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 – Guardian insanity edition

“In recent years, the Guardian has devoted considerable time and energy to exposing the truth about Britain and slavery, as if we didn’t know it already. The fact that a British government was one of the first to outlaw the practise in Europe and the Royal Navy helped end the trade worldwide was to the Woke Left too little too late – which it was. But that was then and this is now, which makes it a little galling that the dead of Bristol and Liverpool and, naturally, the City of London, are being put in the dock for events that took place when ships were still propelled by sail and a woman could be hanged for stealing a sheep.”

Walter Ellis

The great thing for a while, in the minds of some, about atoning for the sins of people decades/centuries ago is that there is no real cost to oneself, although in the case of proposed reparations to the alleged descendants of slaves, the bill could be very large indeed. The absurdities and injustices this will cause, and the way it undercuts notions of personal responsibility by suggesting a whole nation should pick up a bill for something done by people a long time ago, are too obvious to need explaining in these pages. (Douglas Murray is good on the subject, as he is on most things.)

These are, as the late Robert A Heilein said, the Crazy Years.

Samizdata quote of the day – Irish repression edition

Reporters without Borders seem to be of a similar mindset — they don’t know how anyone could object to these laws either and can’t see how anyone could consider them limiting. Is their assessment of our level of press freedom wrong? As of today, it’s probably not. That’s not to say that a wide variety of different opinions are available in the mainstream media or that dissent is encouraged; more that things restraining dissent and argument are philosophical and held in place by an unspoken consensus amongst the powerful. Hate Speech laws will, ironically, change that. Suppressing speech through arrest that you were mostly successful in suppressing through consensus might prove a tactical error. Who knows what next year’s rankings will hold?

Conor Fitzgerald

Ideology and Insanity on the New York subway

The first few dozen grownup books I read were an odd selection. As I sampled them almost at random from my parents’ bookshelves, I became dimly aware that my parents were different people from each other, were different from what they had once been, and read books by people with whom they disagreed. Alongside the works by G K Chesterton and C S Lewis one would expect on the shelves of liberal British Catholics of the 1970s, I found such things as a book of essays by the Stalinist physicist J D Bernal – and a copy of Ideology and Insanity by Thomas Szasz. Attracted by the strangeness to my young eyes of the name “Szasz” and the wonderful cover art of the Penguin edition that depicted two men playing chess across a Escher-like dimensional warp, I gave it a go.

Almost a decade before I heard the term “Libertarian”, I thus had my first introduction to an important strand of libertarian thought. Until the copy of that same 1970 Penguin edition I just ordered on eBay arrives, I shall have to go by memory and Szasz’s Wikipedia biography as to exactly what the book said, but I do remember being thrilled to feel my perspective suddenly widen, in a manner akin to what I had felt when I realised that the Earth was but one of an infinite number of possible vantage points in the universe.

Szasz cited drapetomania as an example of a behavior that many in society did not approve of, being labeled and widely cited as a disease. Likewise, women who did not bend to a man’s will were said to have hysteria.

He thought that psychiatry actively obscures the difference between behavior and disease in its quest to help or harm parties in conflicts. He maintained that, by calling people diseased, psychiatry attempts to deny them responsibility as moral agents in order to better control them.


Szasz believed that if we accept that “mental illness” is a euphemism for behaviors that are disapproved of, then the state has no right to force psychiatric “treatment” on these individuals

Great stuff. I think Szasz still has much to teach us… but I suppose by now you have all heard of the killing of Jordan Neely on a New York subway train?

→ Continue reading: Ideology and Insanity on the New York subway

Avoid the Equater!

My spellcheck pulsates in impotent frustration, but I don’t care. An Equater is a person who equates. In this context, which I get to decide because it is my post, an Equater is a person who is not content to compare something bad done by a liberal democratic government to the very much worse things done by despotic governments in order to shame the former into better behaviour, but who insists on going from comparison all the way to equation.

Since the death of Her Late Majesty, there have been many occasions when the British police reverted from their recent tendency to exceed their legal powers while stamping down on those who say rude things about illegal aliens or the LGBTQ+ Progress Pride flag, in order to return to their traditional role of exceeding their legal powers while stamping down on people who say rude things about the monarchy. Or even on those who film other people saying rude things about the monarchy: in this tweet, a documentary filmmaker called Rich Felgate writes, “Yesterday I got arrested whilst filming a @JustStop_Oil supporter holding a banner on the pavement near the coronation route. I’m a filmmaker and had my @BECTU press accreditation visible around my neck. Police deemed this to be “conspiracy to commit a public nuisance”.

That is bad. Dammit, it almost looks similar to what you would expect to see in a communist country. Similar, much too similar for comfort, but no one with any respect for the millions murdered by communism would say “identical”.

Meet Dr Charlotte Proudman:

→ Continue reading: Avoid the Equater!

Ukraine’s Planned Counteroffensive – force readiness, leaks, politics & expectations

Yet another very interesting presentation from Perun…

The meaning of the Coronation…

(…and at risk of annoying Natalie.)

I don’t know what it was like for other readers but I found yesterday’s coronation a bit of a chore – way too long, way too much God, way too much fancy dress. And I’m someone who likes fancy dress. Nevertheless I felt that I should at least make some attempt to understand it. So, here goes.

At some point human beings gained the ability to reason. And when they did they observed that life was pretty precarious. You could do your best, you could build something and yet all that could be wiped out by floods, storms, earthquakes, disease or pests. How to explain it? The star-gazers may have done some pretty clever things like work out when the next eclipse was likely to take place but they still haven’t cracked more down-to-earth problems (literally). No, you were going to have to go with God. He was a bit like you but a lot more powerful. And capricious. But if you did as he said – or what you thought he said – or what those blokes in fancy robes said he said – then maybe, just maybe, he’d spare you from disaster. Oh, and the eternity of hell.

And if God could explain natural disasters maybe he could explain man-made disasters like war. Maybe he was responsible for choosing your chief warrior – or “king”. If so, then you’d better obey the “king” as well because he was God’s chosen one. If you happened to be king this was really good. You were no longer some thug who was just a bit better at killing than your rival thugs. You had divine authority. It didn’t mean you couldn’t get offed – as Edward II and Richard II found out – but people would think twice about it. On the downside you had to believe this stuff – or at least give the impression that you believed this stuff. It was also pretty good if you were an official of the king’s favoured religion. You got to swan around in fancy robes, you literally didn’t have to get your hands dirty and the general population was forced to pay for you.

And this brings us to yesterday’s coronation. What we saw was that ancient bargain being renewed. Unfortunately for the participants over the centuries the stargazers upped their game. They explained the motion of the planets and then of apples. They explained smallpox and diphtheria. And cured them. They led us into a world where peace was the norm not war. They led us into a world which didn’t need God to explain it. And because they did yesterday’s ceremony looked ridiculous. It will look even more so when the stargazers get around to issuing an accurate weather forecast.

But when we do find ourselves cavilling at the absurdity we should pause to remember that our ancestors were not fools and that for them it was very much a matter of life and death.

Not a bad basis for a system of government, akchully

For those not following, the woman you saw bearing the sword in today’s proceedings is Penny Mordaunt MP, twice-failed candidate to be leader of the Conservative Party, whose previous peak as a search term on Google Images was when she did a belly flop in a TV diving contest. In 2019 she held the post of Secretary of State for Defence for 85 days. When Boris Johnson became prime minister and promptly fired her, she probably thought her days of exerting the traditional politician’s privilege of being photographed in close proximity to weaponry were over. But having landed the somewhat-ancient office of Lord President of the Council (“Unlike some of the other Great Officers of State, the office of Lord President is not very old”, sneers Wikipedia because it only dates from 1529), she got to carry the king’s sword and at least look capable of chopping off the heads of any enemies of the realm who might try to reach him via her.

Dennis the Peasant had a point. It’s all a bit daft. But I think history shows that when the illogical mess of tradition is stripped away from a people, what they find to replace it is rarely pure reason.

Daily Sceptic administers a kicking to Sp!ked

Myers clearly regards Bridgen’s claim that the mRNA vaccines may be doing more harm than good to be nonsense, but in fact it is well-supported by evidence. For instance, British Medical Journal Editor Dr. Peter Doshi along with Dr. Joseph Fraiman and colleagues examined the data from the vaccine clinical trials and found that, compared to controls, the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were associated with an increased risk of serious adverse events of 10.1 events per 10,000 vaccinated for Pfizer and 15.1 events per 10,000 vaccinated for Moderna. When combined, the mRNA vaccines were associated with an increased risk of serious adverse events of 12.5 per 10,000 vaccinated, or 1 in 800. Note that the adverse events they looked at included those from COVID-19 itself, meaning the findings imply that among trial participants the vaccines were doing more harm than good.

Similarly, Dr. Kevin Bardosh and colleagues – hailing from the Universities of Harvard, Oxford, Johns Hopkins, Edinburgh and Washington, among others – found that for every COVID-19 hospitalisation prevented by boosters in previously uninfected young adults, 18 to 98 serious adverse events occurred, including 1.5 to 4.6 cases of booster-associated myocarditis in males. That’s more harm than good, at least for healthy young adults.

Will Jones

Nice fisking, read the whole thing.

Samizdata quote of the day – San Francisco edition

“The major retailers fleeing the city’s downtown have been so numerous that last weekend the San Francisco Chronicle felt compelled to publish a map so readers could keep track of the exodus.”

Wall Street Journal. ($)

Seeing as it is May 4th…

A deadly epidemic

The United States Surgeon-General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, has issued an advisory on America’s epidemic of loneliness and isolation.

The report says that loneliness poses health risks as deadly as smoking.

I do not make this post only to say the obvious “Gotcha”. In fact Dr Murthy’s document is more honest than I expected in acknowledging that the Coronavirus lockdown increased social isolation among all age groups. By saying that isolation is more deadly than smoking (the big medical bête noire before and after that slot was taken by Covid-19), the document implicitly admits that the Covid “cure” may have been worse than the disease. I would cut the medical establishment a lot more slack about lockdowns if they had been this honest about the inevitable tradeoffs at the time.

Loneliness lies like a black cloud over modern Western societies. Of course this is, literally, a First World problem: people struggling to survive do not have time or energy to feel lonely. But the fact that others suffer from more desperate evils does not make this one minor. We do need to think about it. Unfortunately the Surgeon General’s document is written entirely within a statist paradigm.

Chapter 4 has the title “A National Strategy to Advance Social Connection”. It recommends “Six Pillars to Advance Social Connection.”

The six pillars are

1. Strengthen Social Infrastructure in Local Communities
2. Enact Pro-Connection Public Policies
3. Mobilize the Health Sector
4. Reform Digital Environments
5. Deepen Our Knowledge
6. Build a Culture of Connection

If you want to see what Dr Murthy thinks these goals should involve, look at the graphic on page 47. All of them are driven by the state, including the innocent-sounding “Deepen Our Knowledge”. He hopes to build a culture of voluntary connection between individuals by decree.

In praise of Tommy Robinson

And lo, there be pestilence in the land. And the King didst decree that all should partake of the magic potion. And then Andrew of Bridgen didst say, “All my followers are dying!” And the gods of Tory didst smite him. And then John of Campbell didst say, “Funny. All my followers are dying!” I must make haste to Bridgen by means of fibre optic cable and parlay with him. And the gods of Google didst smite him. But the Lord had spoken to Tommy of Luton – that most unpromising of his servants – and said “taketh a recording of this YouTube and uploadeth it to Telegram so that my people might hear the word of Campbell and Bridgen.” And he did. And the Lord was pleased.

Update: And the Lord did command that all his brethren didst install Telegram on their tablets of silicon that they might hear the word of Campbell and Bridgen.

Update 2: the censored video of Dr. John Campbell interviewing Andrew Bridgen is also available on BitChute