Monthly Archives: December 2012

Unmanly and unEnglish

“Unmanly and unEnglish”
by Sean Gabb
(First Published in The Libertarian Enterprise, 26th August 2012)

Having seen what they can do to others, I generally try to avoid personal disputes. I write this article with some reluctance. But, since I am aware of a directed campaign to blacken my name, I feel that I have no choice but to write it. Continue reading

A Nanny Looks Forward To 2013

by Dick Puddlecote

A Nanny Looks Forward To 2013 Sorry, I did try but just can’t let this pass without comment.

A government minister has written to magazine editors asking them not to promote post-Christmas “miracle” diets because they pose a “health risk”.

Equalities minister Jo Swinson wrote an open letter asking magazines to “shed the fad diets and fitness myths” in their January editions.

She suggested they “celebrate the beauty of diversity in body shape, skin colour, size and age” instead. Continue reading

The Story of the Mises Institute

The Story of the Mises Institute

[The Free Market, May 1988]

The Mises Institute comes at both economic scholarship and applied political philosophy from a very different perspective. It believes that “policy analysis” without principle is mere flim-flam and ad-hocery—murky political conclusions resting on foundations of sand. It also believes that policy analysis that does not rest on scholarly principles is scarcely worth the paper it is written on or the time and money devoted to it. In short, that the only worthwhile analysis of the contemporary political and economic scene rests consistently on firm scholarly principles. Continue reading

Social Democracy as High-Overhead “Socialism”

by Kevin Carson
Social Democracy as High-Overhead “Socialism”

Around a hundred years ago, guild socialist G.D.H. Cole argued that social democrats had made a major strategic decision not to contest the way property was distributed or production organized under corporate capitalism. Instead, they would limit their agenda to a (partial) equalization of the way the rents on concentrated property, the output of these institutions, was distributed.

One reason was that challenging the actual ownership of property would be politically impossible. But another reason, Cole suggested, was that the original socialist project of attacking the institutional structures of capitalism itself, and putting labor in direct control of the production process, would undermine the power of the managerial and professional classes who made up so much of the social democratic, Fabian and Progressive movements. Continue reading

The ‘Next Logical Step’ For Fake Charity Control

by Dick Puddlecote

The ‘Next Logical Step’ For Fake Charity Control It has been more than encouraging to see that government have now embraced the term ‘fake charities’. I’m hoping that the Devil will have something to say about this considering he coined it in the first place.

Longrider has commented on this development a couple of times this week, most recently by referencing an article by Crristina Odone in the Telegraph. His comments are spot on. Continue reading

Paul Marks: Condemnation and Disclaimer

Statement by Sean Gabb
Director of the Libertarian Alliance

I have had my attention drawn to this comment, posted by Paul Marks on our blog:

“It would, of course, be emotionally satisfying to cut Kevin Carson’s Black Flagger (Black Flaggers like Carson will side with the Red Flagger Marxists – indeed they already are and have for years) throat, or blow his head off with a bullet (although he would be more likely to do those things to me) – but it is the job of politics to AVOID THAT SITUATION.”

The comment, I think all will agree, shows a most alarming degeneracy of character. I am shocked. It is not the job of politics to keep us from cutting the throats of those with whom we disagree. No one of good character is tempted even to fantasise about such things. The next time Paul boasts of his conversion to Christianity, or of his instinctive cultural conservatism, or in general of his spotless moral purity, I for one will remember the malevolent and dangerous beast I have seen behind the smiling mask.

In a normal country, this would be the limit of what I need to say. However, I am advised that Paul has committed a crime under the Public Order Act, and the Malicious Communications Act, and under about half a dozen other of the laws that comprise the Thatcher-Blair police state. Regardless of this, he has put us in breach of the terms of service of the organisation that hosts this blog.

Therefore, I will say that Paul’s comment does not, in its particulars or its generality, represent the views of the Libertarian Alliance, and that it fills us with the same abhorrence that any other reasonable man must feel on reading it. We will take no action against him this time. But we are watching him. We require him to place some minimal restraint on his disgusting passions. We have tolerated, and will continue to tolerate, his inability to refrain from vulgar and sometimes hysterical abuse. But a repetition of these murder fantasies will not be so indulgently received.


Libertarian Alliance Christmas Message 2012. What is a Libertarian for?

David Davis

Yup. What is a Libertarian for? Why are we here? Why in the face of all this socialism going on about our ears, do we bother?

It echoes what one of my teachers sometime in the 1950s asked us once…“BOYS! WHY are you HERE?” The correct answer was:- “er…to learn how to learn, Sir!” I mean, sometimes, it’s hard to discern what the hell are we trying to do, since  comparing pissing into the wind with what can be done against the brilliantly-arrayed forces of the GramscoFabiaNazis*** produces an obvious imbalance.

The situation in those parts of the world where stuff goes on that actually matters much to other humans, is not good.Governments everywhere are falling into the hands of the 60s-generation of neoNazi layabouts.

A GramscoFabiaNazi sadly got elected in the USA in Continue reading

Gun Control as Castration

by Michael Enoch

Note: Interesting view on victim disarmament from outside the libertarian movement. SIG

Is there really any rational basis for the idea of gun control? Or is it just a desperate grasping for some kind of symbolic control after an outbreak of mass violence? Or is it something even deeper? On its face the idea of gun control is ridiculous. Conservatives, libertarians and gun enthusiasts have been making the same basic points for years whenever the issue comes up in response to whatever the latest mass shooting incident happens to be. The fact that there will be such incidents is a social inevitability at this point. Continue reading

EU Confirms Westminster Is A Waste Of Time And Money

by Dick Puddlecote

EU Confirms Westminster Is A Waste Of Time And Money How much do you reckon the Palace of Westminster is worth? And what about Portcullis House?

In fact, just about every building and piece of land central government stands upon would make a pretty penny in reducing the deficit if sold off, eh? The Department of Health’s Richmond House is on prime South London real estate within easy walking distance of Waterloo station and just an inexpensive cab fare to the West End. 30 luxury flats there would fetch a million each, I reckon. Continue reading

Why I Don’t Much Like Liberals

by Kevin Carson

Why I Don’t Much Like Liberals

Although people like Bill O’Reilly habitually refer to establishment liberals as the “far Left,” they are two very different things.

What we identify as mid-20th century, New Deal liberalism is rooted in the Progressivism of the turn of the 20th century. The Progressives came largely from the white collar managerial-professional classes that controlled large bureaucratic organizations — giant corporations, government agencies, universities, foundations and think tanks — that dominated American society after the Civil War. Many Progressives in the corporate world came from industrial engineering backgrounds. The kinds of people who made up the demographic base of Progressivism saw American society as an extension of the large, hierarchical institutions they managed, and thought society could be managed the same way way an engineer managed industrial processes. Continue reading

Letter to the Guardian on libertarian

by Ian McKay

Letter to the Guardian on libertarian

As long time readers of my work know, I’ve been somewhat critical of George Monbiot in the past (awarding him Muppet of The Week, twice). His account of anarchism in his book Age of Consent must be one of the worse ever, making his “critique” completely worthless. I was going to review that book at one stage, but it is so terrible it was impossible to summarise (or even know where to start!) and so that joined the “started but not finished” pile! Suffice to say, he really should do some research before writing about anarchism.

This is not to say he does not get it right at times. He does, particularly on green issues (such as refuting climate-change deniers). He gets it right in this recent article for the Guardian: This bastardised libertarianism makes ‘freedom’ an instrument of oppression. In response to Monbiot, a letter from Dr Sean Gabb, the Director of the so-called Libertarian Alliance was published. I replied to that and amazingly the Guardian published it on 24th of December, unedited. This letter is included at the end of this blog, but first a few comments on the original article and the propertarian letter. Continue reading

“Capitalism”: The Known Reality
“Capitalism”: The Known Reality

The following article was written by Chris Sciabarra and published on his blog Notablog, February 4th, 2005.

Reaching out to the Left has been the source of much good discussion at the Liberty and Power Group Blog. So I’d like to pick up on that thread, yet again.

After reading [a] comment by Jake Smith in response to my “Market Shall Set You Free” post, I took a stroll over to Kevin Carson’s Mutualist Blog, which he subtitles “Free Market Anti-Capitalism.” It’s a provocative subtitle, actually. I’ve been having an ongoing discussion with a friend of mine for months about the nature of capitalism, so any subtitle that calls for “Free Market Anti-Capitalism” is intriguing on the face of it. (Kevin also has a very interesting book out, entitled Studies in Mutualist Political Economy.) He writes: Continue reading

Opt out of opting in or out

by Robert Henderson
Opt out of opting in or out

Robert Henderson

The government has refused to make an automatic filter for pornography a legal requirement for ISPs with those wishing to access it having to opt out of the filters. They have not done this out of any concern for freedom of expression but because the government has Continue reading


David Davis

It falls to me, usually, in nominal charge of the Chipmanzee Duty-Type-Writors in the Lancashire Nissen Hut, to do something occasionally. One such duty is to scratch this organisation’s Christmas message in the tidal sands of ephemeral journalism, somewhere.

I have a feeling that last year got a bit hectic and I forgot to remind the little buggers to do it, but rest assured that something will be coming up this time: to either please or annoy all you people, on the day or just before.

Sean Gabb in The Guardian

Hugh Muir writes in The Guardian for the 19th December 2012:

“Still this is God’s work, and there will always be somebody willing to diagnose just where we have gone wrong and make public their plans for putting things right. Out there in front is Dr Sean Gabb, self-proclaimed writer of “a million words of journalism” and director of the all-seeing Libertarian Alliance. Gabbauthored a book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, in which he explains how the “current ruling class has turned England into a totalitarian police state, and how this ruling class can be overthrown and utterly destroyed”. He and the Scruton-ites don’t agree on everything, but one does see them shaking things up a bit. Making England England again.”

I was wondering about the sudden rush for copies of my various books. Happy Christmas, Mr Muir – though, since you’re a writer for The Guardian, I’ll not add wishes for a prosperous 2013!

Capitalism versus Capitalism

by Sheldon Richman

Capitalism versus Capitalism

The following article was written by Sheldon Richman and published on his blog Free Association, April 12th, 2006.

While reading the symposium on Kevin Carson’s book, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, in the latest Journal of Libertarian Studies, I was struck by how upset people can get when someone uses a term differently from how they use it — even if he makes his usage perfectly clear and explicitly draws on legitimate historical precedent. This comes up on at least two occasions in the commentary on Carson. I’ve read Carson’s book, and I had no trouble seeing how he uses the word “capitalism.” Much of the book is devoted to showing that historical capitalism — the real-life mercantilist political-economic system that most people attach that word to — bears only superficial resemblance to the laissez-faire free market, which he favors. Indeed anyone who does not quickly see this in Carson’s work is not paying attention. It is not some obscure point buried under other material. It is the point! Moreover, Carson shows the historical precedent — in the work of Thomas Hodgskin and Benjamin Tucker, for example — for such usage. It shouldn’t be hard to grasp. Continue reading

Capitalism versus Capitalism, continued

by Sheldon Richman
Capitalism versus Capitalism, continued

The following article was written by Sheldon Richman and published on his blog Free Association, April 15th, 2006.

In my previous post about the Journal of Libertarian Studies symposium on Kevin Carson’s Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, I said that the harsh reaction to Carson’s use of the word “capitalism” was striking. I did not intend to take up every point made against Carson in the critiques. As I said before, valid criticisms can be and have been made of his 400-page book covering political-economic theory and history. Nevertheless, I have learned much from the book. Overall it is a valuable contribution to political economy and a timely reminder (if that is the right word) to libertarians of how radical their creed actually is. In my view, one cannot overstate the importance of Carson’s asking libertarians: what are you defending, the free market or the political-economic system we currently live in? He is right that many libertarians are ambivalent, one day criticizing the pervasive state intervention and privilege, the next day defending particular companies and individuals as though their gains were purely the outcome of effort in a laissez-faire environment. It is fair to ask, as Carson does, which is it? Continue reading

The Libertarian Mind

by Keith Preston

A new study of the psychology of political beliefs indicates that Pareto was correct when he said that an individual’s political views are as much an indication of their own innate personality type and psychological makeup as much as anything else. In other words, we may be “hard-wired” to adapt certain political outlooks. Read about the study here. And see what the same study said about liberals and conservatives here.

Emma Goldman once said that anarchists are born and not made, and Sean Gabb said in his interview with me that being a libertarian is like being a homosexual in that it appears to be innate to the person’s own essential characteristics and not something that is merely adopted. I generally agree with that with the qualification that political beliefs, like sexuality, are something of a continuum. Someone can be either a hard-core libertarian or merely be a libertarian-leaning liberal, conservative, socialist or centrist. Also, I’ve noticed that people raised in libertarian or anarchist families seem to be much more likely to hold those views as adults when compared to people raised in environments where more conventional political views were the norm. The ironic observation that we can make from this is that people who are normally herd creatures (which is most people) can in fact adopt libertarian or anarchist views if such views are the norm for the “herds” with which they are the most closely associated. There is also the question of “libertarians of convenience,” that is, folks who adopt libertarian views because they believe their values or references groups are under attack by the existing state and embrace libertarianism as a survival strategy for their own kind. Continue reading

Who are the Real Patricians

by D.J. Webb

It is amazing just how much authority our current ruling class draws from the distinction it continually draws between itself and the former ruling class. We are seemingly unable to identify the ruling class today. We still think that it is the Blimps, the “conservatives”, the people who went to Eton, members of the Bullingdon Club, the Royal Family, the Lords, the “rich” (???), people who wear ties, people who wear straw boaters at Oxford, etc.

Actually, this has not been the ruling class for a generation, and yet those who have taken their place constantly poke fun at them and gain a kind of demotic support for a much nastier and more intrusive form of rule today. Continue reading

Should There be an Automatic Filter for Pornographic Web Sites? Flash Animation

Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, speaking on BBC Radio Ulster on the 19th December 2012.

The question was whether there should be an automatic filter on pornographic web sites, to protect children from the horrors of nudity and sex. Such content would still be available to adults who explicitly asked for the filter to be removed in their case, and who were not scared of being put on a list of known sex perverts. NB, the British Government had recently announced that it would not make any law to compel an automatic filter.

Sean argues these points: Continue reading

Drink and the Unemployed: How Stupid Do These People Think We Are?

Libertarian Alliance News Release
Contact Details: Dr Sean Gabb
07956 472 199 sean
Wednesday the 19th December 2012
Immediate release

Drink and the Unemployed:
How Stupid Do These People Think We are?

Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke has introduced a Bill to prevent welfare claimants from buying alcohol and cigarettes, among much else.

Speaking today in London, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, comments on this proposal:

I won’t ask if Mr Shelbrooke is stupid. What matters more is how stupid he thinks we are. His proposal is insultingly worthless to achieve his stated end. Continue reading

Is Plebgate turning into Fedgate? The Empire strikes back!

by Anna Raccoon

Note: As I recall, the pigs got above their station under Margaret Thatcher. She needed them to bust a gut against the blacks and the miners. She also needed them to cover up some rather serious charges against one of her favourite Ministers. In return, they got the beginnings of a police state. This continued under Tony Blair, who needed them to cover up the past and present lives of half the Cabinet. It’s good to see them being knocked off their perch now.

On the one hand, Mr Mitchell is a piece of greenslime health fascist scum, who has well-earned his place on the Great Bill of Attainder that will be brought in after the military coup. On the other, anything he can do to help turn the pigs back into something approaching a constabulary should be taken into consideration. SIG Continue reading

Minimum Alcohol Pricing Will Be Good For Pubs?

by Dick Puddlecote

Minimum Alcohol Pricing Will Be Good For Pubs? Well, this has been the claim by CAMRA anyway. But, you know, I don’t reckon they have fully thought through the inevitable consequences of such a concept being widely accepted.

The Sheffield University study which the whole charade is based upon – madcap fantasy such as it is – already has a clause designed to impose the same on the on-trade in due course. In fact, it is claimed that extending minimum pricing to pubs too is the best possible outcome. Continue reading

Review of “Masters of Deceit” by J. Edgar Hoover

by Foseti

Communism in the US has a long history. Let’s set aside the earliest bits and focus on the two most recent periods. These periods are the US-Russian Alliance period and the modern progressive period.

The US-Russian Alliance period was characterized by – unsurprisingly – an alliance between American Communists and Russian ones. This story is relatively well documented, if still not exactly well known. Continue reading

Cameron Off With The Fairies Again

by Dick Puddlecote

Cameron Off With The Fairies Again I want to tell you a story.

I once knew a guy who was a very well-paid buyer for a major supermarket. He wasn’t around much, mostly taking flights to places like Brazil and the Philippines, and occasionally very hard-to-reach places like Senegal. Hard-to-reach because he was entitled to fly business class and some of the backwaters he went to involved tortuous journeys in economy. Oh, the inhumanity! Continue reading

Poverty and Libertarians, Old and New

by M. George van der Meer

Poverty and Libertarians, Old and New

Early last week, one of many creepy U.S. bureaucracies reminiscent of the Ministry of Truth released new statistics on poverty, among various other metrics that it sees fit to keep track of. If we’re to accept the government’s data as true (and this is hardly an argument for that conclusion), nearly a third of all American counties saw a “significant increase in poverty” during the four years leading up to 2012. Continue reading

On Dissolving the State, and What to Replace It With

by Kevin Carson
On Dissolving the State, and What to Replace It With

The following article was written by Kevin Carson and published on the Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism, March 8th, 2008.

You may have noticed the neat little quote I put at the head of this blog:

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. –P. J. Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the XIX Century.

That’s a theme I’ve been writing on since I started blogging, starting with this post: “Building the Structure of the New Society Within the Shell of the Old.” Continue reading

On crutches and crowbars: toward a labor radical case against the minimum wage

by Rad Geek

On crutches and crowbars: toward a labor radical case against the minimum wage

The following article was written by Charles Johnson and published on his Rad Geek People’s Daily, March 6th, 2008.

First they taught us to depend
On their Nation-States to mend
Our tired minds, our broken bones, our failing limbs;
And now they’ve sold off all the splints,
and contracted out the tourniquets,
And if we jump through hoops, then we might just survive.

—Propagandhi, The State Lottery

There has been some interesting discussion among Jim Henley (2008-02-21), Tom Knapp (2008-02-29), and Kevin Carson over left-libertarian political programmes, strategic priorities, gradualism, and the welfare state. The debate began with an argument over Knapp’s World’s Smallest Political Platform for the Libertarian Party, and Henley’s worries that the platform, as expressed, doesn’t allow much room for gradualist approaches to repeal, or nuance in strategic priorities. Now, I don’t have much of a dog in that fight, because I’m not a gradualist, but I’m not in the least bit interested about limited-statist party-building or political platforms, either. At the level of moral principle, I have a very simple approach to taxation, government welfare programs, regulation, etc. If I had a platform, it would be three words — Smash the State — and the programme I favor for implementing that is for each and every government program to be be abolished immediately, completely, and forever, whenever, wherever, in whatever order, and to whatever extent that we can, by hook, by crook, slingshot, canoe, wherever the political opportunity to do so presents itself. Political coercion is an evil against which it may sometimes be prudent to retreat, but with which there can be no negotiated compromise. (All such compromises, so-called, are really just conditional surrender.) Continue reading

Sea Changes

by Andy Nowicki

Note: Derek Turner and I have been friends for many years. I haven’t yet had time to read and review his novel, but will do do over Christmas. In the meantime, here is a review and interview by somebody else. SIG Continue reading

A Mind Blowing Performance

I stopped paying much attention to Beethoven in 1981, after having a quasi-religious experience while listening to Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor. I never stopped listening; I simply stopped listening properly. I now glory in his rediscovery. I bought the Hogwood/Lubin/AAM PC box set in 1990 out of  a sense of duty. It’s an astonishing achievement. Here is the 1st movement of No. 5 in Eb major. What I most like about this performance is the total abandonment of restraint within a set of broadly Mozartian assumptions.

For the Symphonies, though, Mrs Gabb has bought me the 1963 Karajan set. John Kersey recommends it; and, while she won’t let me remove the cellophane wrapping until Christmas Eve, and will then nag me about the state of my hearing whenever I play the disks, the YouTube previews sound very exciting.

Next year, I may give up on torturing my women with the flute, and take to the piano.


Nigel Lawson Puts the Boot into the Greenslime Beeb

LETTER TO LORD HALL FROM GWPF TRUSTEES (The Global Warming Policy Foundation)

The Global Warming Policy Foundation – 14 December 2012

Dear Lord Hall,

As Trustees of the all-Party and non-Party Global Warming Policy Foundation, we would like to wish you every success in your new and important post of Director General of the BBC. It is clear that you have a number of urgent matters to attend to in your post. But when you have done that, we hope you will find time to turn your attention to a matter which, although not urgent, is of considerable importance: the BBC’s treatment of global warming and climate change issues. Continue reading

Gay Marriage, political correctness and Newspeak

by Robert Henderson

The commonly made objections to Gay Marriage are (a) marriage is traditionally between a man and a woman, a fact underpinned for many opponents by religious beliefs that only a man and a woman can be married, (b) claims that expansion of the definition of marriage to include same sex relationships will undermine the family and (c) such a novel status creates a legal anomaly whereby homosexual relationships become in some areas privileged over close non-sexual relationships between people of the same sex, for example, two elderly spinster sisters living together. Continue reading

Danse Macabre: The Black Death, Part 2

by Anna Raccoon

Note: I’m not convinced by the claim that plague and bubonic plague are not the same. Differences in symptoms and mortality rates may not mean very much. The 14th century Black Death and the 17th century plagues wiped out virtually everyone who had no resistance. We are the descendants of the survivors, and have probably inherited some resistance to the infection. It’s the same with the rats. That in itself would explain slower transmission rates, and lower rates of infection and mortality.

Syphilis was much more virulent on its first appearance at the end of the 15th century. Infections comparatively harmless to Europeans and Asians appear to have wiped out over 90 per cent of the native populations in South America during the 16th century.

Of course, infections also change over time. A bacterium is unlikely to survive for very long when it kills its host before it can spread to another. Therefore, changes in the nature of the bacterium and growing resistance of its victims will, over time, transform catastrophic pandemics into endemic problems. SIG Continue reading

Tu es Petrus….

I must say that Catholics know how to put on a show. If they’d only give up on the guitars and the use of native languages, I’d be inclined both to drop the CofE and to stop dithering about Orthodoxy. Even the outrageous claim, starting at 14:48, is made almost reasonable in that priest’s voice, and with Mozart to accompany.

The War on Drugs is a War on Freedom

by Norman Horn

The War on Drugs is a War on Freedom review of The War on Drugs is a War on Freedom by Laurence Vance. Vance Publications, 2012. Orlando, FL. $9.95 at Cross-posted from

To many newcomers to libertarian ideas – especially Christians – it is not always perfectly clear why libertarians oppose the War on Drugs so strenuously. Some Christians even think that the only reason libertarians oppose government prohibition is so that they can get high legally. Nothing could be further from the truth. Simply put, we despise government prohibition because it is a power no government should have. Moreover, the War on Drugs is an incredible example of precisely how a government usurps liberty, destroys lives, and consolidates power unto itself. This short book by Dr. Laurence Vance, writer at LCC,,, and the Future of Freedom Foundation, explains in great detail why everyone should oppose the War on Drugs . Continue reading

Some Observations on the Gun Control Debate

by Kevin Carson

Some Observations on the Gun Control Debate

As tends to happen after each such horrific occurrence, the school shooting in Connecticut was the occasion for reviving the debate over gun control in the United States.

Given the quality of this debate, I’m not really interested in engaging either the smug liberal challenges of “well, are you people finally ready to come to your senses” or the right-wing hysteria of “The Kenyan Marxist Muslim is coming to take our guns away!” I’ll just say for the record I’m an anarchist, and I don’t care much for the idea of the same state responsible for warrantless wiretapping and the NDAA regulating the public’s access to weaponry for self-defense. And I don’t want a new War on Guns carried out by the same lawless paramilitary thugs in kevlar who’re already fighting the wars on drugs and terrorism. At the same time, I can’t say I’m too crazy about the loudest anti-gun control voices on the right. Continue reading

How to Stop School Shootings
How to Stop School Shootings
By John R. Lott, Jr

This week’s horrific shootings in Arkansas have, predictably, spurred calls or more gun control. But it’s worth noting that the shootings occurred in one of the few places in Arkansas where possessing a gun is illegal. Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi the three states that have had deadly shootings in public schools over the past half-year all allow law-abiding adults to carry concealed handgun for self-protection, except in public schools. Indeed, federal law generally prohibits guns within 1000 feet of a school. Continue reading

Guns: A Case against Victim Disarmament

The War Against Armed Crime:
We Need Guns to Make Us Safer
Sean Gabb
(Published in The Birmingham Post, 7th June 2006)

The current debate on armed crime is depressingly predictable. Everyone agrees something must be done. Just about everyone agrees this something must include laws against the sale or carrying or simple possession of weapons. More controls on weapons, the argument goes, the fewer weapons on the street: therefore lower levels of armed crime.

Now, this whole line of thinking is nonsense. We already have some of the strictest controls in the developed world on the carrying of weapons. We also have some of the highest levels of armed crime. Indeed, we are reaching the point where we shall need to show proof of identity before buying knives and forks. There is no reason to suppose yet tougher laws will succeed where all the others have plainly failed. Continue reading


They Work for You!

Richard Blake: A Brief Introduction

A Brief and Rambling Advertisement
for the Works of Richard Blake

Oh dear, I suddenly feel just as I always do when I reach the “horrid page” of a job application form. You’ve given all the easy information – date of birth, qualifications, previous experience, and so forth. You now have a whole sheet of A4 on which you need to explain why the job should be yours. The horridest of horrid pages even contain the words “Continue on a separate sheet if necessary.” There’s no point shouting “Haven’t I said enough already to show whether I can do the bloody job?” No point at all. You’ve a readership of dead-eyed human resource managers, and they won’t even consider having you round for interview until you’ve revealed your childhood ambition to work in whatever position is being advertised. Continue reading


I have written 280,000 words this year – 20,000 down on last year and the year before, but still worth announcing. I have a new book on freedom of speech coming out next year, among other things.

Christmas Bonuses Courtesy of the Taxpayer…

by Anna Raccoon

The Taxpayer, aka, Northern Rock Asset Management is to hand back some £270m to 152,000 customers. Apparently the Taxpayer wasn’t used to running a Bank and forgot to print on the statements the amount of the original loan; this meant that it was illegal to charge interest for the loan of the Taxpayers money – so we’ll be foregoing any interest that we should have received, and handing it back to the mortgagee in time for Christmas – an average of £1,775 a piece…… Continue reading

Minds Like A Sponge, So Get ‘Em Young

by Dick Puddlecote

Minds Like A Sponge, So Get ‘Em Young After a few months respite, I was beginning to think that state educational silliness had been left behind now my two have left primary school. It has come thick and fast in the past couple of days, though. Continue reading

New CD published by Distinguished Musician and Scholar and Libertarian

A new CD has been published by Romantic Discoveries Recordings.

Piano Music of Sydney Smith (1839-89) volume 2
John Kersey, piano

Total time: 76 minutes 47 seconds

1. Nadeshda, fantasia on the opera by Arthur Goring Thomas (1850-92), op. 211b 2. Aspiration (mélodie), op. 208 no. 1 3. Inquiétude (impromptu), op. 208 no. 2 4. Gavotte and Musette, op. 188 5. Vie orageuse (Deuxième ballade), op. 203 6. Chant de berceau, op. 156 7. Harmonies du soir (morceau élégant), op. 54 8. Menuet romantique, op. 174 9. Rayons d’or (Bagatelle), op. 176 10. Happy memories (morceau de salon), op. 77 11. Kermesse (Scène hollandaise), op. 181 12. Voix du coeur (Mélodie), op. 178 13. Zeffiretta (Morceau de salon), op. 159 14. Bacchanale, op. 170

Our thanks to the Sydney Smith Archive for supplying scores of these rare works.

Sydney Smith represents a lost generation of English composer-pianists who enjoyed both critical and commercial success in his heyday, only to be eclipsed by a rapid change in musical fashion that was compounded by his own ill-health. Born in Dorchester, in close proximity to Thomas Hardy, Smith won a place at the Leipzig Conservatoire aged seventeen and studied there for three years under Moscheles and Plaidy (piano) and Grutzmacher (cello). The Crown Prince of Prussia was apparently greatly impressed with his talent, and Smith’s move to London in 1859 marked the beginning of a career as a recitalist (notably at the Crystal Palace) and teacher. Added to this was the beginning of a prolific career as a melodic and effective composer of works for the salon and concert hall, many of which became included in popular anthologies of piano music of the day. This oeuvre made Smith one of the most famous musicians of his day, not only in England, but in Australia, America and continental Europe, and his name became a household word. Smith was particularly known for his virtuoso opera transcriptions, but as this album will show, was also gifted in a variety of short original forms, including characteristic dances and evocative mood-pieces. These works are written in a masterly way for the piano, showing a mature understanding of pianistic effect (with a good deal of influence from Chopin and Liszt) and providing a considerable technical challenge for the performer. The present recital offers probably the only opportunity at the moment to hear any of Arthur Goring Thomas’s last opera “Nadeshda” and is otherwise devoted to a varied selection of Smith’s original works, concentrating particularly on those from his later years.

Support C4SS with Edmund Burke’s “A Vindication of Natural Society”

by James Tuttle
Support C4SS with Edmond Burke’s “A Vindication of Natural Society”

C4SS has teamed up with the Distro of the Libertarian Left. The Distro produces and distribute zines and booklets on anarchism, market anarchist theory, counter-economics, and other movements for liberation. For every copy of Edmond Burke’s “A Vindication of Natural Society“ that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Edmund Burke’s “A Vindication of Natural Society“. Continue reading

The Wonders of Technology

Mrs Gabb bought me a Soundlogik USB turntable for my birthday – £22.50 from The Factory Shop. I was prepared to be disappointed. However, it digitises old records as well as I’ve ever heard them play. Indeed, a capture of The Nelson Mass from 1979 sounds about as good as the CD version, allowing, of course, for surface noise. If I fiddle about with changing the needle, it will also do 78rpm records. I think we’ve now reached the point where cheapo stuff is about as good as the more expensive. I will, in due course, upload some of the captures.


Here is a digitisation of Porgi Amor – mono, 1958, Karajan/VPO, Schwartzkopf:

And here is a stereo recording from 1960 of Bruno Walter conducting the 3rd Movement of Mahler’s Symphony No 1 in D:,%20ohne%20zu%20schleppen.mp3

Danse Macabre: The Black Death, Part I

by Gildas the Monk

Consider a world in which over the next three months, between 30-50% of the people around you have died of a horrible disease, full of fever and boils, often vomiting blood. What would that be like?

As regular readers will know, from time to time I take a historical topic which I may have heard of, but only have a superficial knowledge, research it and lay the results of my researches before readers of this blog – with our learned editor’s permission. I do not know why. Sometimes I do it for relaxation when I am a bit stressed. Sometimes Raccoon Readers provide their own and learned additional insights. Continue reading

Tesco is biggest owner of retail area in ČR

Note: I always rather liked shopping at Prior in Bratislava. You could buy a pair of socks there for 20p. Everything else was dirt cheap for foreigners, and no one spoke English. But I can appreciate that people want the normal things of Western life. The Tesco at Zlaté Piesky is so big that the shop assistants have to go about on roller skates. Poor service, though. SIG Continue reading

GAY MARRIAGE – UK Prime Minister promotes decadence

by the Rev. Alan Clifford

I respect Alan Clifford, and I maintain his absolute right to state his theological position on homosexuality. However, I don’t agree with him about gay marriage. So long as no church or other religious institution or minister of religion is penalised for refusing to perform services, I see no objection to gay marriage. I am suspicious of the current proposals. Though I haven’t studied them in any detail, I suspect the proposals do enable civil or criminal persecution. indeed, I suspect that is part of their intention. Take this possibility away, though, and I don’t see why a man shouldn’t be at liberty to marry his own brother so long as they are both consenting adults. SIG Continue reading

A brief note on the hospital call prank

by D.J. Webb

We have probably all listened to the hoax call to Edward VII Hospital in which an Australian radio show phoned the hospital pretending to be the Queen in the hope of obtaining information about Kate Mountbatten née Middleton’s confinement. While, of course, I do not celebrate the fact that a nurse is believed to have committed suicide, I cannot join in the condemnation of the phonecall. Continue reading