I didn’t know Philip Pullman was this good a writer about liberty


UPDATE2:- Little Man What Now? has also republished it. What this exercise shows is the utter futility of an Enemy Governimg Class trying to supress stuff it does not approve of, until its Terror-Police have effectively removed the publication-tools from us all. They clearly know nothing whatever about the history of England in the 1620s-to-1640s, as the new and revolutionarry technique of “imprinting” was at last getting going on a large scale, and at a difficult time for the battling of ideas which was then going on.

UPDATE:- THE TIMES took this piece down off its site some hours ago, to the original link to the Times OUT OF landed Underclass is broken. ( ARRSE have the full text.) The Cato Institute also quotes some of it. Good job I virally-pasted the whole thing….

David Davis

UPDATE:- Here in full is the big and angry discussion thread about this piece on the Army Rumour Service at http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=117552/postdays=0/postorder=asc/start=20.html

Hat tip to the Landed Underclass for exposing the true significance of this prescient piece of writing:-

Are such things done on Albion’s shore?

The image of this nation that haunts me most powerfully is that of the sleeping giant Albion in William Blake’s prophetic books. Sleep, profound and inveterate slumber: that is the condition of Britain today.

We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act, great matters unfold, and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the darkness – the voices of the new laws that are silently strangling the old freedoms the nation still dreams it enjoys.

We are so fast asleep that we don’t know who we are any more. Are we English? Scottish? Welsh? British? More than one of them? One but not another? Are we a Christian nation – after all we have an Established Church – or are we something post-Christian? Are we a secular state? Are we a multifaith state? Are we anything we can all agree on and feel proud of?

The new laws whisper:

You don’t know who you are

You’re mistaken about yourself

We know better than you do what you consist of, what labels apply to you, which facts about you are important and which are worthless

We do not believe you can be trusted to know these things, so we shall know them for you

And if we take against you, we shall remove from your possession the only proof we shall allow to be recognised

The sleeping nation dreams it has the freedom to speak its mind. It fantasises about making tyrants cringe with the bluff bold vigour of its ancient right to express its opinions in the street. This is what the new laws say about that:

Expressing an opinion is a dangerous activity

Whatever your opinions are, we don’t want to hear them

So if you threaten us or our friends with your opinions we shall treat you like the rabble you are

And we do not want to hear you arguing about it

So hold your tongue and forget about protesting

What we want from you is acquiescence

The nation dreams it is a democratic state where the laws were made by freely elected representatives who were answerable to the people. It used to be such a nation once, it dreams, so it must be that nation still. It is a sweet dream.

You are not to be trusted with laws

So we shall put ourselves out of your reach

We shall put ourselves beyond your amendment or abolition

You do not need to argue about any changes we make, or to debate them, or to send your representatives to vote against them

You do not need to hold us to account

You think you will get what you want from an inquiry?

Who do you think you are?

What sort of fools do you think we are?

The nation’s dreams are troubled, sometimes; dim rumours reach our sleeping ears, rumours that all is not well in the administration of justice; but an ancient spell murmurs through our somnolence, and we remember that the courts are bound to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and we turn over and sleep soundly again.

And the new laws whisper:

We do not want to hear you talking about truth

Truth is a friend of yours, not a friend of ours

We have a better friend called hearsay, who is a witness we can always rely on

We do not want to hear you talking about innocence

Innocent means guilty of things not yet done

We do not want to hear you talking about the right to silence

You need to be told what silence means: it means guilt

We do not want to hear you talking about justice

Justice is whatever we want to do to you

And nothing else

Are we conscious of being watched, as we sleep? Are we aware of an ever-open eye at the corner of every street, of a watching presence in the very keyboards we type our messages on? The new laws don’t mind if we are. They don’t think we care about it.

We want to watch you day and night

We think you are abject enough to feel safe when we watch you

We can see you have lost all sense of what is proper to a free people

We can see you have abandoned modesty

Some of our friends have seen to that

They have arranged for you to find modesty contemptible

In a thousand ways they have led you to think that whoever does not want to be watched must have something shameful to hide

We want you to feel that solitude is frightening and unnatural

We want you to feel that being watched is the natural state of things

One of the pleasant fantasies that consoles us in our sleep is that we are a sovereign nation, and safe within our borders. This is what the new laws say about that:

We know who our friends are

And when our friends want to have words with one of you

We shall make it easy for them to take you away to a country where you will learn that you have more fingernails than you need

It will be no use bleating that you know of no offence you have committed under British law

It is for us to know what your offence is

Angering our friends is an offence

It is inconceivable to me that a waking nation in the full consciousness of its freedom would have allowed its government to pass such laws as the Protection from Harassment Act (1997), the Crime and Disorder Act (1998), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), the Terrorism Act (2000), the Criminal Justice and Police Act (2001), the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Extension Act (2002), the Criminal Justice Act (2003), the Extradition Act (2003), the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003), the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004), the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2005), the Inquiries Act (2005), the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005), not to mention a host of pending legislation such as the Identity Cards Bill, the Coroners and Justice Bill, and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Inconceivable.

And those laws say:

Sleep, you stinking cowards

Sweating as you dream of rights and freedoms

Freedom is too hard for you

We shall decide what freedom is

Sleep, you vermin

Sleep, you scum.

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15 responses to “I didn’t know Philip Pullman was this good a writer about liberty

  1. Via “SAMIZDATA”

    The site for “Critical Rationalists”???

    Tony Hollick

    “Censorship Watch”

    From my correspopndence with my friend Admiral Noel Gayler, who won three Navy Crosses as a pilot in WWII; commanded USS “Ranger”; designed SIOP (the Single Integrated Opeational [Nuclear Warfighting] Plan; directed NSA (America’s National Securiy Agency); served as CinCPAC Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Forces), and in his retirement worked with George Kennan (‘X’, the architect od America’s postwar “Containment” policy) to bring the Cold War to an end, peacefully…

    ——————- * * * * * —————

    “I *don’t* start from the problems of the _specific means of warfare, important though these are (especially nuclear weapons).

    With Heisenberg, I don’t think these are the basic — or even the worst — problem: My primary concern is with ‘The Causes of War’ (see Geoffrey Blainey’s classic academic text of this name, publ. Sun Books, Melbourne).

    Blainey’s view (following analysis of several hundred wars from 1700 to 1971) amounts to the conclusion that wars arise as a result of faulty intelligence evaluations of one’s own or the other side’s interests, aims, strengths and will to fight; wars “usually begin when two [or more] nations disagree on their relative strength, and wars usually cease when the fighting nations agree on their relative strength.”

    And I think the problems of disarmament can actually be more readily resolved long-term by something like the Twelve-Track strategy I outline here, with the tracks running separately yet simultaneously, more or less in parallel (an Integrated Operational Plan for worldwide peace with freedom, if you like!).

    Such a plan incorporates specific advances to general nuclear disarmament, while (hopefully) avoiding the dangers of open-ended non-nuclear warfare. Its central focus is upon what we’re fighting _for_ — and against — and the means by which we fight; and upon the human and material costs.

    Still, there are indeed ‘no final moves’!”

    ———– * * * * * ———–

    Prefacing remark: “William Hood on war”

    TEXT: “Like war, spying is a dirty business. Shed of its alleged glory, a soldier’s job is to kill. Peel away the claptrap of espionage and the spy’s job is to betray trust. The only justification a soldier or a spy can have is the moral worth of the cause herepresents.”

    William Hood was deputy to James Jesus Angleton, legendary Director of CIA counterintelligence; ‘Mole’ p. 11; publ. Weidenfeld’s [1982].

    I’ve discussed various problems with William Hood very recently.

    He’s contactable via http://www.AFIO.com

    ———– * * * * * ———–.

    So: Micklethwait now proposes to threaten 1.3 billion mostly peaceful Muslims with genocide. Genghis Khan holds the world record at the moment, with 35 million Chinese.. We must think that Brian doesn’t want to do all this killing on his own (or perhaps he secretly does?)

    To do such a thing would destroy Western Civilization.

    Just because “TPTB” organize a few Ersatz-‘Muslim’ “terrorist” acts in pursuit of Social Control, we’re suposed to freak out, and attmpt to wipe out a quarter of the entire world’s populaion?

    More people die from peanuts every year than from “Muslim terrorism.” Fact…

    Sure reads like a recipe for “Pre-emptive War” to me…

    [ FX: "There are too many people as it is... HoHoHo" ]

    Oh…

    Tony Hollick

    http://www.STARGATE.uk.net/agora/

    http://www.pilotsfor911tuth.org

    PS: And _I’m_ the ‘guy with the tin-foil hat’??? Sheesh!

  2. Not sure what all that had to do with Philip Pullman, Tony…(er…..?)

    Also Tony, if you know all these admirals and head-honchos and senior-policemen, and get phone calls in the night of 9/12 for “your take on 9/11″, then I have to ask: what exactly are you doing living quietly in Somerset?

    Why aren’t you on the Wireless Tele Vision, grinning discreetly in the background but not quite off-camera, having “advised” them all, in some international spa or other – and that was merely the photo-op _before_ dinner!

    You see, I don’t want to do any of that stuff: I just know what’s right, and I plough my little LA furrow out here in the black soil of the South Lancashire Mosses!

    Also I’m not sure where our old mate Brian comes in, threatening to kill 1.3 billion mostly-peaceful Moslems with genocide. (They’re not Muslims, muslim is a fabric, well almost: they are _Moslems_ .)

    They’re actually “Mohammed-ans”, for their Prophet is Mohammed (as they do rightly say always) just as ours __according to them__ is “Christ”, so we are “Christ-ians” – but we’ll discuss that another time, hopefully without the Police in attendance.

    Seriously, if you know all these dudes, what the hell are you doing twiddling your thumbs uselessly here, and commenting on a nothing-blog like this one?

    Cheer up Tony and get out (on a plane to the Pentagon?) more.

  3. Dave:

    I lead the life of a hermit with Internet, in BRISTOL, not Somerse! I tick the “No Publicity” box… (smiles)

    BRISTOL is now a “City–State” – again!

    I like England. (I like Canada and New Zealand, having lived in Canada too ,and visied vNew Zealnd, to here I’ve just been invited).

    I like it here!

    I like you!

    I even like Sean, sometimes!

    Have you READ BM’s post on ‘SAMIZDATA’? My response is ‘pending’, with automatic “response measures” if they block it…

    They have the ‘right’ to block my replies. But if they do do that, they forfeit their claim to be “Critical Rationalists”, as I am, indeed.

    And I (and my friends, worldwide) have the ‘right’ to take whaever ‘measures’ (‘lawful’, natch!) if I don’t like their behaviour… “Information Warfare.”

    (smiles)

    [ FX: "Hey! They wanna play???" ]

    Tony

    http://www.psycom.net/iwar.1.html

    http://www.AFIO.com

    (Both REALLY COOL sites…) (smiles)

    PS: [ FX: (Giittering blue and gold flash of lightning with the sound of thunder... ]

  4. yes of course I’ve read it Tony – a day or so ago. I check them every day for they (sometimes) write well.

    They’ve never replied to my suggestion that I write for them, so I presume they have enough writers.

    When they ask now, I will charge.

    And I don’t think Brian means it for a moment, he was just angry and upset. He could not kill a human being if he tried.

  5. Bristol’s in ZummerZett as far as I am concerned!

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  7. Am I the only one knocking around here that thinks Nietzsche was a rambling fraud?

    Anyway, few things,

    1. The Nobel Peace Prize and an Honourary Knighthood or whatever for Jimbo Wales, founder of Wikipedia.

    2. A ‘Honouring’ series, produced by myself and published by the First Sea Lord on this blog, if he agrees to the concept and approves of the material. I already have on paper the names of Milton Friedman, Bill Clinton, John von Neumann, Gottfried Leibniz, Baruch Spinoza, Rene Descartes (pronouced day-cart, my personal favourite), Barnes ‘Dambuster’ Wallis, D, H. Lawrence, and I wouldn’t mind fitting Gerorge Green in there also, stocks permitting.

    One must ask what these people have to do with Libertarianism, but the answer must surely be, what does anyone have to do with Libertarianism?

    I mean, all we’re saying in effect is “leave me to myself, and I’ll leave you to yourself, and we’ll associate as we wish.”

    What do think 1SL/CNSDavis Sir?

  8. In addition, I did think about continuing my ‘Some Thoughts On’ series, but the first entry was simple-science taken probably too far. Too far for most people anyway.

    I think I did some good though, I mean, who around here now complains about ‘Political Correctness Gone Mad’?

    And I was scientific – nobody could question the general assumptions of my arguments.

    I have a long list for that also, but again stocks permitting.

    What do you think David?

  9. Send stuff as word documents to ddaviseducation@aol.com and I’ll see about publihsing them Steven.

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  12. On Science:

    “Research programmes

    Lakatos’ contribution to the philosophy of science was an attempt to resolve the perceived conflict between Popper’s falsificationism and the revolutionary structure of science described by Kuhn. Popper’s theory as often reported (inaccurately) implied that scientists should give up a theory as soon as they encounter any falsifying evidence, immediately replacing it with increasingly ‘bold and powerful’ new hypotheses. However, Kuhn described science as consisting of periods of normal science in which scientists continue to hold their theories in the face of anomalies, interspersed with periods of great conceptual change. Popper acknowledged that excellent new theories may be inconsistent with apparently empirically well supported older theories. For example, he pointed out in Objective Knowledge (p.200) that Newton’s theories were inconsistent with Kepler’s third law. However, whereas Kuhn implied that good scientists ignored or discounted evidence against their theories Popper regarded counter evidence as something to be dealt with, either by explaining it, or eventually modifying the theory. Popper was not describing actual behaviour of scientists, but what a scientist should do. Kuhn was mostly describing actual behaviour.

    Lakatos sought a methodology that would harmonize these apparently contradictory points of view, a methodology that could provide a rational account of scientific progress, consistent with the historical record.

    For Lakatos, what we think of as a ‘theory’ may actually be a succession of slightly different theories and experimental techniques developed over time, that share some common idea, or what Lakatos called their ‘hard core’. Lakatos called such changing collections ‘Research Programmes’. The scientists involved in a programme will attempt to shield the theoretical core from falsification attempts behind a protective belt of auxiliary hypotheses. Whereas Popper was generally regarded as disparaging such measures as ‘ad hoc’, Lakatos wanted to show that adjusting and developing a protective belt is not necessarily a bad thing for a research programme. Instead of asking whether a hypothesis is true or false, Lakatos wanted us to ask whether one research programme is better than another, so that there is a rational basis for preferring it. He showed that in some cases one research programme can be described as progressive while its rivals are degenerative. A progressive research programme is marked by its growth, along with the discovery of stunning novel facts, development of new experimental techniques, more precise predictions, etc. A degenerative research program is marked by lack of growth, or growth of the protective belt that does not lead to novel facts.

    Lakatos claimed that he was actually expounding Popper’s ideas, which had themselves developed over time. He contrasted Popper0, the crude falsificationist, who existed only in the minds of critics and followers who had not understood Popper’s writings, Popper1, the author of what Popper actually wrote, and Popper2, who was supposed to be Popper as reinterpreted by his pupil Lakatos, though many commentators believe that Popper2 just is Lakatos. The idea that it is often not possible to show decisively which of two theories or research programmes is better at a particular point in time whereas subsequent developments may show that one is ‘progressive’ while the other is ‘degenerative’, and therefore less acceptable was a major contribution both to philosophy of science and to history of science. Whether it was Popper’s idea or Lakatos’ idea, or, most likely, a combination, is of less importance.

    Lakatos was following Pierre Duhem’s idea that one can always protect a cherished belief from hostile evidence by redirecting the criticism toward other things that are believed. (See Confirmation holism and Duhem-Quine thesis). This difficulty with falsificationism had been acknowledged by Popper.

    Falsificationism, (Popper’s theory), proposed that scientists put forward theories and that nature ‘shouts NO’ in the form of an inconsistent observation. According to Popper, it is irrational for scientists to maintain their theories in the face of Nature’s rejection, yet this is what Kuhn had described them as doing. But for Lakatos, “It is not that we propose a theory and Nature may shout NO rather we propose a maze of theories and nature may shout INCONSISTENT”[3]. This inconsistency can be resolved without abandoning our Research Programme by leaving the hard core alone and altering the auxiliary hypotheses. One example given is Newton’s three laws of motion. Within the Newtonian system (research programme) these are not open to falsification as they form the programme’s hard core. This research programme provides a framework within which research can be undertaken with constant reference to presumed first principles which are shared by those involved in the research programme, and without continually defending these first principles. In this regard it is similar to Kuhn’s notion of a paradigm.

    Lakatos also believed that a research programme contained ‘methodological rules’, some that instruct on what paths of research to avoid (he called this the ‘negative heuristic’) and some that instruct on what paths to pursue (he called this the ‘positive heuristic’).

    Lakatos claimed that not all changes of the auxiliary hypotheses within research programmes (Lakatos calls them ‘problem shifts’) are equally as acceptable. He believed that these ‘problem shifts’ can be evaluated both by their ability to explain apparent refutations and by their ability to produce new facts. If it can do this then Lakatos claims they are progressive[4]. However if they do not, if they are just ‘ad-hoc’ changes that do not lead to the prediction of new facts, then he labels them as degenerate.

    Lakatos believed that if a research programme is progressive, then it is rational for scientists to keep changing the auxiliary hypotheses in order to hold on to it in the face of anomalies. However, if a research programme is degenerate, then it faces danger from its competitors, it can be ‘falsified’ by being superseded by a better (i.e. more progressive) research programme. This is what he believes is happening in the historical periods Kuhn describes as revolutions and what makes them rational as opposed to mere leaps of faith (as he believed Kuhn took them to be).

    The Milton Friedman neoclassical economics case study

    In August 1972 a case study of the methodology of neoclassical economics by Lakatos’s London School of Economics colleague Spiro Latsis published in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science found Milton Friedman’s methodology to be ‘pseudo-scientific’ in terms of Lakatos’s evaluative philosophy of science, according to which the demarcation between scientific and pseudo-scientific theories consists of their at least predicting testable empirical novel facts or not.[5] Latsis claimed Friedman’s instrumentalist methodology of neoclassical economics had never predicted any novel facts.[6] In its defence in a three-page letter to Latsis in December 1972, Friedman counter-claimed that the neoclassical monopoly competition model had in fact shown empirical progress by predicting phenomena not previously observed that were also subsequently confirmed by empirical evidence.[7]But he notably never actually identified any specific economic phenomenon as an example of any such successfully predicted positive novel fact.[8]

    In early 1973, as Editor of the Journal, Lakatos invited Friedman to submit a discussion note based on his December 1972 letter to Latsis for publication in a symposium on the issue of the scientific status or not of neoclassical economics . Lakatos even assured Friedman he would have the last word.[9] But Friedman never took up Lakatos’s invitation. Three years later, in 1976 Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics without this outstanding charge of ‘pseudo-science’ ever having been publicly conclusively rebutted. The citation for Friedman’s prize said it was awarded “for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilisation policy.” But four Nobel Prize laureates protested at Friedman’s award, and most notably the 1974 joint laureate of the Economics award, Gunnar Myrdal, complained that Friedman’s prize (and also Hayek’s) was undeserved because the economics did not qualify as a science, thus apparently concurring with Latsis’s judgment that Friedman’s economics was ‘pseudo-scientific’.”

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