Monthly Archives: October 2010

Goodbye, Mr E!


Michael Winning

I spot today courtesy of Legiron that Mr Eugenides is closing his blog-nissen hut (as our mr-D down the road calls them) and making his typewriting chimps redundant. Mr D says we have those too, nevver seem to have seen them myself but there you are…..

I’m sure Mr E though wont mind if I reprint his valedictory bit in full as I share his feelings about the bloody politicos:-

This post marks a couple of milestones in the life of this blog. It’s the fifth anniversary of this collection of enraging musings from your average potty-mouthed Greek baby; five years of abuse, vitriol, incoherent fury and the occasional, very occasional, gem of a gag. It’s been A Journey – if that doesn’t make me sound too much like il cunto di tutti cunti – and I couldn’t have done it without you. Well, obviously, I could; but it would have been at least 13% less fun.

It’s also the last post I’ll be writing.

Regular readers will have noticed a drop-off in posting these past few weeks and months, and those that have appeared have often been one-liners, links to other sites; lazy blogging. After a bit of soul-searching, I’ve decided to discontinue the blog.

Partly this is due to busy-ness in the real world, but that’s only half the story. The other half is a noticeable dropping off in my levels of rage since the prime raison d’etre for that fury were ejected from office in May. I share the scepticism of some readers towards many aspects of the new government’s platform, and worry that their reforms will be too timid, their policies wrong-headed, their instincts far from libertarian. I worry, in short, that they will disappoint us, as I know you do too.

But what I don’t have now is that same hate. The last administration filled me with disgust; the mere sight on my telly of a Charles Clarke, a John Reid, a – God forgive me for even typing the words! – Patricia Hewitt, sent me flying into almost uncontrollable loathing. And without fury, without rage, without spite, this blog is nothing, really – or at least, not what it was – because the way it’s written, it is set up for polemic, not placid discussion.

In as far as I owe you anything, it is, I would say, not to confect outrage over things which don’t really upset me, not to try and find hate where none exists. I’m in a more placid place, and I think that the country’s got at least a fair chance of becoming a better place with that horrendous shower out in the cold; and that’s as good a place as any to leave it.

I don’t entirely rule out resurrecting this blog at some future point, maybe in something like its current form, or a different incarnation; under the pen name I chose all those years ago, or under my real name. If that happens, I hope you’ll come and find me, and we can start calling a new generation of political leaders dickheads together… because something tells me they always will be.

I’ve been Mr Eugenides, and you’ve been a wonderful audience. Good night, and good luck.

I enjoyed reading his bits, from time to time. Is it just me, or are some liberal and libertarian bloggers just, well, getitng tired?

The Libertarian Alliance Conference is Doing Well


Sean Gabb

We’re now into the afternoon session of day one, and all the speeches so far have been of high quality. Certainly, my new camera lights have given the video footage an almost televisual glow.

I will upload the video footage late next week.

If you view a spiral staircase along its axis, does perspective make it describe an equiangular spiral?


David Davis

I just spotted this stuff at David Thompson’s place, and I just wondered. Here’s a suspiciously equiangular one:-

All equiangular or logarithmic spirals follow the general formula

r = ae^(θ*cot k)

where r = radius of spiral at any cumulative angle from zero (radians), a is a coefficient, e is what “e” is, θ = the total of radians turned from r=0, and k is the “characteristic angle”, being the angle between the radius at any point and the tanget at that same point.

Such spirals describe the shape of galaxies, the flare rate of nautilus and mollusc shells, the patterning of sunflower seeds, and the flow of water out of a rotating sprinkler.

Entertaining table-talk for the LA dinner tomorrow!

How soon will the Euro be toilet-paper?


David Davis

I remember way back when, in the heady days of the launch of the Europe in, oh, about 1998: some Eurofella said “We have now placed the roof on the House of Europe. The task now is to build the foundations.”

That sums it up, pretty much. Now they’re discussing how fast, and to what extent, to defraud Euro Bond holders. The selling by Gordon Brown of 400 tons of our gold, at about the time the Euro went public and into circulation, at a pre-announced and shortable price, also comes to mind.

Poor People Were Libertarians, Once – Counting Cats in Zanzibar


 

Poor People Were Libertarians, Once – Counting Cats in Zanzibar

FLC198, The Coalition and the Economy: A Fanning of Stale Air, Sean Gabb, 28th October 2010


FLC198, The Coalition and the Economy: A Fanning of Stale Air, Sean Gabb, 28th October 2010.

David Webb on Pension Reform


Doh – I sent this directly via e-mail. It was stripped out. Apologies to all, and here is the post as it should have been.

Dear Dr Gabb,

I am on holiday in China, but want to send you some comments on pension reform, but I couldn’t find a thread on the LA site to post it in. Would you consider opening a thread on this topic?

I am totally opposed to the government’s decision to force all companies with more than 50 employees to have a pension scheme and to auto-enroll all employees in it. While it is good for everyone to have a pension account, a scheme run by your company is not yours to manage and control – and in times of economic downturn it can leave companies nursing large pension deficits for people who no longer even  work for the company, requiring extra money to be put in just at the wrong time.

In Hong Kong, all employees contribute to their Mandatory Provident Funds, and I think their employers either can or have to contribute too. I would like to see a system whereby national insurance was totally scrapped, and everyone on PAYE (as long as it lasts, as libertarians would scrap income tax altogether) be required to contribute 10% of their monthly salary into their own SIPP, self-administered personal pensions. The company could also contribute more (but not be forced to), and all these SIPPs would be up to you yourself to manage. You could make the decision to invest in commodities, emerging markets or whatever yourself, and your pension scheme would be your own – and also your own problem. There would be no pension debts in company accounts (or only for already retired employees as the existing arrangements are phased out), and no public sector pension deficits either. Quite simply, all public servants would also pay 10% of their salaries into their SiPPs too.

There would be no 200k pension for ex-police chiefs – quite simply police chiefs would pay 10% of their existing salaries into their SIPPs and manage the assets themselves thereafter. For most people, the abolition of NI would largely cover this scheme, and it would eventually free up the population from total reliance on the state in their autumn years. I would not increase civil service pensions to cover the fact that they were now having to pay into their own SiPPs – the abolition of NI (which would require cuts elsewhere) would cover that – and existing pension monies, where they existed would be distributed to the pension members as contributions to their SIPPs. Quite simply there would be no pension assets other than the SiPPs, which everyone would hold.

I would then abolish the state retirement pension as an entitlement. Those after 65 whose SIPPs had not earned enough could apply for income support (a benefit, not an entitlement). Clearly we have to think about getting out of the whole social security arena, but that would be easier to do in the future when everyone had saved up a bit in their SIPPs.

I would also make pension assets fully inheritable with no inheritance tax. Currently that is only the case between spouses. I would also totally remove the requirement ever to buy an annuity, which is just one way of making sure there is nothing left of pension assets when you die. I would also look again at the 25% lump sum that can be taken out of your pension at 55. As long as the pension assets remaining after a lump sum was taken out were enough to finance a retirement, there would be no need to restrict the lump sums to 25%. Eg if you had 1 million in your pension, why should you only take out 250K as a lump sum? As 750k is more than is required to finance your retirement, assuming a 400K pension paid a 28K pension at a 7% annuity rate. In other words, I am saying anything over 400K should be available as a lump sum free of any tax. And some access to pension monies earlier than 55 years of age, eg to buy houses, should be facilitated, as long as there was enough left in the pension fund to reasonably expect to fund your retirement.

I know libertarians want to get the state out completely, but I think what I outlined above would be a good stepping stone. It would make it easier to fully get the state out later on, as people would have assets. The point about abolishing the trillion-plus public sector implicit pension debt at a stroke would be a huge improvement in our country’s finances.

Regards, DJW

“Would a libertarian society deprive individuals of cultural roots and collective identity?”


David Davis

The title above is the question set by Sean Gabb for the imminent 2010 Chris Tame Memorial Prize (it’s £1,000 for all you reader chaps – our millions every day! –  but you are probably too late already as the conference is this coming weekend!)

As an Officer of the LA myself, I am barred from taking part in this annual competition, the subjects of which for the past several years I have itched to talk about. However, I can throw in my three-half-penceworth for free now.

It interests me, how societies grow up, enlarge, consolidate, and then seem to die or just fade away. Being a scientist, I’d like there to be some rule or general formula to describe this progress, for it seems  – whether sadly or happily (for societies sometimes evolve that are better than what was before) but I don’t think anybody agrees on one.

Libertarians believe, in general, that if liberty comes first, then order will follow. An order which is pleasing to the individuals in that society will naturally arise, as a result of how these people think they and others who come in to it ought to behave. But what is “order”? I think “Order” is the state that will exist when the majority of that society are behaving in a way, and transacting businesses and contracts and agreements in a way, that makes them all believe they are doing right and justice by each other. This state could be calibrated by the measuring of the levels of conflicts, or their absence.

We used to have a badge, in the “Alternative Bookshop”. It said:-

LIBERTY IS THE MOTHER AND NOT THE DAUGHTER OF ORDER

You could not make that up: only intellectual libertarians could think that that would make a marketable badge. I think we sold …..three. Between 1980 and 1983. (I do have one of them somewhere, I think. I will try to find it in my library…..)

History shows us that the most unlibertarian societies seem to be those which have been most successful at cutting people off from their cultural roots and previous collective identity. Let me count the (a couple of?) ways:-

(1) Hitler succeeded (although aided and abetted by Kaiser Wilhelm II before him) in turning arguably the most cultured, scientifically-advanced and civilised nation in Europe into a perverted parody of a barbaro-technocratic warrior-tribe (I reference “national socialist mathematics” as but one example of what went on. )

(2) The obsession with “Year Zero” is indicative. I think Pol Pot had one of these diseases. Er….it was for Cambodia. He’d have had no compunction about having another one right after, if he’d not killed all the spectacle-wearers in the first one. (Spectacles made you into an intellectual, and since these were mostly Bourgeois, they’d have to go.)

I’m being called so it will ‘ave to do for now. But you get the idea. I think that, far from denying a people (whatever a “people” might be defined to be) its collective identity and cultural roots, I think that a libertarian state, which would be very minarchist and minimalist if it could exist at all, would be the very thing that could allow a “people” to express its identity in any collective ways it wanted, which of course would be entirely voluntary by definition.

Sorry if this steals the thunder of whoever is the winner (I hasten to add that I have not seen any of the submitted essays, as Dr Sean Gabb guards them closely until publication) but I had to say this.

My country, my ass!


David Davis

Global Warm-Mongeringroaners still at it


David Davis

Viw Bishop Hill I note this interesting video.

And Samizdata notes that the same droids are trying to massage the data yet further.

DD talking to the Americans


Josie M. Jordison (guest writer)

I see that our blog-managerbot David Davis has been opining about what you Brits call “The Special relationship”. He appears on Facebook from time to time, and a few people near here follow him. He’s being a bit simplistic and takes nothing into account about whether his enemy class politicians share such a vision or want to believe in it.

He’s got to go look up that old “Punch” cartoon of the late 60s, in which your Prime Minister Wilson is shown trying to clean an elephant, along with LBJ. The caption is “OK LBJ, I’ll scrub a little harder”.

Libertarian Alliance Dish of the Day: “Builders’ Tea Granita”


Michael Winning

I’ve got the bad flu so in early from the Hill. Pigs all indoors now in nights as frosts have arrived.

Watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on the Idiot’s Lantern just now, and saw this:-

BUILDERS’ TEA GRANITA

(What’s a granita? Isn’t that where Blair knifed Brown in the chest all those years ago?)

Large flaggon boiling water, (about 5 or 6 pints I reckon although he edidnt say)

24 tea bags, 50 heaped teaspoons of sugar, about 2 pints of milk. Boil for a minute or two to dissolve all the sugar. Strain into flat tin oven things, cool, and put in the freezer. Mash up the resulting icy stuff and crunch in into teacups, is what it looked like.

The laboratory animals seemed to like it, on the telly, and all clapped.

William Paley on English Liberty


The liberties of a free people, and still more the  jealousy with which those liberties are watched, and by which they are preserved, permit not those precautions and restraints, that inspection, scrutiny and control, which are exercised with success in arbitrary governments. For example, neither the spirit of the laws nor the people, will suffer the detention and confinement of suspected persons, without proofs of their guilt, which it is often impossible to obtain; nor will they allow that masters of families be obliged to record and render up a description of the strangers or inmates whom they entertain; nor that an account be demanded, at the pleasure of the magistrate, of each man’s time, employment, and means of subsistence; nor securities to be required when those accounts appear unsatisfactory or dubious; nor men to be apprehended upon the mere suggestion of idleness or vagrancy; nor to be confined to certain districts; nor the inhabitants of each district to be made responsible for one another’s behaviour: least of all will they tolerate the appearance of an armed force, or the military law, or suffer the streets and public roads to be patrolled by soldiers; or, lastly, entrust the police with such discretionary powers as may make sure of the guilty, however they involve the innocent. These expedients, although arbitrary and rigorous, are many of them effectual: and in proportion as they render the commission or concealment of crimes more difficult, they subtract from the necessity of severe punishment. (William Paley, Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy (1785), 17th edition 1809, Vol. II, pp. 295-97).

The Trouble With Keynes | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty


 

The Trouble With Keynes

October 1993 • Volume: 43 • Issue: 10 • Print This Post6 comments

Dr. Garrison teaches economics at Auburn University in Alabama and is a Contributing Editor of The Freeman.

The economics of John Maynard Keynes as taught to university sophomores for the last several decades is now nearly defunct in theory but not in practice. Keynes’ 1936 book The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money portrayed the market as fundamentally unstable and touted government as the stabilizer. The stability that allegedly lay beyond the market’s reach was to be supplied by the federal government’s macroeconomic policymakers—the President (with guidance from his Council of Economic Advisers), the Congress, and the Federal Reserve.

The acceptance in the economics profession of fundamentalist Keynesianism peaked in the 1960s. In recent decades, enthusiasm for Keynes has waxed and waned as proponents have tried to get new ideas from the General Theory or to read their own ideas into it. And although the federal government has long since become a net supplier of macroeconomic instability, the institutions and policy tools that were fashioned to conform with the Keynesian vision have become an integral part of our economic and political environment.

A national income accounting system, devised with an eye to Keynesian theory, allowed statisticians to chart the changes in the macroeconomy. Dealing in terms of an economy-wide total, or aggregate, policy advisers tracked the production of goods and services bought by consumers, investors, and the government. Fiscal and monetary authorities were to spring into action whenever the economy’s actual, or measured, total output, which was taken to reflect the demand side of markets, fell short of its potential output, which was estimated on the basis of the supply side. Cutting taxes would allow consumers and investors to spend more; government spending would add directly to the total; printing money or borrowing it would facilitate the opposing movements in the government’s revenues and its expenditures.

A chronic insufficiency of aggregate demand, which implies that prices and wages are somehow stuck above their market-clearing levels, was believed to be the normal state of affairs. Why might there be such pricing problems on an economy-wide scale? What legislation and government institutions might be standing in the way of needed market adjustments? These questions were eclipsed by the more politically pressing question of how to augment demand so as to clear markets at existing prices. The New Economics of Keynes shifted the focus of attention from the market to the government, from the economically justified changes in market pricing to the politically justified changes in government spending.

Politicians still appeal to basic Keynesian notions to justify their interventionist schemes. The continued use of demand-management policies aimed at stimulating economic activity—spending newly printed or borrowed money during recessions and before elections—requires that we understand what Keynesian economics is all about and how it is flawed. Also, identifying the flaws at the sophomore level helps students to evaluate in their upper-level and graduate courses such modern modifications as Post, Neo, and New Keynesianism as well as some strands of Monetarism.

The extreme level of aggregation in Keynesian economics leaves the full range of choices and actions of individual buyers and sellers hopelessly obscured. Keynesian economics simply does not deal with supply and demand in the conventional sense of those terms. Instead, the entire private sector is analyzed in terms of only two categories of goods: consumption goods and investment goods. The patterns of prices within these two mammoth categories are simply dropped out of the picture. To make matters worse, the one relative price that is retained in this formulation the relative value of consumer goods to investment goods as expressed by the interest rate is assumed either not to function at all or to function perversely.

The Importance of Scarcity

Pre-Keynesian economics, such as that of John Stuart Mill, as well as most contemporaneous theorizing, such as that by Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek, emphasized the notion of scarcity, which implies a fundamental trade-off between producing consumption goods and producing investment goods. We can have more of one but only at the expense of the other. The construction of additional plant and equipment must be facilitated by increased savings, that is, by a decrease in current consumption. Such investment, of course, makes it possible for future consumption to increase. Identifying the market mechanisms that allocate resources over time is fundamental to our understanding of the market process in its capacity to tailor production decisions to consumption preferences. But as Hayek noted early on, the Keynesian aggregates serve to conceal these very mechanisms so essential to the intertemporal allocation of resources and hence to macroeconomic stability.

In Keynesian theory the long established notion of a trade-off between consuming and investing is simply swept aside. Consistent with the assumed perversity of the price mechanism, the levels of consumption and investment activities are believed always to move in the same direction. More investment generates more income, which finances more consumption; more consumption stimulates more investment. This feature of Keynesian theory implies an inherent instability in market economies. Thus, the theory cannot possibly explain how a healthy market economy functions–how the market process allows one kind of activity to be traded off against the other.

The “Multiplier-Accelerator” Theory

The inherent instability makes its textbook appearance as the interaction between the “multiplier,” through which investment affects consumption, and the “accelerator,” through which consumption affects investment. The multiplier effect is derived from the simple fact that one person’s spending becomes another person’s earnings, which, in turn, allows for further spending. Any increase in spending, then, whether originating from the private or public sector, gets multiplied through successive rounds of income earning and consumption spending.

The accelerator mechanism is a consequence of the durability of capital goods, such as plant and equipment. For instance, a stock of ten machines each of which lasts ten years can be maintained by purchasing one new machine each year. A slight but permanent increase in consumer demand for the output of the machines of, say, ten percent, will justify maintaining a capital stock of eleven machines. The immediate result, then, will be an acceleration of current demand for new machines from one to two, an increase of one hundred percent.

The multiplier-accelerator theory explains why consumption is increasing, given that investment is increasing, and why investment is increasing, given that consumption is increasing. But it is incapable of explaining what determines the actual levels of consumption and investment (except in terms of one another), why either should be increasing or decreasing, or how both can increase at the same time. Students are left with the general notion that the two magnitudes, investment and consumption, can feed on one another, in which case the economy is experiencing an economic expansion, or they can starve one another, in which case the economy is experiencing an economic contraction. That is, Keynesian theory explains how the multiplier-accelerator mechanism makes a good situation better or a bad situation worse, but it never explains why the situation should be good or bad in the first place.

Only at the two extremities in the level of economic activity is a change in direction of both consumption and investment sure to occur. After a long contraction, unemployment is pervasive and capital depreciation reaches critical levels. As production essential for capital replacement stimulates further economic activity, the macroeconomy begins to spiral upward. After a long expansion, the economy is bulging at the seams. Markets are glutted with both consumers’ and producers’ goods. As unsold inventories trigger production cutbacks and worker layoffs, the macroeconomy begins to spiral downward. Keynes held that the economy normally fluctuates well within these two extremes experiencing a general insufficiency—and an occasional supersufficiency—of aggregate demand.

Textbook Keynesianism

In the simplistic formulations of macroeconomic textbooks, investment is simply “given”; in Keynes’ own formulation, the inclination of the business community to invest is governed by psychological factors as summarized by the colorful term “animal spirits.” Keynes recognized that there are some “external factors” at work, such as foreign affairs, population growth, and technological discoveries. The market is envisioned, in effect, to be some sort of economic amplifier which converts relatively small changes in these external factors into wide swings of employment and output. This is the basic Keynesian vision.

Wage rates and prices are assumed either to be inflexible or to change in direct proportion to one another. In either case the real wage (W/P) is forever constant. The actual level of wages and prices is believed to be determined (again) by external factors—this time, trade unions and large corporations. If the real wage is too high, there will be unemployment on an economy-wide basis. There will be idle labor and idle resources of every kind. The opportunity cost of putting these resources back to work is nothing but forgone idleness, which is no cost at all. The assumed normalcy of massive resource idleness assures that the perennial problem of scarcity never comes into play. William H. Hutt and F. A. Hayek were justified in referring to Keynesian economics as the “theory of idle resources” and the “economics of abundance.”

Textbook Keynesianism has a certain internal consistency or mathematical integrity about it. Given the assumptions that prices and wages do not properly adjust to market conditions, that is, the assumption that the price system does not work—then the Keynesian relationships among the macroeconomic aggregates come into play. Even the policy prescriptions seem to follow: If wages and prices do not adjust to the existing market conditions, then market conditions must be adjusted (by the fiscal and monetary authorities) to the externally determined prices and wages.

In the final analysis, however, Keynesian theory is a set of mutually reinforcing but jointly unsupportable propositions about how certain macroeconomic aggregates are related to one another. Keynesian policy is a set of self-justifying policy prescriptions. For instance, if the government is convinced that wages will not fall and is prepared to hire the unemployed, then unemployed workers will not be willing to accept a lower market wage, ensuring that wages, in fact, will not fall. Thus, while the intention of Keynesian policy is to stabilize the economy, the actual effect is to “Keynesianize” the economy. It causes the economy to behave in exactly the same perverse manner that is implied by the Keynesian assumptions. This convoluted interrelationship between theory and policy has long obscured the fundamental flaws in the theory itself.

Students often ask the obvious question: Why is government policy grounded in such a flawed theory? From a political point of view, advocating and implementing Keynesian policy is the surest way to election and re-election. The gains from printing and spending money are immediate, highly visible, and can be concentrated on individuals who make up powerful voting blocs. The costs of this policy are incurred at a later date and can be spread thinly across the entire population, making the link between policy and long-run consequences difficult for the voting public to perceive.

The fading in recent years of old-line Keynesianism in academic circles provides little comfort. Even as the number of demand-managers continues to decline, it is from this shrinking group of economists that government officials seek advice and reconciliation. And opportunities to lecture to the seats of power rather than in the halls of learning have a way of changing some economists’ minds about the advisability (political if not economic) of managing aggregate demand. Printing and spending money in pursuit of short-run stimulation if not long-run stability remain the order of the day.

There is good reason, then, to study Keynesian theory: It helps us understand what the policymakers in government are likely to do in any given circumstance. But to understand the actual effects of their demand-management policies in the long run as well as the short, we need a more enlightening theory—one that recognizes what market forces can do on their own to maintain macroeconomic stability and how those forces are foiled by government-supplied stabilization.

The Trouble With Keynes | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

The GramscoStaliNazi long march to pre-capitalist-barbarism…


…continues.

David Davis

The Knowsley Soviet, here in North West England, gains the “Gramscian-Education-of-the-masses Grand Challenge Cup”, for aiming low, missing, and also coming bottom. Mistakes this big, as Ayn Rand said, are deliberate.

And whaddaya-know? Boys “fall further behind”. Anyone who looks at any part of the British GCSE “syllabus” will see that it’s designed to demotivate males in particular. For example, there is a “topic” in the “Biology syllabus”, occupying about one whole term of “BY1A”, about the female menstrual cycle (in serious detail including hormone levels day by day) and coupling it (sorry, no pun intended) with “aspects of the control of fertility”, going into the days for “safe sex” and how, whether and why to use “artifical methods of birth control” such as “The Pill”. Seriously, some female biology high-school teachers spend a whole term on it. The feelings of boys in the class can only be imagined. I refuse to teach it, saying only “ask your mum”.

http://www.knowsley.gov.uk/

I do hope not, seriously.

Ian B Knocks Al Baron’s Free Public Transport Plan on Head


Er, even if the math is correct-

I don’t use the railways, hardly at all. £212 extra tax per year would be a great deal to me. Those people commuting for two grand a year are doing so to save accomodation etc. costs nearer to work. So what you’re really asking is a standard public choice rip-off; one group get subsidised by a theft from the general masses which is too small to incite them to revolution. The process that got us where we are today.

People who pay two grand for a season ticket are doing so because working far from home nets them more than two grand more than working nearer home. That’s their choice which they are entitled to make. Damned if I’m going to pay so they can benefit though.

One likely thing that would happen is that subsidising commuters like this would lead to more commuting. That would lead to the tax bill steadily rising, transferring ever more payments onto those who don’t commute. THere wouldn’t be any cost savings from “efficiencies”. There never are.

Very bad idea. Classic anglo-socialism, in fact.

Al Baron on Free Public Transport. Spot the Fallacy, Please


Anyone interested in this rather obvious idea, please follow the link at the bottom of this message.

So let us assume the following:

Revenue for the quarter at £1.594 millions = £6.376 billion for one year

If this burden were to be placed on 30 million taxpayers, that would mean, in addition the existing government subsidy, around £212.50 per person per year, less that £4.10 per week.

BUT, and here is the but, there would be massive savings all round because all the ticket staff and most of the auditors, etc, security staff, could be paid off.

And as more and more people used the railways, the cost per traveller mile would come right down.

Ask a commuter who is paying two grand and more a year for a season ticket if he minds paying a flat four quid a week extra in tax.

The question is not can we afford to give everyone in the country free train travel, but how can we afford not to?

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/uk.railway/browse_thread/thread/d965cd5ac11d64f8?hl=en#

http://www.financialreform.info/

Too little, too late


David Davis

Eight new nuclear power stations, to be ritually held up by the GreeNazis, will not plug the forthcoming gap in our generation capacity.

Did people know, by the way, that wind-turbines, the ones with the biggish blades, have to be turned by the grid in low wind or no-wind situations, to stop the blades sagging and unbalancing?

Strategic Offence and Insecurity


Christopher Houseman

So, the great threats du jour are cyber-terrorism and international terrorism in the style of al-Qaida. Hmm… I can see why we’ll need a couple of new aircraft carriers to fend off those evil beasties, especially if HMG can’t afford to put any planes aboard them. Still, at least nobody’s talking about renting the (not yet completed) aircraft under a PFI scheme, along with the refueling tankers.

Meanwhile, in the name of “not giving in to the people who’ve been angered into action by our previous intrusions into their lives terrorists”, HMG has either got to carry on with business as usual (which means buying enough kit and posting enough troops in the right places abroad to placate the US government) or at least reassure everyone that’s what it intends to do as soon as it can print enough new money convince the markets it’s solvent again.

Personally, I doubt a mere 8pc cut in the MOD budget (while everyone else takes a hit of up to 25pc) will be enough to woo foreign creditors back in their droves. But at least as Remembrance Day draws near, we can all pause a while to give thanks for this country’s glorious victory over the evil Nazi supporters of “Guns before butter”, and encourage ourselves with the thought that the British people are far too noble and wise to fall for that old lie.

Trevor Philips has been reading Mein Kampf again


Michael Winning

188 pigs all OK for the night, but Ive got a bad cold and came in and saw this.

Hes still doing the long march through the institutions. Guess he thinks he’s winning still. Does he have a child at private school? Anyone know? He badmouths them something deep.

VDARE.com: 10/13/10 – News From England: The New Ruling Class And Taxpayer Funded Brainwashing In "Sindia-Lesbianopolis"


 

VDARE.com: 10/13/10 – News From England: The New Ruling Class And Taxpayer Funded Brainwashing In "Sindia-Lesbianopolis"

Drupalisation Continues


http://78.31.106.232/

I’ve given up on trying to make sense of hierarchical menu creation. Either it doesn’t work or I haven’t been able to understand the jargon-ridden blog postings I spent much of last night trying to decode. However, using the tags as menu links seems to work well – especially if you accept that the only way to order the items under each menu link is to play about with their authoring dates.

But how can I make the lists of items look tidier? For example, with the Free Life Commentary menu, I get page after page of results that would look better and be more compact if each listing were confined simply to its title.

Any help?

Sorry if none of the above makes sense to you. But I am presently upgrading my personal website, partly so that I shall be able to understand the new website being created for the Libertarian Alliance.

Regards,

Sean

Perhaps they could just attend the call, instead of twatting the callout


David Davis

Life imitates art, yet again.

Talk about “security-theatre”.

Man is the Lord of creation: we must, however, stop the socialists from harming him


David Davis

I am groping at the Problem of Evil.

“Los 33″ have been rescued, flawlessly, in less time than estimated, from deeper than ever before. Not even a GramscoStaliNazi (or at least I hope not? Although I view these people slightly less orgasmically-charitably than Sean Gabb does) could grudge the thanks that first of all must be due to heroic and un-named scientists and engineers.

OK OK OK…I admit it….I’m a Catholic. It’s a fair cop and you’ve got me bang to rights, honest, guv, officer. I’ll come quietly.

But I also know with every fibre of my being that God never intended us to be barred from learning how to know, and then knowing, What Is In His Mind. Adam may be “fallen”, but as a scientist I am quite sure that God never meant to hide what He has Indicated to us, (“order”) through Science and Englineering, the things and stuff which might be available in the Universe, and which we could use on our orienteering-challenge to discover Him and understand His Mind.

Yeah-but-no-but…I mean…What else can there be for a sentient being to aspire to? X-factor? (I thought that was a 70s-USA-cosmetics firm, until I discovered other people’s interests…)

The things and stuff we could use? Like copper and silver and gold in the Atacama Desert. Who’d have thought, a mere 5,400 years ago, that you could do such stuff as we do, with stuff from the funny little molten streams of red-hot-thingy that flow from smelted rocks, eh, when you get the guys to jump up and down hard enough on their bellows? You could make axe-heads that would last a few hours rather than seconds, and…then you could remelt and reforge them when they went blunt! I think it’s marvellous, and worth every penny, and we’ll get to the Stars using it, some day.

Nobody’s thanked the mining-engineers yet, but I hope someone will. And the Germans who sent the steel cable: ought not someone to thank them too? The Chilean President, who seems like a good sort of bloke with whom one could have a drink in a pub (non-smoking, as is allowed under the present terms of discourse), might set the ball rolling – after all, he can’t fail to profit politically right now, can he.

Man may be tiny and insignificant as an animal. But his mind is a giant structure, entirely capable of demolishing anything that GramscoStalinism, and its wimpish and stealthily-gradualist little handmaiddroid GramscoFabiaNazism can put in our way. I do not know if all these nasty little post-renaissance socialist “isms”, which serve no purpose but to hold individual people back singly and in droves, are accidental artefacts of the Universe, or whether there is a Devil. As far as The Devil goes, I am an agnostic. It may be that the Vector Sum of all interactions of all kinds in the Universe is zero over its lifetime, and that it is “neutral”, and that therefore “evil”  minus “good” means that its angular momentum turns out to be zero.

But I hope that the P/L account, on the Last Day, shows a credit balance in favour of Order. Liberty is its mother, you know.

John Gouriet – Memorial


John Gouriet died suddenly on the 4th September 2010. Here is my brief note of this sad event:

http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/rip-john-gouriet-1935-2010/

Mrs Gouriet tells me that the The Memorial Service will be at All Saints’ Church Westbury Wiltshire on Friday 22nd October at 12noon.

Unravelling the confusion and impending tragedy: what are the objectives of University Education?


David Davis

In Simon Heffer’s piece today, there is a groping attempt at a solution. He’s still a bit bitty statist though, and he’s always totally wrong and unsound on drugs (not mentioned here, thank goodness.)

Conservatives ought to know better by now


David Davis

Over at Guido’s place, someone called Tim Yeo, described as a “Conservative”, writes in the Guardian about increasing spending on “green” projects, such as windfarms and the like.

There is nothhing intrinsically bad about writing pieces for the Guardian, if that gets your rocks off for you. However, most liberals in the classical sense are more like classical conservatives than Guardian readers and contributors tend to be: they are also more skeptical than not, about the next neopastoralist-fad-religion such as GreeNazism.

Yeo of course, as you shall see, takes  one position where the placing of wind-farms is concerned if it benefits his pocket, and quite another where it will affect him personally regarding a particular one. This is standard GramscoStaliNazi behaviour and has been seen on countless occasions to date, in others.

I do not view these people while wearing quite the same charity-tinted glasses through which dear Sean Gabb looks, when he talks of the Enemy-Class. The extent of his magnanimity towards them astonishes me. To my mind, there can be no really useful place for many of the “top people” in this group, once an approximately libertarian civilisation emerges and becomes self-sustaining.

Various from Sean Gabb


Several matters:

1. Here is a video of the Libertarian Alliance President, Dr Tim Evans. He was speaking last month in London to the other Libertarian Alliance.

http://vimeo.com/15037407

2. I shall be speaking in Oxford, to the Libertarian Society there, on Tuesday the 19th October 2010. Here is a link to the event:

http://groupspaces.com/oxlib/item/73295

3. The Libertarian Alliance Conference will be held in London at the National Liberal Club during the weekend of the 30th and 31st October
2010. As ever, it will be a jolly event. Here is a link to the conference brochure, which includes a booking form:

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/conferences/conf10brochure.htm

4. The Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize Essay closes in the next fortnight. If you want to win £1,000 for what I consider a very trifling effort in terms
of writing, do look here for the details:

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/conferences/prize10.htm

And do bear in mind that I have waived the requirement for hard copy submission as unreasonable to foreigners. All you need do is send me a
Word attachment and I will consider your effort.

5. Mrs Gabb has instructed me to get rid of my Private Eye collection. This runs, with several breaks, from 1979 to 2005. It includes several
copies from the early 1970s that I bought as a child. Would anyone like to take all these off my hands? If you want to give me some money, I shall be
delighted. But do you want to take them from me and give them a good home? If so, do contact me.

Regards,

Sean

PS – I am Drupalising my website. Does anyone know of a module that will allow me to drop Word test straight in, complete with formattings and hyperlinks?

Utter brilliance


Michael Winning

Over at Mark Wadsworth who I have started reading regularly. Its a goody, you’ll have to read it yourself, I can’t do it justice, me.

I didn’t think history could be “new”


Michael Winning

Scanning the papers just now this caught my eye. I can’t quite decode the article, it smells like inclusivist socialist claptrap but I can’t be sure. All this though is eyewash. We had a perfectly sound history curriculum until about the 1970s when all the marxist fellows camew out of the “teacher training colleges”.

All we have to do surely is go back to the way it was done, and just update for the last 30 years? Oh and we can delete all that apoligising for slavery stuff. The rest of the world should apologise to us for continuing it against oour laws.

A for arrogance?


Michael Winning

Good debate about Apple versus PCs and apple in general, over at Samizdata.

“Bad news coming” thought Winston…


Christopher Houseman

No, not the impending cuts of so many public payroll salaries (some of which have jobs associated with them), but rather a certain commonality in the Coalition about the motives for their present course of action.

Nick Clegg has assured the LibDems that he doesn’t want to cut the state for the sake of cutting it. No, he wants to cut it so he can rebuild the state differently. Likewise, Liam Fox has informed the Tories that he doesn’t want to cut defence and nor does David Cameron (cue Tory applause) – but at the moment, he has no choice.

Thus is the libertarian ideal of a smaller state smeared in the eyes of political activists and the wider public as a necessary evil, a stopping-off point to be endured on the road to the sunny uplands of a reshaped and re-expanded State tomorrow.

Unless libertarians can convincingly and appealingly present to the public the truly joyous reality of being able to work (or not) as we please, with whom we please, to offer goods and services we’re proud of to whomever we please, libertarians will remain marginalised and misunderstood. They’ll be seen as an articulate but callous bunch, perversely rejoicing over the wider dislocation and misery caused by the State’s champions ditching the minions they think they can most easily do without.

When faced with people determined to do exactly the wrong thing, Lenin’s “The worse the better” dictum may be an accurate response to their failures. But it’s no way to market anything to anyone.

PS. I note the Tories’ pledge to let headteachers discipline children for misbehaviour on the way to and from school. I leave the last word on this news to John Taylor Gatto:

As schooling encroaches further and further into family and personal life, monopolizing the development of mind and character, children become human resources at the disposal of whatever form of governance is dominant at the moment.

I decided to start an argument about Wikipedia….


…and the EU.

David Davis

I just wondered how long it would take Wiki to take down all the stuff we’d like to write about the EU in its wikipage. Just an experiment really. I don’t expect it will come to anything, and we shall stay enslaved. I just idly left it on Bookface too, but, well, there you go.

interesting development


Michael Winning

Donald Trump for US President? Could be. We here in Britain ought to care who is the US President, we got it wrong in 2008, and we owe it to ourselves to make sure the next one is better than Barry O’Blimey.

And I agree with old DD. We ought to start soudnning like a collection of people that plan to influence and direct the domestic policies of other nations that aren’t ours, some of which matter to us a lot, adn some of which could be unfriendly one day unless we do something.

A caption competition from me


Michael Winning

I haven’t done one of these, but how about this which I found over at Old Holborn?

Apologies, OldH, I now see it was for yours too. Oh we,ll

Gun control kills British soldiers in Afghanistan…


Christopher Houseman

according to this BBC article. So how will it keep British civilians safe at home?

EU “big bugger” Barroso tells it like it really is


David Davis

Finally, finally…..they’ve come out with the truth which we could see all the time.

As Jan Hus said, “The Truth Will Always Prevail”. (“Pravda vitezi”…I think?)

What shall we do?


David Davis

Look guys.

I sit here, all clever and intelligent, and keyed up to do really really important libertarian stuff, like, er, liberating people. The problem is,

(1) Nobody likes us, anywhere, ever, for we are seen as nerdy wierdos who like freedom, guns and drugs,

(2) We have no guns, not even machine-longbows on large trailers which would be good (can we have some please?) or even a rubber-band catapult to rub between us,

(3) The Booby-See won’t air us. It will only put up Sean Gabb, who is their favourite “extreme right wing” Patsie, at whom it is permissible to throw stuff at the wireless. And only on the radio (if it put him on the telly, we might win and they can’t allow that. He is quite good-looking.)

We can blog at each other, like we do every day, till we are blue in the face like the hair-rinses of Old Tory Widows. It is very nice. It is a substitute for action to recover liberty. This is why libertarian blogs are closing down at the rate of…oh…about 1 every 2,000 days. (We work in long timescales, lefties! Beware! We will KNOW YOU in 200,000 years, even if you are dead, and we shall charge your descendents for Gordon Brown’s debts. With interest, compound.)

Obo the clown went down a few days ago. It’s sad, he was funny, he used naughty words which perennially-upset the GramscoStaliNazis every day, and he wished Harriet Harman to be raped and murdered (later), but he will be replaced by someone else in the Fyrd, who will occupy his space in the Shieldwall.

But I can’t help thinking that this sort of thing is not really the answer.