attribution and receive 40x the pageviews aren’t making money. And you won’t either.”

Freddie deBoer (who has a Substack account; thanks also to Anne Althouse for putting this up.)

Samizdata quote of the day

The past year has taught me that I’ve been walking amongst millions of dormant authoritarians my entire life…

It just took the right conditions to bring it out.

Scary.

Zuby

Amazon must be doing a lot right to be hated by Elizabeth Warren

“Elizabeth Warren — the ridiculous hustling flatbilly grifter from Massachusetts from Oklahoma who snookered the academic establishment by pretending to be a Native American while writing dopey self-help books that are so sloppy and intellectually dishonest that it’s a surprise skeezy old Joe Biden hasn’t plagiarized them yet, a political grotesque who prides herself on being in the first generation of her family to attend college but rage-tweets as though she were in the first generation in her family with opposable thumbs, as ghastly and deceitful and god-awful a sniveling and self-serving a creature as the United States Congress has to offer — is, in spite of the genuine facts of her sorry case, getting a little full of herself, and believes that as a senator, she should be above the petty “heckling” of the little people. You know, peons. Like you.”

Kevin D Williamson. He does invective so well: “flatbilly grifter”. I am stealing that.

Dr Yaron Brook also gives the Massachusetts senator a hammering for her attack on Amazon. There needs to be more of this. And well done Amazon for not backing down.

Warren has called for Amazon to be broken up for some time. It bemuses me when I read even supposed pro-market folk calling for these firms to be “broken up”. Into what: floor paving?

Safely under supervision every minute of the day

“School almost ‘eliminates bullying’ with break-time ban on games”, the BBC reports.

A school claims to have almost eliminated bullying by banning games like football at break times.

Instead, students at Hackney New School participate in supervised quizzes, poetry recitals and other activities, including chess and choir clubs.

The school says there have been only five reports of bullying, including cyber bullying, in the last year.

Head teacher Charlotte Whelan said: “A school without bullying sounds like a utopia but it is achievable.”

I do not doubt that it is achievable. Greater safety from ever having a bad experience is always achievable – at the cost of being cut off from experiencing anything much at all.

The students, aged 11 to 16, are still taking exercise during breaks and PE lessons, but sports are “more structured” and supervised.

“The school has been completely transformed and the students are really thriving,” Ms Whelan said.

Rather than kicking a football around or jumping skipping ropes in the playground unsupervised, students practise sonnets by classic poets like Shelley and Tennyson or quiz each other on capital cities, reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

At certain times when I was a schoolgirl I would have been glad to escape the cruelty and cold of the playground. It was nice when I got to the Lower Sixth and we were allowed to spend the lunch hour in a common room. Unprompted, we literally did have a phase when our favourite activity was to quiz each other on capital cities (Mongolia – Ulaan Bator, Botswana – Gaborone), and I would have welcomed a little more Shelley and Tennyson and a little less depressing modern poetry in my English lessons.

To give children the choice to engage in indoor and/or structured activities in their free time, whether because such activities are a safe harbour from bullies or just because these are the things they enjoy, is good. To deny them the chance to ever kick a ball and skip and play tag and scream and quarrel and make up without being under the eye of authority is inhuman.

It is not just unplanned social activities between groups of children that Ms Whelan wants to put a stop to; she also says she wants to be “doing more for pupils” in terms of preventing them from “aimlessly wandering the playground”. Heaven forbid that they have time to walk and think.

Edit: Several commenters have rightly said that to suffer bullying in childhood is a terrible thing that can have lifelong effects on the victims. But surely that is best answered by giving children as far as possible the chance to follow their own judgement as to where they are safest and happiest. The lunchtime club ceases to be a haven from bullies if the bullies are forced to be there too.

Back in 2003 Brian Micklethwait wrote about how well the children behaved in a voluntary karate class he observed.

What struck me, so to speak, about these “martial arts” classes was that although the children present may have supposed that all there were learning was how to be more violent, what they were really learning was no less than civilisation itself.

The children were all told to get changed into their Karate kit in an orderly fashion, and to put their regular clothes in sensible little heaps. They all lined up the way he said. They all turned up on time. They left the place impeccably clean when they’d finished, all helping to make sure that all was ship-shape and properly closed-up when they left.

Were these children being “coerced”? Certainly not. They didn’t have to be there, any more than The Man had to teach them Karate if he didn’t want to. If they wanted out, then out they could go, with no blots on their copybooks or markings-down on their CVs.

Samizdata quote of the day

Yet there has never been a more pressing time to engage with these issues in the classroom. If I were a teacher of Religious Studies, I would find it difficult to justify ignoring the question of the perceived conflict between religious faith and free speech, or not to discuss the murders of Samuel Paty and the satirists of Charlie Hebdo. While there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the potential offence that depictions of the Prophet Mohammed might cause, it is not a sufficient reason to avoid the topic altogether. I am sure that many pupils are disturbed by the anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda cartoons that are routinely included in history textbooks, but they serve an important function in the learning process. We know very little about the context in which the images of Mohammed were shown at Batley Grammar, but it is implausible that the teacher’s motives were anything other than educational.

Andrew Doyle