Monthly Archives: October 2012

Is the End of the Dockside Age Nigh?

by Thomas Knapp
Is the End of the Dockside Age Nigh?

For millennia, human populations have clustered near navigable waterways — oceans and rivers — for obvious reasons. They were important food sources, they constituted the main highways of commerce, and travel and communication over land were slow affairs.

Things are different now, due to everything from the locomotive and the automobile to the telegraph, telephone, radio and Internet. And yet I read somewhere awhile back that 90% of Americans (to pick a nationality) still live within 30 miles of a coast (including the Great Lakes) or major river.

I’m not trying to open up an argument on climate change here. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that things like Hurricane Sandy are just the way it is and always has been.

Still, it seems kind of silly to put so much major economic infrastructure right up against the capricious seaboard when most of the population that infrastructure supports (virtually the entire population not directly engaged in sailing or servicing ships and the things coming on and off those ships) doesn’t really need to live or work there.

Arnold Kling is pessimistic about the cost and time involved in fixing New York. The repair bills for Sandy are already being guesstimated in the $50 billion range.

At what point do the operators of (for example) the New York Stock Exchange say “you know, we could do this just as easily from Indianapolis and hardly ever have to wade to work?”

No! THIS is Sparta – Part 2: Agoge!

by Gildas the Monk

Note: The Spartans beat Athens because the Athenians overstretched themselves and didn’t realise till it was too late that the Persians would throw a ton of gold into the scales against them. The first time the Spartans had to fight a set battle, at Leuctra, against something like a professional army, they lost, and then lost again. After that, they sank into complete insignificance. Torturing boys so they grow up into thieves and murderers isn’t a recipe for long term national success. Indeed, the real significance of Thermopylae wasn’t that the Spartans were brave – but that they bought time for the Athenians to pull themselves into fighting shape. Take Athens out of that war, and my own sympathies would be largely Persian. They weren’t bad overlords, let’s face it. SIG Continue reading

Against “Objective” Journalism

by Kevin Carson

Against “Objective” Journalism

The conventional model of “objectivity” in professional journalism (otherwise known as “he said, she said” and “stenography”), as it’s practiced today in the dead tree media, goes back to Walter Lippmann.

As Christopher Lasch described it, in The Revolt of the Elites, Lippmann’s view of society and government in general was that Continue reading

In The Naughty Corner With You, Says Oliver

by Dick Puddlecote

Some years ago, I found myself being invited to a Conservative Party fund-raising dinner. I’d never been a member of the party so it was something that came right out of left field.

It turns out that a letter I’d had printed in a local newspaper, in conjunction with an e-mail I sent to a Tory PPC, was the reason for my inclusion on the guest list barely two days before the event. I’m still at a loss as to why they made this offer, but as it was usually £50 per head and I was getting nosebag for free, who was I to grumble? Especially since the guest speaker was Oliver Letwin – one of the composers of the Tory manifesto – and a post-dinner question & answer session was promised. Ideal for getting my gobby self close enough to quiz a high profile politician at first hand, I thought. Continue reading

David McDonagh on Sean Gabb

This is a response to:

Sean, you speak and write rather like a traditional one nation Tory than a pristine liberal. Nowadays you like Marx. I think that Marx was more in the tradition of being a one nation Tory than he realised, given the fact that his most important ideas, like the labour theory of value and the material conception of history, were mere delusions, lacking all existential import completely. Many feel Marx read a lot of Hegel but he read more of the economists, though Hegel also read the economists, and the then liberal journal, or newspaper [as it now  calls itself] The Economist but maybe he read most of all the state bluebooks, mainly written by moralising one nation Tories. Continue reading

Risk, Reward and the New Class
Risk, Reward and the New Class

The following article was written by Friedrich von Blowhard and published on 2 Blowhards, February 16, 2007.

Friedrich von Blowhard writes:

As you know, I am a small businessman. As a result of what I do I spend time talking with investment bankers and bankruptcy lawyers. In the process I have learned a little (okay, very little) about finance. I want to talk about one of the concepts I stumbled across in finance that seems to make a lot of sense. That is the notion of a general and positive correlation between risk and reward. This is a pretty basic concept; the Wikipedia article on risk (which you can read here ) puts it this way: Continue reading

A Meeting of the Deal-Southport Axis

The Director and Blog Master of the LA, together with their women and children, spent a most enjoyable and productive weekend in Southport. What we agreed will be revealed in due course through our actions. Otherwise, we went about our business in most of the charity shops in the town, and discussed the total failure in this country of every libertarian project, not excepting our own. We agreed that Google Books was the best thing for civilisation since the Internet itself, and exchanged pdf libraries. At the same time, bearing in mind the impending collapse of civilisation, and the probable failure of electricity supply, we agreed not to get rid of any of our books.

The only fly in this most delightful ointment was the extreme congestion of the English motorway network. Going up, it took six hours to get along the M25/M1/M6. Coming down, we spent three hours on the M6 alone. In the olden days, the whole journey could have been covered in a first class railway carriage, with one change of engine at York, and smart waitresses in the dining carriage. The journey could have taken place in black and white, with Joyce Grenfell, Herbert Lom and Alastair Sim to assist or oppose in a plot to deliver England to an unspecified foreign power. Charles Hawtree could have had a cameo as the ticket inspector. Instead, I had to recover myself with burnt coffee in the Clackett Lane Services, while Baby Bear ran about, taking photographs with my mobile telephone.

Thoughts on Finland

by D.J. Webb

Finland is a country that I have mixed feelings about. One of my great-grandparents was Finnish, from the Swedish-speaking minority (the other seven great-grandparents being English and Irish by extraction), and so I am interested in the country. Yet try as I might, there seems to be some kind of barrier preventing me from really admiring the country and its culture. Finland’s demands for “collateral” when taking part in eurozone bailouts are a pointed reminder that this country is quite different from the UK culturally, taking a full part in the EU structures, but demanding the right to defend its own interests all the same. Surely if you’re in the eurozone, you should either meet all your obligations, or just leave? Finland’s troubled relationship with Russia is also worthy of analysis. In the end, I feel that Russia is the long-term strategic partner the UK should be focusing on, at the expense of EU nations such as Finland. Continue reading

War, Children: It’s Just a Welfare Check Away

by Thomas Knapp

War, Children: It’s Just a Welfare Check Away

When pundits name-check “the welfare-warfare state,” we usually mean, and are usually understood to mean, something along the lines of “bread and circuses at home, military adventurism abroad.”

That’s as good a definition as any, I suppose, and certainly an accurate description of today’s global political environment, but it fails to really capture the nature of the post-WWII trend in US politics.

In America, the “welfare” and “warfare” aspects of the state have, over that period, achieved a near-perfect merger. Rather than representing one side of two mutually reinforcing but nominally separate sets of policies, US “defense” spending has become the single largest, and by far most redistributive, welfare program in the federal budget. Continue reading

Framing Left Libertarianism: A First Pass
Framing Left Libertarianism: A First Pass

The following article was written by Gary Chartier and published on his blog, Liberalaw, December 10th, 2008.

Left libertarianism (hereinafter LL) can be seen as an exercise in packaging and propaganda. Or it can be seen as a powerful expression of concerns that ought to be at the heart of movements for freedom.

Cynical libertarians and leftists alike might see talking about LL as an exercise in spin. Perhaps it’s an attempt to sell unsuspecting leftists on libertarian ideals that are fundamentally at odds with the left’s agenda. Or perhaps it’s an effort to graft an alien life-form onto the body of the libertarian movement, saddling it with concerns that have no place on a genuinely libertarian agenda.

Neither account of LL is remotely persuasive or appealing. Continue reading

American Drugs in Egyptian Mummies

Note: This has no obvious connection with the work of the Libertarian Alliance. But it is undeniably interesting. The scale of the findings suggests local sources of the drugs in question. I find it unlikely that that there was a regular trade between the Old World and the New. Occasional contacts are not inconceivable. But the regular trade needed to explain how many bodies are soaked in nicotine and cocaine is neither likely, given the kind of ships available, nor recorded in any of the literature.

Of course, it might have been those Space Gods at work….SIG

American Drugs in Egyptian Mummies
S. A. Wells


       The recent findings of cocaine, nicotine, and hashish in Egyptian mummies by Balabanova et. al. have been  criticized on grounds that: contamination of the mummies may have occurred, improper techniques may have been used, chemical decomposition may have produced the compounds in question, recent mummies of drug users were mistakenly evaluated, that no similar cases are known of such compounds in long-dead bodies, and especially that pre-Columbian transoceanic voyages are highly speculative.  These criticisms are each discussed in turn.  Balabanova et. al. are shown to have used and confirmed their findings with accepted methods.  The possibility of the compounds being byproducts of decomposition is shown to be without precedent and highly unlikely.  The possibility that the researchers made evaluations from  faked mummies of recent drug users is shown to be highly unlikely in almost all cases.  Several additional cases of identified American drugs in mummies are discussed.  Additionally, it is shown that significant evidence exists for contact with the Americas in pre-Columbian times.  It is determined that the original findings are supported by substantial evidence despite the initial criticisms. Continue reading


Orthodoxy: The Real Universal Church

Windows 8

Any opinions yet about W8? I’m still happy with W7, and am only minded to upgrade if it’s worth the money and the effort.

The National Lottery: State Power in Support of Sin

by the Rev Dr Alan Clifford


The National Lottery is a national scandal. It is state-sponsored selfishness; Government-led worship at the shrine of godless gain, promoted by blatantly blasphemous advertising. Continue reading

The Foreign Policy Debate: Coke or Pepsi?

by Kevin Carson

The Foreign Policy Debate: Coke or Pepsi?

Monday’s Presidential debate on foreign policy, as one might have expected, supplied more than its share of howlers. Mittens, for example, referred to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez as one of the “world’s worst actors.” In response to an early Obama administration statement to the effect that “the United States has dictated,” Romney said: “The United States does not dictate to other countries. It frees other countries from dictators.” And he referred to Iran as “the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism,” and called for the prosecution of Ahmadinejad for genocide. Continue reading

In Defence of English Civilisation

In Defense of English Civilization

by Sean Gabb
October 24, 2012

We know that England is under attack, and from its own ruling class. Beforewe can speak of defense, we need to understand the reasons for the attack.

This is not an attack on tradition in itself, but the unfolding of an alternative tradition.

Part of what defines a nation is the relationship between its ruling classand the people at large. Our historic self-perception as English is based on the relationship between rulers and ruled that existed before 1914, and, though to a fading degree, for a couple of generations thereafter. Continue reading


Democracy of the Dead

BBC news – Jimmy Savile, George Entwistle and the balance of probabilities

by Robert Henderson

Jimmy Savile, George Entwistle and the balance of probabilities

Robert Henderson

George Entwistle gave as an abject a performance by a media experienced bigwig before the Culture, Media and Sport select committee(( ) as you will ever see. He adopted the BBC equivalent of giving nothing but his name, rank and number. (How on Earth did this timid personality with all the authority of a jellyfish become Director-General?) Continue reading

BBC = ‘Bad Boys Club’ – a lamentation

by the Reverend Dr Alan C. Clifford

The BBC is now exposed as a decadent institution. As both a victim and promoter of anarchic, sex-perverted secularism, it is the official media face of a corrupt culture. Continue reading

Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged, Part II: Confused on Copyright and Patent

by Stephan Kinsella
Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged, Part II: Confused on Copyright and Patent

Reports about the new movie Atlas Shrugged: Part II indicate that it highlights Ayn Rand’s deep confusion on the whole issue of intellectual property (IP)—e.g,. from my friend Jacob Huebert. Stephanie Murphy mentions some of the IP confusion in the film in her recent PorcTherapy podcast (at around 1:05). And Chris Bassil, of Hamsterdam Economics, in Atlas Shrugged Part II: Hank Rearden Confuses his Principles, notes: Continue reading

BMA Lying Again, Say Their Friends … Again!

by Dick Puddlecote

BMA Lying Again, Say Their Friends … Again! Following the recent re-opening of the drive to ban smoking in all cars (yes, all cars, the children have ceased to be that relevant as predicted here 3 years ago), Wasp did some excellent digging which is worth a read in full. Continue reading

The Myth of Deregulation

by James Tuttle

The Myth of Deregulation

The following article was written by Dawie Coetzee and published on the Artisanal Cars, November 5th, 2011.

This has to be said sooner rather than later, especially in light of the inclusion among all the sound and salutary demands of the Occupy Wall Street movement of the demand for more regulation. The danger is that meeting this demand will leave the offending corporations even more powerful than they have hitherto been.

However fictitious the little gem doing the rounds, which places the EU regulations on the sale of cabbages at 26 911 words, a cursory search will reveal the general consensus that such a level of regulation, be it real or imaginary, is at best absurd and at worst draconian. Most people have a healthy abhorrence for petty bureaucratic interference in the form of all manner of regulations. My fear is that an undefined and unqualified demand for financial regulation might leave this abhorrence unarticulable. And it is my belief that articulating this abhorrence is more necessary than ever. Continue reading

Libertarian Anarchism: Responses to Ten Objections

Libertarian Anarchism: Responses to Ten Objections

Libertarian Anarchism: Transcription of a talk by Roderick T. Long

I want to talk about some of the main objections that have been given to libertarian anarchism and my attempts to answer them. But before I start giving objections and trying to answer them, there is no point in trying to answer objections to a view unless you have given some positive reason to hold the view in the first place. So, I just want to say briefly what I think the positive case is for it before going on to defend it against objections. Continue reading

Come Home, America

by Bill Kauffman

Come Home, America

The following article was written by Bill Kauffman and published on The American Conservative, January 30th, 2006.

To the slanting wall above my desk is taped a large “Come Home America/ Vote McGovern Shriver ’72” poster. Designed by artist Leonard R. Fuller, the collage fills an outline of the United States with iconographic images, historic statuary, and photos of unprepossessing but individuated Americans. The message is peace and brotherhood and a return to the ideals of the Founders. The mood is civics-class hippie, antiwar wife-of-a-Rotarian, liberal community-college-professor-who-cries-at-“America the Beautiful.” Like George McGovern himself, the poster suggests that a hopeful and patriotic mild radicalism resides on Main Street America. Or as Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe once asked, what’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding? Continue reading

“The Last Ditch” ventures inside The Door Of Hell, and manages to return

David Davis

The grand-challenge-cup award for brave man of the week is to go toTom Paine.


Why no Swastika?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: An Appreciation

Hans-Hermann Hoppe
and the Political Equivalent
of Nuclear Fusion
by Sean Gabb

I have been invited to contribute a chapter to this book of appreciations of Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Now, he is a person of forbidding achievements. He has made important contributions to economics, to political theory, to law, and to epistemology, among much else. He is also a person of much organisational ability, and the conferences he runs at Bodrum for his Property and Freedom Society have rapidly established themselves as one of the high points in the libertarian calendar. Continue reading

The Perfect Balanced Sample

by Colin Liddell
The Perfect Balanced Sample

Have you ever wondered about opinion polls and how reliable they are? This question was expertly addressed in the above clip, which comes from a 1986 episode of the BBC political situation comedy Yes, Prime Minsiter.

In this scene Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Cabinet Secretary, an unelected civil servant (played by Nigel Hawthorne), demonstrates the ‘flexibility’ of opinion polls to Bernard Woolley, the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, another unelected civil servant (played by Derek Fowlds).

In the first case, Sir Humphrey, shows how opinion pollsters produce a positive response on the question of national military service, and in the second case the opposite, using leading questions.

The question sequences are as follows: Continue reading

Atlas Shrunk, Part 14: What Followed Was the Sound of the Rolling and the Dripping

by Roderick Long

Um, spoiler alert I guess.

I just got back from seeing Atlas Shrugged Part II. (Actually the full title turns out to be Atlas Shrugged Part II: The Strike, though the strike is never mentioned as such in this film, even though it was mentioned in the last one.) I thought it was better on the whole than Part I (especially in the second half, where I began to feel Rand’s aesthetic vision coming through a little bit), though many of my reservations about Part I apply to II as well. Continue reading

In Defence of English Civilisation, by Sean Gabb
Flash Animation

On the 20th October 2012, the Traditional Britain Group- a traditional conservative organisation – in conjunction with The Quarterly Review- an historic Tory journal – hosted an all day conference at the East India Club in central London titled, “Another Country – is there a future for Tradition?”

The format involved a number of 30 to 40 minute talks, followed by questions and discussion. Speakers Included: Derek Turner, Lord Sudely, Richard Spencer, Andrew Fear, Pete Myers, Stephen Bush, Peter King, and Theodore Dalrymple.

Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, spoke last. The title of his speech was “In Defence of English Civilisation.” Here is a summary of his speech. The speech was not written in advance, and was given without notes, and this summary is, in some respects, an amplification on and a clarification of what was said. It also incorporates into the main speech points that were raised in the questions and answers session. This text, however, can be checked against the recording, and can be seen to give a fair account of what was said.

The recording was made with a Samsung Galaxy S2 mobile telephone, and the quality is acceptable, though not outstanding.

Continue reading

“Inclusive Capitalism”: A Contradiction in Terms

by David S. D’Amato

“Inclusive Capitalism”: A Contradiction in Terms

Business Week columnist Diane Brady wonders, whether business leaders might be able to “promote inclusive capitalism.” The premise underlying the question is that if faith in the capitalist system “were to falter, the result could be policies that truly sabotage growth.” Continue reading

A plea for common sense

by Foseti

A plea for common sense

Bryan Caplan would like to know how he could better argue in favor of open borders. What follows is a serious attempt to answer him. In sum, he should: 1) analyze the issue of immigration like an economist instead of like a religious fanatic and 2) start living as though he actually believes what he says. Continue reading

Jesus, der Kapitalist

Robert Groezinger is a good friend and a committed libertarian. I strongly recommend this new book, which sets out a Gospel-based argument, in the tradition of Gary North, for a necessary connection between the Christian Faith and a free market society.

“Der Kapitalismus ist aus dem Christentum hervorgegangen – und braucht ihn, um zu überleben. Auch das Christentum braucht den Kapitalismus – und fordert ihn sogar. Nicht jedoch einen staatlich regulierten Kapitalismus, der nur für jene wirklich vorteilhaft ist, die gute Beziehungen zur Regierung unterhalten und somit zu Korruption und Betrug einlädt, sondern einen Kapitalismus, der so frei ist, dass selbst Geld unter Wettbewerbsbedingungen hergestellt wird. Zentralbanken aber stellen unser Geld unter staatlich garantierten Monopollizenzen her. Damit genießen sie ungerechtfertigte Privilegien. Anhand zahlreicher Beispiele aus der Bibel zeigt Robert Grözinger, dass die Gleichnisse, Aussagen und Mahnungen Jesu von den Prinzipien einer wirklich freien Marktwirtschaft untermauert sind. Grundsätze wie Individualismus und Privateigentum sind Fundamente, die schon im Alten Testament gelegt wurden. Daneben skizziert Grözinger die Wechselwirkung in der historischen Entwicklung von Christentum und Kapitalismus sowie die Unvereinbarkeit von Christentum und Sozialismus. Damit meint er nicht nur den Kommunismus, sondern auch seine weichere Form: den überbordenden Wohlfahrtsstaat, den uns die staatlich erzwungene Barmherzigkeit beschert hat. Und seine neueste, krasseste Version: den Ökologismus. Wie eine freie Gesellschaft auf christlichen Werten und freier Marktwirtschaft basieren kann, zeigt Robert Grözinger in Jesus, der Kapitalist.”

Smiling in Bodrum

Smiling in Bodrum
By Michael J. McKay

Photo by Helio Beltrao,

“Why are you smiling?”

My friend asked me this as our van accelerated away on our departure from Bodrum, Turkey.

I was unable to answer him, frankly, because I had stopped noticing. I guess I had been smiling permanently since my arrival at the Property and Freedom Society conference six days earlier. Continue reading

Gay marriage, Nazis and Fascism

by “Archbishop Cranmer”

This issue really is becoming tiresome: each day brings with it some tedious development in the inexorable quest for ‘marriage equality’ that the mind is pestered and plagued with the pricks of riposte. No matter what human tragedy is suffered, what poverty endured or global revolution witnessed, we come back to David Cameron’s intention to redefine marriage ‘because he is a Conservative’.

Christopher Bryant MP and the Search for Male Company

Continue reading

Inequality: The Points Lindsey is Missing

by Thomas Knapp

I haven’t read Brink Lindsey’s new book, Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter — and More Unequal, yet. But I’m following his exegeses thereof over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians, and I think I see some worthwhile points to argue in his post on the book’s “inconvenient implications” for libertarians: Continue reading

Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty as We Know It

The following article was written by Charles Johnson and published by The Freeman, December, 2007.

The experience of oppressed people is that the living of one’s life is confined and shaped by forces and barriers which are not accidental or occasional and hence avoidable, but are systematically related to each other in such a way as to catch one between and among them and restrict or penalize motion in any direction. It is the experience of being caged in: all avenues, in every direction, are blocked or booby trapped. Continue reading

Smart Cards For The Friendless

by Dick Puddlecote

I’d briefly planned to write something on Iain Duncan Smith’s “smart cards for the feckless” policy but had discarded the idea, thinking that it would – like almost everything the coalition has announced since 2010 – be creaking under the strain of universal hilarity by the time I got round to it. Continue reading

Bored with Jimothy Savile and Paedohunts and Modern England in General

The Joy of Forbidden Light!

It seems we can still buy incandescant light bulbs. The ban doesn’t cover industrial users. Mrs Gabb is getting ready to order our first trial batch. The joy of real 100w light again!

And here I am again, for those who want to practise their German

Translated by Robert Groezinger

Bombenterror: Wie moralisch ist es, Zivilisten in Zeiten des Krieges zu töten?

von Sean Gabb

Die Lehre von der Kollektivschuld stinkt

Kürzlich las ich in der „Daily Mail“ einen Bericht über das Bomber Command – welches die Einheit der Royal Air Force war, die für die Planierung großer Teile Deutschlands im Zweiten Weltkrieg verantwortlich war. Augenscheinlich sind die überlebenden Veteranen nicht dazu fähig, für das Denkmal zu zahlen, das sie dieses Jahr errichtet haben, um ihrer Leistung zu gedenken. Die Mitglieder des maßgeblichen Komitees könnten für die Deckung dieser Kosten persönlich haftbar gemacht werden. Continue reading

Bravely Bombing the Boche: The Morality of Killing Civilians

Note: I know this has been done to death already on the LA Blog. But here is the essay, expanded and republished by L. Neil Smith. SIG

Bravely Bombing the Boche:
The Morality of Killing Civilians

by Sean Gabb

Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

I have just read a story in The Daily Mail about Bomber Command—that is, the RAF unit responsible for levelling much of Germany inthe second world war. Apparently, the surviving veterans aren’t ableto pay for the monument they put up this year to commemorate theirefforts. The members of the relevant committee may be personallyliable to cover these costs. Continue reading


On the one hand, the hysteria surrounding the late Jimmy Savile shows the continuing degradation of the English character. Touching up girls in their mid-teens is an unseemly thing to do, and should probably attract some kind of legal penalty. It is, however, rather low on the scale of human wickedness. Yet, while real monsters like Tony Blair go unscathed about their business, Jimmy Savile is being made an unperson as if he were a disgraced member of Stalin’s Politburo. His name and image are being stripped from websites and headed papers. His grave stone has been smashed and taken away for landfill. I’m not sure how long before his body is dug up and ritually dismembered. Doubtless, most Englishmen have not joined the baying virtual mob. But any nation in which this sort of madness is tolerated is plainly not at ease with itself. I mention the Stalin Terror. But the heresy hunts in late mediaeval Europe also come to mind – or the smashing of the unpopular dead in ancient Egypt. This is not how things have so far been done in England. Continue reading

England: The Classic Home of Civil Liberty!

Andrew Linley says on FaceBook:

“While our news media has been focussing on the (admittedly disproportionate) jailing of some young Russian women for breaking into a cathedral, it has become increasingly clear that this is now a country where one can be jailed merely for something one says. There is no longer even an attempt to muddy the waters by referring to ‘incitement’ or ‘racism'; people are given substantial jail terms simply for writing something which some people deem ‘offensive’. Wake up, the British Sheeple, to your enslavement! You are fortunate indeed that the laws of economics will ultimately deliver you from serfdom; certainly you have done little to save yourselves.”

Depressing to think a post-Soviet slag heap, presided over by a former KGB apparatchik and an oligarchy of the dodgiest rich since Gaius Verres, is not much less liberal than modern England.

The Monster In The Living Room

by Dick Puddlecote

Yes, your kid will die!

No slippery slope here, obviously. Continue reading

A Day of Solemn Jubilation?

Today, I notice, it is 35 years since I was nearly killed by a driver somewhat under the influence. Continue reading

Non-Political: Review of Beethoven, Symphony No 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 (Hogwood/AAM)

Note: I’m much better at literary than musical criticism, so I’ll give this selection of reviews by other people. My own opinion is that, while they provide an excellent Beethoven S3, Hogwood/AAM fail with S9. The scherzo is crisp and manages to startle in ways that modern performances don’t usually manage. But the adagio is too fast, and doesn’t seem to hang together. The outer movements are like decaffeinated coffee in their systematic avoidance of grandeur. I could mention the sudden loss of speed in the march variation in the final movement, and especially in the fugue – which puts me in mind of a worn out ostrich with its lack of speed, let alone take off – and the continuing lack of momentum right to the end. But this takes me into details about which I have little experience of writing. It’s enough to say that, coming from one of the best S3s I’ve heard, Hogwood/AAM are disappointing in S9.

It may be that, from BS7 (+ -) onwards, the authentic movement loses its reason for being. Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, et al are not well served by orchestras and performance styles that have come down from the middle of the 19th century. Particularly with Haydn and Mozart, there is a loss of balance and blurring of structure in performances that treat them like precursors of Beethoven. Even without all the stripping away of the authentic movement, they do benefit from smallish forces. However, where Beethoven is concerned, it was for his later works that modern performing styles – and even modern instruments – were largely developed. Playing S9 as if the score had just been given to men trained on Haydn has a certain historical interest, but doesn’t make for a good performance.

Oh, I could add my recollection that LvB was allowed to direct the first performance of S9, but that he was stone deaf, and continued conducting at least the scherzo for some while after the players had finished. This lets me ask to what extent a composer’s performance wishes should be respected? I can’t answer with the precision I’d like. But I have heard a recording of Tennyson reciting his Charge of the Light Brigade. It is ghastly, and can’t have been all to blame on the oddity of having to recite into a phonograph horn.

My favourites for BS9 are Karajan and possibly Klemperer. The latter is admittedly slow – slower in the final movement even than Hogwood/AAM. But all the grandeur you could ever want is there. SIG Continue reading

Being arrested is no small matter in England any more

by Robert Henderson

Robert Henderson

There was a time when being arrested in England did not matter very much. Before digital technology came of age your fingerprints and mug shot might be taken, but if no charges were laid or, if you were brought to trial, a conviction was not obtained for the alleged offence which had caused your arrest, the chances of the ordinary law abiding person being inconvenienced in the future by the fact that those details were held by the police were small. There was no Police National Computer (PNC) until 1974 and the widespread use of personal computers was almost two decades after that. Continue reading

What is “Wireless tele-Vision” for? Discuss.

David Davis

[late edit...] [ I have suddenly wondered to myself what it's for, given that the global % penetration of small handheld (or not much larger) devices that can access news, comment, blogs and the opinions of millions, is approaching a majority. ]

One the one hand, the British Political EnemyClass has created what it seems to be admitting is a monster - this says “ban television for the under-threes” (or words to that effect.) Yet on the other hand a modern repressive police state would be a more difficult one in which to manage thought-control, regulate the opinions of, and generally farm for eliciting the “correct public responses” without this machinery. I have drafted a few of my own thoughts, rather fast this morning, in response to a typical Daily Mail mob-hysteria-inducing breakfast-article.

Of course, an invented device can’t be uninvented. The Wireless Tele-vision [WT] (and quickly also with post-receive injected sound subcarrier) was a marvellous development of the pure Sound-wireless, but like all technologies it’s been stolen and corrupted, Morgoth-style, by governments for their own purposes.

In the British State’s case,  WT’s purpose was to anaesthatize and render uncurious “The Masses”, over decades so nobody would notice except Continue reading