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 – Bond villains know what their priorities are

So, in spite of the Russia/Ukraine war, the growing conflict in the Middle East and the Chinese military threats to Taiwan, Ursula believes the most important issue facing the world is “disinformation and misinformation” – basically what we plebs are allowed to see and hear. And she believes a key role for the elites is rebuild trust in the plans the elites have for us by protecting us against being fed information which she and other leaders consider to be potentially harmful or polarising.

David Craig

Samizdata quote of the day – do empires make economic sense?

One can see why this idea has taken off again: it sits at the intersection of two of the most voguish ideologies of our time, namely, woke progressivism and anti-capitalism. It is a story about white people – white men, mostly – oppressing non-white people, which also doubles up as an “original sin” story of capitalism.

But is it actually true that imperialism makes countries richer? Does imperialism make economic sense?

This question was already hotly debated at the heyday of imperialism. Adam Smith believed that the British Empire would not pass a cost-benefit test.

Kristian Niemietz

Samizdata quote of the day – the EU’s selective affinity to the rule of law

Donald Tusk sends riot police to purge media of critical journalists – and suddenly the EU has nothing to say about the ‘Rule of Law’

Will Jones

Things you can not say at Davos

…are said at Davos.

This is an AI translated version of Milei’s speech, in which he uses words like “parasites”.

The Potemkin politics of the UK

As the Samizdata quote of the day has been taken already by an excellent candidate, I thought I would add this quote for your delectation and discussion:

Public consultations have been sold as a way of increasing transparency and the quality of government. In reality they have often become Potemkin exercises where the Government is able to signal that it is doing something without actually doing it; or, worse, a policy colonisation process by a self-selecting public-sector clique of lobbyists, charities, and interest groups.

Fred De Fossard, head of the British Prosperity Unit at the Legatum Institute.

The way that these consultations are handled, often to give ministers the “right” answers and cover for what they wanted to do anyway, also speaks to how, as the writer notes, much of the supposed opportunities from being outside the EU are not being embraced.

With the Conservative Party so far behind in the polls, one might assume ministers would utilise the sovereignty of Parliament in what time they have left to do a few popular things, and legislate for the views of Tory supporters. There is still no sign of this happening; indeed quite the opposite, if the legislative agenda in the recent King’s Speech is any guide.

And there’s this zinger of a point:

The Government seems intent on eroding democracy further, by handing more powers to arms-length bodies, so the state will get even bigger, but less accountable. The Competition and Markets Authority is soon to be given new powers to regulate the digital economy; a brand-new regulator will oversee English football, despite the country boasting the most successful footballing economy in the world.

Needless to say, as or when we get a Labour government, I expect little change on this issue of “arms-length” bodies taking key decisions and arrogating more power for themselves. The fiasco of the Post Office and the wrongful convictions of hundreds of people might put a dent in this, but I am not optimistic.

These are deep-rooted problems, and for all that I am concerned about the direction of politics in the UK right now, I don’t see the Conservative Party as providing any sort of solution. My thoughts are increasingly mutinous.

The author concludes:

If British conservatism has a future, it must stop government-by-stakeholder, re-democratise the state, and end our recent experiment in the banal tyranny of process.

Samizdata quote of the day – the Digital Pound

The advantages [of the Digital Pound] over cash are, then, as clear as day. The pesky thing about cash is that it isn’t regulated. If you want to buy something in cash, you just hand it over to the person who is selling the thing, and that is that. This covers the transaction in a layer of kryptonite as far as government is concerned: it can’t control who ends up owning the money, and it can’t control whether the transaction takes place. The digital pound, and the way it is being set up, offers no clear advantage to the ‘user’, but, again, that isn’t the point. The advantages are obvious to those doing the governing, and that is ultimately what motivates the entire project for reasons which by now will be well understood.

David McGrogan.

Highly recommended that you read the whole thing.

Samizdata quote of the day – the ‘consensus’ must be overturned

I would like to think that the cozy post war socialist consensus is coming to a long overdue end. We defeated the divine right of kings, now we have to do the same to the divine right of bureaucrats.

Roué le Jour

Samizdata quote of the day – the Scorpion State

While the desire on the part of modern conservatives to divorce themselves from ‘neoliberalism’ is understandable enough, the simple truth is that there is a very good and obvious reason why parties on the economic left tend towards being left on culture, too.

And it is simply this: a State which minutely governs the economy is one which minutely governs society as a whole, because economy and society are not in fact separate phenomena, but an integrated whole. This means that if the State is big vis-a-vis the economy, it is going to be big in all areas – and it is going to want to squash or co-opt competing sources of loyalty and authority (like the family, religious and community groups, businesses, etc.) which the right holds dear accordingly.

The truth of the matter, then, is that conservatives and libertarians both fundamentally need the same thing (a small state) and that the ‘left on the economy and right on culture’ meme is just that: a slogan without a genuine cause.

David McGrogan

Why the Ukraine War is not actually a stalemate

A useful perspective for people who just read headlines.

Samizdata quote of the day – Prices in markets are information

Prices in markets are information – however much we might not like the lessons being delivered.

Tim Worstall

Understanding the Post Office scandal

If you want to understand how the legal system made it so easy for the Post Office to destroy the lives of the sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses – and how the legal system then made it so hard for them to obtain justice… read this by David Allen Green.

Samizdata quote of the day – sage geopolitical wisdom edition

Why we can’t leave the Houthi’s to shoot at us in peace is completely beyond me.

– the indispensable Zarah Bukake MP echoing nice Mr. Corbyn.