Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Brian Micklethwait on Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
Carolyn Mohr on The ups and downs of English
Michael Jennings on Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
priscila on The ups and downs of English
Simon Gibbs on Wedding photography (4): Preparations
6000 on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Darren on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Michael Jennings on Wedding photography (2): Signs
MarkR on Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
MNB Achari on Google Nexus 4 photos
Most recent entries
- Cats without tails are not scary
- Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
- Wedding photography (4): Preparations
- Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
- Reflections on a strange coincidence involving an Android app and a malfunctioning bus stop sign
- Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
- Rothko Toast
- Wedding photography (3): Technology as sculpture
- And another posting from my smartphone
- Posted from my new smartphone
- Google Nexus 4 photos
- Wedding photography (2): Signs
- Wedding photography (1): The superbness of the weather
- A Fleet Street lunch
- So painters also used to “take” pictures
Other Blogs I write for
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
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Burning Our Money
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we make money not art
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Category archive: Propaganda
No. North Korea is not socialism betrayed. It is socialism done.
Which everyone here knows, but it is worth repeating.
Commenting on that, Perry de Havilland said:
That North Korea is ‘late socialism’ is a meme worth spreading.
Indeed it is.
Various people have been nagging me (a bit) about getting into Twitter, which things like this suit well. It reminds me (a bit) of when people got contemptuously angry (a bit) because I still didn’t have an email address.
One of the about seventy seven signs of aging is definitely being more sensitive to the weather, and in particular the cold. I remember feeling this way as a small child, when first compelled to travel every morning to school. Now, I feel it again. I actually “caught a chill” earlier this week, and had to take to my bed for a whole day.
However, I will soon be getting out from under the weather, if the next ten day weather forecast is anything to go by, which it is. As of today, it looked like that (see right).
Talking of short range weather forecasts, James Delingpole did a silly piece in the Daily Mail a while back, saying the Met Office is a total waste of space. But it is precisely because the Met Office’s short-range weather forecasts are generally so spot-on that its mad opinions about the weather in the more distant future are taken so seriously. If the short-range forecasts were as bad as so many unthinking idiots say, the Met Office wouldn’t be half such a menace on the C(atastrophic) A(nthropogenic) G(lobal) W(arming) front. This Delingpole article played right into the hands of CAGW-ers. Asked the News Statesman: Was there ANYTHING in James Delingpole’s Daily Mail piece which was true? Yes. The Met Office is bonkers about CAGW. But Delingpole’s attempts to prove that the Met Office never gets anything right were indeed ridiculous, and did the anti-CAGW team no favours at all.
But I digress. To more serious matters. There is another reason I am glad the weather is going to perk up soon, which is that rugby matches are far more entertaining when the weather is nicer.
The Six Nations began with what the commentators were all telling each other was one of the best Six Nations first weekends ever. All three games were full of tries. England won. Okay, only against Scotland, but they won, and actually Scotland are looking a bit better now, with some backs who can actually run fast. Ireland and Wales scored lots of tries against each other. Italy beat France. It doesn’t get much better for an England fan.
But then the weather turned nasty and the games turned attritional. England beat Ireland, but nobody scored any tries. England beat France, with one fortuitous England try which shouldn’t have been allowed. Italy reverted to being … Italy. The one truly entertaining thing about the next two weekends, after the entirely entertaining first weekend, is that now it’s England played 3 won 3 and France played 3 won ZERO! Arf arf. Sorry Antoine.
Talking of England v France, I’ve been reading (and watching the telly) about the 100 Years War. And it seems that towards the end, the French cheated by having guns. That explains a lot.
So anyway, no more 6N rugby until the weekend after next, and I really miss it, just as I did the weekend before last. The Six Nations takes seven weekends to get done, with weekends 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7 being occupied with games, and weekends 3 and 5 being skipped. During weekends 3 and 5, I pine, and watch ancient rugby games, the way I never would normally, to fill the rugby gap.
The best ones I recently watched were two epic Wales wins against France, in 1999 (France 33 Wales 34) and 2001 (France 35 Wales 43), on VHS tapes. Sorry Antoine. But the next one I’ll be watching will be 2002 (Wales 33 France 37).
Ripple: me quoting Madsen Pirie, here.
Another ripple: the ASI quoting me, here.
The ASI seems happy, despite the delay.
LATER: Madsen Pirie quoting me, here.
While I was on that Waterloo Station upper deck, I espied a couple of adverts next to each other, put out by this organisation.
Here they are together:
And here they each are separately, for you to click on to get them well and truly readable:
Okay, I accept these challenges, and will respond.
The left hand one is a variant on the theme of “a billion people can’t be wrong”. Yes they can. Why has the Qur’an remained unchanged? There are any number of reasons why that would happen, other than what they are trying to say, which is that it is all true. Because it is an object of unthinking worship, rather than of serious study? (Remember that the memorising of it is often done by people who have no idea what they are saying, merely reproducing sounds.) Because people have been too scared to challenge it? Because Islam remains stuck in the seventh century, and unthinking bigotry is built into it?
Science, which the second advert seeks to argue was pre-echoed by the Qur’an, has changed over and over again. And this is a sign of science’s intellectual seriousness and intellectual vitality. Lack of change, century after century, signifies the opposite.
As for the claim of the Qur’an to be science before science, the real theory of the big bang is but the conceptual tip of an intellectual iceberg consisting of a ton of evidence and interpretation, and it is the latter that gives science its force. Science is not merely true. It explains why it is true. It argues about whether it is true. And consequently it gets ever more true. Islam is no truer now than it was thirteen centuries ago.
The good news here is that the claim that the Qur’an is as scientific as real science is a huge concession to the acknowledged intellectual superiority of science. “We have been right all along, and science proves it!” But if they really thought that the Qur’an was the last word on everything, they wouldn’t be dragging science in to back the claim up. Science would be ignored.
But they know that they cannot now ignore science. Science is a challenge they know they have to respond to. On account of it being so much truer and so much better at getting at more truth than the unchanging and unchangeable incantations that they are stuck with.
Yes, my Last Friday of the Month meetings are starting up again, with the first new one being on the 25th of this month. Speaker: Sam Bowman. Subject: libertarianism and “unknown unknowns”.
More about why the meetings, again, and about what Bowman will be saying in this Samizdata posting.
If interested, please get in touch, with an email, or with a comment here, or there.
At exactly the time when I started getting un-ill yesterday afternoon, but moments before I realised it, Michael Jennings rang to ask my opinion, about photos on Samizdata. Still believing myself to be ill, as perhaps I still was at that precise moment, I cut him short. Now, here is an answer.
My opinion is that photos, lightly sprinkled on a blog, send an important message to readers beyond the obvious one that here is a medal, or a strange toy airplane, or a funny media mistake, or whatever. That message is: this blog is something the people who do it care about. Shoving up text is the easiest thing in the world, but adding a photo requires a bit of pausing and considering. These people want their blog to catch your eye as well as your mind. They are putting themselves about a bit. Not only is this blog regularly updated, it looks regularly updated. Even if you don’t read this, others will.
But as those three links illustrate, there have been rather a lot of photos on Samizdata lately, and there is a danger that it will look like photos are being used as a substitute for thought rather than being a mere signifier of blogging seriousness. Besides which, the mystery of sticking up photos is hardly much of a mystery any more, is it? Most people know that sticking up photos is now as easy as sticking up words.
What Michael was asking about, before I told him I was ill and to postpone it, was, in particular, or so I surmise, photos like the one this sign, and like these ones of Samizdata jollification over Christmas. What do I think of those?
Well, they are clever. Notice how, if you narrow your window, to the point where the text rearranges itself to fit in a narrower column, the photo also narrows itself. Cute. Well, I’m impressed. I’m guessing that’s especially good for Samizdata accommodating itself onto smaller media like tablets and smart phones, which (commenters say) the new set-up does very well. These big new photos are also the result of Samizdata having become more tablet- and phone-friendly, because a tablet is where Michael has been doing them from?
The trouble is, however, that by making photos expand to fit the space available for their display, you risk (I think) making photos look like the point of the whole exercise. They cease to be mere seasoning, and become the meal. So, much as I like the expanding and contracting thing, I think that these potentially very big photos would be better if smaller, with the option to expand but not the routine habit of doing this.
Samizdata is all about concepts. It is about, as Perry de Havilland never tires of saying, the metacontext. For that you need words. Even if many of those words don’t get read or are only skimmed over, it needs to be clear that, at Samizdata, it is in the words that the real message is to be found.
Does that answer what was going to be your question, Michael?
At least the whispered question of a few months back, about whether Samizdata is dying, is now well and truly answered. No. (The comments on that posting now make even more interesting reading than they did when posted.) Perry de Havilland may not have written that much lately, but as a leader he remains very much in place and swinging. The makeover proves this.
Here, it doesn’t matter what I do about pictures. This is a kitten blog.
I am a godless supporter of gay marriage, but I do love this, not just because it says Don’t Vote Obama, but because it says it so eloquently. He is such a great speaker.
Proof that eloquent speaking straight to camera is more than good enough for the YouTube age.
Thanks, yet again, to Instapundit.
If I were a betting man, which I am not (or only in the form of blog postings like this one), I would bet that Obama is not just going to lose his forthcoming election, but lose it big. I am not that confident about what follows, which is why it goes here rather than here). It may be wishful thinking, but it is what I have been thinking, and I wanted to get it written down, so that later I can’t strengthen it in my mind if I am right, or blur it if I am wrong.
This guy also thinks this, as do others I have read saying it but have now forgotten the names of.
Of my immediate circle, Michael J has already commented, here, to the effect that he now sees no evidence of a landslide, and that Romney will probably win, but small. What do others of the sort inclined ever to comment at this tiny little ticking-over personal blog think about this?
My reasons are, in no particular order (this is only a tiny little ticking-over personal blog):
The polls are bent towards Obama, by Democrat intimidation. The Dems calculate that if they can persuade Repubs that Romney will lose, some Repubs will say what’s the use? - and stay home. Voters love a winner and are less likely to vote for a loser, or so I keep being told. No doubt this will diminish the Repub vote a bit, but not enough to make the polls an entirely self-fulfilling prophesy. They are still several percentage points out.
The polls are also out by personal inclination. Most of the people who work for these operations are Dems, because Dems are obsessed with politics, Repubs less so. Repub kids get proper jobs like lawn mowing or pool cleaning, or if grown-up, they get actual proper jobs doing regular round-the year stuff for serious money, and if not that is what they are trying to do. These Dem pollsters hear, even if they genuinely try not to, what they want to hear, not least because people tell them what people think they want to hear.
Polls have, in general, been getting ever more inaccurate, as people learn that they can say whatever they hell they like to pollsters, most definitely including nothing. Even the ones sincerely determined to resist pro-Dem bias are still biased thus, somewhat.
In particular, this time around, people still don’t know how to answer the accusation that being anti-Obama is racist. Which is why the Dems keep on using this accusation. People know it isn’t so, but are unpractised at making the necessary subtle distinctions. So, to avoid some presumably pro-Obama person even thinking they are racist, they either lie, or fluff, rather than speak their minds.
All of these polling distortion effects are quite slight, but each is enough to ruin a process where one or two per cent can make all the difference. But, crucially, almost all these effects now point in the same direction. That’s a big effect. I think the polls will be more wrong this time around than ever before.
The economy is not good, and Obama has no story about how to improve it.
In particular, the economy is horrible for young educated people, the ones who voted for Obama in their millions last time around. These people are pissed off, big time. Quite a lot will blame Obama, and will stay at home. Some, under the influence of cool libbo Ron Paul memes, may even switch to Romney. Many are ashamed of how they voted for Obama with such enthusiasm last time, and are not telling the pollsters about this. (See above: the polls are very wrong.)
Obama is pissing all over the Jews. This never works.
The bias of the mainstream media is becoming more obvious now, to a lot of American people. Last time, media bias went with the grain of American opinion, and the media have thus had eight uninterrupted years to degenerate into blatant propaganda operations, and the internet has had eight years to tell everyone that this is so. More than ever before, media bias is now believed in . Again, a matter of degree. But like I say, these degrees all add up. In particular, more now distrust those predictions of Obama victory, and will accordingly refuse to be influenced by them into not bothering to vote.
Romney is not nearly as big a jerk as a lot of disappointed Libbos and Conservatives seem to think, or as Dems hope. He keeps on winning. I think he will do much better in the debates than most others seem to, because he has a story to tell, to and about an opponent who does not. Romney is indeed not a genius debater, but he knows it, and knowing also that he is winning, he will prepare hard and go in with exactly the right amount of and kind of confidence, like a winning sportsman. He will surprise many by how well he does.
Meanwhile Obama, surrounded by yes men, and fatally arrogant, and tired, a fed-up and probably knowing he is going to lose, and having nothing to say, will not prepare well enough for the debates. He faces a near-impossible task, and will not be up to it.
The Dinesh D’Souza movie is hurting Obama, as will stuff like this (Arab money and support to pay for Obama’s career). Americans are now ready to be told what sort of man Obama really is, this time around. First time around, they just voted for the cool black guy, on the grounds that it was damn well time America had itself a cool black guy as President. This time, policies and opinions will count, along with the (very bad) record of the last four years. Obama’s policies and opinions are hurting and will continue to hurt him.
Romney is a cunning bastard politician. His campaign will not only consist of the damaging things about Obama that he himself says. He probably will stay fairly positive. But the negative stuff will get out there, like that Arab money thing.
Romney now has a ton more money than Obama has. Obama has spent most of his trying, and failing, to stay in the race. Romney is about to spend similar quantities drawing ahead.
At some point between now and the election, some who now want Obama to win and are still propagandising for him will realise that he will not win, and will say why, if only to keep their own credibility in place, a bit. They will want, as the saying goes, to keep (some of) their powder dry, in order to (e.g.) trash President Romney and all his works. Obama will respond to these betrayals not with a spirited public rebuttal, but with a resigned shrug, which also will not look good. (A public meltdown is probably too much to hope for, but I hope for it nevertheless.) How pronounced this effect will be is very debatable. Maybe very obvious, maybe almost undetectable, but it will, to some degree happen. Already, to a tiny degree, it is happening.
Well, that’s enough to be going on with. I just wanted to place my little bet, so that if it turns out right I can say: I told you so. But much of the above is guesswork, so, Americans (especially Americans but also all others), please feel free to tell me I am wrong.
And then, we’ll see.
None of the above says that I think that this is the most important political battle in the world right now. Its only major importance would be if Obama were to win. But when (I think) Romney wins, the big questions will remain. How bad are things going to get? How unbadly can President Romney be persuaded to handle them?
For me, the big hero of all this is absolutely not Romney, or even Paul Ryan. It is the collective hero that is the Tea Party.
How gun control works and how it will defend Libertaria
Why I do not share Johnathan Pearce’s admiration for Bjorn Lomborg
Say it again Perry
A review of Detlev Schlichter’s new book (multiplied by 4)
Release Ai Weiwei
Rally Against Debt signs
Pictures of Detlev Schlichter
Soviet health and safety posters
Yet more redirection
Greenies make a video saying: “We’re a bunch of vile greenie-nazis!”
Tim Evans looking happy
Spare A3 paper
Castro slams Israel
As strong and sweet as the free market itself
A demonstration I could join
This is not Mohammed
Incoming from Molly Norris!
Molly Norris was just kidding!
Three cheers for Molly Norris but also a few small grumbles
Everybody draw Mohammed on May 20th!
Why my libertarianism has the look and feel of socialism
SAY NO TO GOVERNMENT MOTORS
What’s up with this?
Antoine Clarke talks about Facebook and Twitter – Guido and … Ian Geldard?
Why I vote against AGW
Hislop fluffs the rhyme
Patri Friedman versus Chris Tame
Signs of the times in Belfast
Daniel Hannan and the shape of the media to come
Kevid Dowd video now up and watchable
Photoing the Police
Meme for the New Depression
Billion Monkeys liked photoing the nastiest poster!
My Oxford talk on Google video – or summarised by a friendly blogger
Preparing for Oxford
Blogging elsewhere and talks elsewhere
Media bias as asset stripping
Tom Burroughes on the banking crisis
Notes on libertarian tactics August 2008
Keith Windschuttle on history - truth - Robert Hughes
Art is always a value judgement
Those were the days and these are no longer the days
“Better value on goods and services across a wide range of categories …”
Paying a visit to Mum
Ed Smith on how baseball defeated cricket in America
Not very ephemeral
Moore versus Stossel on Cuban medical care
“At that moment I suddenly started to view Nagi as an enemy …”
Has global warming stopped?
Billion Monkeys and a Real Photographer at the Golden Umbrellas
Breaking the Left’s stranglehold on the moving image
Links to me elsewhere – and a photo of Marc-Henri Glendening
Bush on Cuba
Talking with Antoine Clarke about Sean Gabb
Will China fail?
Che Guevara was a murderer and your T-Shirt is not cool
Links and guns
Ideas and opportunities
On the appeal or lack of it to Young Europeans of “capitalism”
The (very) slow fade of Bolshevik Cuba
How compulsion deranges the spreading of ideas
“What do YOU think?” - “More -isationisation!”
How to handle the complaints of your fiercest critics
Some plain English
The Great Global Warming Swindle debate now begins
On the ideology of the “climate change” debate
But what is so evil about Powerpoint?
Perry de Havilland on the thinking behind Samizdata
Cute jewelry and ideologically induced woe
The extreme memes spread by moderate Muslims
Patrick and Brian mp3 about libertarianism and spreading libertarianism
Latest Brian and Antoine elections around the world mp3
Bashing on for Samizdata
Brian and Antoine mp3s now into double figures
Voluntary World 2: You’re on your own
More about rhetoric
Blogging fun and blogging profit
Help the struggle against DRM!
I am not too clever
What The Tyranny of The Facts said
On free trade and on being persuasive (and unpersuasive)