Libertarian Alliance Welcomes Acquittal in “Extreme Porn” Case – but Where is Emma West?


Libertarian Alliance News Release
Contact Details: Dr Sean Gabb
07956 472 199, sean
Friday the 10th August 2012
Immediate release

The Libertarian Alliance welcomes the acquittal of Simon Walsh on the charge of possessing “extreme pornography.” It sees the acquittal as a victory for freedom of expression.

The Facts

Simon Walsh, a barrister and former adviser to the Mayor of London, was charged with possessing images of acts between consenting adults. The law used was section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which outlaws pornography depicting acts which would cause “serious harm to the anus, breast or genitals”. On Thursday the 9th August 2012, the jury acquitted him on all counts

Statement

Speaking today, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, made these points:

1. There should be no law against the creation and publishing of any image depicting acts between consenting adults. Doubtless, the more extreme the act, the more investigation there should be regarding the reality of consent. In this case, however, it was reasonably plain that the parties had consented and were enjoying themselves.

2. There should be no law against the mere possession of any image. Possession of images should be used as evidence of involvement in illegal acts. But laws against possession in itself are a licence for the police to fabricate evidence.

3. The acquittal of Mr Walsh should be seen as a victory for free expression and a vindication of our ancient system of trial by jury. However, the main target of censorship by the British State is no longer sexual expression but dissidence against political correctness. The Libertarian Alliance notes that Emma West, a white working class Londoner arrested in 2011 and charged with “hate crimes,” has still not been brought to trial. There have been repeated and ill-explained delays, and there is reason to believe that the authorities are hoping to wear her down by delay into pleading guilty. They are frightened that, as with Mr Walsh, their oppressive laws against freedom of expression will not bear scrutiny by a jury of twelve ordinary people.

4. Emma West is as much a victim of state oppression as Mr Walsh. In her case, indeed, the process has become the punishment. The Libertarian Alliance calls on all those individuals and groups who provided moral support for Mr Walsh to give the same support to Miss West. We cannot make a principled defence of freedom of expression if we support only those of whose expression we approve. Either we support Miss West in the same was as we supported Mr Walsh, or we do not really believe in freedom of expression.

End of Copy

Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. He is the author of over a dozen books and a million words of journalism. He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at sean

His recent novel, The Churchill Memorandum , asks what England and the world have been like in 1959 if there had been no Second World War. If you like Bulldog Drummond and Biggles and the early James Bond, this will be right up your street.

Or his book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back , explains how its current ruling class has turned England into a totalitarian police state, and how this ruling class can be overthrown and utterly destroyed.

Or another of his books, Smoking, Class and the Legitimation of Power , explains how the current “war” on smoking has nothing to do with making individuals healthy, but everything to do with enhancing the power of a totalitarian ruling class, and enriching its relevant client groups.

You can see other books by Sean Gabb here .

Extended Contact Details

The Libertarian Alliance is Britain’s most radical free market and civil liberties policy institute. It has published over 800 articles, pamphlets and books in support of freedom and against statism in all its forms. These are freely available at http://www.libertarian.co.uk

Our postal address is

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27 responses to “Libertarian Alliance Welcomes Acquittal in “Extreme Porn” Case – but Where is Emma West?

  1. Yes – unlike the activties that the late Mr Gore Vidal suppored (in a campaign that led to the creation of the NAMBLA orgainsation) there is no mention of children in this case, also it is about “images” – not actual acts. On the question of consent between adults – there may be limits, for example the recent German case of “consentual” cannibalism. I would be hard to convince that such an act really was consentual – and that the balance of the mind of the person who “consented” was not disturbed.

    Unlike determinists I believe that humans are “beings” – i.e. are capable of making CHOICES (real ones) so consent (even consent to death) is possible. We are not just “irational” things (rather than reasoning agents) as recent books by leftist writers sugggest (such authors seem unaware that if people really were irational creatures they would not be able to write such books – although perhaps the authors regard themselves as different from ordinary humans who are just “manipulated by corporations” or whatever). However, that does NOT mean that all our actions are clear choices (acts of agency – free will), our minds can be disturbed (for example by drugs), So one must be very careful about “consent”.

    Of course if humans are not beings (not free will agents) then what happens to them is of no moral importance (there is no moral responsbility if there is no agent – for no real CHOICE has been made) – no more than what happened to clockwork duck is of moral importance. However, as a libertarian I reject the idea that humans are just flesh robots – rather than agents (free will beings).

  2. A great way to start the day. Well done LA.

    I’ve not followed the case of Mr Walsh, so no nothing at all about ‘the ins and outs’ of him or Boris’s other chums. But Sean, as he usually does, gives reasons enough why the CPC should cease trying to goal those who refuse to ‘bend to their will’. (Couldn’t resist that – kinda made its own way in. (The entire case does seem somewhat like a Monty Python sketch don’t you agree?). However, I truly couldn’t care less what happens to the present Mayor of London… or any one of his sodding cronies.

    However, back to the fear of police investigations and the possible ensuing trial process:

    Some people, it doesn’t matter if they be guilty of an alleged crime or not, are NOT intimidated by either the police, the court itself (ie. the building – which can of itself cow the accused) barristers, judges or any minor court official – robed or unrobed, or even the sentencing itself. In fact, after a few times around the system, the entire process can be great fun for many. The punishment really, really is hearing the cell door lock, then the turnkey’s retreating footsteps which inevitably leave a sense of isolation and silence. Silence for who knows how long – maybe forever?

    Even that dread however, many human beings quickly become accustomed to. I’ve spoken at length to many ex cons and they all say the same thing.

    At that precise point, many will pick up a book – any book if there is one – Others might cry silently, often tearlessly just for a minute or so. Others fall to sleep, others start immediately to plan their next crime or, worse still, some diabolical act of revenge. Only the innocent truly suffer when the turnkey departs. They have nowhere to turn you see. Perhaps we ought never to forget that.

    Nevertheless, I agree that the ‘process’ is intended be the primary punishment by the silly arses running the current crop of outrageous PC parades.

    Sean Gabb:

    Sean’s book seems imaginative and well worth a read. Is it available in proper book form though? Kindle to me means something like the kind of dried twigs and stuff that get my fire started of an evening.

  3. Paul,

    The issue of sound mind is a difficult one. Libertarianism undoubtedly is a very good philosophy for persons who are capable agents. There will always be the awkward question of the unsound, and everyone agrees that some persons are unsound of mind.The problem is deciding precisely who. The problem with the Post marxist, post modernist, neo-puritan GramscofabiaNazi whatever we call thems is that they consider people who they dislike to be unsound of mind. Thus, whether it be sexual acts they disapprove of, or the holding of opinons (e.g. on race) they disapprove of, they presume the persons to be unsound of mind, and need either corrective treatment or removal from society.

    I remain relentlessly horrified by the Emma West matter. But I see it, as I think Sean does, as much the same as locking people up for looking at or producing dirty pictures, which is a travesty of liberty our society has indulged itself in for a very long time- since the first wave of Reformers/Progressives. William Wilberforce freed the slaves, but was instrumental in creating the regime that has taken the freedom from an awful lot of prostitutes, pimps and pornographers. This general principle, the idea that persons of low moral character, be they “racists” or “sexual deviants” has been gnawing away at our liberty for so long now. Tony Blair might have advanced it by a leap and a bound, but did not start it.

    I must admit that while I can understand why many people think it rational to make these things against the law, at a gut level I remain baffled that persons of sound mind can really support such laws. From my perspective, they are not of sound mind and, perhaps, were I not a Libertarian, I might wish to either cure them of such ideas or, failing that, lock them up. :)

    • Ian – I agree that the sound mind thing is a slippery slope. It can be used (is used) as a justification for statism.

      Indeed with the left (whose books dominate the book shops – well apart from the endless shelves of soft porn) they would define just about everyone as being of non sound mind. Humans are not really rational agents…….therefore we (the enlightened ones) have the right (indeed the duty) to get the state to order you about.

      By the way – I suspect you are correct, there is religious thing here (even with the athiests). The Elect?

      Although Plato managed this idea without Christian imput.

  4. One other thing,

    I find it interesting that the Indie article says the CPS have been accused of being “out of touch”. This seems to me to display a touching naivete about why laws are made under the current (Reformist) regime. That is, it suggests that lawmakers and enforcers are supposed to be in some way enforcing the will of the people, in the sense of, the mass of the people, and that the law should reflect “our” values.

    Reformism doesn’t work that way. The whole point of it- derived I have argued from the Protestant zeal of the Reformation- is that a relatively small “elect” must rule the majority of “reprobates”. Thus, the last thing laws should do is represent the values of a populace who are mainly, by definition, morally unfit to rule ourselves.

    Does anyone believe that the “Extreme Porn” or “Cartoon Porn” laws were introduced in response to some great public will? There was no such will. They were introduced at the behest of the ruling class, in particular at the urging of the Feminist-aligned component of it. The laws are there precisely because most of us now consider porn to be either acceptable or, at worst, inevitable. If “the people” didn’t want to look at porn, they wouldn’t legislate against it; and conversely they legislate precisely because the rest of us are tolerant of it.

    Bear this in mind; a few months ago the remnant of the once-infamous Paedophile Information Exchange- a handful of broken, dirty old men, were jailed after the police raided their computers for… dirty cartoons. What we in the trade call Hentai, that is Japanese toons of big-eyed juvenile looking girls and boys like Marine Boy, but doing naughty things to one another. Not real kiddie porn, just cartoons. One would have thought that if a bunch of men who once campaigned for the legalisation of sex with minors have been reduced to looking at cartoons, that’s pretty much a total win for the State. But it wasn’t enough.

    Of course, nobody will stand up for the right of elderly nonces to look at Hentai. But it was, I felt, very demonstrative of the casual vindictiveness of a State driven by moralist hysteria. The spirit of John Calvin must have danced a jig on his cloud.

    • I missed the PIE persecution. I would have put out a news release had I known. I also didn’t know abour cartoon porn or that it was illegal.

    • Calvinism and the theology of the elect – I would like to believe it has bad political consequences (because I really despise this theology), however historically the record is much more mixed. Writers like Buchanan (in the 16th century) were not just theological Calvinists – they were also proto liberals argueing against Royal power. And even in the 19th century Calvinists such as Chalmers (Glasgow) were classic voluntariists – and Scottish civilization (the ultimate Calvinist civilization) was known for both reason and respect for liberty and personal responsbility (as hard as all this is to believe now). But the Scotland of Prof George Bell and Chalmers is long ago and far away.

      As for the Reformation generally – the danger is that the state would try and take up the education and welfare role of the Church (with a more systematic style and scale). For example Thomas Cromwell had such ideas in England – it was fortuntate he fell from power when he did.

  5. There are so many laws these days Sean. It’s hard to keep up. Like many of these things, which once would have been a major parliamentary Act subject to great scrutiny, in the modern Parliamentary sausage factory it was just one clause of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. It defines as child pornography any picture or drawing of anyone under 18, dong anything rude, or in the presence of anyone doing anything rude.

    Of course, it is impossible to prove the age of a drawing. If I, as a cartoon pornographer, do a bad drawing of a 20 year old that Plod and the CPS can convice a jury looks like a 17 year old, it’s the Sex Offenders Register and jail. Arbitrary justice, anyone?

    It also perpetrates the absurdity that I can fuck a 16 year old girl or boy, but if I draw a picture of it, I turn into a paedophile. Pure madness.

    The Remains-Of-Pie Prosecution was Plod going out looking for somebody to test it out on, and picking an easy target. I forgot to mention above, one of them was given an unlimited jail term(!). For cartoons.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jul/15/paedophiles-jailed-child-abuse-drawings

    • And we fuss about the “tyranny” of the European Union!

      • The EU is an extra layer of government therefore (almost regardless of its philiosophical origins) libertarians should oppose it. Even non anarchocapitalist libertarians (who believe in the defence justification for the state) should oppose the E.U. – because it is militarily useless (if one believes that the state has a legit function – the E.U. does not serve this function).

        However, I doubt that (for example) French statism (going back to the Louis XIV and so on) and Prussian statism (going back to Frederick the Great and so on) needed any help from the Anglosphere. And in terms of intelletual influence – British thinkers were influenced (in a bad way) by continental European thought (for example use the words “the state” is a positive way seems to be something that 19th century British, and American, thinkers get from German writings).

        Hayek was correct – the statist option is universal, there is always a temptation to go back to the collectivist morality of the hunter-gatherer back (which is what humans were).

        On religion – the division between voluntarists and statists in 19th century religious thought is a big topic.

  6. Well as I keep saying, the Anglosphere is the source. The EU and UN just reflect it back at us! :)

  7. I’m learning something new on this site every day. Where do you two pick all this stuff up from? It would help me (and many others I’m sure) if you’d occasionally explain what you two obviously understand well enough. What precisely do you mean when using the word Anglosphere – I’m just guessing here?

    Do you two know anything at all about cars or motorbikes – other than perhaps a deep freeze and that old piece of tat you keep because you think it might be antique – what wheels are in the garage? What about flying a plane – is it high wing or a low with a T tail? Running a business then or perhaps shooting clays? What’s the best country to be buying property in right now. It all helps relieve the tension you know.

    I enjoy reading this stuff although I’m clearly not entirely tuned in yet. Need to change frequency but don’t want to risk losing contact just yet.

    I’m a bit thick so PLEASE don’t run so far ahead. A few short explanations from time to time of anything you even ‘think’ we knuckle-dragging newbies might be struggling with.

    Cheers!

  8. John, I’m using the term here to describe the British descended countries- the UK plus USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. Basically the old colonial territories that share a common culture with local variations. It doesn’t include temprorarily imperial nations with their own culture (however much influenced by Imperial cultural dominance, e.g. India).

    My argument (which is my own, not something everyone agrees with) is that the Anglosphere experienced a massive cultural revolution in the 19th century characterised by the values of Puritan and Anabaptist descended/influenced religious groupings- the Methodists, Quakers, etc. This age or extremist, puritannical “reform” created the hegemonic set of values which many now consider to be “traditional”- this IMV being the mark of a successful cultural revolution; people afterwards feel that somehow things were “always like this” even when confronted with the ample evidence that such “tradtional” values were innovations of the Victorian and Progressive Eras.

    This value set has been imposed in successive waves of fervour, the latest being the phenomenon we call “Political Correctness”, and the driving force is a zealous, evangelical, moralist zeal. The targets sometimes change somewhat- a hundred years ago, homosexuals were in the frame. Now it’s “homophobes” or racists. But the underlyiing Reformist formation are the same mob.

    It’s hard to credit how total the transformation was. As late as 1860, Britain was a remarkably free country- and in the sense that citizens of other nations jealously (or disapprovingly) remarked upon it. By the outbreak of WWI, that was all over, and we had turned into a nation which, when for instance the government (driven by Reformists) decided to impose draconian restrictions on beer, meekly accepted it.

    So anyway, that’s what I’m alluding to. One day I’ll write this book I’ve planned about it, just for the thrill of nobody buying or reading it :oD

  9. Your opinion of your book is most likely inaccurate–it might well be the straw that breaks the state’s camelback. (altho’ cameltoe would be a better description of them).

  10. Dear old Ecks got in before me but anyhow, I’d like to read such a book, so I trust you manage to get down to writing it very soon. Just give us a choice of real book or electric one… please!

    The explanation was brilliant – now I understand a little better where you are coming from when using the term. Thank you very much for taking the time to write and post it. Most appreciated.

  11. Pingback: Eye on Britain (2)

  12. Paul, it’s a long and complex story, which is why it requires a book; but if we pick a starting point for such a story, it would be the Reformation, with the Victorian Era being a second wave after a relatively liberal. irreligious interlude (the 18th century), that period when Montesquieu wrote “there is no religion in England. If you mention it, people laugh”.

    The Reformation needs to be seen as the rise of a fanatical fundamentalism which, like all fundamentalisms claimed to be “rediscovering true [Christianity]” whilst in reality inventing an entirely new form. Of particular note perhaps in that regard is Calvin, the Marx or Qutb of Protestantism, who effectively manufactured an entirely new theological interpretation of Christianity- one whose pervasive effects have been, in my view, catastrophic. Only a proportion of Protestants call themselves Calvinists, but his ideas pervade the sect, in the same way as only a proportion of Leftists call themselves Marxists, but Marx’s “theology” pervades their thinking.

    So, Germany. Yes. Very much. My hypotheses are not contradictory to that Germanic nexus; indeed they embrace it. It is interesting to note that if one looks at a map of the Catholic and Protestant spheres, they map rather well onto the Roman/non-Roman world with, in each case, Britain somewhat awkwardly straddling categories. Compared to the ex Roman Empire, the German barbarians were late converts. Indeed there were still rebellions against Christian hegemony as late as the ninth century; a long time ago by our standards, but late in Christendom (and Scandinavia even later, being fully christianised barely before the Reformation in historical terms).

    There seems to be a repetitive effect in Judaic religions that newly converted groups are more zealous than groups who have been in the religion for a long time. Thus, new sects tend to emerge in the fringe. Christianity emerged among Jewish converts in the Roman Empire- and one might even raise an eyebrow at Jesus being a Galilean; the Galilee had been conqured and converted to Judaism (like the Idumeans) by the Hasmoneans, and thus Galileeans and Idumeans were still not considered “proper Jews” in biblical times. And of course Islam arose in the hinterland of Judaism/Christendom too.

    So from that perspective we might see Protetantism as a “little Islam” that arose among fanatical recent converts and which, as always in Judaic religions, resulted in a bloodbath over who was a proper Christian. But England largely escaped the reformation bloodbath, being neither one thing nor the other. England turned to Protestantism, uniquely, purely for Henry VIII’s benefit, not due to a fanatical popular conversion to the new faith. As such, his Anglican church was not a radical Protestant church. It was effectively Catholicism-without-the-Pope, with Catholic style worship still remnant as “high church anglicanism”.

    So, who were the Puritans? They were Englishmen drawn into the fanaticism of the new Germanic form of Christianity and wanted to convert all England to their “little Islam”. It was popular among the petty gentry, men of small mind but great zeal like Cromwell. And of course, they did succeed under Cromwell, for a short while, in imposing their theocractic Christianity. But then England’s broadly more liberal tradition threw off that yoke; and hence the relatively liberal following century which set us on the road to industrial revolution, libertarian thought, and the importance of commerce and trade.

    There is an interesting historical tragedy; Charles II wisely excluded the remnants of the puritan zealots from the institutions of power- the Parliament, the Church and the Universities (he used the pretext of an attempted coup by the Fifth Monarchy Men to do so). This was extremely sensible. Unfortunately, denied from privilege, this resulted in these non-conformists having to achieve success through their own efforts, which they did (partially due to a powerful networking effect similar to that among Jews which leads to conspiracy accusations). The result was that the rise of Capitalism and Industrialism brought with it the rise of these post-puritans, and that is a large part of the reason for the second wave of puritanism in the nineteenth century. And, this ideology fitted the rise of the new class like a glove, which is why it was so broadly adopted. The old ruling class had used ancestry/breeding as justification for power; the new ruling class, asked “why have you the right to such wealth and influence?” could fall back on a post-Calvinist justification; he would say to others, “because I have worked hard at the calling given me by God”, and quietly to himself, “because I am Elect and men such as I must rule the Reprobates for their own good”. And of course, that manifested in ostentatious displays of morality by that Elect; especially among their women… which is a whole other subject, but it is in their Calvinist zeal we find the rise of Reformism, universal schooling (originally intended for religious instruction), charity-as-missionary-work, sexually repressive Feminism, and a whole bunch of other things that would make this a very long list.

    And this is a very long comment already so I’ll stop blathering. Except to say again, yes, Germany as a model goes back a long way. But it is the Anglosphere which has dominated the world for more than two centuries, so it is our stew of ideology that has been predominant; particularly of late the American form which is many regards the most extreme and thus the most toxic. Nixon didn’t say, “we are all Americans now”, but that is what we are. The obsessions with race, with temperance and the like, are classic American Protestant movements. The obsession with “the Environment”- again, that started in Germany (and also in England) as pietism inspired Romanticism. But it took its importation into America, and mingling with their virulent puritanism, to turn it into an ideology of puritan self-denial. California Uber Alles, and all that.

    • John Calvin – treacherious bastard. Invite a man to a debate (who lives hundreds of miles away) then break safeconduct by having the man burned.

      Yes I despise the views of the Calvinists on theology (predestination – indeed double predestination) on art (whitewash everything – and that was when they were in a good mood), and even economics (John Calivin was certainly NOT pro capitalist – that is a myth).

      But I think it was the lack of a personal code that really offended me.

      Weak and hopeless I am – but the only way someone could harm someone who I had invited as a guest (even an enemy I had invited as a guest) would be to kill me first.

    • The comparison between Calvinism and Islam.

      In hostility to representation art (an interpretation of Jewish doctrine going back to the Ten Commandments) and in theology.

      Of course the radicalism of Muhammed is that he breaks with desert tradition – not just the law of hospitalty, but every other tradition also.

      For example, the rule respecting poets – especially ones that mocked you.

      When an old blind upbraided Muhammed (over some of his many murders) he simply had the blind man murdered as well.

      A female poet upbraided Muhammed for this – and so he …. well you can guess the rest.

      What can one do with people who have no personal honour?

      I suppose one just has to kill them – before they become too powerful to be killed.

  13. Paul, your second comment posted while I was writing my previous novel, so I’ll make one additional point-

    Writers like Buchanan (in the 16th century) were not just theological Calvinists – they were also proto liberals argueing against Royal power.

    I think we have to be careful here. The Calvinists had somewhat varied attitudes to power. Sometimes they supported royalty (on the Continent) because of monarchs who had themselves converted to Protestantism. Other times they argued against monarchy, but generally then in favour of “representative” rather than “direct” democracy, urging the people to put power and faith in democratic representatives; the argument being that such persons were Elect. The representative form is of course currently dominant, and I am not saying that is entirely because of Calvinism- there are all sorts of reasons including pragmatic issues regarding plebiscites- but I do believe that the Calvinist influence encoruaged a preference for this form of democracy as it puts power readily into the hands of zealous reformers, as we have seen in our own society.

    • Oh yes – Buchanan is a great “people” man.

      And if I was at home (I am presently in Ulster) – my Royalist banner (Civil War – but not orignial) would be near me. After all I live not far from Nasby.

      The tyranny of the majority is still tyranny – something that Buchanan (and the later John Locke) did not understand.

      Still Buchanan was a cultured and learned man – and that impresses someone from the gutter (someone like me). If Sean Gabb started to put his stuff out in Latin and Greek (which he is well capable of doing), I might start agreeing with him – not because I could read it (I can not), but because I am impressed by the sound of it.

      My sort of barbarian is the sort that is really impressed by civilisation – although we are not civilised ourselves.

  14. I just popped out to do some overduew weeding, and as I fought through the jungle it occurred to me that perhaps the shortest way I can describe my perspective is “Anti-Whig”; that is that the Whig history is (dare I say, it is a strong assertion?) a false history.

    On that basis what I’m effectively asserting is that Christendom was doing fine prior to the Reformation- Europe was already hauling itself out of the long intellectual sleep of a millennium, the Renaissance is an example of that- and the rise of Protestantism, which the Whigs credit with all sorts of advantages to us, was more of a hindrance than a help. The ideas and mndset that made Europe modern were already in evidence, as exemplified by Humanism, and the already developing Science (Galileo, Italy, Catholic. Copernicus, Poland, Catholic. Etc).

    I must also admit to a profound dislike of Calvinism, and in large part due to the Double Predestination, which it seems to me effectively nullifies both human will and the whole basis of early Christianity, which was that anyone- any nationality, man or woman, master or slave, could be Saved. Calvinism basically says, “you can’t be Saved. But I can, in fact I already am. Sucks to be you!”. I think that’s pretty grotesque.

  15. On art, it’s interesting (to me at least :) ) how fanatical opposition to it arises repeatedly among the fanatical parts of the Judaic religions. Iconoclasm in Byzantium, for instance. Then, in the Western church, the Reformation smashing of stained glass windows, church decorations and organs.

    I must admit to having very little time for those who oppose beauty. Of course, I am an atheist. But nonetheless I admire religiously inspired beauty; in art and architecture, music and poetry.

    • I think the Icon smashing movement in Byzantium is indeed a direct response to Islam.

      Of course the Islamic position is (and has always been) that the Jews betrayed the commandments of God.

      As with the cry “raise your hand” – over the Jewish practice of reading out the Torah whilst placeing one’s hand over the nasty bits (like the death penality for adultery and so on). In 7th century Arabia this was a strong Islamic argument against the Jews – obey the commandments of God, kill, kill, kill.

      Part of the problem with trying to “explain away” bad stuff is that it is “explaining away” – it rings hollow.

      For example, the official Christian response to predestination is not to reject it – but to explain it away (by placeing God outside of time – or whatever). It leaves things open to someone bringing back the old stuff (the old rotten stuff).

      It is like the Talmud – hundred and hundreds of pages of trying to explaining away the nasty bits of the Torah.

      But, again, it is “explaining away”.

      Not what I like.

      Say what you mean – and say it plain.

      And if it is wrong – then reject it (not explain it away).

  16. And if I was at home (I am presently in Ulster) – my Royalist banner (Civil War – but not orignial) would be near me. After all I live not far from Nasby.

    Interesting. Maybe we’re not so far apart after all, Paul :) I’d have fought for the Royalists too, if forced to make a choice…

  17. Cromwell was the better soldier – he also was not as bad as many on his side. For example, accept for Roman Catholics and Anglicans he was religiously tolerant – and his intolerance was more political than theological (unlike the let-us-ban-Christmas types who dominated Parliament).

    Of course, there is the third choice – not in our county (Northamptonshire was such a blood soaked mess), but in more quiet counties.

    The local County Associations – the Clubmen. Leave our homes and families alone – a reasonable position.

    Of course political debate was so different – economics a side issue (if an issue at all).