Let knowledge drive out your fear, as will always be the case, here and for ever.
We’re working on it.
Let knowledge drive out your fear, as will always be the case, here and for ever.
We’re working on it.
….so I can get my comments onto other blogs here, and not get them blocked in real time because the duty-cybertron thinks I am a “SPAMBOT”…..?
Does anybody else also think that the chatty “WordPress style”, of instructions and admonitions, suits students on drugs and primary-school children of 13 or 14 in the UK only?
This is what I found I’d got sent to me;
Sorry, your comment has been blocked because you used a word normally reserved for spammers. If you are not a spam peddling robot, you can hit the back button in your browser and stop using spammy words.
I HAVE to show this to you guys, it is soooooo funny.
Er. Ummm. On second thoughts, it’s perhaps not that funny. Just a little bit, in a proper, Western, liberal, sort of satirical way. Just true and sad. We laugh at our foes: they can’t – they have to KILL, because everything is SERIOUS. Buggers. Have to get rid of them before harm is done – to us, and (much later on as it’s far far bigger than we are, about 1E22 times!) to the Planet.
The problem that all lefties and other related nazis (Nazism is always on the Extreme Left, and ever will be, and no amount of ranting and hooting and rioting and Polly-Toynbeeing by socialists can change this axiom at all) eventually have, is that they become humorous in their own right, and the pleasure is all ours, for they Can’t See It.
It’s a square world, and the Slobodian* slobs have not got it even after nearly 50 years of Michael Bentine telling them it is. They go on and on and on, strutting, wearing shades, fried-egg-compilations of medals and sashes all over their fronts, and they continue to ride in phalanxes of glossy, black, German limousines. (MERCS FOR JERKS – has anybody written the wikipedia page for this yet? I do not know.) I guess it’s just like Ken Livingstone, although he’s so influenced (by the Huggy-Chav of course!) that he can’t find his shades by lunchtime.
* I’m sorry – I could not find a link to help you to describe “Slobodia”, if you are under approx age 58.
NB! This is a program trailer; If YOU have been affected by the issues in this file, or if you or any relation, or your “part ner” , been Pollytoynbeeized in any incident recently, in a Town near You, then we can help………… We are an accredited anti-Nazi Agency that can offer Counselling Services, if you feel that you have been distressed. Call o845 56710897 for free help and advice.
Problem: (University Philosophy Finals Exam, er, type of thingy. I don’t know, I’m a Bumpkin.)
WHY DO SOCIALISTS TAKE THEIR ENEMIES SO SERIOUSLY,
AND NEVER, NEVER, EVER LAUGH AT THEM OR SATIRIZE THEM?
Like my old friend Chris Tame, who abhorred smoking and thought it was a disgusting and filthy habit, but for some of his life worked for FOREST, and with deep sincerity about the necessary liberty of the individual to decide, I would not smoke even if you paid me. Well……..now you’re offering, of course every Man has his price, but in my case it would be quite high, say £100,000 a year tax-paid, for life. You’d have to be able to wave goodbuy to about 5 million of capital.
The current lack of defence of smokers in the UK, in the face of a staggeringly cruel and merciless onslaught by the Nazi Smoke-Police, has I think its roots in the former hubris with which smokers freely (it was of course allowed) polluted the air in offices, rooms, trains, pubs and the like, without (mostly) asking if they might be allowed. When, until the late 70s, they were a majority of adults, I guess this was tough but inevitable.
The point is, because we all felt so put-upon by their habit and its nasty smells, when we couldn’t do a thing about it, we are failing to defend Continue reading
Updated again….25th March 2008 … this post has got so many pageviews that I think a really proper article from the Libertarian Alliance, about this immensely important subject, examining the whole subject of Natural Rights, and whether these apply to “animals” as well as Humans, ought to be produced. AS we are unpaid amateur bloggers, I can’t guarantee when it will appear, but appear it must.
[ UPDATE BIT INSERTED ] The biological sciences building at UBC was “locked-down” (I guess that means closed off for security purposes) by Police, in response to a “threat”. I don’t know about you, but for me that means I bet you 5p it’s the “animal rights” terrorists wot dun it to this seemingly fine university, with a blog run by sensible, down-to-earth students….. I rate these ALF-type people as far, far, far more dangerous to the future of Man in the universe, and something serious will have to be done about them ,or we are f****d. They are, in strict temporal-comparison terms, far more immediate and nearby, chronically underestimated, and potentially lethal to civilisation than the IRA, the “Palestinians” (whatever those might be,) the EU itself (which shall of course implode eventually) or “Radical” Islam. This latter one does not even get off the starting block for me, if you look at the long term effects of i-ware, pop bands, MacDonalds and fully-available-plus-half-naked-Euro-totty (mostly very nice too, wish we’d had some of this for ourselves in the 50s and early 60s) on “young Islamic men”. I might write a piece entitiled “HOW THE c-THRU CROP-TOP WILL SAVE THE WORLD.”
And now, here’s the original, unupdated post………………!
I chanced accidentally, via Mark Steyn (a bumpkin’s daily must-read, to banish the creeping, all-miasmic socialist-induced depression about the world and man’s fate) on the UBC commentary site, which approximates I guess to a student blog. The link I followed logged stuf about Mark’s and Ezra Levant’s battle with Modern Nazi Canadian Sondergerichte thingies, known as “Human Rights Commissions”. There is of course no place at all, for these wicked fascist organisations in free, grown-up nations such as Canada: a nation which, along with Poland and the rest of the British Empire, fought precapitalist-barbarian-leftism from the first day to the last in 1939-45 (and incidentally in 1914-18 too…) “People” who “staff” these grotesquely evil outfits, ought either to seek help for neuroses, or perhaps they ought to read some good history books. Then, if they refuse these two quite painless courses of help, then they ought to be asked whose side they are on in the present titanic struggle of Civilisation against…well…its opposite, and have to choose sides and fight for it.
But now, to animals!
So, scrolling down, I caught the fag-end of a debate about testing of drugs and the like, on animals. The article on the ubyssey.ca site was written by a 3rd-year Biochemisty “major” (so I guess I must have been one too, once! I still teach the stuff, and am amazed at what now is considered by today’s youngsters to be a matter of fact when we had no blinking clue earlier) who also incidentally does the site’s cartoons from time to time; it is common to find curiously polymathic scientists, the world over. His thesis is that (1) he thinks humans are more important than animals, then also (2) in order to minimize human suffering and danger in the advance of treatment for ills, it is necessary although not perfectly ideal morally to use animals, and (3) animals’ physiology and biochemistry approximates to living human systems, so minimizes the risk of error and failure to spot harmful side-effects of treatments.
I agree totally with all this. However, he has missed vital points. If these processes violated “animal rights”, then we should have to deduce that IF animals have rights, that they also have duties – and the innate understanding that goes with identifying these. Since animals clearly owe no duties to anyone or anything identifiable (caring for the young even in “higher” (bad term!) animals is not a conscious obligation, merely a result of fully-formed largely helpless young being born in small numbers, and also some selection for survival-behaviour) then they can have no “rights” as defined in human terms, which have evolved and crystallised into our modern views of natural rights of Man.
That of course does not absolve thinking humans from the obligation to protect animals in our charge from unnecessary harm or pain. As animals, not being humans, can therefore be Man’s property, this provision allows the killing of animals (as painlessly as possible – I guess it’s curtains for “halal” meat, then…???) for food, and also the use of them for checking what happens when we give them new drugs etc. Had for example, the testing of drugs on PREGNANT mammals, for teratogenicity, been routine in the 1950s and 60s (naturally, it now is) then thalidomide would never have been licensed for use as a morning-sickness palliative for women, and would never have been described as being “entirely without known side-effects”. (It was.)
Socialists, tree-hugging dropouts, hunt-saboteurs, social failures, and others who are viscerally-disposed to defend animals’ corner against man and his needs, ought to consider whether they are right to argue that Man is “for the planet”, or whether instead they are mistaken, and in fact “the planet is for Man”. No possible amount of the wearing of Iraq-1 (or even Iraq-2) faux-camouflage day-leisurewear (made in Vietnam) in the shopping-precincts of Bootle – or elsewhere, even when “doing hunts” – will increase the credibility of these people.
In the end, all the motives of such people come down to a kind of neo-pastoralist lament, supposedly for some past “golden age”, when Man lived in harmony with “his surroundings”, had no influence over them whatever, and “the Lion lay down with the Lamb”….I notice it was never “the Spider with the Insect”. Does anybody consider the rights of insects (animals too, see below) in respect of spiders (also animals?)
Does it always have to be Man who carries the can? If so, then why?
Do “animals rights” “activists” consider Drosophila Melanogaster (the Fruit Fly) to be an animal? It is. To a first approximation, mathematically, “ALL ANIMALS FLY”. Do they know that? Have they done the sums? Animals are not just comprised of furry brown-eyed mammals, and nought else. Many entire phyla of animals have eaten each other, in the normal course of their business, in the most contemporaneously-horrible ways, for hundreds and hundreds of millions of years, before we even arrived.
Finally, no scientist I have ever known wants, or has ever wanted, to be gratuitously cruel to animals. My father was a scientist for the MAFF for 35 years after the war, and supervised among his other responsibilities (when MAFF was useful for something, such as helping farmers to extract more tons per acre, not like DEFRA now) a “room” and its own staff, which (room) I saw often, and which was full of quite large cages of white rats and mice, all carefully labelled and logged. The temperature was monitored 24/7, the staff knew exactly how old all the creatures were, and where, which cages had to be cleaned when, what amounts of food and water where to be given to what colonies at what hour, etc. I was even allowed to ” privately own” some of the creatures from time to time if I was a good boy, and I kept them at home, looking after them myself in my own cage system, and selling the babies in pairs for 2/6d a pair….if I thought the new owner was a responsible keeper. Yeah yeah whatever, slavery mumble groan knickers. I bought dinky Toys with the proceeds. And Mecanno. And Bayko rods and the like. (Floors are almost unobtainable these days.)
But neo-pastoralist lefties, posing as “scientists” (what a staggering corruption that was) such as Joseph Mengele both authorised and carried out personally the beheading of living human children, for “experiments” on “brains”. I don’t think you’d get scientists doing this to animals, let alone humans, See and wiki their henchmen, Walter Darré, Adolf Hitler (who loved dogs) and Baldur von Schirach, those great reforming neo-pastoralist European socialists, who were all “kind to animals”, and also had strong views about “people” – particularly those whom their twisted, barbarian precapitalist strain of neopastoralism, led them to regard as animals.
If proper classical Science was taught to 7-year-olds onwards, we owuld not have the problem of violent disputes over “animal” “rights”. Does anyone know if other advanced nations have such a problem?
I was, strangely, going to write about “Europe” today. I just felt like it, thinking it’s time the blasted contraption got another push down the hill from us here. The subject was going to be
“What should British libertarians recommend and execute, regarding regime changes in nations on the European continent, when the EU shall have imploded and fallen, and it is the job of the Anglosphere (AGAIN) to put things right for the poor wretched people of this unfortunate collection of states?”
A short enough title for this blog, and I will deal with this matter ,but not today now – for something worse has come out of the woodwork;
Nigel Farage on his blog and the UKIP website have brought to our attention a rather alarming situation that our colleagues in Portugal are about to find themselves in. The PND [Partido da Nova Democracia] under Manuel Montiero have some similar aims to ours, especially to regain control of their fishing and to oppose the constitution. However a new law comes into force in Portugal in March 2008 that states political parties must have 5000 registered members or they will be declared illegal. Additionally, the names and addresses of the members must be given to the Portuguese authorities. This will mean that ten of Portugal’s fourteen political parties will disappear and the PND is one of them. This intolerance to opposition means that new parties would never be created, existing ones become more powerful and they alone would control party funding.
This situation is caused by Article 191 of the Nice Treaty, regarding party funding. If it can happen in Portugal, it can happen here. A good reason to increase our membership as fast as possible. Although I hesitate to compare it, it does bring to mind the identification of Jews in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. UKIP is currently safe from extinction on these grounds as we have more than three times that many members.
UKIP N DORSET NEWSLETTER JAN/FEB 2008
You’d better read it I suppose. I odn’t see what the f*****g business it is of the EUSoviet Praesidium if anybody wants to form a political party and if so, how big it is. I also can’t see how you get to 5,000 members, so you can be “legal”, without having rather less than 5,000 members for quite some time.
Perhaps my regime change scheme will have to be accompanied by force, like it was in 1944.
The numbers are “astounding” (as the Scottish female voiceover always says on BBC-popular-science programmes on the Wireless tele Vision.)
I hope Delaware Libertarian will forgive me for just slotting in the link. Better that you read the whole thing, rather than that I should just précis it, and fairly badly as is my wont.
It makes you wonder how, with the current explosion of information and comms going on all about, Stalinists can find the time and resources to keep up with it and keep the chains on the rest of us. But I guess they can; for tyranny, war and inflation are the only things that they do “well”.
L36GY A ……………….. I’ve been saving this one for a good day to bury bad news.
I wonder what this woman looks like? Unfortunately the windows of the people-carrier are blacked out.
Thanks to Guido from all round, for getting his teeth into Hain’s ankle early on, and hanging on in.
Why is it that that the more greasy a leftist or a Nazi is, the more likely it is that he/she will be eventually found with a hand in the till? This one is neither the first nor the last.
Really, any free citizen eligible to stand for something, ought to be allowed to get contributions to fight some election or other, from anywhere at all, so from a libertarian perspective i can’t see what the fuss is about. Now, I am prepared to accept some basic level of (non-Governmental) legal regulation of how (and from whom) “donations” of any size may be received. However, I will object to what I see coming next, which is that this and other sleazy scams will be used by this government (or another) to argue for State funding of (all) elections. this would be a bad development, ushering in a shutting-out of small, fringe or “unpopular” parties, and setting a sad grey European fascist sort of “proportional representation” in stone.
I remember the days when conservatives were always found, not with their hands in the till, but with their trousers down in the wrong house and (usually) with a lady who was not their wife. Perhaps their need for money was less pressing, and they were merely short of good, honest sex, with girls who did not resemble horses. Perhaps conservatives are having better sex at home these days, or else their wives have seen sense, as there is little tittle-tattle about what the buggers get up to; I do not know.
A man called “Heath Ledger”, an unfortunate name to be sure, has apparently sadly died in pill-strewn circumstances in New York, aged 28. (They always do, these people; what is it about “pills”, and about the life they choose, that makes this method of death so popular? I only ask because I want to know.)
I had no idea until this morning what he was known for, since I do not watch “movies” much at all unless they are called “The First of The Few”, the “The Dambusters”, or “Where Eagles Dare”, “The Hunt for Red October”, “Top Gun”, “Sink the Bismarck!” (surprisingly powerful, sensitive and good when viewed by today’s youth who – through the action of Socialism – don’t know and don’t want to know anything at all about anything, and with very sound performances by Kenneth More and Dana Wynter), and “The Lord of the Rings”. Peter Jackson’s epic, possibly the Great Film of Our Time, is still a bit borderline for me although I consider the Book to be one of the most powerful literary works of Man’s Mind ever to be produced. It is going to be probably the best achievable realisation of my old lecturer’s Personal-Grand-English-Mythology, in practice, in this 21st century sociopolitical climate which we are forced for now to inhabit. (I am old enough to have had the great good fortune to hear the author himself, talking about it informally as digressions from his actual subjects of the day.)
I thought that a “Heath Ledger” was something kept by the society of Ted Heath Burners, until I discovered…..the media.
This is not to belittle the personal sorrow for his family, of this young man’s death. But the eulogies following him, even in the Torygraph, make him sound like the Pope, or even, dare we say it, Elvis. Was he the star of something that the left-mediarati idolize as a philosophy, despite the film’s largely-unwatched status, specially in the Mid-West, or was he just a good actor who will be missed? Again, I only ask because I want to know.
This missile (see above) collided harmlessly with the armour-belt abutting the port-side of the blog yesterday, in a heavy following sea. It was swiftly and quietly made safe by a bolg-operative (able, second class) who climbed out to the stats page and retrieved it for examination, under enemy fire. He will be mentioned in dispatches (from a dying country.) (Check this one out.)
What is it, exactly, about TESCO, that upsets and riles lefties? I’d love to hear one of them actually tell us something about this matter. After all, Wal-Mart (American) and Carrefour (French, I think?) are both bigger in global sales value terms. I do not find on the internet, unless I have been purblind and stupid, Walmart (say) coming in for the execration that Tesco gets, daily, in the British media. If one is a fascist-lefty-food-denier-to-poor-people all over the planet, such as certain British male tele-chefs make themselves out to be, then surely one ought to attack the biggest target first?
The identified poor-people may be schoolchildren in Scunthorpe who just want their native foods, or sub-Saharan sand-scrapers (who’d like any food at all) suffering from a surfeit of Bob Geldof, various other “pop singers”, and their friends the Jerks-in-Mercs (they may be wearing sunspecs and medals, so approach the “jerks” with caution.)
Is “cheap food” a problem – as the Prince of Wales is on record for describing this as an “obsession”? (It’s all right for him as he runs a large commercial concern very well and properly(and there’s nothing wrong in that) in which many of the operatives are his colleagues and friends, and who will not let him and his starve – nothing wrong in that either….but he is insulated, sort of, from the consequences of his own statements.)
If the Market can produce cheap food, then why ought it to be made more expensive by decree? Perhaps I will soon have to write that people who want to prohibit, or ban, or otherwise inconvenience supermarkets, are actually mass-murderers (not only murderers of Scunthorpe kids who want to eat chips, bacon-barms and butties for lunch, but also are murderers of Africans.)
Perhaps I will anyway, to see what happens.
AND…………..your Che Guevara T-shirt is EVEN LESS COOL than I said it was yesterday, so take it off and burn it, you immature ass.
And so, we have…….
More police. More body-armour (but not for the soldiers at war.) More helicopters and more computers. “Terrestrial Trunk Radio” (isn’t that just a fancy-sounding dictocrat-type name for a secure dedicated mobile phone network for the fuzz? What was all the fuss about the other year, and why was it so expensive and useless? What are they using now?) More “ersatz” Police, even. And worst of all, four million video cameras, almost as many people as are now on the UK’s State-DNA database. (Or is it 5 million by now? The argument is not changed either way.)
The Police now cost nearly half as much as the (falling) defence budget and they are catching up. In a country with a historically low homicide rate, and which has until recently been a model of liberty and observance of Law, this would be humorously preposterous if it was not both sad and terrifying. We now have the satirical situation of a Police Force behaving like an occupying army in an unthreatened home nation, while underequipped and underpaid soldiers fight real enemies of our civilisation in faraway places. (The rest of the Libertarian Alliance knows that I have always supported Blair’s Iraq and Afghan ventures, the only right decisions in his life, that I have criticized the puller-outers, and I have never failed to be their foe. But the inversion of reality, manifested by increasing Police persecution of, say, motorists who drive fast and well in many kinds of condition, and retaliating householders who shout at evil unsocialised yobs, in a country full of real criminals, is getting ridiculous.)
Let’s do a sum, in pure maths language.
Let the current spend on policing be called “£10 billion”. Let it be assumed to rise at, say, 5% per year in real terms. This is about right. Let the year be 2008. Then, in 2009, the spend will be £10.5 billion.
Let there be assumed to be no taxation load (for policing purposes) on the revenue from corporate and excise taxation. The let all taxaion for policing be assumed to be paid out of personal taxation of incomes. Let the nett number of households that contribute a nett positive tax take to be 12 million (it’s a bit conservative and I don’t know the figures.) So we have to raise 10.5 billion from 12 million households. That’s 10.5E+9 divided by 12E+6, which gives £875 per household in 2009.
Let HM Treasury now instruct the Revenue to stop collecting this amount from households forthwith, and tell households to pay for policing and security themselves.
Let is be assumed that a mean of only one third of households will contribute the whole or part of the £875 that they are not now being mulcted for by the government. This will yield £3.5 billion. (The proportion will rise very quickly after a few weeks as people realise there is no infrastructure in place at all.)
There will be also now hundreds of thousands of unemployed Police personnel. Some will become minicab drivers, which will be useful, or bouncers, but on the whole this will drive down wages in the now-to-expand private security/criminal-arresting/property-protection sector, which can now expand quickly at little cost. Since video cameras have been proved useless at deterring street crimes, they can be taken down and sold for scrap to China, which will yield a few million £.
There will not be a lot of “diversity-awareness” in the new Private security forces. Therefore, the percentage of real criminals actually arrested, charged and put away uncomfortably for various periods, in initially quite insanitary and dangerous conditions, will rise. “Anti-racist” groups, and those others whose interest is not individual liberty of the law-abiding but instead is the destruction of civil British society, will find many difficulties in communicating with the criminals, whon they have hotherto used as sticks with which to beat the rest of us. They will find the “receptionists” who now work in criminal-arresting companies strangely immune to their blandishments.
Additionally, tax-breaks might be offered for (property-owning) householders who agree to take and pay for firearms courses. Guns are no danger at all in proper, trained hands, of those who have something to prpotect such as a family, and in these conditions tend to inspire respect and awe of the weapon and not light-headed use. A sum of say £500 per year tax allownance might be given for keeping a non-repeating, short gun at home, in regulated conditions whereby it is easily available to the householder in an emergency.
Let this legislation be widely publicised. Criminals can read things they need to read, even if they and their socialist probation officers pretend that they can’t. Sorry, but it’s a fact. The strongest motor of crime is the conscious decision to commit one.
Drunk out of skull? Bah, humbug.
“I just lost it…” Bah, humbug.
“He just did my head in”…Bah, humbug.
“He were lookin’ at my girlfriend…” (‘Course he was, prat. I would too. Why d’you think you go with her? Because she dresses like a nun?)
“I was trying to run away…” Bah, humbug.
“I didn’t mean to kill him, I just wanted his i-phone and he resisted and the knife slipped” Bah, humbug (as a barrister, you ought to know better on this one at least, you evil, expensively-educated stalinist prat. But I DO think that you should let a Jury decide, having shed your crocodile-tears for the useless waste-of-space whom you have to defend.)
There are lots of things that an initially ruinous but rapidly-privatizing police service would need to learn and could achieve. but I think the results would be better in the long run, for less waste of resources. the protected would be customers instead of a sociallly-segmented, persecuted or ignored proletariat.
Sorry for the rather short title. This thread on here came originally from the “12angrymenblog” (see our blogroll) some time ago. I don’t mind promoting it again now, because the side of this bolg gets hit by chemistry sets so often.
Apologies; I got called away. Here is a list of chemicals which would once have been common in early, which is to say early/mid-20th-century, chemistry sets.
I remember being able to buy potassium dichromate, in a high street chemist, in Epsom, Surrey, in 1967, for ninepence – not much but I got some, about an ounce or 28 grams, in a little cardboard cylinder with a plastic clip-top. The pharmacist, after informing me that it was a “schedule 2 poison (which I knew anyway, doing A-levels) told me; “now then, careful with that on the bus, sonny!”
I’ve thought of everything that either I found in my first set, or that with hindsight as an experimental young boy, I would have liked. Further suggestions would be welcome, especially from American readers, who I gather in some states are now prevented from owning scientific apparatus and some chemicals, for “terrorist” reasons (is this actually true?)
No particular order of importance:-
Phosphoric acid, flakes.
A “Woods metal” ingot (Bi, Sn, Cd, Pb alloy, melts at 55C)
Potassium permanganate, solid.
Iron oxide powder
Calcium carbide (so cheap once, you couldn’t giv it away.)
Potassium dichromate (or potassium chromate would do.)
Manganese (IV) dioxide
Potassium or sodium nitrate
Mercury (II) Oxide
Aniline (cryptically referred to as “phenylamine” in the trans-planetarily-wierd and outlandish British A-level syllabus…did you know that they have to represent a benzene ring as a single hexagon with a circle inside it?)
Ammonium (V) vanadate or (VI) molybdate
Iron sulphide sticks
Magnesium metal, ribbon
Calcium metal in naphtha
Iron (III) nitrate
A DECENT spirit burner, capable of running about 30 mins or more and with a big wick
Glass rods and tubes, for bending; capillary (1mm) and standard about 3mm bore
A good sharp cork-borer for same
Proper glass test tubes and corks/bungs to fit
Salicylic acid or benzoic acid crystals
Carbon charcoal powder (fine)
A year later aged 16, I was allowed to buy a litre of concentrated sulphuric acid, from Messrs Gallenkamp in North London somewhere, having forced my mother to drive me there. The receptionist was surprised, but I got the stuff. I recall that she was a woman of about 28-32(ish), in a tight pink wool (sort of) mini-skirt and a black top that we would now call a “t-shirt”. Goodness, she must be about 70 now…wonder if she remembers the strange boy who wanted REAL chemicals in 500g and 1-Kg lots, and apparatus (and who did the paying) and his stranger mother? (And, re t-shirts, Che Guevara WAS a murderer, and no, your T-shirt is EVEN LESS COOL than it was last year. So take it off, burn it, and get a proper one with Bush on it, looking dreamily off-camera somewhere. Towards Venezeuela if you like. Pretty girls there.)
This is fun from the USA.
From: Gaylon Ross
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 4:53 PM
Subject: A billion
How much is a billion?
This is too true to be very funny
The next time you hear a politician use the
Word ‘billion’ in a casual manner, think about
Whether you want the ‘politicians’ spending
YOUR tax money.
A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,
But one advertising agency did a good job of
Putting that figure into some perspective in
One of its releases.
A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were
Living in the Old (middle paleolithic) Stone Age.
D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet. (That’s 2,740,000 years approx – I think the writer is wrong but it’s a moot point still – David Davis)
E. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.
While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let’s take a look at New Orleans. It’s amazing what you can learn with some simple division…..Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking the Congress for $250 BILLION to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number, what does it mean?A. Well, if you are one of 484,674 residents of
New Orleans (every man, woman, child), you each get $516,528.
B. Or, if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787. C. Or, if you are a family of four, your family Gets $2,066,012.Washington, D.C. .. HELLO!!! … Are all your calculators broken??
Tax his land,
Tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes are the rule.
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.Tax his ties,
Tax his shirts,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his booze,
Tax his beers,
If he cries,
Tax his tears.
Tax his bills,
Tax his gas,
Tax his notes,
Tax his cash.
Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.
If he hollers,
Tax him more,
Tax him until he’s good and sore.
Tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.
Put these words upon his tomb,
‘Taxes drove me to my doom!’
And when he’s gone,
We won’t relax,
We’ll still be after the inheritance TAX!
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Hunting License Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax),
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax),
Marriage License Tax,
Real Estate Tax,
Service charge taxes,
Social Security Tax,
Road Usage Tax (Truckers),
Recreational Vehicle Tax,
State Income Tax,
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA),
Telephone Federal Excise Tax,
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax,
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax,
Telephone State and Local Tax,
Teleph one Usage Charge Tax,
Vehicle License Registration Tax,
Vehicle Sales Tax,
Watercraft Registration Tax,
Well Permit Tax,
Workers Compensation Tax.
STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY?
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago,
And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.What happened? Can you spell ‘politicians!’
And I still have to ‘press 1′ for English. I hope this goes around THE
USA at least 100 times
What the heck happened ?????
Ron Paul is the only one holding a political office
that really cares.
Our brothers and sisters over at Samizdata got hold of this place;
Cafe Mao …… Asian. 2-3 Chatham Row Dublin 2. Phone (01) 670 4899. Fax (01) 670 4999
Their very fair comment, I think, was along the lines of there NOT being any places called “cafe Hitler”, and that these would probably go bust in about three and a quarter minutes, if not previously closed down forcibly while in the process of shop-fitting, by the British Tabloid Press. This press-body screams blue murder when silly young Prince Harry wearas a Brownshirt uniform to go to a student party, but is silent about Stalin, Mao, Darfur, the Copts, Cuba, North Korea, East Timor, the Sendero Luminoso, Russia, Southern Rhodesia, and so many many other places on which it has had decades to do research.
The joke is, moreover, that the place seems to be not very good! Here’s one review…..
Advantages: none really
Disadvantages: food, staff, name
I been here a few times (more accurately dragged by a friend who appreciates the large smoking section).
The food is adequate but no more than that and tends to be rather oily. Fishcakes are fried spongey balls of homogenised material (unidentifiable).
The staff are of the aspiring actor variety but are unfortunately not able to act the part of waiters very convincingly.
The floor manager I have encountered is an officious busybody who I saw sending a waiter upstairs after somebody she thought might be going to the bathroom – ” he didn’t eat here! Stop him!”. She will make you wait 15 minutes for a table on principle because,you know, Mao is a happening place and you can’t expect to just swan in and sit down at once.
Why give them the money when the cafe a few doors down has lovely food and genuinely charming staff?
Another thing: who chose the name? Was it a toss-up between that and Pol Pot?
(To be fair, the other two available reviews were positive. ) But if I was the owner, I’d be keen for what ebay calls “100% positive feedback” – so I’d want to either up the quality of food and staff, or think about my choice of branding rather hard – or else track down and “re-educate” the negative writers like my Icon did.
Why not Confucius? More people born in the West since 1980 may have have heard of him, he’s palpably Chinese, and he didn’t, so far as we know, murder 100 million (ish) people.
The figures involved and outlined below are so appalling, even by the wasteful standards of Cubanized socialist provincial administrations of the EU like this one in Westminster, that they have to be repeated here today.
Apart from the opportunity-cost of NOT building updated Nuclear capacity as soon as possible, one has to consider a world in which the British are fighting at least two wars at once, probably for the foreseeable future: the very public and probably deliberate underfunding of our defence capability, not to mention letting the poor Tommies themselves go without essential weaponry, vehicles and protection is despicable, is probably an effect of all this lefty “windery”, and in my humble opinion is deliberate since ageing 1960s lefty hippy longhaired druggie student activists probably don’t like soldiers much, and especially Western liberal State soldiers, unless they
(1) fight for dictocrasts or Jerks-in-Mercs-in-sunspecs, or
(2) goose-step en masse while looking up-stage-right somewhere off camera, or
(3) look like Che Guevara (who was anyway not a proper soldier but a fascist murderer, and your T-shirt is NOT cool.)
That sentence is so long that it ought to have been my headline.
Astonishing cost to consumers of wind farms.
MP FOR NORTH SHROPSHIRE
SHADOW SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
Parliamentary Replies exposes astonishing cost to consumers of wind farms.
Owen Paterson has been astonished by a number of Parliamentary Replies from Government Ministers on the cost of wind farms. Firstly the Renewables Obligation will cost consumers £25.1billion between 2002 and 2027.
He also attempted to get from the government some idea of the huge costs of connecting the planned 7,000 wind turbines to the national grid.
In a confusing response, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks gave a number of figures adding up to over £10billion: £560 million to connect new renewable generation in Scotland and the North of England; further £3.8 billion to cover network refurbishment and the costs of accommodating new generators between 2007 and 2012; £5.7billion from 2005 to 2010 to cover network refurbishment and development.
Another astonishing reply revealed that the government has not worked out the cost of decommissioning wind farms and restoring sites to their original conditions.
Owen Paterson said “£10 billion is the same amount that it would cost to build seven new nuclear power stations, which would deliver exactly the same amount of power as the installed capacity of the 7,000 wind turbines. The Government seems to be telling us that just to connect 7,000 wind turbines to the grid will cost more than it would to generate the same amount of energy from nuclear power stations. This is before we take into account the enormous cost of building the turbines.”
I will be tabling further questions to try to clarify the answers I have received so far. The above information is astonishing and clearly vindicates VORTEX and other campaigners in Shropshire opposed to wind farms which are clearly a massive waste of consumers’ money.
Note to editors
Owen’s PQs can be found on the Hansard Website
Further note to editors;
The Libertarian Alliance’s executive Committee believes that massive State purchases of so-called “renewable” energy generation “capacity” (using money extorted from taxpayers most of whom are opposed to it) are a tragic waste of both financial resources and also the opportunity to deploy those resources towards truly “renewable” electricity generation sources, such as Nuclear power stations. (Individual members of the Libertarian Alliance may disagree with this opinion.)
I’m the last minute change of speaker for tonight’s Putney Debates. For details, contact Tim Evans <tim [at] libertarian [dot] co [dot] uk>.
The title of my talk is ‘Change at the Top: How the US Election Process Works and What are the Opportunities for Ron Paul?’
My audience will mostly be British so it’s mostly about explaining just how decentralized the U.S. electoral system is. Because anyone turning up is likey to be a Libertarian, I shall be concentrating on Ron Paul’s campaign and what he can realistically hope to achieve. I shall try to post a summary of the talk somewhere.
[cross posted from Antoine Clarke's Election Watch]
That Sheep May Safely Graze
by Sean GabbThis evening, the 26th September 2006, the BBC will broadcast its latest Whistleblower programme. This investigates the sharp and often illegal practices of court bailiffs. They are accused of tricking debtors—and frequently third parties —out of thousands of pounds that are not owed. According to a report in The Daily Mail, the bailiffs in one firm are accused of:
If someone knocks on your door waving a piece of paper and demanding money, it is reasonable to expect that you will insist on reading that piece of paper. If you do not understand the meaning of the words on that piece of paper, it is reasonable to expect that you will demand an explanation of its meaning. If a satisfactory explanation is not given, it is reasonable to expect that you will seek advice from someone else who is competent to give such advice. If you stand aside and let him in to burgle your home, you have—in what is still a country based on law— consented to your own oppression. I believe that some of the victims whose stories are told in the programme could not be expected fully to insist on their legal rights. There is the story of a man dying of cancer, who was plundered because someone else had illegally used his disabled parking badge. There is the story of children terrorised with the threat that their mother would be sent to prison for non-payment of a debt. But many of the victims of these bailiffs were adults operating under no obvious defect of health. These people do not seem to have behaved reasonably in the face of purported authority. So far as they failed to challenge the legality of what was done to them, they largely have themselves to blame. Now, I can hear an answer forming to what I have just said. “Sean” it goes, “you are middle class. You have a legal education. You are not particularly frightened of the ordinary organs of the British State. You know roughly what your rights are and how to get them respected. These are poor and ignorant people whose attitude to authority is one of terrified respect. They do not know what their rights are. They do not know how to find out what these are or how to enforce them. You cannot expect them to behave as you might in their position. You are speaking like one of those people who give libertarianism a bad name.” There is something in this answer, and English law has tried for many centuries—if not always consistently or very well—to take it into account. The phrase “poor and ignorant people” is enshrined in the Rules of Equity. Judges have sought to apply contracts with such people with a requirement on the stronger party of just dealing. The problem is that, during the past hundred years or so, the poor and ignorant have been given the same political rights as everyone else. They are allowed a say in the election of a government. They cannot be trusted to look after their own affairs. But they are trusted with a vote that allows others to look into our affairs. If this were a problem affecting five or perhaps even ten per cent of the adult population, it might not be a serious nuisance. But is a problem that, during the past hundred years of so, has been greatly compounded. When he was alive, I used to discuss with Chris R. Tame to what extent many people, even in the better ages of our country, were two legged sheep. How many people, I would ask him, knew why they should be angry with Charles I and James II? How many people were in the habit of demanding due process of law in their dealings with the authorities? His answer was always “enough people to make a difference”. The difference between then and now is that there are not now enough people to make a difference.
On the reasons for this change, I could write a book and still not do justice to the theme. But there are a number of reasons obvious enough not to need more than a cursory treatment. The first of these has been the rise of an extended welfare state. I have no principled objection to some state welfare. If people are, through no gross negligence of their own, in want, I will consent to pay taxes for their basic relief. This covers some maintenance for themselves, so health care, some education for their children. The law should not encourage claims. It should, much rather, encourage self-help and should encourage voluntary provision for much else. But I do not wholly reject some role for the State in relieving certain kinds of want. However, the welfare state we actually have goes far beyond these minimal functions. It discourages self-help. It tends to co-opt voluntary provision—where it does not positively discourage it—into the agency of the State. It has raised up an army of people whose attitude to the authorities is one of supplication. They have resigned care over their own affairs to the authorities, which stand over them as a parent does to a child. It is asking too much to expect such people to retain any habits of self-respect or of independence. When faced with the demands of authority—whether real or purported—they will defer. I do not need to enter into the further question of how such deference arose and is sustained. It may be purely a cultural change in response to changes of institution. Or it may be— as I suspect—a genetic change in the character of the British people. We lost close on a million of our best young men in the Great War. We lost millions of others in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to emigration. Is it possible that those who remained—these being less brave on average and less resourceful—then bred further generations of the similarly unfit? Is it possible that their breeding of these further generations was facilitated by welfare policies that externalised the costs of procreation? There is, I do suspect, something in this argument. But I do not need to go any further in its development. And it would lead me into connected arguments that it might not be in my best interests to elaborate. But indiscriminate welfare, I do not see any reason to doubt, has raised up an army of two-legged sheep. I turn to the second reason. This is the general corporatisation of our economic life. Until a few generations back, most people in the middle classes were self-employed. If they paid income tax, they dealt directly with the authorities. Regardless of whether they earnt enough to pay the modest income taxes of the day, they had to make all the important decisions of their lives for themselves. The great majority of middle class people nowadays are the salaried employees of large organisations. Whether these organisation are openly departments of state, or are state-privileged trading bodies in the formally private sector, they expect and impose habits on their employees of external reliance. These people resign everything from career development to pension planning to their employers, and defer in just about all matters to their line managers. They sell their time to a single client. If they are dissatisfied with the deal, they look for another. And never think to expand the number of clients. The effect has been very similar to welfare corruption. Most people in this country, of whatever degree, are not self-reliant individuals. Even if they acquire an intellectual understanding, they do not directly understand how free people think and behave.
This explains much of how this country now operates. It explains the endless scare stories in the media—everything from “global warming” and “passive smoking” to the alleged danger of letting ordinary people own and use firearms, to the case for omnipresent surveillance cameras on the roads and in other public places. It also explains the demands that “something must be done”. Little of this nonsense, I agree, comes spontaneously from the people at large. It proceeds in nearly all cases from the agenda of various interest groups that want power and income for themselves and their clients. But the successful unpicking of our ancient ways proceeds from the fact that we are—for whatever reason—no longer the people among whom those ancient ways emerged and took hold. We have become like the Roman People of the early Principate. These were no longer the people who had faced down Hannibal outside the gates of their city. They were no longer even the people who rioted at the funeral of Julius Caesar. There were instead the tame people who let the funeral of Augustus pass without disturbance, and of whom that frustrated conservative Tiberius spoke when he condemned himself for having to govern a nation of swine. If there is ever a successful reaction here to this unpicking of our ways, those directing it will need to make some hard and radical decisions about the nature of political accountability. I believe those Victorian liberals were wrong who insisted that all adults could be trusted with the vote. But there was enough in their insistence for conservatives not to fight tooth and claw against the extensions of the franchise. But most people now are not to be trusted with the vote. This applies most obviously to those unfortunates who appear to have let themselves be plundered by dishonest bailiffs. It also applies to those who feel more than commonly sorry for them, and to all those who are content to have control of their lives be fought over by the likes of Tony Blair and David Cameron. Some of these people have good incomes and nice houses. Some have good taste for clothing and antiques. Some have considerable formal education. But they are not the equals of those who cried “privilege” against the Ministers of Charles I—or who took up arms against him, or even for him. Some accountability is necessary for all constitutional government. But the nature of this accountability is not always most effectively based on universal suffrage. It cannot be so in a nation where the majority are in the legal sense “ignorant”.
What it should be after any Great Reaction I cannot yet say. But I will watch this evening�s episode of Whistleblower with an uncommon interest.
I bet you didn’t watch Jamie Oliver, a “chef”, who used once to be a nice scally London oik, who probably ate burgers with relish in both senses, on the Wireless tele Vision last night. Nor did I: but, just like theoretically shagging Elizabeth Taylor (when she would have been rather younger) I could imagine EXACTLY what it would be like.
He and Hairy-Hugh Frightfully-Posh are the latest useful idiots recruited by the Leninist caucus which is assaulting people’s right to buy what food (specially meat) that they want, at the lowest prices that a Market Civilisation is prepared to offer.
I was particularly upset by a phrase I had never seen before, in the Sunday Torygraph’s Wireless tele Vision pages a week or so ago – “The Ethics of Eating Meat” – to do with a trailer for these progs. I mean, meat is food. Man requires it, preferably as nearly like his onw as possible and preferably cooked so as to be able to shorten his gut and look like a man on two legs, in order to keep and run a very expensive brain, that requires 22 times more energy per gram per unit time than skeletal muscle.
Because the state “school” “syllabus” is itself so gutted and contains no scientific knowledge whatever that’s worth the name, plenty of people will have been taken in by his antics, himself electrocuting and blood-draining a chicken on live Wireless tele Vision. (At least he electrically-stunned it first unlike some protected classes of people I could mention.)
Furthermore, if a “super market” offers 3p for a chicken, and a putative farmer is disposed to take it, and no weapons are involved and they either continue to deal or agree to part company, than what business is it of Jamie the “chef”? Is it better that more people should eat animal protein, or fewer? the problme comes when the state interferes and causes the prevailing economic conditions to disadvantage the farmer when he sells at 3p. (I also think a particularly extreme example of one instance has been chosen, to make a documentary paoint.) He’s taking £1.2 million a year from one outfit too, so what is he up to? Distancing himself ready to run? Showing only what he thinks ought to be the right oikish attitude? PLaying to the Gallery? Or does he actually believe what he’s saying – in which case he ought not morally to take the money?
People who don’t like battery farming of meat, essential to Man’s diet or he will die, need not buy the stuff. Meat-eating is not and has never been compulsory – unlike many things under socialism that we could all mention. If enough people want it, then as now there will be a Market created and suppliers will find it profitable to supply expensive, free-range beasts. One great pillar of the modern Western world (not the only one) is the banishing of starvation and famine, substantially, from most of it, most of the time. Although we ought to bear in mind Edward Spalton’s post of yesterday about the threat of global cooling and the tragic harm already done to millions, and more coming, owing to the depradations of the global warm-mongers and biofuel production at the expense of foodstuffs and animals.
We’d all do well to watch carefully the sinister machinations of statists. Remember, how only a few years ago, people were being “encouraged” to “recycle”? Even in 2005/6 the bus-side ads were positive and cheery; “Do it in your pyjamas! Do it while walking the dog!” Now look what’s turned out. we don’t have long to save our food, if the last example is anything to go by.
Oh and corals? There’s a report that “up to 80%” of Caribbean coral has disappeared “in recent decades” (how many?) according to the Royal Society, and “population control” is “needed”. I have nothing to add (as President E Benes said in October 1938 in Prague.)
Christ knows what this was about, but somebody found us from it.
I suppose I ought to say something. The evoked imagery is of a British secondary school teacher, mired still in the Marxism of her training course, trying to kill two birds with one stone, for her bored class of pre-GCSE thugs and slaggettes (I do pity both sexes, really, here.) She is attempting to make a point about what she sees as the sheer wastefulness of “the consumer society” – to which her poor charges belong and want to stay in.
How such a society that permits this teacher to have the non-job of state-childminding that she has, could exist without very cheap and very advanced goods-packaging methods thus lowering the price of everything for her and her charges’ families, is beyond her comprehension. She is like my university-best-friend’s girlfriend, who got a first in Greats at St Hugh’s in 1973, who insisted that whenever she bought any food from a shop, she should be allowed (by law) to insist on NOT PAYING for the PACKAGING, as it was “wasteful and unnecessary”. Moreover, the Labour Party if it got elected, would, she was sure, DECREE (her words!) that this should be the case. I hope she does not read this blog.
Where poor persecuted Jeremy Clarkson (for Prime Minister!) comes in to it all is not clear. It may be a conflation in this teacher’s mind of “packaging” and SUVs, 4×4 “Chelsea tractors”, and cars which not only get you somewhere but do it very, very fast and give a normal human being some little pleasure in this life, and joy at their sheer crafted, man-made beauty and power – truly an object made in the Image of God, by a creature also thus made. What could be more doubly-galling than that, to a (probably) atheist, Marxist, deluded sour-grape-picker?
Thoughts on Limited Liability
by Sean Gabb
I was approached yesterday—Monday the 25th Deptember 2006—by an American friend who had just read a piece I wrote in 2005 against limited liability (Free Life Commentary, issue 135: http://tinyurl.co.uk/rfav). Because his enquiry was private, I will not give his name. But I feel it would be useful to make my reply public.
I will begin with an edited publication of his enquiry:
“Sean, I read some of your passionate remarks on joint stock companies. I See you were endorsed by Kevin Carson (http://tinyurl.co.uk/ccnc)
“…I agree with much of what you say but am on the other side of the issue on whether aspects of limited liability could be formed on the free market by means of contracts�.
“I am curious why you say shareholders should be liable in tort—presumably automatically, or necessarily.
“Of course the concept of ownership just means the right to control, and in a corporation the right to control is divided in complex ways. Just as it can be in any business or in other situations.
“We Austrian libertarians ought of course to realize that just because The law draws a bright line of ownership and non-ownership (and relegates various property rights or interests to definitions other than “ownership”) does not necessarily make a difference morally or praxeologically.
“For example, suppose you start a business, and you take a loan from a bank. Does the bank not contribute money to your endeavor (like a shareholder)? Does the bank not impose conditions on what you may do with the property you Use in the business (covenants, warrants), and exert practical influence Over your business (if they insist on something you might listen—want to re-do the loan later, or not have them call it now). What about employees, and contractors? They are economically supportive of the business. Why are they not responsible too?
“My point is that libertarians seem to jump to some kind of black-and-white strict liability type rule, that they want to apply from their armchairs. I am all for attributing liability and responsibility to the causally responsible actor. But I am not sure why you assume that a shareholder is necessarily causally responsible for torts committed by employees of a company in which they own shares.
“This rule has to assume respondeat superior, first; it has to assume some kind of strict liability; it has to assume some kind of necessary causal responsibility on the part of shareholders for the actions committed by employees (despite the fact that the shareholder might not even have given money to the company—he might have bought the shares from a previous shareholders; despite the fact that the control of directors, and managers, and employees, is in the chain of causation between shareholder and employee; despite the fact that the shareholder may never have voted and even if he did, his vote may be minuscule, or he may have voted against the managers who allowed the tort to occur); it has to assume shareholders are for some reason more causally responsible than the umpteen other economic types of actors who interact with and have an influence on and give assistance to the company (employees, creditors, suppliers, customers, contractors).
“I write not to attack but out of curiosity if you have addressed these issues or think there is a good response to them.”
Bearing in mind the eminence of the person making this enquiry, I feel some embarrassment at the shortness of the reply that I shall make. But it is better to make some response than none. And I feel it useful to make the response in public so that others may also have the chance to bring to my attention defects in my approach to an issue that I have come to regard as one of key importance.
I will begin by stating an approach that is probably common to many other libertarians whose works I have not read or have forgotten, but which I picked up from the Roman lawyers. This is to ask whether any particular institution could exist without a state to uphold it.
Now, I am not a committed anarchist. But I do regard the likely shape of a stateless society as a partial basis for judging the legitimacy of actually existing institutions. If something could not exist without a government, that is not necessarily a reason for it not to exist. There must, though, be a presumption against its existence. Nothing can be desirable that involves a violation the rights of individuals to life and property acquired by consent. It may be necessary for the prevention of greater evils. But it must, to be accepted, have its case for existing made out on at least the balance of convenience�and perhaps even beyond reasonable doubt.
Marriage, family life, common politeness, most property rights, and so forth � these could exist without a state. They might exist with greater security. They would certainly be different in several important respects. But they would exist. As such, they can be regarded as legitimate institutions. Any laws regulating them can, therefore, be judged on the extent to which they give just protection.
Where limited liability is concerned, I am not so sure. I can imagine a contractual limitation of liability. I might, for example, rent a shop that I own to Boots plc, on the understanding that I am dealing with a joint stock corporation with which ultimate liability rests. I shall have accepted that Boots exists as an artificial person. If Boots is then unable to pay the rent, I shall have no just right to expect any other person to pay the rent.
But suppose you rent a neighbouring shop to Boots, and supposing some negligence of Boots causes damage to my property. Suppose then that Boots is unable to pay whatever damages may be awarded by a court. I see no reason why I or any court should respect an agreement private between you and Boots. The owners of Boots are those who own shares in the company. They appoint the directors. They receive the profits of the company. They must be regarded as ultimately responsible for the torts of the company.
In places where registers of shareholders are inaccurate, or where the shareholders are collectively without sufficient assets to pay damages, this may be a worthless claim in practice. But it was the practice, I think, followed by English courts in the railway bankruptcies of the 1840s. It would also be the practice followed by the courts of an anarcho-libertarian society.
Thus, while a kind of limited liability might arise in contractual arrangements, it would not be recognised in tort.
My correspondent raises doubts about the effective control that shareholders have over their companies, and wonders if they should not rather be placed in the same category as employees or lenders or contractors.
My answer is to assert that they are the natural owners of their companies. They have not lent money to them. They are not providing paid services. They are the owners.
And this is regardless of how much actual control any one shareholder may have. I own shares in various banks. I never ask myself what those banks are doing on my behalf. I never attend the annual general meetings. If I fill out a proxy form, I never give the matter more than the most casual attention. If I did attend a meeting and try to impose my will, the institutional shareholders would flatten me when it came to voting. But that is my choice.
Now, I am thinking at the moment of buying shares in Sainsbury, the supermarket chain. This is so that I can at least attend the annual general meeting and ask awkward questions. But if I do buy shares, I shall not have provided capital to Sainsbury plc. And my correspondent asks if that ought to give me any reasonable liability for the torts of Sainsbury in a world without government. My answer again is yes. I may not be providing fresh capital to the company. But I am stepping ultimately into the shoes of someone who did. I am taking on that person�s rights. I must also be regarded as taking on his responsibilities.
As said, just because it could not exist without a state, an institution does not become absolutely illegitimate. I am not convinced, for example, by arguments that defence of an extended territory could happen without the compulsory taxation of its inhabitants, or that unexpected natural disasters could be handled. The State is legitimate so far � and only so far � as it provides necessaries that will not be otherwise provided.
So, is limited liability one of these necessaries? It may not be a necessary in the strict sense I have laid down. But an argument can be made on the grounds of its convenience, and this may approach to a necessary.
Could railways and motorways be built without a large corporation to mobilise the necessary capital, and to provide the necessary term of existence for the capital to provide a return? Possibly not. Could these corporations raise capital without being able to sell shares to the public? Again, possibly not. Would anyone buy shares in such corporations if he knew he would have no immediate control over the use of his investment, but might be held personally responsible for its use? Probably not. Do you know enough about the transportation market, and about the competence of the Directors, to risk what may be all your possessions in buying shares in Eurotunnel? I hope not.
It may then be convenient, if we want large infrastructure projects and large scale manufacturing, to cap the liability of shareholders to the value of their shares.
I grant it may not be convenient. I am told that such ventures could by financed by the sale of bonds, in which case the providers of capital would be lenders with a liability naturally limited to the value of their bonds. Otherwise, I am told that things like telecommunications networks could be provided by subcontracting and franchising and other free contractual arrangements between sole traders and partnerships.
I have also read the claims by Kevin Carson, among others, that such ventures would not without a state be profitable. Mr Carson says, for example, that the relevant economies of scale are much overstated, and can generally be achieved only by coerced externalisation of many costs. The result, he says, is a “capitalism” that may be a net consumer of capital, and that has little in common with patterns of activity that would emerge in a truly free market.
I will not develop these points. I do not accept all of them in an absolute sense. I have much respect for Mr Carson. But I do not follow him in his rehabilitation of a semi-Marxist economics. I also believe that large corporations do produce things that people want to buy, and may do so better than smaller organisations.
What I will say now about the utility of limited liability laws is that, even if not to the point of consuming capital, they do distort economic activity. And, perhaps more importantly, they are morally corrupting.
They are morally corrupting because they allow the emergence of a ruling class in which political and economic power is as impersonal and as interlocked as in the despotisms of the ancient world. Unlike in early modern English � a place for which Mr Carson has no time � the political wings of these elites have no roots among those whom they govern. Their economic wings enrich themselves by the creation and manipulation of controls that cartellise activity and externalise costs to the systematic disadvantage of outsiders.
The majority of ordinary people find themselves gently conscripted into large organisations that strip them of autonomy and suppress any natural desire for self-direction. They also find themselves locked into patterns of immorality that they would never dare choose for themselves.
Look at the Virgin Group, which is one of the smaller and less horrible of these organisations. I cannot believe its railway and air franchises were gained by wholly non-political means. Its workers are encouraged into a cult of personality of Richard Branson that must strike any person of individuality as unhealthy. And, as said, the Virgin Group is by no means the worst corporation. Look at those corporations that police the actions of their employees both on and off the job. Look at those increasingly common variations of contract that tell workers not to smoke at home or not to engage in dissident politics.
Or, turning to those patterns of immorality, look at the rapacity and corruption of oil companies and other large corporations in poor and barbarous regions of the world. I would never for myself build factories in places like black Africa that sprayed poison in all directions. Nor would I look the other way when politicians I had funded silenced anyone brave enough to object to my actions. But I probably own shares in such corporations. I probably know people who work in them.
Anyone who works for any length of time in one of these big corporations tends to become just another “human resource” � all his important life decisions made for him by others, encouraged into political and cultural passivity. He is essentially a bureaucrat. He knows nothing of how real business is transacted. He cares nothing about laws and taxes that stop others from transacting real business, and so consents to the further expansion of an already bad system.
The British and American peoples, who together have created the world�s only real attempt at a liberal civilisation, have been turned by a century of corporatism into nations of sheep. We have different prejudices. The decay of our national characters has not been uniform in all respects. But we are by the standards of our ancestors almost equally degenerate. It is surely less remarkable that our rulers have gone as far as they have in abolishing our freedoms, than that they have shown such forbearance as they have. We are so corrupt as nations that our rulers are still heaping less misgovernment on our heads than most of us would be happy to accept.
This is largely the effect of a corporatisation of economic activity that would have been impossible without limited liability laws.
I accept that, in a world without limited liability, certain desirable things might not happen. On the other hand, I do not believe there would be no extended patterns of commerce. As said, there is the financing of ventures by bonds, or their organisation through the voluntary clustering of small businesses. And there is the known tendency of individuals to bring wholly unexpected and elegant solutions to problems when they are free to associate as they please.
At the same time, many undesirable things would not happen.
In conclusion, I am against limited liability because it could not exist without a state � and because its actual existence it attended by at best doubtful benefits and by undeniable evils.
That leaves the further question of what is to be done today about it. Parliament should never have passed the first Companies Act. But that was in the 1850s. What should be done now?
I know I should stay with my first conclusion and leave further discussion to another essay. But I will give a brief answer.
Let us suppose I were to come to power as the front man for a military coup in this country. What would I do about the big corporations? Just pulling the plug on them. By giving full liability to the shareholders, would not be an option. Those corporations would be delighted if I were wicked enough to build giant concentration camps up and down the country and fill them with my opponents. They would probably fall over themselves to sell me the necessary cattle prods and barbed wire. But they would soon shut my revolution down if I overtly tried to shut them down.
The answer is that I would keep on a vast mass of intrusive regulation of limited companies—and even increase the burden of corporation tax, and continue the present trend to thinning the corporate veil where certain torts and crimes were concerned � while exempting unincorporated businesses from all such regulation. It was the growing attractiveness of that veil that encouraged small businesses to incorporate in large numbers after about 1880. It must be a growing unattractiveness that will encourage modern business to unincorporate.
But this is a matter to which I have given little thought, and that really does take me beyond the limited answer that I promised to my correspondent.
A Timely Warning
By Edward Spalton
The rise in fuel prices may well kill a large number of pensioners, unable to meet the cost of keeping warm. Yet few people look behind the reasons for the present prices. First, there is VAT, admittedly only 5% but significant. I listened to much of the debate on the introduction of this tax by the Conservatives. It was a bloody tribal battle and yet was utterly phoney.
The leaderships of both sides knew it was part of the conditions of continuing EU membership, which they both supported. I thought every MP knew that, yet Dennis Skinner and others went for the Tories in the good old fashioned way with much passion. I thought it was just a skilful charade, playing to their own supporters. Since then, I have learned that many MPs are simply unaware of the number of powers they have handed over to the EU.
So I acquit Mr Skinner and his comrades of what I thought at the time was rank hypocrisy. It was merely ignorance. I cannot acquit the Labour leadership, which promised to repeal the tax, if they came to power. They, at least, must have known it was outside their power to do so (unless they left the EU). Once control over an area of our life is ceded to the EU, it can never return to democratic control in Westminster. So the best Tony Blair could do was to lower it to the permitted
minimum of 5%. In this area, parliament has lost its power over taxation and so contributes to the energy poverty of pensioners.
Some eco-freaks and disaster mongers actually welcome the price rises because they will make us more careful in using energy. Yet Age Concern reckons that 22,000 pensioners died from cold last year. I suppose there is no more permanent way of changing our energy consumption than dying. The EU?s policy on renewable energy ? the inefficient and useless windmills which clutter our land and seascapes ? has pushed up energy costs by at least £1,000,000,000 to subsidise the
monstrosities. Over the last six years, temperatures have flattened out at 0.2 degrees Celsius lower than their level of ten years ago.
All the signs are that the sunspot cycle is changing to a period known as the ?Dalton minimum?. The last period of this sort was from around 1793 to 1830 ? a time when the Thames froze over and there were widespread famines because of crop failures. The difference now is that the world has over eight billion mouths to feed . Then there were only one billion. Still, the cold climate had one good effect. It set back the unification of Europe and chilled Bonaparte?s ardour on his retreat from Moscow.
I have just sent this letter to my general practitioner. If enough people do this, the NHS database will be made pretty useless as a tool for social engineering. I recommend all to do the same.
Dear Dr xxx,
Exercising right to opt out
As you are probably aware, the Government is intending to ask you to transfer the electronic medical records of your patients onto a national database called the “spine”. They intend you to do this without first seeking the consent of your patients. It is BMA policy that patients should give their individual consent prior to their information being transferred on to the national database.
There are substantial concerns about the privacy and confidentiality of information transferred onto the national database, not least because promised software security safeguards called “sealed envelopes” will not be in place and because the patient’s instructions with regard to who may access the records can be overridden. I do not believe that such a large database, with so many staff users, can be regarded as secure.
I shall be grateful if you would ensure that none of the records held by you on Sean, Andrea or Philippa Gabb are entered onto the national system. Would you please also file or scan a copy of this letter in my records and also record my dissent by entering the “Read code” — ‘93C3—Refused consent for upload to national shared electronic record.’ into our computer records. We are aware of the implications of this request and will notify you should we change our minds.
This request is itself confidential. Please do not divulge our decision, in an identifiable manner, to anyone other than to clinicians who are providing care to us and who might otherwise place information about us on the national care records service.
Further information for GPs is available online at www.TheBigOptOut.org/ for GPs.
Here is the article that prompted me to do this: