Monthly Archives: March 2008

Updated … Guido quote of the day … IF he says nothing else in his life, ever, this makes him worth it.


The important part of this post is about how to disseminate widely the instructions, for easily copying the fingerprints of  Stalinist dictocrats, thus condemning them to wear rubber gloves for ever.

AND … I don’t even care a stuff if it’s not original and readers snigger coz’ Guido got it somewhere else. For Christ’s sake, I’m not a blogercenary, I don’t have time to geekdrink coffee all night in front of the screen, and have not time to comb the archives of the web all day, I have a family, children and work to do. So more power to Guido for enlightening-me-lite. 

David Davis

People should not be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people.

Please could everyone in the commentariat go there, to him, and get a copies of (a) the instructions, and (b) the video about how to do it in German.

But that quote was priceless, it cannot be bought. it was the real thing. And no, I don’t know why I can’t switch off italics in wordpress right now. Sod it, publish and be damned.

GO TO “the line is here” now.


David Davis

Marevllous stuff, stirring and purgative. Pass the bottle round chaps, let’s all drink to that.

The New Dark Age … welcome to British State education in the next decade.


David Davis

Christina Speight, an old mate from eurorealist, comments on her own place: 

The trouble with education in Britain is that we have now gone full circle.  The youngsters who were not taught properly 20 years ago are now  the teachers of today, knowing nothing,  but high on waffle and vague theories.   They  therefore find themselves unable to teach history, geography, literature, languages, art and music because they don’t know these subjects themselves.

So they campaign to institutionalise their ignorance.  

At a time when 9 out of 10 young men who want to join the army are rejected by the recruiters as incapable of fighting a modern war (some admittedly  from general unfitness or drug use) we should be grateful that at least 10% have been educated properly enough to do a man’s job.   TEN PERCENT  – and “education, education, education” was to be top priority.”
Head teachers want to drop National Curriculum in schools
By Julie Henry
A range of school subjects could be swept away under new teaching proposals.
The attack on the National Curriculum, which has dictated school timetables for 20 years, could spell the end of separate classes in history, geography, literature, languages, art and music.
Instead, schools would be allowed to decide how they teach big themes such as global warming, conflict and healthy living.
The present list of subjects would be reduced to little more than English, mathematics and computing. The National Association of Head Teachers, responding to a select committee inquiry into whether the National Curriculum is “fit for purpose”, said its structure of 14 compulsory subjects should be replaced by a “minimum framework” that would be “skills and competence-based, rather than prescriptive and knowledge-based”.
Growing calls for flexibility, coupled with a series of curriculum reviews ordered by ministers, represent a serious threat to the future of the traditional timetable.
Academics defended the National Curriculum, saying it was the best guarantee that children were exposed to vital areas of study.
“We haven’t arrived at these subjects by accident,” said Prof Alan Smithers, of Buckingham University. “We have discovered a number of ways of making sense of the world which have been formulated as the sciences, humanities, social sciences and expressive art. It is reasonable to require young people to engage in these vital subjects for a spell of time.”

BAN the hood for good, says Sunday Express


David Davis

It says it here.

In not sure that hoodies aren’t just reacting logically, to the very illiberal surveillance culture and police state that we seem to have allowed to be created around us, while we slept.

Our masters have slipped so far down the one-way-slide into full nazism that even nominally “modern conservative” papers like the Express (that is to say, papers which overtly support a Big State and its actions “for the children”) get away with the chorus of “ban it”, whenever faced with anything invonvenient to deal with except by a change of philosophical outlook.

Tungsten or “Incandescent” light bulbs: buy them while you can.


David Davis

There is now no hope that, even that greenazism has been discredited worldwide, you will be able to buy proper light bulbs that emit light, after 2012 in “Europe”.  Buy lots and lots of tungsten bulbs while you can. It is the only libertarian solution. Yes, the bulbs you buy now will fail eventually, but then the evil Greenariat may have fallen by then, say in 2020, and we can persuade the Chinese to make bulbs for us again, to see by.

 So, stock up! I am doing, and you should too. The evil antiwesterners, such as those who told you to move to Wyoming and buy tinned food in quantity before Y2K (remember that?) will tell you that doom awaits all those who plug in a tungsten bulb, but only if the police come around.

I think this is rubbish but I want further confirmation


David Davis

I would like the blogateriat’s comments on this material.

The glib perversion of real science (the truth of which is not immune to distortion by useful fools and spin-hucksters in the thrall of the enemy) hurts me.

At least, that’s what I think. I could be wrong. But everything I know, and teach, about radioactivity, in physics, screams contradiction of this stuff on the link.

“Jussipussi” … I thought I’d save it for a quiet evening onboard the Blog


jussipu.jpg

David Davis

I don’t really know what to say about it really. But the imagery and the actual product don’t really bear any relation to each other. I think it is bread rolls, or some such, I am not sure. It may have come originally from Newmania (see blogroll) a blog which is (sadly) temporarily closed for the owner to get on with other stuff, he was interested in this kind of thing.

Beer that blasts Gordon Brown


There’s a new beer on the market that blasts Gordon Brown, for high taxes and for ceding power to Brussels. As the Telegraph caption goes: “Gordon Brown won’t enjoy drinking this particular pint”.

Moderately Interesting Debate on Sean’s “Blog”


Sean Gabb

http://www.haloscan.com/comments/seangabb/flc170/

http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc170.htm

Kevin Carson replies to Paul Marks


Further Thoughts about “Contract Feudalism”: A Response to Paul Marks
Kevin Carson

Economic Notes No. 109

ISSN 0267-7164                   ISBN 9781856377560

An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance,
Suite 35, 2 Landsdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6HL.

© 2008: Libertarian Alliance; Kevin Carson.

Kevin Carson lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  He works as a hospital orderly and operates a lawn-mowing service.  He belongs to the Voluntary Cooperation Movement (a mutualist affinity group), and the Industrial Workers of the World.  He also maintains the Mutualist.Org website and recently published the book Studies in Mutualist Political Economy.

The views expressed in this publication are those of its author, and not necessarily those of the Libertarian Alliance, its Committee,
Advisory Council or subscribers.

FOR LIFE, LIBERTY AND PROPERTY

The Response of Paul Marks

The Libertarian Alliance was kind enough, in 2006, to publish my pamphlet Contract Feudalism: A Critique of Employer Power over Employees.1  Since then, Paul Marks, a Conservative councillor on Kettering Borough Council, has taken the trouble to reply to it with a pamphlet of his own: A Critique of a Critique: An Examination of Kevin Carson’s �Contract Feudalism’.2

As grateful as I am for the attention, I hesitate to undertake a response.  Mr Marks’ effort has been lionized in the libertarian blogosphere.  For example, Stephan Kinsella of Mises Blog calls it “a brilliant, solid, and interesting analysis” of my pamphlet,3 and Perry De Havilland of Samizdata praises Mr Marks for being “in splendid and splenic form.”4  One of the commenters at Samizdata dismisses me as a “yapping Pomeranian” in comparison to Mr Marks’ “English mastiff.”  Nevertheless, even though I take my life into my own hands in confronting this formidable mastiff, I feel I owe him some sort of response as a matter of courtesy.

Contract Feudalism Restated

Toward the beginning of his critique (I say toward the beginning because it’s the first substantive comment following a rambling dissertation on assorted topics like the semiotics of the Voluntary Cooperation Movement emblem), he asks just what “contract feudalism” is supposed to mean (followed by another rambling tangent on the historical meaning of the term “feudalism”.)  Contract feudalism,” put simply, refers to the persistence of superior-subordinate relations reminiscent in substance to those under previous regimes of status, but under the guise of a de jure regime of contract.  Lysander Spooner put it pretty well in Natural Law::

“In process of time, the robber, or slaveholding, class – who had seized all the lands, and held all the means of creating wealth – began to discover that the easiest mode of managing their slaves, and making them profitable, was not for each slaveholder to hold his specified number of slaves, as he had done before, and as he would hold so many cattle, but to give them so much liberty as would throw upon themselves (the slaves) the responsibility of their own subsistence, and yet compel them to sell their labor to the land-holding class – their former owners – for just what the latter might choose to give them. Of course, these liberated slaves, as some have erroneously called them, having no lands, or other property, and no means of obtaining an independent subsistence, had no alternative – to save themselves from starvation – but to sell their labor to the landholders, in exchange only for the coarsest necessaries of life; not always for so much even as that.

These liberated slaves, as they were called, were now scarcely less slaves than they were before.  Their means of subsistence were perhaps even more precarious than when each had his own owner, who had an interest to preserve his life.  They were liable, at the caprice or interest of the landholders, to be thrown out of home, employment, and the opportunity of even earning a subsistence by their labor”.5

Although Spooner’s primary focus was on agricultural wage labor, rather than the industrial and service kinds that predominate in our economy, the basic principle of labor’s dependency when it has been separated from the means of production and subsistence is essentially the same.  A worker who is utterly dependent on employment, in a market where those in search of employment outnumber the available openings, is dependent on the whims of an employer for his food and shelter.  The greater his dependence, the greater the degree of his subjection to his employer’s whims, both on and off the job.

At one point in his critique, Mr Marks sums up my article in these words (p. 4):

“Some employers even demand that their employees do not express opinions that they do not like – otherwise they fire you and you have to go and work for less money”.  Err yes, and Mr Carson’s point is?”

My point, the central theme of my original pamphlet, was to examine the reasons that employers are in a position to make such demands in the first place.  My point was that the state intervenes in the market to make the means of production artificially scarce and expensive compared to labor, so that workers are competing for jobs rather than the reverse, and employers rather than workers have the primary weight in setting the conditions of the employment relationship.

Mr Marks goes on, in the following passage, to betray even further his almost total incomprehension of what he has chosen to “critique” (p. 4):

 

“…[Life] sucks….  It even “sucks” for Prince Charles and other people of great inherited wealth–they still age… and go through all the pain and humiliation that this means.  And if they live long enough they get to see all their closest friends (as well as their parents and other relatives–sometimes even their own children) die� 

As for people who are born without wealth and can think of no way of making a lot of money, their lives tend to be even worse than the lives of people who are neither born with a lot of money or who think of way [sic] of earning a lot.”

Calling it “irrelevant” begs the precise point at issue.  But this is hardly cause for surprise, since Mr Marks shows an almost total unawareness, anywhere in his “critique,” of the actual points made in the paper he is critiquing.  His reference to “irrelevance” is in fact quite ironic, given that most of his own paper is completely irrelevant to any of the points made in mine.

On the latter point, the utter irrelevance of his “critique” to any actual arguments in my pamphlet, he spends almost an entire colum – in a pamphlet of three two-column pages–analyzing the hidden meaning of the Voluntary Cooperation Movement’s logo.  He devotes an even larger number of column inches to an amateur diagnosis of the temperamental or psychiatric causes behind my views – most of them, apparently, boiling down to a feeling on my part that “life sucks,” or a Gnostic predilection for assuming that, behind any unpleasant state of affairs, there lurks an injustice.  My alleged response to all the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, to the impossibility of our both eating and having our cake, is the spoiled child’s lament that “life isn’t fair,” that therefore “it must be someone’s fault” – and my solution is to “plot against the owners of the means of production.”

So what is the central point of my original article?  Let’s go back to Mr Marks’ concession in the quote above, that even if life sucks for everybody (p. 4):

“As for people who are born without wealth and can think of no way of making a lot of money, their lives tend to be even worse than the lives of people who are neither born with a lot of money or who think of way of earning a lot.”

The point of my original article was precisely why this state of affairs is relevant – which relevance Mr Marks simply denies, with almost nothing in the way of substantive argument to support his bare assertion. 

Whether the fact of being born without wealth, or the scarcity of means of making money, is “relevant” (although Mr Marks uses the term without an object, I assume he means “relevant to questions of justice”), depends on the cause of that state of affairs.  Most of my original article was taken up, not with mere assertions that life sucks worse for the non-wealthy, but with substantive arguments as to how most people came to be born with little wealth, and why they face limited opportunities for obtaining it, and the injustice of the process by which their lives were thereby caused to “suck.”  I’m amazed that Mr Marks would take it upon himself to write a “critique” of an article whose central arguments he made such manifestly little effort to understand.

Libertarianism and Scarcity

The reason that things “suck” (as Mr Marks puts it) for the average person even more than for the wealthy, I argued, is that the state intervenes in the economy on behalf of the owners of land and capital, to make land and capital artificially scarce and thereby to enable their owners to charge artificial scarcity rents for access to them.  I did not simply assert this, but devoted some space to detailed arguments in support of my thesis.

Mr Marks’ entire response to this argument, on the other hand, amounts to little more than a simple gainsaying, coupled with a straw man characterization of my position (p. 2):

“Neither land nor capital are [sic] “artificially scarce” – they are just scarce (period).  There are billions of people and only a certain amount of land and machinery�  .[T]he idea that land and capital are only scarce [emphasis mine] compared to the billions of people on Earth because of either wicked governments or wicked employers (or both) is false.”

First, simply to get the second part of Mr Marks’ statement out of the way, I nowhere asserted that all scarcity of land and capital is artificial.  I argued only that they were more scarce, as a result of state-enforced privilege, than they would otherwise be, and that returns on land and capital were therefore higher than their free market values.  In any case, as Franz Oppenheimer observed, most of the scarcity of arable land comes not from natural appropriation, but from political appropriation.  And the natural scarcity of capital, a good which is in elastic supply and which can be produced by applying human labor to the land, results entirely from the need for human labor for its creation; there is no fixed limit to the amount available.

But getting to his main point, that land and capital are not artificially scarce, I’m not sure Mr Marks is even aware of his sheer audacity.  In making this assertion, he flies in the face of a remarkable amount of received libertarian wisdom, from eminences as great as Mises and Rothbard.  As a contrarian myself, I take my hat off to him. 

Still, I wonder if he ever made the effort to grasp the libertarian arguments, made by Rothbard et al, that he so blithely dismisses.  Is he even aware of the logical difficulties entailed in repudiating them?  Does he deny that state enforcement of titles to land that is both vacant and unimproved reduces the amount available for homesteading?  Does he deny that the reduced availability of something relative to demand is the very definition of “scarcity,” or that the reduction of supply relative to demand leads to increased price?  Or is his argument rather with Rothbard’s moral premises themselves, rather than the logical process by which he makes deductions from them?  I.e., does he deny that property in unimproved and vacant land is an invalid grant of privilege by the state, and thereby repudiate Locke’s principle of just acquisition?

It seems unlikely, on the face of things, that Mr Marks would expressly repudiate Mises and Rothbard on these points.  After all, elsewhere in his critique he cites Human Action and Man, Economy and State as authorities.  Perhaps he just blanked out on the portions of their work that weren’t useful for his apologetic purposes.

In any case, if he does not repudiate either Rothbard’s premises or his reasoning, Mr Marks has dug himself into a deep hole.  For by Rothbard’s Lockean premises, not only the state’s own property in land, but “private” titles to vacant and unimproved land, are illegitimate.  Likewise, titles derived from state grants are illegitimate when they enable the spurious “owner” to collect rent from the rightful owner – the person who first mixed his labor with the land, his heirs and assigns.  And the artificial scarcity of land resulting from such illegitimate property titles raises the marginal price of land relative to that of labor, and forces labor to pay an artificially high share of its wages for the rent or purchase of land.

Time Preference and Capital

Likewise, in the case of capital, Mr Marks asserts that interest rates, “[i]n reality… are determined by time preference” (or, he adds, by risk premium).  In stronger terms, he characterizes as “bullshit” the argument that interest rates, absent the licensing of banks, would fall to a “very low level.”  (I can’t resist pointing out, by the way, that Mr Marks conflates time preference with abstinence and sacrifice in a way that surely has Bohm-Bawerk spinning in his grave).

Now, in the past I have specifically acknowledged the existence of time preference as a component of gross interest.6  But time preference is a dependent variable, depending on the wealth, and the economic security and independence, of the individual.  The person who owns his own home and means of livelihood free and clear, and possesses sufficient savings as a cushion against economic uncertainty or temporary unemployment, will have a time preference far less steep than that of another person who owns no property, has no savings, and will be homeless and hungry if he misses next week’s pay check and is unable to pay rent and buy groceries.  Thus, the distribution or concentration of property ownership will affect the prevailing time preference among laborers, and with it the originary rate of interest.  Any state policy that affects the distribution of property, therefore, will affect the level of time preference.  And it is my belief that in a society of widely distributed property ownership, with high rates of free and clear home ownership, and with high rates of self-employment or cooperative enterprise ownership, the steepness of the average worker’s time preference would be much, much lower.

But even aside from the steepness of time preference itself, on what grounds can Mr Marks deny that the gross interest rate includes, in addition to time preference, monopoly premiums resulting from state-enforced entry barriers in the credit industry?  Such a denial is – what’s the word? ah, yes – bullshit. 

Murray Rothbard himself pointed to exactly that kind of monopoly premium, resulting from precisely analogous entry barriers, in the life insurance industry.  By mandating levels of capitalization beyond those required by purely actuarial considerations, the state reduced the number of firms competing to supply life insurance and enabled them to charge a monopoly price for the service.  That’s exactly what Benjamin Tucker described the effect of state banking law: by mandating capitalization requirements for institutions in the business of making secured loans, over and above the collateral provided as security of individual loans, the state enabled banks to charge a monopoly rate of interest for secured loans.  That seems fairly straightforward and simple to understand – but perhaps not.

The Historical Record in Fact and Fiction

In some cases, Mr Marks displays an almost preternaturally poor level of reading comprehension.  For example, my original article (p. 4) included this quote from Albert Nock:

“The horrors of England’s industrial life in the last century furnish a standing brief for addicts of positive intervention.  Child-labour and woman-labour in the mills and mines; Coketown and Mr Bounderby; starvation wages; killing hours; vile and hazardous conditions of labour; coffin ships officered by ruffians – all these are glibly charged off by reformers and publicists to a regime of rugged individualism, unrestrained competition, and laissez-faire.  This is an absurdity on its face, for no such regime ever existed in England.  They were due to the State’s primary intervention whereby the population of England was expropriated from the land; due to the State’s removal of the land from competition with industry for labour.  Nor did the factory system and the “industrial revolution” have the least thing to do with creating those hordes of miserable beings.  When the factory system came in, those hordes were already there, expropriated, and they went into the mills for whatever Mr Grad grind and Mr Plug son of Undershot would give them, because they had no choice but to beg, steal or starve.  Their misery and degradation did not lie at the door of individualism; they lay nowhere but at the door of the State.  Adam Smith’s economics are not the economics of individualism; they are the economics of landowners and mill-owners.  Our zealots of positive intervention would do well to read the history of the Enclosures Acts and the work of the Hammonds, and see what they can make of them.”

Here’s what Mr Marks (p. 2) gets from it:

“Mr Nock does not mention any real industrialists (at least not in the quote given) there is no mention of (say) Mr Wedgewood or Mr Arkwright, instead Mr Nock mentions Mr Bounderby, Mr Gradgrind and Mr Plugson – all of whom were characters from Dickens (not real people).  I suppose this is done to generate hatred of factory owners and their “starvation wages…””

Surely anyone with a normal capacity for reading comprehension would infer that Nock intended this paragraph as a critique of Dickens.  The evils of the factory system, and of the colorfully named characters associated with it in Dickens’ fiction, were not the result of “laissez-faire,” or of “rugged individualism,” or of the political economy that Dickens so despised.  After all: where, as Nock asked, did those things even exist in England?  Even the factory owners, Nock argued, were guilty only of taking advantage of a pre-existing situation: the creation of a propertyless class of wage laborers by assorted land expropriations of early modern times.

The closest Mr Marks gets to directly addressing my arguments in a substantive way is in a brief allusion to my discussion of primitive accumulation, the process by which (among other things) “the land in England was stolen from the peasants.”  While conceding that it “may be true,” he challenges its relevance on the basis of the Norwegian example.  Nothing like Enclosures or other abrogations of traditional peasant land tenure occurred in Norway, he says, and yet wage labor came to predominate there.

I can’t speak to that specific example, not being sufficiently familiar with Norwegian history to comment on issues of land tenure in that country.  I will point out, though, that one swallow does not a summer make.  And I did not argue that land expropriation was the sole cause of the wage system’s predominance.  In denying that land expropriation alone was responsible for the wage system, Mr Marks resembles Lincoln’s Jesuit who, accused of murdering twelve men and a dog, triumphantly produced the dog in court.

In any case, even if I can’t competently address the Norwegian example, I do at least know something about the history of land tenure in Great Britain – the original seat of the Industrial Revolution from which industrialism spread to other countries (including Norway).  And in that country, the predominant sentiment of the propertied classes of the time (the “owners of the means of production”) was clearly in favor of land expropriation as a way to extract more effort from the peasantry on terms more favorable to the owning classes.

The contemporary literature of the propertied classes’ was full of explicit commentary to that effect. 

“It would be easier, where property is well secured, to live without money than without poor; for who would do the work? … As they ought to be kept from starving, so they should receive nothing worth saving. If here and there one of the lowest class by uncommon industry, and pinching his belly, lifts himself above the condition he was brought up in, nobody ought to hinder him; …but it is the interest of all rich nations, that the greatest part of the poor should almost never be idle, and yet continually spend what they get… Those that get their living by their daily labour… have nothing to stir them up to be serviceable but their wants which it is prudence to relieve, but folly to cure… To make the society happy and people easier under the meanest circumstances, it is requisite that great numbers of them should be ignorant as well as poor..”.  [Mandeville, Fable of the Bees]
 

 

“… to lay them under the necessity of labouring all the time they can spare from rest and sleep, in order to procure the common necessities of life.”  [1739 pamphlet]
 

“That mankind in general, are naturally inclined to ease and indolence, we fatally experience to be true, from the conduct of our manufacturing populace, who do not labour, upon an average, above four days in a week, unless provisions happen to be very dear… I hope I have said enough to make it appear that the moderate labour of six days in a week is no slavery… But our populace have adopted a notion, that as Englishmen they enjoy a birthright privilege of being more free and independent than in any country in Europe. Now this idea, as far as it may affect the bravery of our troops, may be of some use; but the less the manufacturing poor have of it, certainly the better for themselves and for the State. The labouring people should never think themselves independent of their superiors… It is extremely dangerous to encourage mobs in a commercial state like ours, where, perhaps, seven parts out of eight of the whole, are people with little or no property. The cure will not be perfect, till our manufacturing poor are contented to labour six days for the same sum which they now earn in four days”.  ["Essay on Trade and Commerce" (1770)]

“[E]very one but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.”  [Arthur Young]

“…the use of common land by labourers operates upon the mind as a sort of independence.” [The Board of Agriculture report in Shropshire (1794)]
 

“[Leaving the laborer] possessed of more land than his family can cultivate in the evenings [means that] the farmer can no longer depend on him for constant work. [Commercial and Agricultural Magazine"  (1800)]

“[Among] the greatest of evils to agriculture would be to place the labourer in a state of independence”.  [Gloucestershire Survey (1807)]

According to other commentary in the Board of Agriculture reports of the time, Enclosures would force laborers “to work every day in the year,” and cause children to “be put out to labour early”; the “subordination of the lower ranks of society… would be thereby considerably secured.”7

Those are all pretty frank admissions of purpose.  In a Scooby Doo cartoon, this is about where the villain would add: “…and it would have worked, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.”  This commentary came, I stress once again, not from followers of John Ball and Wat Tyler, not from True Levelers, not from the partisans of Thomas Paine, but from the propertied and employing classes of the time who carried out and directly benefited from the Enclosures.  The propertied classes clearly believed that they were robbing the peasantry in order to make them work harder, while paying them less.

Legitimate and Illegitimate Ownership

Mr Marks also concedes, half-heartedly, that some “taxes and regulations” might act as partial barriers to self-employment (although he denies in the next breath that “it is just these taxes and regulations that lead to most people working for wages”).  But he asks, rhetorically, how employment regulations could be the fault of the employer, when such regulations are all the work of tree-hugging hippie types who “are under the delusion that there is or should be something called a �balance of power’ between the buyer and seller of a good or service, and that if there is not a contract is �unfair’.”  I wonder if Mr Marks is familiar with Adam Smith’s dictum that “[w]henever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between the masters and their workmen, its counselors are always the masters.”  Those tree-hugging hippies merely illustrate the “Baptist” side of the classical “Baptists and bootleggers” paradigm; or as Roy Childs put it, liberal intellectuals are the running dogs of big business.

Mr Marks also asserts that “action against the owners of the means of production [would] make life even more shit than it is now.”  Apparently Mr Marks is either assuming the justice of those owners’ property, or simply glossing over the whole question of justice in ownership.  As Karl Hess pointed out almost forty years ago, libertarianism does not defend property as such. 

If Mr Marks’ policy is the reflexive defense of all property titles without regard to questions of justice in acquisition, then he might just as well have made the same argument in the context of the state-owned means of production in the old USSR.  After all, wasn’t that exactly what privatization amounted to: action against the (state) owners of the means of production?  If Mr Marks means to say that a just basis for property rights is no better, in its effects, than an unjust basis, then that’s a remarkable assertion indeed.

Rothbard himself, whom Mr Marks is so fond of quoting, took in contrast something of a ruat coelum approach – “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall” – to “action against the owners of the means of production,” when those owners’ titles were illegitimate.

But in fact, in the majority of cases, I favor no action against the existing owners of capital.  I prefer simply to open up the capital markets to free and full competition, and eliminate the scarcity rents accruing to the present owners’ property.  The result will be that the portion of current profits which are a rent on artificial scarcity will evaporate; and the portion of their assets’ present value, which is the capitalized future earnings from such rents on privilege, will simply drop through the floor.  When they are thus cut off from monopoly profits and from direct infusions of cash from the government teat, and the value of their assets falls to reflect the loss of their monopoly returns, it is they who will be selling off those assets. 

Excuses, excuses�

I’m not surprised at Mr Marks’ reflexive defense of all de jure property titles, without regard to their justice.  In numerous online venues, following the publication of his “critique,” he ventured gratuitous assessments of my motives, speculating that whatever changes were made in the current state of affairs, I would still be looking for excuses to blame the wealthy for the plight of the poor.  For example, he writes in the commend thread to de Havilland’s Samizdata post,

…we… know… that Carson and co would be denouncing contract feudalism… regardless of whether there was a government subsidy for the company or not. 

And again:

If the land could be proved to have been passed down (or sold) from the first occupyers… [sic] Mr Carson and co would still find some reason to attack business enterprises over the “wage system”.

I am tempted, in similar spirit, to speculate on Mr Marks’ motivation.  I am tempted to speculate that he is constantly on the lookout for “excuses” to defend the justice of property titles held by the existing propertied classes, to defend their profits as the result of superior productivity in the competitive marketplace, and to defend their wealth as the result of past superior virtue.  I am tempted to speculate that he would “find some reason” to do so regardless of the facts of the case.  That would be a reasonable assumption, given that one of the major constituencies of the Tory Party he has been elected to represent8 is the several thousand people who own most of the land of Great Britain.  It’s tempting to suspect that he would “find some reason” to wax eloquent over the sanctity of “private property rights” even if the current landlords could be shown to have inherited the land in unbroken succession from one of William the Conqueror’s barons, and that their tenants could trace an unbroken ancestral line to the peasants who worked the land at the time of the Conquest.  I could engage in such speculation – but, as Richard Nixon would say, that would be wrong. 

Notes

(1) Kevin Carson, Contract Feudalism: A Critique of Employer Power over Employees, Economic Notes No. 105, London, Libertarian Alliance, 2006.

(2) Paul Marks, A Critique of a Critique: An Examination of Kevin Carson’s �Contract Feudalism’, Economic Notes No. 108, London, Libertarian Alliance, 2007.

(3) Stephan Kinsella, �A Critique of Kevin Carson’s Contract Feudalism’, Mises Blog, 21st June 2007, retrieved 25th February 2008, http://blog.mises.org/archives/006766.asp.

(4) Perry de Havilland, �A critique of a critique’, Samizdata, 21st June 2007, retrieved 25th February 2008, http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/2007/06/a_critique_of_a.html.

(5) Lysander Spooner, Natural Law, 1892, retrieved 25th February 2008, http://jim.com/spooner.htm

(6) Kevin Carson, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Booksurge, 2007, chapter 3.

(7) Carson, ibid., ch, 4.

(8) �Councillor Paul Marks’, Kettering Borough Council website, 2008, retrieved 8th March 2008,

http://www.kettering.gov.uk/site/scripts/councillors_info.php?councillorID=54&viewBy=name.

.


 

Sixty years on, at least he had the grace to say it. Let us thank him and not whinge


David Davis

Here he is. I hate the French sometimes – don’t we all – and they exasperate me often,  but we ought to be their best friends in the world, and they us, for we are so close together and have fought so much for so long, and frankly the hundred years’ war etc was pointless.

At least we now have a French president who is not French at all. And even his wife is not. They’re getting to be more like us – is not the Queen German/Scottish? 

… You want me to do … WHAT ??????


dog.jpg

David Davis

Priceless expression on the poor bloodhound’s face…..

“EVIL WIND TURBINES” … the message is beginning to get through


David Davis

This above-string came from two directions at once, only today, and hit the port-quarter of the blog, above the waterline, in a heavy following sea.

BARACK OBAMA quote of the day … ? Quote of the century, more like ….


UPDATE:- Now Obama’s been elected and inaugurated, people won’t like what I say here. But it stands. Just so you all know, I wish him well and hope he makes out: all our lives depend on it. Here’s what we said a couple of days ago, just after his inauguration.

David Davis

“My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world.  I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.”

– Barack Obama

To what? Look, I know I’m just a bumpkin in Lancashire, but if your nation is the greatest in the history of the world, then your forebears must have been doing something right? Or are you just a Stalinist so-and-so like the rest of the outfit now running Westmonster, England?

I can’t stand this socialist obsession with “change”. “Change” was (is?) what management consultants try to foist onto often perfectly well-run businesses, for no other reason than to justify their huge (good for them if they can get away with it) fees.  If “change” is required, then it occurs because the responsible managers are clever enough to spot its need and deal with it. If they are not, get new ones.

(UPDATE 20th Oct 2008 – here’s what we say about him today.)

And here’s what we’re saying about David Swanson and democrats.com today… (24th Oct 2008)

When working in Marketing in the 70s and 80s, I made a point of never hiring anyone whatsoever who had studied at a “business school”, nor who came from a “consultancy”, nor who had not done at least three years in line management in a business making or selling something – preferably they’d been “out on the road” for some of this time.

I always stressed the primacy of “sales” over “marketing” as departments, and that the later, my speciality, was only a service for the salesmen, although a clever and important one with much power for good; this was regarded as not only inverted-logic and unpopular but also heretical.

None of my hirees was ever later fired for incompetence, and some went on to run large firms.

And he’ll have to sort out answers to this stuff too…)

Field Marshall Montgomery “QUOTE OF THE DAY” No: 1


David Davis

   “Let’s make Viscount Montgomery School the best in Hamilton, the best in Ontario, the best in Canada. I don’t associate myself with anything that is not good. It is up to you to see that everything about this school is good. It is up to the students to not only be their best in school but in their behaviour outside of Viscount. Education is not just something that will help you pass your exams and get you a job, it is to develop your brain to teach you to marshal facts and do things.

This was by the Great General himself, on opening a school in, I think, 1951.  ‘Nuff-said, I think, about the Stalinazified “education” which is supposedly dispensed in British “State” “Schools” today.

There will be others by him, from time to time.

More self-promoting potty prelates in the poo … “Recycle or go to hell” … Vatican re-writes the seven deadly sins


David Davis

I don’t know what’s got into these people. Top church-wallahs, of whatever persuasion, are likely to be quite sharp intelligent guys. They have all that time to study and reflect, plus this is the age of the internet.

But we have them saying stuff like this. No longer, are you consigned to eternal lectures by Ken Livingstone about London’s celebratory diversity while standing naked in the pouring rain next to a large gutter-puddle in the Elephant-and-Castle oneway system, for showing  sloth, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride: these sins “now have a rather individualistic dimension”, says Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, a “close ally of the Pope and the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the Roman Curia’s main courts”. 

Instead, you will rot in the hell above through doing these….

genetic modification,

carrying out experiments on humans,

polluting the environment,

causing social injustice,

causing poverty,

becoming obscenely wealthy and …. naturally (what else?) …. 

taking drugs.

Don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel like running the odd little exercise in genetic modification on sunny summer afternoons.

There is also this uncontrollable compulsion to cause a spot of poverty…..I just HAVE to stock up these days on tungsten filament light bulbs, against the day when they will be banned, so I can still see to type. 

After a couple of drinks (it’s always a couple, isn’t it) I sometimes get the urge to go out and cause some social injustice. Perhpas like punching out some bureaucrat’s lights, or making a rude face at a picture of Gordon Brown while nobody is looking…..or (really really daring, this one) saying something nice about tesco in front of Sir Terry Leahy.  

                                                    

ANOTHER REASON WHY YOU MUST CHOOSE TO SMOKE


I think libertarians ought all to pretend publicly to smoke, even if they do not in reality. This would also be a grand gesture in memory of Chris Tame, who thought it was a nasty and disgusting, smelly, antisocial habit, would not allow it in his flat, and battled mercilessly against the health-nazis all his working life, especially while working for FOREST for the rights of smokers. Dear old chap, gold-pieces be upon him in Paradise. 

David Davis

Here’s the BBC on this anti-smoking Statist Nazis thingy-stuff

A cigarette “display ban” is being considered. A particular and identifiable droid, known in certain circles by other droids as a “Dawn-Primarolo” , is “concerned” “for the children”.

How could any living being give any job whatsoever, to someone called “Dawn” and “Primarolo” in the same line? It would have to be a wind-up by students on a rag-day.  There are no people called that. The droid referred to  must therefore be a real droid, and so legally therefore can’t exist as a person or a corporate person. Therefore it can’t discuss stuff known as “draft legislation” or “consultation” “papers”, “white papers”, green papers”. (We were given “green paper” at school in the 1960s when we had failed some task and had to redo it)

This stuff is for Nazis to discuss and not droids, so I don’t know what an early-mark Primdroid is doing being switched on here and running.

Moreover, as this blog’s historian readers will know, smoking was first linked with lung cancer by “scientists” in the Third Reich. Of course, they were quite correct. But that’s not the point: if people tell you to not do something for your own good, you become their FARM ANIMAL.

You are a  human being. Either you want to be that animal, or you do not.

Your body is either yours, or theirs (think of the implications, if you are a woman or girl – a much more dangerous thing to be under post-60s-post-western-deconstructionistic-femi-nazism, than was the case in the British Empire and Commonwealth, which functioned according to the Ten Commandments (sorry, I meant the Gospels! spotted by the comentariat..) and the Mosaic Decalogue, and also, er, Magna Carta and other stuff that is very very scary to socialists and Kingists……)

Will you allow yourself, as a woman, to be raped, because a bureaucrat says she(he) wants to “do” you? if S(he) brings the right forms, duly signed and countersigned, to your house?

Will you forbear from smoking because a bureaucrat says you must not?

 YOU have to decide. 

POOR SAD OLD Dr Rowan Williams … it gets worse … not only am I a Christian but he is wrong again and is scragged …


Read this!

David Davis

I think Rowan Williams has missed the salient point…“What’s our oil doing under their sand?”
Posted by Cliff on March 24, 2008 4:46 PM
This is taken out of the comment thread from the Telegraph, on his “sermon” yesterday. How is it that the religious chappies who claim to be on our side, always shoot US in the foot, and not the enemy?Apologies, I have no blinking clue why it’s formatted itself like that. Not the usual small stuff. It’s not even that important that it needs to be so ultra-typoe’d in 196-point.

Wish i could learn how to blog.

ANOTHER Easter Message from the Libertarian Alliance … Dr Rowan Williams hezz got his knickers in a twist again


David Davis

The poor confused old Marxist-leaning Archbishop has apparently delivered a sermon, preaching about how “….. modern “comforts and luxuries” were unsustainable and would one day bring about the collapse of civilisation. He added that Christians must prepare by striving constantly to let go of “selfish, controlling, greedy habits”……”

The report and the comment-thread in particular are worth a read: majority opinion seems to be against the fellow, but this the Telegraph is not the Guardian.

So here’s a more constructive Christian Message for Easter, which the sad old wierdie-beardie would do well to read out in his (agreeably wonderful) Cathedral sometime.

 “Western Greed” is a theoretical construction, reflecting the mindset of those anti-Western philosphers who live in a fictitious neopastoral idyll, which is unobtainable and not desirable for humans to be in.

The “resources” often referred to in such discussions would neither be discovered nor invented if not for the liberal post-Renaissance “Western” attitude to life and the purpose of existence. the purpose of existence is not simply to exist and just die, but to better the lot of humans everywhere. This cannot be done by forcing those whose societies have the power for betterment, to live as if they were locally-chained-subsistence-farmers.

Capitalism is NOT a zero-sum game; the doing of it benefits all, especially those “outside” initially, and makes poverty and deprivation hideous (where it was never hideous before!) because it shows the world what shall be achieved instead. It has been the West, and in especial particular the British Empire and Commonwealth, which has done most to spread worldwide the ability to deploy great amounts of energy and resource, and the benefits of this to humankind – and not any other “civilisation”. We glibly allow ourselves to marvel at the seeming longevity of “ancient” civilisations, but we forget that dozens of generations of humans lived in these, in substantially unchanged primitive conditions, without any improvement whatsoever, from one millenium to the next. Instead of flagellating ourslevs, we should aggressively ask all the other societies what it was that stopped them from developing and improving the lot of their people in any way at all?

A precapitalist society’s “rulers” are to blame for their people being stuck – not ours for showing the whole world how to unstick. 

Marxist lefties stuck with a wrong analysis of human relationships, and “liberal” Anglican “Archbishops”, simply have never got this connection.

The Libertarian Alliance Easter message 2008 … IN GOLD WE TRUST


David Davis

I had on Friday prepared a pretentious draft, written in my usual pompously stilted style, in which I was comparing the fortunes and origin of Liberty in the Christian West with its prospects and fate elsewhere. But you would have all laughed silly or wondered what I was taking about (this happens too often for my liking, I will have to improve) so I pulled it. Some of the draft ideas were not as awful as the others so they might resurface sometime.

Instead I restated the text of a lapel-badge that was frequently prepared and sold in the Alternative Bookshop, by Chris Tame and the others. Characteristically, Chris had gone and bought a badge-making machine, as the sort of Covent-gardenish passer-by in those days was also the sort of person who’d wear his/her opinions on clothing.

ITEM: There is no wikipedia entry for the Alternative Bookshop. Anyone care to write one?

Here is a Long Video Interview with Chris Tame from 1991


Posted by Sean Gabb

CHRIS TAME, TWO YEARS ON


Sean Gabb

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 171
20th March 2008
postCount(‘flc171′);Comments | postCountTB(‘flc171′); Trackback

Chris R. Tame: Two Years After
by Sean Gabb

When Samuel Johnson died, his friend David Garrick commented: “He has made a chasm, which not only nothing can fill up, but which nothing has a tendency to fill up. Johnson is dead. Let us go to the next best:-there is nobody; no man can be said to put you in mind of Johnson.” It is now two years since the death of Chris R. Tame, Founder and first Director of the Libertarian Alliance. I can think of nothing more fitting that to repeat those words.

I first met Chris on Monday the 31st December 1979. I was back in London from University, and had decided to inflict myself for the day on National Association for Freedom. I spoke for about half an hour with Gerald Hartup, after which we ran out of anything more to say. He was busy. I was boring. Robert Moss was not available. Stephen Eyres, the Director, was available, but I was not his type, and so he refused to come off the telephone when Gerald introduced us.

Eventually, I was persuaded into a small room without windows and left to consult the “archive”. As I skimmed through the unsorted mountain of literature and old issues of The Free Nation, I read about a new bookshop that had opened just round the corner in Covent Garden. It was wholly devoted to books about liberty. Having no reason to linger in hope of a meeting with Mr Eyres, I made my excuses and went in search of Floral Street.

As yet, the Alternative Bookshop had no fascia, and I walked past the place once. Inside, thousands of books, both old and new, were packed into rudimentary shelves. On the plain, whitewashed walls were various posters, most of these from the Libertarian Party of America. One that I particularly remember was a listing of the core principles of the National Socialist German Workers Party that emphasised its socialist origins and ideals.

I saw none of this at first, as the inside of the shop was very hot, and my spectacles steamed up as soon as I was through the door.

“Can I help you?” asked someone behind the counter to my left. As my spectacle lenses adjusted to the new temperature, I saw a slim, rather short young man with a mass of tight black curls and long sideburns that framed a rather sharp, mobile face. In the blast from the several fan heaters placed behind the counter, he sat in black trousers and a white frilly shirt open to the waist.

“I’ve just come from the NAFF offices” I said. “I read about this shop in The Free Nation.”

The man smiled. “I’m Chris Tame, the Manager” he said. There was a slight but distinct emphasis on the word Manager. I now know that Chris was eleven days past his 30th birthday, and this was his first position of any importance. And it was an important position. He had previously worked at the NAFF, but as a researcher and in strict subordination to people whose views he largely did not share and whose persons he generally despised. Plucked from there, he was now in charge of his own operation, from where he could spread his own distinctive views of liberty without close supervision. He had every reason for that slight emphasis. He was a young man going places, and he wanted the world to know that.

Introductions made, Chris took me on a tour of the bookshop. Here were the Austrian economics, here the Ayn Rand. Here was the history, and here the attacks on socialism, both national and international. He darted from stack to stack, pulling out books for my inspection. I bought some Bastiat, whom I had found in old translations at York, and Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, and something by Leonard E. Read. With the exception of this last, I still have the books.

After a while, I got the impression that Chris had given up on trying to sell more to me. Instead, he was pulling down books simply to discuss them. He seemed to have read them all, and was interested in what I might think of them. I mentioned that I was studying the history of the later Roman Empire. He paused for a moment. He had nothing about that on the shelves, but could recommend books I might find elsewhere. And he did.

It seemed to be over in half an hour, but we sat alone in the bookshop all afternoon. We spoke and spoke. In that first meeting, we covered in outline all the points of difference that were to keep us gently arguing for the next 26 years. I never did ask Chris what he made of me, but I found him both fascinating and disturbing.

At last, it was time for the bookshop to close. Chris invited me for coffee. But I had agreed to meet someone else down at Charing Cross. Before I left, though, he told me about the Libertarian Alliance. This was an organisation he had started. He said I might find it more congenial than the NAFF. I looked at the leaflet he gave me. It looked pleasantly uncompromising, and I joined at once. I think the subscription for students was £7.50. For this, I was promised four issues per year of Free Life magazine and written notification of events of interest. As ever with Chris, there was no distinction made between the work he wanted to do and the work he was paid to do. It was over a year before I realised that the Alternative Bookshop was other than a projection of the Libertarian Alliance.

I pass over the next twenty six years. I do so because so much happened in the time, and because it will be fully narrated in my biography of Chris. I pass over all the scandalous and comical and exciting things I shared with Chris. I pass over the diagnosis of cancer and the rapid failure of his health. I pass over those last terrible months.

But he has now been dead two years. No one can possibly replace him as a centre of gravity for the British libertarian movement. At first or second hand, he inspired every libertarian alive in this country. When the history of British libertarianism is written, it will be seen that all the lines of continuity between the nineteenth and twenty first centuries run through Chris.

Chris is dead. But he is not forgotten; and as time goes by, his memory will be more cherished.

GLOBAL WARMING, global nazi warm-mongers, and an UN-NAMED SEA OF METHANE ON TITAN … what shall we call it, then? (UPDATED)


Lake GORE?

David Davis

This is fun, for Easter. Here’s the link from Strange Maps.

The object is really quite remarkably large: it’s a good 600 miles across, and with an area of about 25,000 square miles (and who knows what depth, but as Titan is quite large, let us suppose an average depth of half a mile conservatively, that’s 12,000 cubic miles of hydrocarbons)…

And the warm-mongers have the crust, the gall, the immortal brass neck, to teach CHILDREN, in the West, that “oil and gas are biological in origin and come from dead marine creatures”…!

UPDATE 

I suppose I ought to have explained first why this is here! Thanks to the commentariat for upbraiding me. Roughly, in “free space” at certain widely-available temperatures and pressures, hydrocarbons form naturally and exothermically, in large amounts, where there is free atomic carbon and hydrogen, such as in interstellar gas/dust clouds, of which there are lots. (Delta-H-standard for methane is about -75KJ/mole, and not far off that at low interstellar temperatures either.) We detect their spectra almost everywhere we point the correctly-tuned radio telescopes into the sky. It’s therefore no surprise that Titan has a hydrocarbon-rich atmosphere, and lakes of the stuff on the ground. It’s not the only solar system body to show these compounds either.

Although some earth-found fossil fuels clearly are of biogenic origin owing to characteristically-biiological oxygen and sulphur isotope proportions (and I’m excluding coal from this discussion for it most clearly is) there is a case for syaing that much the largest part of what’s likely ever to be found in the crust may have been formed purely chemically in space, and has been present since the formation of the earth.

methane_sea.jpg

Brilliant New Novel – Much Recommended!


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Conspiracies-Rome-Richard-Blake/dp/0340951125/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206052385&sr=1-1

The fate of Rome, and the Western Empire after its nominal “fall” in the fifth century AD, is hazy to many people today. But post-imperial medieval Rome as a city did not disappear overnight or at all, or even diminish greatly in importance. Life went on, albeit much more brutishly in diminished surroundings, and accompanied by sudden, mortal dangers, for most people…..but not all….it depended who you were….where you were from….what your plans were….and who exactly was trying to thwart you….

You could find yourself in all sorts of unplanned and highly dangerous situations….

Good book! I read it from cover to cover immediately on receipt – could not put it down. (David Davis)

Here is Sean’s UKIP Speech from Exeter 8th March 2008


On 8th March 2008, Sean Gabb spoke by invitation, in his capacity as Director of the Libertarian Alliance, to a UKIP rally held at Exeter University. The title of his talk was “National Independence is not enough”. 

The speech was well-received at the time, and Sean wrote this eulogy about his outing. he was detailed to speak to at least one more such rally in Morecambe in the North West, which would have been on 29th March – and possibly others.

Objections were raised inside UKIP and on “democracyforum” about some of the content, as a result of which UKIP’s leadership issued a blanket ban on Sean appearing on any UKIP platform again. You can read his blogpost for us on that link just above.

Watch it in detail above, and draw conclusions!

The War: Five Years on – Was Sean Right?


Sean Gabb 

Free Life Commentary,
an independent journal of comment
published on the Internet
Issue Number 71
11th September 2002
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc071.htm

Why Britain Should not Join in the War against Iraq
Sean Gabb

The newspapers—at least, those that I read—and virtually all the politicians, seem agreed on war with Iraq. There is, as ever, much dissent from the Establishment position, not least in the opinion polls. But the only questions outstanding among those who matter in this country are when and with how much force. I am among the dissidents. I believe that war with Iraq would not secure any sufficiently great British interest, and therefore that it would inflict unnecessary suffering. In this article, I will explain the grounds for my belief.

I accept that war is a legitimate instrument of state policy. This being said, it is a terrible instrument. It brings immediate death and maiming to serviceman, and nowadays to much larger numbers of civilians. It also can have longer term and still worse consequences in terms of further commitments and lingering hatreds. And it is commonly used as an excuse for higher taxes and losses of freedom at home. Before going to war, then, we need closely to examine whether the full weight of certain and probable suffering can be justified in terms of the national interest.

This is, I know, a loose concept, and can be twisted by bellicose politicians and journalists in defence of any number of foreign interventions. Even so, it can be given reasonably clear meaning. We can divide the national interest into primary, secondary and tertiary. For Britain, as for other countries, the primary interest is the security of our home territory, so that we can go safely about our everyday business. For us, since we are a trading nation largely dependent on imported food and other resources, primary interest also includes securing the sea approaches to our islands. Our secondary interest includes remaining on friendly terms with our immediate neighbours—and, where convenient, enjoying a loose and benevolent dominion over them. Our tertiary interests are the protection of British lives and property in other countries.

The first of these interests is about as absolute as can be imagined. A credible threat of nuclear annihilation, without hope of retaliating, might justify abandoning it. But short of that, territorial defence justifies any degree of force—always granting it is reasonably unavoidable, and no more than is needed to secure its object. The second and third depend much more on circumstances, and require nice judgements of whether the force needed is worth the desired object.

Of course, even primary interest is not always easy to define in detail, and there is room for disagreement. I do not think, for example, there is any doubt that our first big war with Louis XIV was justified. He had taken in the exiled Stuart King, and was actively working for his restoration. That would, if successful, have entailed the voiding of our constitution and our becoming a satellite of France. But was our second big war with him—over the Spanish succession—equally justified? Perhaps the effective joining of France and Spain would have enabled a more successful attack on us in the future. Perhaps not. Some claimed it was a war of national defence, others that it was an excuse for the Whigs and the moneyed interest to entrench themselves still further. There are similar debates over our two big wars of the last century, and over the Cold War. I take a pacific line on all three, though accept that there are often persuasive arguments on the other side. But, while there is room for debate over its meaning in any given set of circumstances, primary interest usually can be defined, and even defined without controversy.

What makes these arguments over interest so important it that a clear understanding of them is the best means of avoiding or containing wars. When a country’s interests are settled and stated to the rest of the world, they can be taken into account by other countries. Sometimes, they will conflict with those of other countries, and there may be a war. At least as often, though, their statement will provide a stable framework within which other countries can pursue their own interests in the most economic manner. For example, in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, Bismarck knew that helping France was not in British interests, and that its reduction would in itself bring no adverse consequences. At the same time, he knew that trying to shorten the war by an attack through Belgium, or a long occupation of France, or a seizure of its colonies, would provoke some level of British response. There are many other cases where wars have been avoided or contained by turning foreign policy into a game of chess.

To be sure, a country can try to widen its primary interest to include more than territorial security. The Romans and British did this in defence of their empires, and the Americans in Indo-China when they announced the containment of Communism to be part of their primary interest. However, unless—as with the British and Romans – the additional territories are seriously regarded as part of the home territory, this will tend to destabilise international relations. Despite all that was said in Washington, the Soviets and local Communists knew that the American commitment to South Vietnam and Cambodia was not absolute, and that enough escalation of the war would get the Americans out.

Nor is it merely prudential for a country to narrow its definition of primary interest to defence of the home territory. A state is nothing more than the agent of the people who live in a country. It is therefore morally obliged to take a narrow—and even selfish – view of the national interest. If a man, acting in his personal capacity, gives money to charity, he is rightly praised for his virtue. If he does the same as a trustee, without taking instructions, or against the clear terms of his trust, he rightly opens himself to action in the courts. It is the same with politicians. It is one thing for a minister to resign from office and sign up for some foreign cause in which he passionately believes. It is something else for him to commit the lives and money of other people to going about the world as a knight errant.

And so, before starting a war with Iraq, it is necessary for our Government to show as clearly as possible what British interests will thereby be secured and at what probable cost. So far, this has not been done.

We are told that Saddam Hussain has, or soon will have, “weapons of mass destruction”, and that he plainly intends to use these against us. If true, this would justify war. However, there is no credible evidence that he has these weapons. His country has been under close blockade since 1990. Nothing enters or leaves without knowledge. For much of this time, it has been subject to close internal inspection by the United Nations. Notoriously, the inspectors have found nothing. Claims that Mr Hussain is “about” to develop such weapons are based on simple assertion: any evidence on which the claims are based remains unpublished. Even if he does or soon will have these weapons, there is no reason to suppose he intends to use them against us. Where are his means of delivery against a modern, well-defended country like ours? What reason have we to believe he would even try? We are told that he might try using them. He might try doing any number of things. He might dye his hair green, or have a sex change operation. But there is no reason to suppose he will do any such thing. Until 1990, his main objectives were to keep himself in power by murdering anyone who got in his way, and to bully his neighbours whenever he thought the Americans would approve. His known character is as black as can be imagined, but does not seem likely to endanger any primary British interest.

There is the oil. Iraq has large reserves, and the invasion of Kuwait would have greatly increased these—as would whatever degree of control over Saudi Arabia Mr Hussain might have contemplated in 1990. But there is a lot of oil in the world outside his reach; and at best, he might simply have increased his own revenues by selling oil at prices set within a larger market. Tertiary British interests might have suffered by his local hegemony—and might still suffer if he were freed from the blockade of his country. But the necessary action in defence of these would not be proportionate to their value.

Even without the Americans to do most of the fighting and spending, we could probably invade Iraq at little immediate cost. But we are not just talking here about immediate cost. Destroying the present Iraqi Government would almost certainly fragment the country, leading to threats of partial annexation by Turkey and Iran and Syria, and to chronic instability in those parts that remained. Conquest must therefore entail indefinite occupation. This in turn must raise hatreds throughout the rest of the Islamic world that we now know cannot be ignored. We cannot know exactly what would be the final costs of war would be, but we have excellent reason to know that they would be heavier than of any previous intervention in that region.

There is another attempted justification—still passing round by word of mouth. This is that the Iraqis were behind the American bombings last 11th September. If they were, this might justify war. As I have granted elsewhere, these bombings were rather like piracy, so far as they could easily be repeated against any other Western country; and therefore, a war of punishment could possibly be justified in terms of primary interest.

The problem here, though, is credibility. We were repeatedly assured that Osama bin Laden had directed those bombings. On the strength of these assurances, we invaded Afghanistan. We are now stuck there, trying to keep order between various gangs of bandits; and the evidence on which we went in has turned out so insubstantial that it is being quietly withdrawn in favour of a new set of accusations. Without firm, published evidence for an Iraqi connection, I for one do not intend to give a moment’s belief to these accusations.

I can think of one other valid reason for war. This is that we have a strong interest in keeping friendly with the Americans. Sooner or later, some mainstream British politician will squeeze together enough courage to argue for withdrawal from the European Union. This argument will be more easily won if there is the alternative open of joining NAFTA. I would prefer withdrawal to be followed by no other connection. To twist the old Socialist Worker slogan, I want neither Brussels nor Washington, but complete national independence. However, domination by the second would be less humiliating and more accountable than by the first. And if we are to keep that option open, perhaps we need to show willing in whatever crusade Mr Bush cares to announce.

The argument against is that there is probably no such need. The Americans encouraged the formation of the European Union back in the days when they wanted a local counterweight to the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe. Those days have passed, and the Americans are now beginning to see the European Union as at least an annoying competitor for world influence. Weakening it, by pulling Britain out, is in their interests regardless of whether we join or fail to join in their war against Iraq. Indeed, for the British Government to take the European line, of neutrality, might bring the weakening of the European Union closer to the top of the American foreign policy agenda.

And so, for what little it may be worth, my sentence is for peace. If the Americans really want a war with Iraq, let them fight it by themselves, and let them by themselves pay whatever costs it may entail.

New Stockholm Network videos … private health care systems advances


David Davis

Last night the Stockholm Network launched an excellent on-line film that contains excellent interviews with Eamonn Butler, Stephen Pollard and James Bartholomew and criticises the National Health Service. The film also introduces the virtues of Health Savings Accounts as a means to go around the problem of third party effects in healthcare systems that are normally associated with private insurance and government funded systems. http://www.stockholm-network.org/player/videoplayer.html

updated … CALL FOR POLES TO JOIN BRITISH ARMY … wider implications


Thank Christ for that, perhaps we shall be saved after all. 

 David Davis

I got this form the Daily Torygraph, which was not however kind enough to publish my comments, perhaps because I even constituted and named some Polish regiments of the British Army, that I thought might come into being. I shall try to re-do so here.

The British (nearly) which includes the Old White commonwealth, and the Poles absolutely (for they were the first to be assaulted by a real, modern, mechanised socialist army) fought WW2 from the first day to the last. As did of course the Ghurkhas, and many regiments of the Indian Army, plus many Chinese, Africans and West Indians and countless others even including Americans, now forgotten in the general haze of socialism.

I think the figures show that the two main Polish squadrons of Fighter Command, in 1940, 302 and 303,  destroyed more enemy planes over England for less loss per squadron per unit time in 1940, than any other unit. Ghurkhas have appeared in this nation’s battle-honours more times than I can count, and have won a dispropportionate percentage of VCs.

The point I made to the telegraph was that there is a very old tradition of Empires recruiting soldiers from other nations. The Romans, I said, did it. the Dacian cavalry legions were famous for example. British auxilliaries served everywhere. Libyans served on The Wall, even. Perhaps they did not like it, as we know, for it was cold, but that is another story.

If I was a soldier today, I would be honoured to have the Poles, the second most bolshie nation in the EU after mine, in line with me.

How about:

The Queen’s Own Lublin Lancers …  a tank regiment obviously…

The Honourable East-Prussian Artillery Company … does what it says on the tin …

The Royal Silesian Rifles …  (aka the RIR – this would have to be a motor-rifle formation)

The 1st Battalion, the Royal Krakow Rangers (ditto… is there any other kind of infantry today?)

I did invent some more but they have been lost. If I was a soldier, I would be honoured to serve alongside such guys. they will probably want a couple of British Officers initially, as “advisers”, but of course they will want to serve together as is natural, and with their own Officers, and not ours, in the fullness of time.

How long before we can raise a battalion of the Queen’s Own Polish Lancastrian Regiment – with individual companies entirely recruited from, say Liverpool (1st co), Preston (2nd) and Accrington (3rd)? Or the other way around?

These might call themselves the “Accrington Pals” (Accrington Poles?), and what went around in 1916 will have come around, at last in 2008. 

UPDATED 19.March.08

The British Army is none other than the military arm of the Anglosphere (discuss) – I intentionally paraphrase the unbearably-plausible Tony Blair here, when he glibly howled that “New Labour” is none other than the Political Arm of the British People” !!!!! (He would have liked all five of those.) I thought at the time what a crass, non-historical thing it was to say…the “British People” are what they are, and have always so been, by virtue of NOT HAVING a “political arm”.

But it might behove us, if we are stuck with being a state, to entertain soldiers from all countries who either like us for what we are, or share roots with us, or whom we have helped (like Iraq.). That there should be Australian, South African, Rhodesian and NZ battalions in the Army, raised and staffed by those people exclusively, goes without saying – also American and Canadian ones. Why not Iraqi – and specially! – Jordanian ones? I am sure the states of such a small number of individuals – a few thousands at most  – would not object. (Any comments please, from listening London Consular officals present here?)

How about the 1st Battalion, the Baghdad Rangers? The Royal Tikrit Rifles? (The RTR would have a go over the initials of course.) They’d be safer over here, or being sent to Afghanistan, than trying to serve in the Iraqi Police.

And are Poland etc part of the Anglosphere? Yes. (Discuss.)

Fairtrade is a fraud


Thankfully “Fairtrade Fornight” is now over. But if you want to remember why Fairtrade is not a good idea, especially if you are having it rammed down your throat by do-gooders and busybodies, here’s what Alex Singleton had to say in The Sunday Telegraph:

Despite Fairtrade’s moral halo, there are other, more ethical forms of coffee available. Most Fairtrade coffee is roasted and packaged in Europe, principally in Belgium and Germany. That is unnecessary and retards development. Farmers working for Costa Rica’s Café Britt have climbed the economic ladder not just by growing beans but by doing the processing, roasting and packaging and branding themselves.

But Café Britt is not welcome on the Fairtrade scheme. Most Café Britt farmers are self-employed small business people who own the land they farm. That is unacceptable to the ideologues at FLO International, Fairtrade’s international certifiers, who will accredit farmers only if they give up their small-business status and join together into a co-operative.

As Brian Micklethwait puts it:

Fairtrade is, in other words, a front organisation, crafted by unregenerate collectivists to con believers in nice capitalism to buy something which is neither nice nor capitalist. And the way to deal with cons is to expose them for what they are, so that only those who really do believe in the actual values being promoted here continue to support the thing.

ENGLAND LEAVES THE UNITED KINGDOM …. what would happen?


David Davis

Just askin’ ….

It was an idea that fermented itself a bit more, when I commented on sean’s comment below.

COULD THE LIB-DEMS be a Reaganomics party?


… Not while they are still so frequently in bed locally with “New” “Labour”. (Just one lab-Libdem “Council” is one-too-many.) 

David Davis

But if people like Vince Cable have at least heard of Reaganomics, and if they sincerely believe that Government is not exactly “here to help you”, then I will try to be their friend.

http://progressive-vision.org/blog/?p=100

And with the Tories saying they would have to stick to Gordon Brown’s “spending” “plans”? My trousers! Taxes are for cutting, not maintaining or increasing; any level of taxation suggests to the outside world that a State does not think itself to be self-financing. If it was a business, it would be described as dodgy.

Sean’s Speech re Conservative Party: Another Test Video


Sean’s Sicilian Expedition: Test Video


youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwsDzZUu93k

QUOTE OF THE DAY … don’t expect lots of these just coz’ I did two in two days …


David Davis

 “For those who do not yet understand the UK perspective, do not be misled into thinking that those of us who are presently on the edge of despair for what remains of our country would not fight the last good fight to save it.”
Posted by permanentexpat at March 15, 2008 02:37 PM

This came from Samizdata

and is about this business. While at this last link just here, please go to all the comments and especially the one by the Finn whom his government has its eye on.

Many Libertarians, especially those who come to us from what I suppose I have to call “The  Left”, despise patriotism, perhaps because they have been “educated” by unbearably-misguided people such as “Terry” Eagelton, and other such alleged “academics” whose names I can’t remember on a Saturday evening and have not the urge to wiki so as to correct my defects (you can do it yourselves.)

These mistake the urge to want to be of and with one’s own kith and kin both in belief and in nearness, with suppposedly outmoded and atavistic urges which (they aver) have no place in Utopia. This position seems to contradict the seemingly instinctive drives of such things as nationalism.

Indeed. This is a small digression, but I wonder sometimes whether “Militant Islam”, as described by those who aspire to govern us here, is in fact a purely nationalistic impulse (rooted as it is in [more than one, but a bit less than many more than a few] nations which are closely associated historically and ethnically) which happens to be particularly self-confident at this moment, and so is therefore doing well in the increase-of-population-stakes? There are even those who would contend that Islam is not a religion but a pre-capitalist desert-regions-survival-guide. I do not know.

However, nobody who is in favour of free seech ought to be othe than fanatically opposed to any efforts of the Finland “govern”-“ment” to limit access to “racist” sites overseas or even in Finland.

QUOTE OF THE DAY … from an anonymous student … good stuff, shows what we are up against.


David Davis

We don’t really do quotes of the day for we have not time to scratch our arses…but… 

“It does seem that most people are inherently leftist, simply
because leftist arguments are emotionally appealing on a
shallow level, but to investigate further requires patience -
something most teenagers don’t have.

Just the other day I was talking to someone who first called
themselves a liberal, then said that property was theft, and
then advocated Marxian type of communal ownership. So I don’t
have to look far to see confused people.”

Socialism seems messianic, moral and majoritarian. Always. By hijacking and corrupting the innate human urge to do good, it achieves its ends which are evil.

Everyone wants to help the poor, for example. That’s why we all put up with the crinimally-corrupt and malevolent “Fair Trade” scam, and we don’t roar into supermarkets in our jackboots (all Libertarians wear jackboots, all the time: did you not know?) and tear out the fixtures on which the stuff is displayed, and torch them in the car parks… So it’s only a small step for really nasty guys to pretend that they share your belief in the Gospels of Christ, for example, to make you feel like a shit for not giving them money to “help the poor with”. Then, when you have laughed in their faces, they come back next day, with guns, asking for double.

I remember arguing, in 1977, with a man who would not buy a copy of “The Free Nation” (anyone remember the Freedom Association?) saying he was a “Christian Socialist”. I thought at the time that this was an oxymoron. 

UKIP, other British political parties, and Libertarianism: I am delighted that there is now a Libertarian Party, since the others are all statist or useless …


David Davis

To get out of the statist mess we have let ourselves grow round us, there were three options:

(1) Let the Libertarian Alliance be a think-tank and broad church for the airing and publication of widely-different ideas about Law, Liberty and opinion. On the whole, we manage this very well. But the LA’s officers are broadly agreed that this organisation ought not to be the nucleus of a political party.

(2) Infiltrate the Conservative Party – the least statist of the major parties with already-established grass-roots organisations. Thus to redirect the supertanker, as it were, at least towards a more classical liberal course. This I remember was once Chris Tame’s favoured strategy.

(3)  If this could not be achieved, try another (such as UKIP?)

(4) Failing all else, smile with benignity on any sound Libertarian efforts to go it alone.  See for this, the UK Libertarian Party, and a formal welcome onto this chaotic stage, to you guys!

Clearly if something is not done about the creeping tyranny emanating from Westminster (be it driven ultimately by the EU or not, and I increasingly think not) then the battle for individual freedom in Britain is lost. There are some who think it already is. The failure of the Tories to do more than rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic is inexcusable. So is the failure of UKIP, the other current Last best Hope, to recognise that (a) to invite a major speaker without exhaustively checking his views on contentious and infammatory issues and (b) to then ban him from speaking again because he expressed one of them in passing.

So we are left with the Libertarian Party. I personally am relieved at last that such a thing exists, although the official position on this of the LA, insofar as we have one, is atheist or agnostic. It may concentrate the minds of the more aware voters about what’s happeneing to us. If it splits the “Tory vote”, so be it; the Tories have not shown any inclination to fight the real battles of liberty for at least 25 years.

I’m sure that if it invited Sean to speak, he’d re-iterate what a burden he would be to its electoral chances, and in return they’d greet his contribution in the spirit in which he offered it.

The FIRST annual Chris Tame memorial lecture: “HOW TO CURE GOVERNMENT OBESITY”


 

By Tim Evans 

 image002.jpg

 

The Committee of the Libertarian Alliance is delighted to invite you to the first

Annual Chris R. Tame Memorial Lecture and Drinks Reception

to be held on Tuesday 18th March 2008 between 6.30pm and 8.30pm

at the National Liberal Club, One Whitehall Place,

London SW1 (nearest tube Embankment).

On this occasion the speaker will be Professor David Myddelton on

‘How to Cure Government Obesity’.

The dress code for this event is lounge suit or smart casual.

To confirm your attendance please RSVP to  Dr Tim Evans at tim@libertarian.co.uk

Professor David Myddelton is Emeritus Professor of Finance and Accounting at Cranfield University. Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Institute of Economic Affairs and Chairman of the National Council of the Society for Individual Freedom, in the late 1960s he was involved in the Young Libertarians along with the LA’s founder Dr. Chris R. Tame.

UKIP BANS SEAN GABB from further speaking engagements …. for saying …. what?


Ummmm ….. nothing exceptionable.

He said that the private possession of something ought not to be illegal. He did __NOT__ say he was in favour of it. He is a libertarian; we tend to have well-thought-out policy-positions based on logic and reason. (See, also, the UK Libertarian Party. I personally am glad that there now is such an institution, although the LA has always held a broadly friendly but opposite view.)

Sean is well out of that shower. Although you have to sympathise with a fledgeling party like UKIP, which could become more important in the years to come, as darkness overwhelms us, and which does NOT want to be targeted by Rebekah-Wade-inspired mobs who think all its officers are paediatricians.

Sean Gabb – Banned by UKIP!!!


This is a draft put together in my lunchbreak. It may change by tonight

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the
Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 170
12th March 2008
postCount(‘flc170′);Comments | postCountTB(‘flc170′); Trackback

Second Thoughts on UKIP
by Sean Gabb

The day before yesterday, I published an article about my attendance at the rally of the United Kingdom Independence Party in Exeter. This was a strongly positive account, and was coupled with an explanation of my refusal to consider standing as a candidate for UKIP. I was called this morning and told that my article has caused such outrage within UKIP that my invitation to speak at the rally to be held in Morcambe on the 29th of this month has been withdrawn.

This outrage, it seems, was caused by my brief statement of what it means to be a libertarian. I said the day before yesterday that I believe in legalising all drugs, in repealing all race relations laws, and in repealing some of the laws against child pornography.

I am surprised that my statement had this effect. I have spent the past three decades arguing very clearly on every occasion for what I believe. My writings are very clear and are all over the Internet. I state my views several dozen times a year on radio and television. I spent most of the 1990s explaining them in meetings of the Conservative Party. Anyone who was not previously aware of what I and the Libertarian Alliance and the libertarian movement in general believe has a very weak claim to be taken seriously as a participant in British politics.

I cannot be bothered to justify my position on drug legalisation. I doubt if what I said about the race relations laws caused any offence within UKIP – not, I fear, because most UKIP members believe in freedom of speech and association, but because some of them rather like the idea of being allowed to behave uncharitably to people of other races. However, though I shall not say anything I have not said many times already, I will briefly clarify my views on child pornography.

I do not believe children can give valid consent to any sexual act. Therefore, sex with children should be illegal. It should be illegal because there is a chance of physical harm, and because there is some chance – though perhaps less than we are told – of emotional harm; and because, regardless of the acts, it seems to be that the sort of people who want to have sex with children should not generally be allowed near children. If anyone in UKIP claims that I am in favour of sex with children, he needs to be stupid or malevolent.

I turn to child pornography. If someone produces or commissions indecent pictures of a child, he is guilty of sexual assault or is an accessory to sexual assault. If someone merely buys such pictures, without having directly commissioned them, it is arguable that he too should be treated as an accessory – in the same way as it is illegal knowingly to buy stolen goods. If someone is under investigation for a sexual assault on children, and a search of his property turns up indecent pictures of children, these should of course be used as evidence.

I do not believe, however, that mere possession of such pictures should be an offence. In general, I believe that people should be free to have anything they like on their own property. The obvious exceptions to this rule would be stolen property and the sort of thing that would allow a tort action under the Rylands v Fletcher rule. For example, if I am an alcoholic chain smoker and I have 500 jerry cans of petrol in my basement, my neighbours should be able to take me to court and have the petrol removed. And it is a matter of practical convenience whether my neighbours should be expected to rely on the civil courts or be able to call on the police. Beyond that, an Englishman’s home should be his castle.

The most practical argument for this rule is that indecent photographs might be part of a chain of evidence against a child molester, and the case will usually stand or fall on all the evidence. Where possession is concerned, conviction can be on the word of a single police officer. There is no need to prove anything beyond the fact of possession. This is an abuse of law. Our own authorities may not be so corrupt and oppressive as their counterparts elsewhere in the world. But it is well known that the police fit people up in this country. They fabricate evidence of crimes sometimes because they believe someone is guilty but cannot find the evidence, or because they simply dislike someone. And we are moving rapidly to a political environment in which dissidence will be punished by accusations of crimes that need no external evidence but produce an indelible taint on one’s reputation.

Because people often have short memories for law, I will add that possession of child pornography only became an offence in 1994. Members of UKIP are forever quoting Hugh Gaitskill about “a thousand years of British history”. Well, I have been publicly snubbed by UKIP because I am not happy with a fourteen year old law rammed through Parliament by Michael Howard.

I turn now to child pornography produced abroad. I thought it was a central part of the UKIP argument to be hostile to extraterritorial jurisdictions. The decisions of foreign legislative assemblies and courts should have no direct application in our own country. An obvious converse of this position is that our own courts should not punish offences committed in foreign countries. By all means, let suspects be extradited to face trial for crimes committed abroad – extradited, of course, with rather more scrutiny than now takes place. But our courts should have no direct jurisdiction over acts committed abroad.

If we assume that the purpose of the laws against child pornography are to protect children, rather than police the imagination, it follows that indecent pictures made in Thailand are a matter for the Thai authorities.

And for the record, I will say that what I think about child pornography applies to all other pictures and literature. People should be allowed to have bomb making instructions, holocaust revision propaganda, and video clips of killings in Iraq. In some cases, they should be at liberty to publish these. In all cases, they should be left alone to keep them at home.

Perhaps I am mistaken. Perhaps there is an argument against my position that I have not considered. But  I am myself outraged that anyone could be so outraged by what I say that an invitation to speak made and accepted months ago should be suddenly withdrawn.

The title of the speech I gave last Saturday was “National Independence is not Enough”. What UKIP has just done is a good illustration of the argument I put, and of the wider background argument that I left unsaid. These people want to leave the European Union – and I agree with them. But what is their vision for an independent country? The answer, I fear in many cases, is that their only objection to the gigantic police state rising up around us is that it is enabled by the Treaty of Rome, and is directed against middle-aged white people rather than racial or sexual minorities. Free of Brussels, they would be delighted to live under a purely domestic tyranny. Others probably have no vision at all, beyond a vague belief that we can all go back to the good old days of the 1950s.

No wonder the Eurosceptic parties have not been able to break through in any domestic election, and are such easy targets for mockery by the ruling class.

There is an obvious difference between prudence and cowardice. I argued the other day that it would not be wise to ask me to stand as a UKIP candidate. Dropping me as one speaker among many is just contemptible. It indicates that I am right in my suspicions given above. At best, it shows a timidity and unsureness of purpose that calls in doubt the willingness of UKIP actually to deliver on the most controversial issue in British politics – which is to face down a wall of ruling class opposition and withdraw from the European Union.

I do not think there is any personal bitterness in my saying that I have reconsidered my opinion of UKIP. I shall continue to vote for it in elections because that is my one electoral chance to bring pressure on the Conservatives. But I realise I was far too enthusiastic in what I wrote about last Saturday.

NB�Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3. You can help by contributing to publishing and distribution costs

Sean at the UKIP Rally in Exeter


sw-conference-080308-020.jpg

Crime and civilisation … citing “desperate need” could keep you out of jail.


Here is a fun thing!

Because the prisons are bursting at the seams, those caught stealing (especially from shops, and if they rough up the shopkeepers, that is to say if they are ROBBERS as opposed to mere “shoplifters”) may be able to cite “desperation” in their defence, and it may keep them out of chokey. So, er, I guess they can do it some more.

I have a well-formed policy-position on crime. Firstly, I’m against it, and secondly, it occurs because someone takes a rational decision to commit it. If a liberal civilisation, based on voluntary principles and consent between people as to what actions are allowed, is to exist, then it breaks down if these boundaries are torn away by Gramscians. It then begs the question about where gramscians stand in the question of Natural Rights, and what “Rights” therefore they ought to claim (or not) if they persist in peddling their destructive nonsense.

Of this government, or indeed any for that matter, owuld stop pretending to occupy what some see as moral high ground, and would admit that “The War On Drugs” is lost, than the £100-a-day habit could become the £5-a-day habit – about the price of 20 fags. GlaxoSmithKline, Schering, Pfizer and the rest could compete to supply the best gear, backed by advertising (to encourage brand switching of course! Remember the faile defence of tobacco-ads by its firms?) and Gordon Brown could collect £4.50 of that price in taxation. The avalaunche of secondary crimes, referred to in this article, and contingent on drugs remaining illegal, and therefore high priced and in the control of thugs, could be removed.

The Telegraph was knd enough to publish my comments, appearing at about 08.20am and 10.20 am. 

A Day with UKIP, by Sean Gabb


Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the
Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 169
10th March 2008

A Day with UKIP
by Sean Gabb

I drove down to Exeter last Saturday the 8th March 2008, to speak at a United Kingdom Independence Party rally. If I had bothered checking in advance that the round journey would be 600 miles, I might have declined the invitation. I am glad, though, that I did not check, and that I did accept.

Imagine, if you can, a party rally, put on by one of its regional branches, and attended by several hundred decent, ordinary people. Imagine, then, being able to watch a dozen or so people called to the podium to speak fluently and with passion about what they truly think. Imagine also being able to mingle throughout with the leaders and elected representatives of that party. Imagine all this, and you have UKIP.

I watched parts of the Liberal Democrat conference on television yesterday. As with all the Regime Parties, these people talk about the need for commitment and fundamental change, and then carefully avoid saying or promising anything that might resemble either commitment or change. What I saw on Saturday with my own eyes was politics as it always used to be in England.

I last voted Conservative in 1997. Since then, I have voted UKIP whenever possible. So far, I have done this as a means of punishing the Conservatives for being so dreadful. I will now vote UKIP because I like the party and because I admire its leaders.

I will not summarise my speech, as I made a video record of it, and of the one made by Marc-Henri Glendening of the Democracy Movement. There was some coordination between us, and so our speeches are worth watching one after the other. I am never happy with filming in a room where public address equipment is in use, but the sound quality is adequate. Our speeches are available courtesy of Google Video. In time, I hope, UKIP will make its own video footage of the whole rally available on-line.

Now, though it was right to say how much I enjoyed myself last Saturday, the real purpose of this article is to confirm in writing what I did say then several times. I was approached by one very senior person in UKIP and by someone who has the ear of other senior persons, and asked if I would like to stand in the European Elections, and with a position on the party list that would give me some chance of being elected. I said no, but am not sure if my refusal was taken as more than false modesty.

There would be certain advantages in having me as a candidate. I am a clear and prolific writer. I speak reasonably well without notes. I can think on my feet. I know how to handle the media. I am not that old, nor particularly displeasing to look at. I have shown no tendency as yet to megalomania, and most of the things in my private life I would not have known are more comical than scandalous.

This being said, my answer is still no. I do not wish to stand with any party endorsement in any election that I might win. Here are my reasons.

First, I am Director of the Libertarian Alliance. This is a non-party organisation. I accept that we have had our greatest impact during the past thirty years on the youth movement of the Conservative Party, and that we now have a certain influence within UKIP. But we do have supporters in the Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties. For all these parties are loathsome at the top, there is some chance of libertarian pressure from the membership. And there are still some libertarians who do not share my opinion of the European Union. It is one thing for the Director of the Libertarian Alliance to say what he thinks as an individual, but quite another for him to be a UKIP candidate.

Second, I have certain qualities that, while useful for directing the Libertarian Alliance, rule me out as a party politician. I am poor at giving and taking instructions. I am not much of a team player. I have little charm, and am easily bored with the ordinary things of life. What interests me is often seen by others as unimportant or obscure. In politics, I would be another Enoch Powell, but without the brilliance.

Third, there is the nature of my opinions. I may believe in withdrawing from the European Union, and I may be a firm patriot. But I have also spent much of the past thirty years trying as clearly and persuasively as I can to say things that most would regard as not on but considerably beyond the lunatic fringe in politics. I believe in legalising all drugs. I am not for decriminalising possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use, or for diverting the enforcement budget to “education”. I would make it no more illegal to buy a packet of heroin than it is now to buy a packet of tea; and I would not allow the authorities to spend a penny of our money on telling us whether and how to use it. I believe in repealing all the race relations and other hate crime laws. I would allow employers and landlords to qualify their advertisements with phrases like “niggers and faggots need not apply”. I do not believe possession of child pornography should be a crime. I do not even believe it should be a crime to publish child pornography here that was made abroad by and with foreigners.

I like to think I can justify these opinions – plus all the others I cannot be bothered to mention or may have forgotten that I hold. But it should be clear that no party mad enough to adopt me as a candidate would get a fair hearing ever again in the media.

 And so, I wish UKIP well. I wish it more than well. It is our last and our best hope in politics. I enjoyed last Saturday in Exeter. I look forward to the weekend after next at another rally in Morcambe. If I am seriously asked, however, to do more than this, my answer must be thanks but no thanks.

PUTTING VIDEOS IN WINDOWS LIKE THEY DO ON OTHER BLOGS …


David Davis

I can’t find how to do it either, Sean. It must be easy coz’ everyone does it. Perhaps one of our kind readers could advise us here? We remain a very plain and stark blog otherwise.

Sean Gabb at UKIP Rally in Exeter, 8th March 2008


Posted by Sean Gabb

I wish I knew how to put videos into a window like they do on other blogs.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8401101275920303395

SEAN GABB and marc Glendening, speaking at the UKIP RALLY, Exeter University, Saturday 8th March 2008


Here they are.

 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8401101275920303395 

This is absolutely great, and there is now hope for the West, but it is not what….


….the peace-loving Danes who invented LEGO intended!

David Davis

I was idly scavenging up stuff from the Grandest Library in the History of the World, without which we would all be intellectually poorer and even less free than now, when I came across this on Boing Boing (stupid name for a blog, sorry, it just is. Change it while there’s time.)

Samizdata alerted me to the fact that the Grauniad had published a list of the Earth’s 50 most powerful blogs. As the “Huffington Post” came top, and I have to confess to not regarding that, er, Miss Arianna Stassinopoulos in quite the positive light that the rest of the world does (I heard about what she got up to at Oxford and sort of er later), I skipped number 1 and went to number 2. So you got a story instead.

As a Lancashire man, I have often been saddened at two things about LEGO – (1) its later-lifestage in which it degenerated into loads of pre-fabricated parts that killed the creative initiative, being already moulded to look like people, trees, aerials, propellers, headlights etc, and (2) its total lack of military hardware. This has now been remedied in part by the bits now available from this third-party source!

The same degeneration happened to Meccano in the 1970s-onwards, the Great Imperial Science and Engineering Toy of Man, first made a couple of dozen miles south of here, about 90 years ago.

Since the degeneration of Lego is now probably complete, but others have cottoned on to what boy-Legoers require, I soon expect tank-track-links, turrets, 120mm smoothbore artillery, and a 7-barrel-rotary-machine-cannon in steel-colour, with authentic depleted-Uranium rounds.

The almost complete elimination of WORDS to describe guns, let alone the items themselves if even in plastic, from British nurseries and schools, is a source of worry, since it presages a world in which people look to the State to defend their lives and property against evil-doers, criminals and other socialists. I cannot forsee this ever being an effective defence strategy, as we all know.

Finally, fraternal and collectivistically-liberal congrats to our fraternal Brothers and sororical Sisters at Samizdata, for being rated as a world-blog – even if it’s by the lefties themselves.

Quote of the day … something to say about identity cards as proposed, for the British, by the British State


“Eventually, it seems evident, a general system, whether private or public, whereby all personal facts, biological and mental, normal and morbid, are duly and systematically registered, must become inevitable if we are to have a real guide as to those persons who are most fit, or most unfit to carry on the race.” (Havelock Ellis … madman, misfit and prominent socialist “Eugenicist”.)

CHARLES MOORE is quite good today on NEWSPEAK … and the ruin of Britain


Here.

David Davis 

We all know how politicians, and socialist Eageltonized Nazi Gramscicrats, who have got into the position of running our lives for us while we slept, have corrupted language evilly, to hide their wicked ends which they have in store for the world. (See MORGOTH. You all know where to find it. Sorry; I just don’t feel as positive about poor old put-upon and perscuted Morgoth this afternoon as I do normally….)

Libertarians ought to read today’s article by the wicked Conservative old-Etonian Charles Moore, though. It will cheer them up.

SEAN GABB is speaking at a UKIP rally in Exeter University, as I write …. so I suppose …


… that I ought to write about UKIP from a Libertarian point of view.

David Davis

A week is such a long time in politics, especially in a country where the government set out in 1997 to wreck all private liberal institutions and seems to manage to throw one a week into the NaziSaddam-type-people-shredder, that UKIP is now an “oldie” as parties go. Even the UK Libertarian Party, under 3 months old, is getting long in the tooth by these standards! Do visit the LPUK, for I predict it will start to upset the calculations of older parties sooner than our dear leaders think.

Here is UKIP’s main page. Beliefs are explained reasonably clearly if you have the patience (which I have not at this time as I blog, but I know what they are anyway. “I have no time, therefore I blog” is a sentiment I shall be examining soon.)

To summarise, UKIP approximates to what I would have called, in say 1900, > liberal Conservative Unionist free-Traders < if such things as “electric wire news commentator typists” (ie Blogs) had existed.

I have no clue what Sean will say, but I think it entirely right that a spokesman for the Libertarian Alliance should be instructing people on why “national independence is not enough”, when it comes to discussing what should be done after the UK (or whichever parts of it such as England choose to go) leaves the EU. I think he will say that safeguards should be put ocnstitutionally in place, such that, although “no parliament can bind a later one” – as we all know – it should be ensired in some constitutional settlement such as 1215 or 1689 types, that “NO PARLIAMENT CAN GIVE AWAY (to any foreign power or “Prince”) SOVEREIGNTY LENT TO IT BY THE PEOPLE, for a time, or for ever”.

As I never cease to have to point out here, this place is the birthplace of liberal ideas of the sort that finally became effective, here and elsewhere, even if only for a time in some places. If Britain was to go down, it would be a singularly enormous feather in the cap of the Stalinists and their friends, the unutterably evil Fabians – denizens of morgothic sub-human darkness, who are posing as caring human beings. 

A party such as UKIP, that has current hopes of gaining even some little power either in Westminster, or even inside that unfathomable den of thieves, the “European Union” bureaucracy, ought to have Libertarians as its friends.

I await the DVD of Sean’s talk with interest.

UPDATED … RAF soldiers abused in public, in England … Well, what do you expect under a government which hates and despises them …


… and whose “education” system peddles anti-Western faux-pacifism and brotherly love?

David Davis

Here it is, in all its glory.  Gordon Brown has “stepped in”. I can’t resist the conparison with the famous “Private Eye” frontpage of the earlt 1970s (for those of you who are too young; “SEWAGE: Heath steps in”.)

UPDATE…I SHALL NOW experiment, and GO ABOUT VERBALLY ABUSING BRITISH FOOTBALLERS, “ATHLETES”,  AND POP SINGERS IN THE STREET as I pass them…and see how far I get before being knifed.

Original post continues: 

I am rather pleased to say it has made it to many of the other main daily news papers also. I cannot say regarding the Wireless Tele Vision, for I find its “news” “bulletins” – especially on the anti-British-BC, of little practical use in understanding the world today.

There is a long tradition in Britain, regarding wearing of service dress in and out of wartime. In general, no British soldier has worn uniform in peacetime, for we are not like the European autocracies, founded on force and fear. But of course we are currently fighting two wars so it is natural that some persons will need to be in the correct dress for, say, deployment overseas, sort of now.

However, this government, while using the Forces more intensely as a proportion of avaiulable personnel than at any time since 1945, hates and despises them as an institution, the last great british one it has not subverted and corrupted, and possibly the most difficult. Can you name any minister since 1997 who has served? I cannot. it is no use “stepping in” now, when the damage has been done, and a climate of enmity towards the very soldiers who try to carry out your foreign policy for you, has been set up by your own media!

Libertarians all over the world will realise exactly how damaging it is, when a liberal-minded and highly moral institution, that functions well despite political assault at home (let alone overstretch abroad) has to justify doing what it needs to do.