Monthly Archives: March 2011

Telstar


MIchael Winning

For some light reliefe from the good stuff below, I always wanted to find a cover for this to see if it was better than the Tornadoes. See what you think

Pigs at the Trough – £63k for 70 days a year – and what about his pension?


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

David Edmonds reappointed as Chairman of Legal Services Board

David Edmonds has been reappointed as Chairman of the Legal Services Board for a further three-year term. The reappointment is from 1 May 2011 until 30 April 2014.
The reappointment was made by the Lord Chancellor in consultation with the Lord Chief Justice in accordance with the Legal Services Act 2007.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice, Jonathan Djanoglysaid:
I am very pleased that David Edmonds has accepted a further term of appointment as Chairman of the Legal Services Board. There are vital and exciting challenges ahead for the legal profession and I believe the leadership displayed by David will provide a steady foundation for ensuring the legal profession of England and Wales remains world leading well into the future.
David Edmonds said:
I am delighted to be reappointed to this post. Maintaining momentum in the modernisation and reform of both regulation and service delivery is crucial for lawyers and the clients they serve. I look forward to leading the LSB over the next three years as we help to bring about that change.

Notes for editors:

  1. The reappointment will be from 1 May 2011 until 30 April 2014.
  1. The role is remunerated at a rate of £63,000 per year for a minimum of 70 days per year.
  1. The Legal Services Act (“The Act”) created the Legal Services Board as a new regulator with responsibility for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. The new regulatory regime became active on 1 January 2010.

4. The LSB oversees eight Approved Regulators, which in turn regulate individual lawyers. The Approved Regulators, designated under Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the 2007 Act, are the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Master of the Faculties, the Institute of Legal Executives, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys and the Association of Costs Lawyers.

5. In addition, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants are listed as Approved Regulators in relation only to reserved probate activities.

6. The legal profession consists of some 15,157 barristers, 116,122 solicitors and 12,116 individuals authorised to operate in other aspects of the legal profession such as conveyancing. In total the legal sector employed over 324,000 individuals in 2010. The sector was valued at £25.97 billion per annum during 2008.

7. The draft 2011-12 LSB business plan can be found at: http://www.legalservicesboard.org.uk/what_we_do/consultations/open/pdf/lsb_business_plan_10_web_final.pdf

For further enquiries please contact Ramandeep Bhatti on 020 7271 0061.

Ramandeep Bhatti | Administrative Assistant | Legal Services Board
Victoria House, Southampton Row, London, WC1B 4AD
T 020 7271 0061
E ramandeep.bhatti

Review of “Cultural Revolution, Culture War” by Sean Gabb « Foseti


The book is a blueprint for a reactionary takeover of the British government (thanks to Kalim Kassam – I think – for the recommendation).

Gabb suffers from no illusions, as he makes clear early on: "The truth is that we have lost every argument at any level that matters. On all issues during the past quarter century or more, we have failed to set an agenda to preserve—let alone to re-establish—ourselves as the free citizens of an independent country. We have lost."

I have very little to quibble with in this book. Gabb sees clearly identifies the problems that modern reactionaries face. Our opponents control government (which has become more and more immune to change) our education system and most of our culture. They are importing a new people to further cement their power.

After discussing the problem, Gabb discusses what a reactionary movement would do in power. Here’s a summary in his own words:

I suggest, therefore, that within days of coming into power, we ought to shut down large parts of the public sector. . . .

The chief purpose is to destroy the present ruling class. Moving as fast as we can, we must abolish as much as we can of its institutional means of action and support. . . .

Our education policy would need to be more complex. On the one hand, we should cut off all state funding to the universities. We might allow some separate transitional support for a few science departments. But we should be careful not to allow another penny of support for any Economics or Law or Sociology or Government and Politics department, or for any course with the words “media”, “gender”, or “ethnicity” in its name. . . .

On the other hand, we would have to keep the schools open—not because their teaching is needed, but because of their childminding function. Most people would neither notice nor care about losing things like the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy, but they would object to having to find somewhere else to put their little ones during the day. Therefore, the schools would stay open. . . .

Following from this, I suggest that our government of reaction should stop gathering and publishing official information. We should want no more censuses, or balance of payments statistics, or epidemiological surveys—no more government reports or future projections. . . .

I would like to see the abolition of both income tax and value added tax and their replacement with property taxes. These are simple to assess and collect, and cannot be used to justify the sort of financial inquisition that we now have. . . .

And so I will make it clear that when I talk about a free market, I do not mean a legal framework within which giant corporations are able to squeeze their suppliers, shut down their small competitors and socialise their workers into human sheep. I have already said I would not defend the landed interest. I would very strongly favour an attack on the structures of corporate capitalism. . . .

The Company Acts allow them to incorporate so that their directors and shareholders can evade their natural responsibilities in contract and tort. They are, for this reason, privileged in law. The alleged justification is that, without such limiting of liability, ordinary people would not invest money in organisations that provide us with necessary or useful products. The institution is, however, undesirable. . . .

Above all, we should work towards the abolition of limited liability. . . .

I would suggest abolishing all new criminal offences created since around 1960. . . .

As a libertarian, I would go further and repeal all the laws against sale and possession of recreational drugs, and all the laws against the right to keep and use weapons for defence. . . .

On the other hand, the Monarchy has been co-opted by the present ruling class as a front organisation. Its function now is to persuade the unreflective that there have been no fundamental changes. The reign of our present Queen has been, so far as I can tell, one long and uncomplaining surrender to the forces of revolution. . . .

Wherever possible, ancient forms should be preserved in their outward appearance and adapted to modern uses. After all, one of the main reasons why the Great Revolution failed in France was the wanton abandoning of symbols that restrained the will of men to unbridled power. . . .

But turning to foreign policy in general, we should work towards isolationism. The war in Iraq is now generally accepted to have been a disaster. But so is the war in Afghanistan. So was the war with Serbia. The Cold War and the two world wars served no valuable national interest. We should withdraw from NATO and every other military alliance. We need armed forces sufficient to defend our own territory. We should not pretend that it is either our duty or our ability to join in policing the world.

He then gets a bit wishy-washy on immigration. He considers this proposal to be radical, and it is, but I’m not sure it’s radical enough to dislodge the present ruling class. He cites two examples of direct frontal attacks working to destroy a ruling class: Henry VIII destroying the "Roman Church in England" and the events of 1641. Unfortunately that was probably the last time that any attacks worked. Progressivism is undefeated since then.

His plan for taking over government is much less inspiring:

My answer in the short term is that we must assist in the destruction of the Conservative Party. While it remains in being as a potential vehicle of government, every initiative from our movement will be taken over and neutralised. . . .

The present ruling class came to power not all at once, but by a silent capture, over several decades, of the main cultural and administrative institutions. We may not by the same means be able to dislodge it from this power. But we can bring forward the moment when the ruling class will eventually run out of commitment, and begins to transform itself into an increasingly timid ancien régime. Remember, these people are at war not just with us, but with reality itself. That war must always be lost in the end. . . .

The book is an interesting read, but I’m not sure a revolution by democratic means is possible.

Review of “Cultural Revolution, Culture War” by Sean Gabb « Foseti

Forthcoming Events


If you can understand the message below, you will see that I shall be speaking by video next month at a conference of Italian libertarians. Since I’ve never done this before, I am very excited. I may even get my Chinese camera lights out of storage. This time, they might not explode on me!

I have also been booked to speak at a libertarian event in Brussels. More details when I can remember them.

In both cases, let me hasten to add, I shall be speaking in English. If with varying degrees of fluency, I read about seven foreign languages, I try to avoid having to speak any of them.

Love to all,

Sean

Ciao Sean, nessun problema per ieri effettivamente la chat di facebook non sempre funziona. :-)

Ok, va molto bene il video messaggio da mettere su Youtube.

Skype a volte ha problemi di qualità di connessione, inoltre il problema del fuso orario rispetto a dove ti troverai tu in quei giorni e la sede del congresso anche in riferimento alla scaletta della manifestazione con il video viene risolto.

Il video deve avere una massima durata di circa 15 minuti, ovviamente l’argomento del video lo decidi tu (sarebbe comunque interessante che tu al suo interno facessi riferimento per il pubblico dei presenti, al ruolo e le attività della Libertarian Alliance in UK, i suoi obbiettivi, le azioni messe in campo al fine di diffondere il libertarianismo e le idee di libero mercato nel tuo Paese).

Al massimo quando sarà pronto il video, manda il link Youtube in una email al seguente recapito degli organizzatori dell’evento: contact

Al massimo per sicurezza mandalo anche via messaggio di posta Facebook a me o a Leonardo Facco e Rivo Cortonesi.
Grazie mille per la tua disponibilità Sean, spero che l’anno prossimo tu possa partecipare di persona come relatore ufficiale della conferenza Interlibertarians 2012 a Lugano.

Magari organizzandoci per tempo qualche mese prima. ;-)

Un saluto
Luca

Sean Gabb. The Churchill Memorandum–Reviewed by Kevin Carson


 

Sean Gabb. The Churchill Memorandum – a book that, even unread, has driven several people mad!

Sean Gabb. The Churchill Memorandum (Lulu.com, 2011).
Although I don’t write about it much, I’m an alternate history geek.
I’ve got a whole shelf of them, ranked according to what genre fans call the "Point of Divergence" (POD). Among my favorites are Harold Waldrop’s Roll Them Bones, which starts from the premise that Rome lost the Second Punic War and Mother Carthage inherited the Hellenistic culture of the East, and Poul Anderson’s short story "In the House of Sorrows," which posits that Jerusalem fell to Sennacherib and that the fall of Rome and the Dark Ages occurred without the Church to preserve classical culture and literacy.

My favorite of all time is probably Orson Scott Card’s Pastwatch. In that story our own timeline is the result of historical engineering, undertaken by scientists from the original timeline in order to avert the catastrophe in which their history culminated. In the original timeline, Columbus’ life’s work was traveling among the royal courts of Christendom whipping up support for a new Crusade to smash the power of the Turk and liberate Constantinople and Jerusalem.

With the discovery of the New World delayed by almost a century, a Mesoamerican people managed to supplant the Aztecs (much as the Persians did the Medes) and reinvigorate their dying empire. They expanded to incorporate a people far to the northwest whose smiths were quickly advancing from copper smelting to working with iron, and another people on the Caribbean coast who were developing the first true ships built on a keel. Equipped with firearms and gunpowder, whose secrets they tortured out of the first shipwrecked Portuguese crews.

But the most popular points of divergence, by far, are the American Civil War and World War II. The Churchill Memorandum, by Libertarian Alliance Director Sean Gabb, falls under the second heading. In his alternate timeline, Hitler died in a car wreck in the Spring of 1939 and was succeeded by Goehring.
Goehring quickly instituted a revisionist version of National Socialism. Among the more unlikely "revisions" was the announcement that the general hostility toward the Jews was all a "misunderstanding," and that National Socialism properly understood opposed only the big international financiers — who were no longer a threat in any case.

During the Polish crisis Goehring and Chamberlain sewed up a stable peace which amounted to a de facto condominium between Germany and the British Empire. The pact guaranteed the independence of France and the Low Countries, in return for a free hand in Eastern Europe. Stalinist Russia and Japan, as second-rate powers, rounded out the balance.

The main unknown was the United States, which the Germans feared would tip the balance toward the British Empire. Hence the Chamberlain-Goehring agreement included a secret codicil, key to the cloak-and-dagger plot, which guaranteed geopolitical stability by removing America as an independent force in world politics. The British arranged the assassination of FDR, followed by a succession of other presidential assassinations, finally resulting in a coup which established a sort of deranged fascist regime under Harry Anslinger (just Google the name). America at the time of the story’s setting was an authoritarian hellhole, completely withdrawn from the rest of the world.

At the time of the setting, twenty years after the POD in 1959, Nazi Germany’s government pursues what we would regard as a neoliberal agenda, with Mises and Hayek dominating the Cabinet. Britain is under a Conservative government, with what would be regarded as relative economic freedom in conventional politics (although without such obviously central prerequisites to genuine economic freedom as a land reform based on thoroughgoing attention to the principle of justice in acquisition). As a result, technology has advanced at a much faster rate in the Empire than it did in our timeline. Casette recorders and cheap home energy generators are common, and electric cars have mostly replaced the IC engine. That old alt hist standby the airship makes its appearance as the primary means of long-distance travel — quite plausible, given the unlikelihood that jumbo jets would ever have come into existence absent a superpower arms race. Germany is a sponsor of the Jewish Free State in Palestine against Britain’s protectorates in the Arab world.

The plot centers on a scheme by Harold MacMillan and Communist Party chief Michael Foote to track down and publicize the Churchill Memorandum, and thereby expose the secret skullduggery between Goehring and Chamberlain which is at the foundation of the geopolitical order. Their hope is that public outrage in Britain will lead to a rupture with Germany, that a revanchist movement in America will lead it to reenter world politics on the side of the new Labour coalition, and that Britain will be thrown into the arms of Soviet Russia. With the British war against Germany that is likely to ensue, in alliance with Russia and America, MacMillan and Foote intend to restore the "progressive" course of history which was thwarted by Chamberlain.

I’ve had my issues with Dr. Gabb in the past over his view of the beneficence of the British Empire. Frankly, if our only choice is between benevolent British imperialism and the kind of "liberation" promoted by American Cold War policy, it’s a pretty dismal prospect.

But what I find especially appealing about the story — aside from an afficionado’s curiosity about how an alternate timeline turns out — is its treatment of power. There really are no good guys. The world order enforced by London, no matter how much less of an evil Gabb considers it, is built on betrayal and murder. Chamberlain removed America as an inconvenience, in the process handing over its entire population to totalitarian rule, as casually as most of us would swat a mosquito.

Perhaps most intriguing is the way that, with all the major actors and world powers reshuffled like the bits of colored paper in a kaleidoscope, the lines of political power automatically link them together in the same way that an arc of electricity in a lightning bolt follows the shortest path. In a radically different world, with radically different alignments, political leaders and states nevertheless gravitate toward power just as water flows downhill. This is a universal law of history that seems to hold regardless of which specific figures are in power, so long as power exists at all. So long as political power exists, it will be abused by those who hold it in the interest of aggrandizing their own power.

Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism: Sean Gabb. The Churchill Memorandum

Race And Libertarianism: Left And Right


by Michael Parish

http://quagmire-abeautifulmind.blogspot.com/2011/03/race-and-libertarianism-left-and-right.html

As of late there been a surge of discussion regarding the role of race in Libertarianism, centered around the theoretical debate between Keith Preston and the ALL. Due to the confusion, both conceptual and practical, it is mired in, I have prepared this piece. This is intended as both a critique of the Left-libertarian conception of race, and as a clarification for the movement generally.

Left-Libertarians refer to “racism” on a regular basis, although they when they do they are referring to it in the abstract, as a mental concept, and not to concrete instances thereof. This is a key conceptual flaw, causing it to be defined in a sense so broad as to lose all meaning. Specifically, they define it as and/or equate it with authoritarianism but this is an ontological fallacy. According to Libertarian theory, authoritarianism is defined as state intervention that directly restricts the individual from the exercise of his or her negative rights. Racism, on the other hand, that rejects individuals in the social sphere because of percieved attributes associated with their race. The former is a form of agency occuring in the physical world; the latter is an idea occuring only within an individual’s mind. Therefore, the ontological distinction between the two could not be clearer.

Because of this distinction, racism is not necessarily a form of authoritarianism but a set of opinions that, if adhered to by individuals in power, could be manifest in a form of authoritarianism; however, this is not predetermined, as it can exist inert within the human mind independent of the state. However, the same can be said of its antithesis, left anti-racism, which the Left-Libertarians adhere to. This can be seen manifested in a number of policies, including but not limited to anti-discrimination law, affirmative action, and “hate speech” and “hate (i.e. thought) crime” legislation, all of which are wholly incompatible with Libertarianism. The reveals to us that the tendency towards statism is a natural human one, instantiated not within any specific ideology but within human nature itself; any ideology can lead to statism should its adherents if so inclined assume institutional power.

The Left-Libertarian will extend his claim by classifying the voluntary organization of individuals into racially exclusive communities as a form of authoritarianism; this is argued on the ground that their implied exclusion of those outside their race is a violation of their right to free movement. However, according to Libertarian theory, if property is privately as the basis for free association, then this includes the right to not associate. Conversely, there is no right in this tradition to not experience discrimination or to enter someone else’s property without their permission. If this applies to private property on an individual basis, then it does also on a collective basis, as the voluntary aggregation of property can be reduced to its individual constiuent parts. Therefore, the voluntary creation of a racially exclusive community is not authoritarian nor do its exclusionary policies constitute a violation of another’s freedom.

In their mistaking this, the Left-Libertarian conflates Libertarianism with liberal humanism, and misuses “authoritarianism” as a blanket term for any form of social organization they disagree with, regardless of its being voluntarily. In doing so, their conceptions of these things cease denoting concrete objects of discussion and devolve into mere abstract concepts, which in turn devolves the clarity of their movement. One function of this is the apparent backslide into the positive rights theory of the statist-left, as indicated by the theoretical fallacy discussed in the previous paragraph. It should be noted that the desire for National Anarchists to secede from the dominant society and create exclusivist communities in the absence of the state should be welcomed by Left-Libertarians; however, their hysterical denunciations of such a proposition appear very much in contradiction to their current adamant exclusion of them from the anti-state movement.

Hillary Clinton Lets the Cat Out of the Bag


by Kevin Carson
http://c4ss.org/?p=6529

In an interview with Denise Maerker of Televisa, during her February trip to Mexico, Hillary Clinton explained why drugs couldn’t be legalized: “I don’t think that will work. I mean, I hear the same debate…. It is not likely to work. There is just too much money in it, and I don’t think that—you can legalize small amounts for possession, but those who are making so much money selling, they have to be stopped.”

At first glance, you might think this is just economic illiteracy. After all, it’s just common sense that the reason there’s “so much money” in drugs is BECAUSE they’re illegal. They fetch a black market price. If pot was legal and sold for the same per ounce as oregano, you think there’d be Mexican gangs fighting to control the border trafficking in it? The best way to “stop” the people “who are making so much money selling” is to make the stuff cheap and legally available.

It stands to reason that the biggest foes of legalization — even more than the drug cops — are the folks in organized crime who make money off the drug trade. I vaguely recall an anecdote about a “dry county” election somewhere in the deep south; the local bootlegger’s car was plastered with bumper stickers reading “For the sake of my family, keep X County dry.”

But on closer examination, I suspect Clinton’s remark was a Freudian slip. She wasn’t guilty so much of exposing her ignorance as of inadvertently giving the uninitiated a brief glimpse of the truth. The truth is that the government won’t legalize drugs is that there’s too much money — for them and their allies — in keeping them illegal.

It’s basic economics that creating a black market in any criminalized substance will, in turn, create organized crime networks that profit from trafficking in controlled substances. Prohibition resulted in the explosive growth of organized crime in America.

But what some people don’t realize is that one of the organized crime gangs that profit from controlling the drug trade has blue for its gang colors. On the crudest level, of course, you’ve got cops on the take who allow some drug traffickers to operate — just so long as they pay protection money. Or cops who seize the stuff and then sell it. But it would be a mistake to treat this as just a “bad apples” problem. Police culture is corrupted to its very heart by the Drug War. Drug criminalization doesn’t just enable the profits of syndicates in Colombia or Mexico. It props up a sordid empire of militarized SWAT teams that terrorize families and murder innocent people in their homes, of civil forfeiture larceny enabled by jailhouse snitches, and of “Interjurisdictional Drug Task Forces” overflowing with cash. The entire police culture associated with the Drug War — just as much as what we conventionally think of as organized crime — looks like something beneath an overturned rock.

The Drug War, in short, is where all the money is. You can’t legalize drugs because there’s too much money in keeping them illegal — for the cops.

On a much larger scale, the biggest narcotraffickers in the world are the U.S. National Security State and its clients. Afghanistan is a case in point. One reason the Taliban were so unpopular was that they stamped out opium production. The only place in Afghanistan where the poppies were being cultivated on a large scale was in the Northern Alliance territories. So the U.S. overthrows the Taliban, the CIA handlers on the ground set up the Northern Alliance as the new national government — and Afghanistan is once again the center of world heroin production.

Drugs can’t be legalized because there’s too much money in it — for the international spooks. That includes the big banks that launder all the drug money and buy politicians all over the world (including in the U.S.). It includes the CIA, which has historically used the drug trade to fund death squads and coups all over the world.

There’s too much money — for the state and its allies — in keeping drugs illegal. Kind of makes you wonder whose side the state’s really on.