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 – sometimes one is right, the other is wrong

As for Ukraine itself — yes, it’s complicated. History always is. It’s true that ever since independence, the country’s politics have been horrendously corrupt, as evidenced by Zelenskyy’s recent crackdown on venal ministers and officials. It’s also true, by the way, that its politics have long had an unpleasantly nationalistic, indeed openly neo-Nazi fringe. But I don’t think this is the devastating trump card that professional contrarians and Putin apologists think it is. If we were to withdraw our sympathy from every European country with unpleasant far-Right political elements, then we wouldn’t have any friends left. On that basis, would we still have supported Poland in 1939? Would we intervene to help Italy today, or France, or even the United States? Presumably not.

The really striking thing about the war in Ukraine, it seems to me, is that at a fundamental level it actually isn’t complicated. And for all the cheap and tawdry attractions of contrarianism, the right conclusion is the obvious conclusion. Ukraine didn’t attack Russia; Russia attacked Ukraine. Zelenskyy isn’t perfect and Putin isn’t Hitler; but one really is on the side of the angels, and the other will surely rank alongside the villains of history. One appeals to European solidarity and common humanity; the other to xenophobia and national chauvinism. One defends his own territory; the other seeks to seize somebody else’s. One is right, the other is wrong.

Dominic Sandbrook

Russia’s Grand Strategy and Ukraine

Perun has made one of his most ambitious presentations.


Samizdata quote of the day – There is still nothing ‘realistic’ about ‘Russia realism’

The Ukraine conflict has merely demonstrated that Mearsheimer’s realism is as ineffective at understanding the present as it has been at predicting the future or explaining the past. Fitting Putin’s misbegotten imperial adventure into a realist framework requires a conception of international relations that awards Western democracies the power of choice but reduces their enemies to victims of circumstances. And it demands an understanding of Russian aggression so indulgent that it is indistinguishable from appeasement.

Matt Johnson

Samizdata quote of the day – anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine version

“The U.S. and NATO, in their innermost sanctum, should be asking themselves a question and probably are: Would this war already be over if they had sent a couple dozen F-35s to assert mastery over the skies of at least Western Ukraine on or about day 14?”

Holman W. Jenkins, jnr (Wall Street Journal $).

Oxford Anti-Fascists, sticking it to the Man by stopping demonstrations about traffic filters

Fight the Power, Oxford Antifa! “On Saturday 18 February, fascists and climate deniers are planning a “community day” in Oxford to exploit concerns and tensions around traffic filters. We won’t allow it!”

Hat tip to Andy Ngô.

I have not looked that hard into this “15-minute” city business. This article by Henry Grabar on Slate dismisses opposition to it as a ludicrous conspiracy theory. Well, the first few paragraphs do. However nine paragraphs down he is not sounding so sure:

In Oxford, however, the urbanists’ ambitions are more serious. Next year, the city plans to implement a souped-up toll network on major roads. But it’s not to get cars out of the city core, which has had a hefty congestion charge since February. Instead, the city’s six new “traffic filters” will limit daytime car travel between Oxford’s neighborhoods, which stretch from the medieval center to its ring road like slices of a pizza. There are the usual exceptions for buses, taxis, emergency services, people with disabilities, freight, and so forth, but other drivers will face camera-generated 70-pound fines for motoring across town on local streets. The intention is to unstick the jams that slow the city’s major streets to 5 mph in the mornings by diverting traffic to the ring road and encouraging residents to use alternative transportation.

The result, they hope, will be faster traffic, a functional bus network, and cleaner air. The goal is to reduce car trips in Oxford by 25 percent; grow bike trips by 40 percent, and cut road fatalities in half by 2030. Planners project traffic downtown could fall by more than 50 percent.

Oxfordians will not, in fact, be banned from visiting their mothers, as the conservative provocateur Katie Hopkins suggested last month. You can take the bus or ride a bike. You can drive all you want for free, so long as you use the city’s ring road to cross town. You can also drive through the traffic filters after 7 pm. And locals are entitled to 100 free driving days per year. (This last part, I have to confess, seems like it might be both messy and annoying.)

Still, these “traffic filters” are pretty bold as anti-car measures go, and the controversy has not been confined to red pill anti-vax forums.

Despite Oxford Antifa not giving their permission, the demonstration did take place. Dave Vetter, an Oxford-based climate journalist, was there, and took a lot of pictures and videos. He called the demo “an intoxicating mix of far-right conspiracy slogans, antisemitism and really terrible hip-hop.” I’ll believe him when he says he talked to one person who said Ashkenazi Jews were “not like us”; all demos attract a certain proportion of lunatics. But one would think that if antisemitism really were a big part of the Oxford crowd’s motivation, he would have had no trouble finding loads of placards proclaiming it to photograph.

Samizdata quote of the day – Neoliberal myths

As the man doesn’t understand what neoliberalism is his critique is going to be weak tea, no?

Tim Worstall

There’s a word for this

Catastrophic care protocols

If you have not seen this, discussing catastrophic care protocols, it beggars belief. If anyone with more germane technical knowledge can pick holes in this, please do so in the comments because if this is entirely correct, we should be looking at a Nuremburg level response.

Related 1: from Chris Littlewood
Related 2: from Norman Fenton and Martin Neil

Samizdata quote of the day – dissent will not be tolerated

We couldn’t find a single negative review of Unsettled that disputed its claims directly or even described them accurately. Many of the reviewers seem to have stopped reading after the first few pages. Others were forced to concede that many of Koonin’s facts were correct but objected that they were used in the service of challenging official dogma. True statements were downplayed as trivial or as things everyone knows, despite the extensive parts of Unsettled that document precisely the opposite: that the facts were widely denied in major media coverage and misrepresentations were cited as the basis for major policy initiatives.

When dissenting scientists are implicitly compared to Holocaust deniers, or their ideas are considered too dangerous to be carefully considered, it undermines public respect for the field and can lead to catastrophic policy mistakes. It’s human nature to favor evidence that confirms our biases and leads to simple conclusions. But for science to advance, it’s essential that moral certainty does not override objective discussion and that personal attacks not replace rational consideration of empirical evidence.

Aaron Brown & John Osterhoudt

Samizdata quote of the day – Universities cannot withstand the assault on objective truth

After expressing my general admiration for the course, I raised my misgiving in the following way (and this is nearly an exact quote): “We need to keep in mind that we’re a state university. Our mission is to pursue, ascertain, and disseminate objective truth, and to equip our students to do the same. Given that mission, I don’t think we can list a learning outcome that requires students’ assent on a matter of personal morality. The other learning outcomes are fine. You don’t need that one, so I’d just cut it.” My colleague was fresh out of graduate school and not yet tenured, which (theoretically) put her in a vulnerable position. Nevertheless, she became apoplectic; so angry, in fact, that she had difficulty getting out her first sentence. “I can’t believe people still think that way!” she spluttered. “Queer Theory has deconstructed objectivity!”

Mark Goldblatt, The Approaching Disintegration of Academia.

Samizdata quote of the day – treat these tyrants as what they are: awful people

The woke think of themselves — and want everyone else to think of them — as deeply moral. If they have a flaw, it’s that they just care too much. They’re too idealistic, too empathetic, too eager to make the world a better place.

That’s bulls–t (pardon my French, Pepé!). If you look at what they do, rather than what they say about themselves, it quickly becomes obvious that the woke are horrible, awful people, and they should be treated as such and reminded of this whenever they raise their head.

Historically, it’s not the good guys who are out burning books and censoring speech. It isn’t the caring, empathetic people who try to destroy lives based on something someone said years ago, often while young, often taken out of context. It isn’t the good guys who take undisguised glee at the ruining of lives, families and careers.

You know who does these things? Horrible, awful people. Selfish people. People with serious mental and emotional problems who seek some sort of vindication for their deficient characters by taking power trips while imposing suffering on others.

Treat these tyrants as what they are: awful people who shouldn’t be listened to and who need to work hard on joining the better half of the human race. And remind them of it, over and over. Because it’s true. Deep down, they know it, too.

Glenn Reynolds

Nicole Hannah-Jones gives her opinion on Thomas Sowell’s expertise and hears some opinions in return

The ratio Nikole Hannah-Jones got for this tweet is a sight to behold:

I’ve tagged it “self-ownership” because it’s a self-own. Sue me.

For those that don’t know, Nikole Hannah-Jones (who gets to appropriate the historic name of Ida B. Wells, a pioneer of the civil rights movement, as her Twitter handle) is the developer of the New York Times’s 1619 Project, though presumably not the author of all the edits the NYT had to stealthily make to it later. She is also someone who has stated that “All journalism is activism”. Thomas Sowell is the author of…

1971. Economics: Analysis and Issues. Scott Foresman & Co.
1972. Black Education: Myths and Tragedies. David McKay Co. . ISBN 0-679-30015-5 .
1972. Say’s Law: An Historical Analysis. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-04166-7.
1974. Classical Economics Reconsidered. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-00358-0.
1975. Race and Economics. David McKay Co. ISBN 978-0-679-30262-9.
1980. Knowledge and Decisions. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-03736-0.
1981. Ethnic America: A History . Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02074-7 .
Chapter 1, “The American Mosaic .”
1981. Markets and Minorities. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-04399-2 .
1981. Pink and Brown People: and Other Controversial Essays . Hoover Press . ISBN 0-8179-7532-2.
1983. The Economics and Politics of Race. William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-01891-2.
1984. Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-03113-7.
1985. Marxism: Philosophy and Economics. Quill. ISBN 0-688-06426-4.
1986. Education: Assumptions Versus History. Hoover Press. ISBN 0-8179-8112-8.
1987. A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles . William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-06912-6 .
1987. Compassion Versus Guilt and Other Essays. William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-07114-7.
1990. Preferential Policies: An International Perspective. ISBN 0-688-08599-7
1993. Inside American Education. New York: The Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-5408-2.
1993. Is Reality Optional?: and Other Essays. Hoover. ISBN 978-0-8179-9262-0.
1995. Race and Culture: A World View. ISBN 0-465-06796-4.
1995. The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-08995-X.
1996. Migrations and Cultures: A World View. ISBN 0-465-04589-8. OCLC 41748039.
1998. Conquests and Cultures: An International History. ISBN 0-465-01400-3.
1998. Late-Talking Children. ISBN 0-465-03835-2.
1999. The Quest for Cosmic Justice . ISBN 0-684-86463-0.
2000. A Personal Odyssey. ISBN 0-684-86465-7.
2000. Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy (1st ed.) . Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-08145-2.
2002. Controversial Essays. Hoover. ISBN 0-8179-2992-4.
2002. The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late. ISBN 0-465-08141-X.
2003. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One. ISBN 0-465-08143-6.
2004. Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press . ISBN 978-0-300-10775-3 .
2004. Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy (revised and expanded ed.). New York: Basic Books.
2005. Black Rednecks and White Liberals. San Francisco: Encounter Books. ISBN 978-1-59403-086-4.
2006. Ever Wonder Why?: and Other Controversial Essays . Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8179-4752-1. OCLC 253604328. ASIN 0817947523 .
2006. On Classical Economics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-12606-8.[118]
2007. A Man of Letters. San Francisco, CA: Encounter Books. ISBN 978-1-59403-196-0.
2007. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy (3rd ed.). Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books. ISBN 978-0-465-00260-3. OCLC 76897806.
2008. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One (2nd ed.). Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-00345-7 . OCLC 260206351 .
2008. Economic Facts and Fallacies . Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-00349-5. OCLC 1033591370. ASIN 0465003494.
2009. The Housing Boom and Bust. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-01880-2.
Chapter 5, “The Past and the Future.”
2010. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy (4th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books. ISBN 978-0-465-02252-6.
2010. Dismantling America: and Other Controversial Essays. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-02251-9 . OCLC 688505777 .
2010. Intellectuals and Society . Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-01948-9 . Lay summary .
2011. The Thomas Sowell Reader. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-02250-2.
2011. Economic Facts and Fallacies, 2nd edition. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465022038
2013. Intellectuals and Race. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-05872-3.
2014. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy (5th ed.). New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-06073-3.
2015. Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective.[119]
2016. Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective (2nd ed.). ISBN 978-0-465-09676-3.
2018. Discrimination and Disparities. ISBN 978-1-541-64560-8.
2019. Discrimination and Disparities (revised, enlarged ed.) ISBN 978-1-541-64563-9.
2020. Charter Schools and Their Enemies. ISBN 978-1-541-67513-1.