Category Archives: Events

War and liberalism


David Davis

Statists and other varieties of socialist have more or less succeeded in making the planet as dangerous a place as the buggers can get away with. Liberal minimal-statism will never, ever be forgiven for causing useless pre-capitalist-barbarian intellectuals and poseurs to be fully redundant.

This article in the Torygraph caught my eye this morning, and filled me with forebodings concerning certain things that happened in Britain’s recent history. I regard event like WW2 as having happened “this morning”, sometimes, in the light of how I perceive the March Of Time.

It is in general not good to (as the late Osama-bin-Liner said about weak and strong horses) seem to be a weak horse. This is because that Man’s biological instincts and use of neo-English-social-rationality are not at all walking in step in the majority of populations, nations and races today, in contrast generally with how they are in populations inside the Anglosphere.

Modern “Democrat” US Presidents seem to be an exception, a sort of throwback to pre-settlement-primitivism, in which you Continue reading

I think that few of us spotted this one coming. EU reintroduces death penalty via LISBON “in the case of war, riots, upheaval”


David Davis

http://www.archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk/2008/04/lisbon-treaty-introduces-eu-wide-death.html

I think it might be time to flag this one to The Faithful. Some of us may not have noticed it – I certainly didn’t. Do you read Eurotreaties? I do not, for I have not time.

And since it was in a footnote to a footnote to something that few if any normal people would be willing or able to spend the time reading through comprehensively, we all might be forgiven.

The entire notion now throws, into ever-sharper focus, this Nation’s relationship with the EU. I have nothing to add to that sentence for you may all have your own thoughts.

As we all know, I am not in favour of modern States being able to take life: this is because in all cases the right to do that to another human has been denied by the state’s law.

If I have not a right to end someone’s life who has wronged me and mine, and if my arms and guns and kitchen-knives and screwdrivers have been seized off me in that regard,  then I also have not the right to delegate that right to Continue reading

UKIP and the Tories…what will the Toryawayday say tomorrow?


David Davis

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/iainmartin1/100236803/what-the-hell-can-the-tories-do-about-ukip/
It’s actually too late to do anything aout Ukip. We may win the odd Parliamentary seat, or we may not. I’d guess one, or at a push, two. We’ll clean up anyway in the EuroNazi “elections”, and Ukip will e the largest UK party in StrasNazi-bourg or wherever the thing is “sitting” now, and it will be dedicated to getting arguably the most important caged-EuroNation our of the EUSSR.

You see, Tories, you have betrayed the People of Britain. You’ve tried to be a leftyparty, thinking it’d get you elected. And even that nearly didn’t work in 2010, and you’re saddled with LeftoNazi limpDemNazis who actually hate and despise you – the despising is actually worse than the hating – _Even More that the LabourNazis do_ if that were conceivable.

We in Ukip really don’t give a f**k if we tip Ed Miliband into power. We know how bad he will be, and all the trolls and orcs he’ll let back into the farm to continue trashing stuff. You are no better so far.

We also don’t give a f**k if your party becomes toast permanently after a 2015 defeat. You had the chance in 2010 to give the Queen an ultimatum, and say that you were NOT prepared to go into government with either of the other groups of thuggish Nazi gangsters, and that you would _refuse_ to allow Parliament to be restarted until she called another election, which you would then have won. Of course, you still sere not going to give us our promised referendum on Lisbon and the EUSSR so it wouldn’t have made any difference, but at least you’d still have people’s respect to a tiny extent.

Face facts: you’re going to lose seats to Ukip, and probably to the LibDemNazis and Labour Nazis, because Ukip will make a point of targetting your marginals. If we get in, it’s a bonus. If you’re out, at least you’re punished. we’ll all be in the shit whichever Nazi party gets back in.

If you manage somehow to do, we’ll be only marching to the deathcamps slightly less fast than if one of the others was at the wheel.

Berlin International Libertarian Meetup


Found on www.Freiheitsfreunde.net

Join us on June 27 at 8 pm at Brauhaus Lemke next to Hackescher Markt!

English-speaking Libertarians in Berlin meet for drinks and networking every fourth Thursday each month!

Brauhaus Lemke is a Berlin Brewhouse that brews and serves its own beer. If the weather is nice we will be able to meet outside in the beer garden!

Please register by replying sending an email to: international.berlin@freiheitsfreunde.net

Invitations for future events will be sent to the subscribers of this group.

Veranstalter: Berlin International Libertarian Meetup
Kontakt: Michael Helfer, Gregor Schulmeister, Denis Maciel
Beginn: 20:00 Uhr
Ende: 22:30 Uhr
Adresse: Brauhaus Lemke, Dircksenstraße, S-Bahn-Bogen 143, 10178 Berlin, brauhaus-lemke.de

Emma West in Court Today – 23rd May 2013


According to “Jeff Bean,” posting to some of the comments sections of this Blog: “I have just seen Croydon Crown court listings and it shows 23rd May 2013 Emma Louise West is appearing now. She has well and truly been slipped under the radar.”

I’ve just checked the listings too. Though I can’t find a permanent url for linking, the name certainly appears. She was in Court 4. Whether she will be there again tomorrow I’m not able to say.

Sean Gabb on the Thatcher Police State (May 1989)


The Full Coercive Apparatus of a Police State:
Thoughts on the Dark Side of the Thatcher Decade

Sean Gabb

3rd May 1989, Published as Legal Notes No. 6, by the Libertarian Alliance,
London, 1989, ISBN 1 870614 39 9

Ten years ago (1979) I gave way to one of my rare bursts of enthusiasm. I was at the time, I’ll grant, still a schoolboy; and these things are always more permissible in them than in others. But, even for a schoolboy, it was a very great burst of enthusiasm. I seriously thought that, along with Mrs Thatcher, the second dawn of classical liberalism had arrived. This was it, I thought. No more socialism. No more national decline. No more Road to Serfdom. Oh, even as lads of my age went, I was naïve. 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.

Well, at least there wasn’t a six-foot dancing penis


Well,  at least there wasn’t a six-foot dancing penis
Robert Henderson

Prior to the  opening ceremony of the  London Olympics,  the last time Britain put on a taxpayer-funded  entertainment that was  meant  to project the country to the world was on 31 January 1999.  The event was broadcast   from the  Dome (now the O2 Arena)  to mark the new millennium.  True to the politically correct  dicta of the time, the Millennium show  said precisely nothing about British history or culture and was an exceptionally  trite mishmash of  the “we are all one happy global family” variety of painfully right on exhortation and posturing  (see http://wwp.millennium-dome.com/news/news-dome-990916show.htm).  The lowlight of the show was a six-foot dancing penis. Tawdry is the word which comes to mind. Continue reading

Thoughts on the Diamond Jubilee


Thoughts on the Diamond Jubilee:
Sixty Years a Rubber Stamp
By Sean Gabb

Those of us who pay attention to such things will have noticed a difference between the BBC coverage of the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and of the present Diamond Jubilee. Ten years ago, the coverage was adequate, though reluctant and even a little stiff. This time, it has been gushing and completely uncritical. There are various possible reasons for my observation. The first is that I was mistaken then and am mistaken now. I do not think this is the case, but feel obliged to mention it. The second is that Golden Jubilees are rare events, and Diamond Jubilees very rare events, and that extreme rarity justifies a setting aside of republican scruples. The third is that the BBC was taken by surprise in 2002 by the scale of public enthusiasm, and does not wish to be caught out again. The fourth is that, while not particularly conservative on main issues, we do now have a Conservative Government, and this is headed by a cousin of Her Majesty. There may be many other reasons. Continue reading

The rot sets in, but be of good cheer, for it usually takes quite some time.


David Davis

The Last Ditch is worth visiting from time to time. Sadly, since Tom Paine’s (that’s his screen name, as it were) wife died, he’s been writing less. I hope he recovers his former zeal for intellectually-flogging the guts out of our enemies, the GramscoStaliNazis.

A recent one is good reading, about the awful slow-motion-descent of the USA into modern British-style post-socialist horror and unredemption.

Libertarian Alliance Bulletin, 3rd November 2011


Director’s Bulletin, 3rd November 2011
by Sean Gabb

We had quite a busy summer at the Libertarian Alliance – articles in the home and foreign press, radio and television broadcasts, a stream of original and syndicated material on our blog, changes to our website, and so on and so on. Since then, I’ve gone rather quiet. Continue reading

Pre-Occupied in St. Louis


by Thomas Knapp
http://c4ss.org/?p=8583

I am not, in the normal course of things, a “shoe-leather journalist.” Nothing against covering a story on the ground, mind you, but I’ve been there and done that (starting more than 30 years ago), and while political commentary may not pay as well or garner as much respect as on-the-scene, five-point-lede, just-the-facts-ma’am reportage, it puts less wear and tear on the ol’ carcass. Continue reading

Monarchy, Nation-States, And The Failed Reign of “Elizabeth The Useless”


By Sean Gabb

At the last Royal Wedding, back in 1981, I spent most of the day in bed, listening to Die Meistersinger. This time, I was bullied by my (Slovak immigrant!) wife and our daughter into having a shave and watching every ghastly detail on the telly.

Full article here:

http://www.vdare.com/gabb/110429_monarchy.htm

Governments and price-fixing: pot calls kettle black


Michael Winning

I learn that supplies of heating oil are running low. Worse, we have this:

Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, said that ministers would work with suppliers to ration supplies to make sure that customers could get through the festive period, and confirmed that the outlook was potentially “very serious”.

Pres Reagan said “the most dangerous words in the English language are “I’m from the government and Im here to help”.

Of course there are more broken promises and bribery in the pipeline (sorry) as in this:-

Chris Hoon, the Energy Secretary, promised that no customer would be without oil over Christmas, adding: “The Energy minister has been in constant discussions looking at any way in which those who need heating oil, and are short of heating oil, get it. That is absolutely essential.

Not helped by “moochers and looters” as in this:-

Pat Glass, Labour MP for North West Durham, accused oil suppliers of “utter exploitation”.

And Conservative backbencher Neil Parish, representing Tiverton and Honiton, added: “Isn’t it time you took on the oil companies and ensure constituents get a fair deal as many of my constituents have no choice but to have oil?”

I am learnng to be more careful about my typing.

Libertarian Alliance Conference


I am writing to tell you that the Libertarian Alliance and Libertarian International will hold their joint conference this year over the weekend of the 30th-31st October 2010 at the National Liberal Club in London. We are still finalising the programme, and make no warranties that the speakers listed on our programme will be the ones who finally appear. However, we are offering bookings now, because, from the 1st August 2010, the booking fee will rise from £85 (and the corresponding rate in Dollars and Euros) to £99 (also with the corresponding foreign currency rates).

You should book now, as you may recall how, in previous years, we have had to refuse bookings in the last week before the conference.

The Provisional Brochure is here:

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

Book Recommendations

Christian Michel, the European Director of the Libertarian Alliance and President of the Libertarian International, has published two books through the Hampden Press These are:

Bricks of Freedom (in English)
Christian Michel
First edition, July 2010, 411pp
Euro10/£10/$20/
http://www.seangabb.talktalk.net/hampdenpress/bricks.htm

Vivre Ensemble (in French)
Christian Michel
First edition, July 2010, 367pp
Euro10/£10/$20/
http://www.seangabb.talktalk.net/hampdenpress/vivre.htm

Both books are highly recommended.

Secrets About Money That Put You At Risk (Paperback)
by Michael J. McKay
£8.95/$12.95
From Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/36fkxvh

Richard Blake
Blood of Alexandria
“The greatest novel of its kind ever written!!!!!” You will be aware that Mr Blake has never been one to blow his own trumpet and bank his own drum. This being so, it is wholly fitting that I should undertake the work on his behalf.
£19.99
From Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/356mwdr

Though the hardback has now sold out, Mr Blake would ask you to order even so, as this may prompt Hodder & Stoughton to go for a reprint instead of diverting the export paperback. The mass market paperback will be available at Christmas. But why not try for a hardback copy NOW of this flawless masterpiece of libertarian historical fiction?

UK Space Program Launched.


Fred Bloggs.

My contacts at the state of the art launch facility in Skegness sent me some pictures of the highly trained astronauts who will be representing the United Kingdom in space.

The first launch will coincide with the completion of the 2012 olympic stadium in 2014.

The Conservative Challenge, by Sean Gabb


Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 187
20th October 2009
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc187.htm

The Conservative Challenge
By Sean Gabb
(Text of a Speech Given to a Conservative Association
On Friday the 16th October 2009)

Introduction

On Friday the 16th October 2009, I spoke to a Conservative Association in the South East of England. Though I did not video the event, and though –  on account of the heated and not always good natured debate the followed my speech – I was asked not to identify the particular Association to which I spoke, I think what I said is worth recording. Therefore, I will write down my words as best I can recall them. I have suppressed all the questions, but carried some of the answers into the main text. Otherwise, I will try to keep the flavour of the original.

The Speech

Because of transport difficulties that prevented many people in this room from arriving on time, I am beginning my speech an hour later than expected. I am honoured by the Chairman’s apology for the delay. However, the series of conversations and arguments with which those of us who were here entertained ourselves while waiting have given me the idea for a speech that is still on my stated theme, but that I think will be more interesting than the one I had in mind. Now, this theme – “The Conservative Challenge” – has been routinely given to speakers at Conservative gatherings since at least the 1880s. The question that must always be answered is how we can remain the free citizens of an independent country in ages that have been progressively hostile both to individual freedom and to national independence. I did have a plan loosely worked out in my head. What I will do instead, though, is take some of our bar room discussions and summarise or expand on them as seems appropriate. I will do this by giving short statements of what was said to me, and then by giving my responses.

1. This has been a bad Government

I disagree. Oh, if you want a government that defends the country and provides common services while keeping so far as possible out of your way, the Labour Government elected in 1997 has been a disappointment. This does not mean, however, that the Blair and Brown Governments have been a failure in their own terms. They have, on the contrary, been very successful.

The purpose of the Government that took power in 1997 was to bring about a revolutionary transformation of this country – a transformation from which there could be no return to what had been before. The English Constitution has never been set down in a written document, and there has never been any statement of fundamental rights and liberties that was protected from change by ordinary legislation. Instead, these rights and liberties were protected by a set of customs and institutions that, being legitimised by antiquity, served the same purpose as formal entrenchment. It can be hard, in every specific case, to justify trial by jury, or the rule against double jeopardy, or the idea that imprisonment should be for a specified time and no longer, or the right to speak freely on matters in the public domain. There are principled arguments that satisfy in the absence of strong passions. But, strong passions being granted, the best argument has always so far been that these things have always been in England, and that to change them would be to break the threads that tie us to the past.

It would be childish to argue that the Ancient Constitution was in good health until 1997, when it was suddenly overturned. Unless there is an catastrophic foreign invasion, constitutions are not destroyed in this way. Ours had been sapped long before 1997. To say when the tipping point was reached, and by what means, would take me far beyond my stated theme. However, what remained of the Constitution has, since 1997, been dismissed as a set of “outmoded” relics, and large parts of it have been swept away. Those that remain have been transformed beyond recognition.

Let me give myself as an example. My first degree was in History. Much of this was taken up with a study of late antiquity and the early middle ages. But some of it was given to English history between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Of course, the Constitution changed within these periods, and had changed much since then. But I could take up the debates of the Cavalier Parliament, or a pamphlet written during the American War, or a case published in the State Trials, and find myself within a conversation of the English people. I was not in the same position as a French undergraduate, who, for anything published before 1791, would find himself in a world of institutions, and territorial names, and weights and measures, and monetary units, and general assumptions, as alien as those of a foreign country.

This has now changed. Anyone who, this month, has started a degree in History or Law or Politics will find himself in the same position as that French undergraduate. We have new legislative bodies all over the country, and new principles of administration, and new courts with new procedures and languages, and new lines of authority terminating in bodies outside the country. The work is not yet complete. But already, the conversation of the English people has been made largely incomprehensible to those born since I was an undergraduate.

Whether the changes can be justified as improvements – or whether they could have been made with more regard for economy and consistency – is beside the point. The main purpose of change has been to seal off the past. That past has been delegitimized in order to strip rights and liberties of the associations that used to protect them. Not surprisingly, we find ourselves in a country with a Potemkin democracy, where speech and publication are censored, where the police are feared, where we are continuously spied on as we go about our business, where we can be imprisoned without trial or charge for a month, and generally where we find ourselves having to deal every day with administrative bodies given powers that others who have not yet had felt them still cannot believe possible.

On any normal assumptions, the country has been governed very badly since 1997. On the assumptions of the Government, things have gone very well indeed.

2. This country is ruled by people who have been corrupted by bad ideas.

Again, I disagree. For centuries now, England has been governed by people rather like ourselves. Sometimes, they have governed well, sometimes badly. But we have never had to doubt their fundamental good faith. This has changed. The people who now rule this country have not been led astray by bad ideas. Rather, they are bad people who choose ideologies to justify their behaviour.

There are ideologies of the left – mutualism, for example, or Georgism, or syndicalism – that may often be silly or impracticable, but that are perfectly consistent with the dignity and independence of ordinary people. These are not ideologies, however, of which those who rule us have ever taken the smallest notice. These people began as state socialists. When this became electorally embarrassing, they switched to politically correct multiculturalism. Now this too is becoming an embarrassment, they are moving towards totalitarian environmentalism. Whether in local or in national government, their proclaimed ideologies have never prevented them from working smoothly with multinational big business, or with unaccountable multinational governing bodies.

It is reasonable to assume that, with these people, ideas are nothing more than a series of justifications for building a social and economic and political order within which they and theirs can have great wealth and unchallengeable power.

They tell us they want to end “child poverty” and “build a more equal society”. In fact, they have employed an army of social workers to terrorise every working class family in the country – an army of social workers backed by closed and secretive courts, and that may even be selecting children for legal kidnap and sale to barren middle class couples. They have pauperised millions with policies that keep them from achieving any reasonable independence and subject them to the bullying of credentialed bureaucracies.

They tell us they want a more “inclusive” and “diverse” society. They have certainly welcomed the mass immigration that they enabled the moment they came into office. It has been useful for impoverishing the working classes – in their attitudes and behaviour once perhaps the most conservative people in the country. It has also provided much evidence for their claim that the old England into which we were born has passed away, and that we need a new constitutional settlement – a settlement much in need of censorship and endless meddling in private choices. Even so, they make sure to live in white enclaves and to send their children to private schools where class photographs look much as they did in 1960.

They tell us they want to save the planet from “climate change”. If they have made Phillips and Siemens rich from their light bulb ban, they still fly everywhere and drive everywhere, and light up their own houses and offices like Christmas trees.

These are bad people. They must be regarded as such in everything they do. And we must hope that they will one day be punished as such.

3. The country is misgoverned.

Let me go back to my first point. There is no doubt that everything done by these people has involved huge cost for little of the promised benefit. We have computer systems that do not work. We have new bureaucracies that do not achieve their stated purpose. The National Health Service, for example, has had its budget doubled or trebled in the past twelve years. Yet the waiting lists are as long as ever, and the hospitals are dirtier than ever. Medical incompetence and even corruption and oppression are now everyday stories in the newspapers.

Again, however, these are failures only on the assumption that money has been laid out for the purpose of improving services. It has not. The real purpose of washing a tidal wave of our money over the public services has been partly to raise up an army of clients more likely to vote Labour than anything else, and partly to give these clients powers that tell everyone else who are the masters now. On this assumption, the money has not been wasted at all. It has indeed been an “investment in the future”.

What is to be done?

I often speak about an electoral coup in which a genuinely conservative government came to power and set about undoing the revolution. This involves shutting down most of the public sector. I am not saying that poor people would no longer receive their benefits or medical attention free at the point of use. These are not in themselves expensive. They may have undesirable consequences in terms of smothering personal responsibility and voluntary initiative. But these are problems to be addressed over a long period during which no settled expectation need be denied. What I do say is that the bureaucratic machine that bleeds us white in taxes and grinds us into obedient uniformity should be smashed to pieces that cannot easily be put back together. It should be smashed because we cannot afford it. It should be smashed because it oppresses us. It should be smashed because it is an agent of national destruction.

I once wrote a book about why this should be done and how to do it. Sadly, it will not be done in the foreseeable future. We shall probably have a Conservative Government within the next nine months. But this will not be a government of conservatives. If we want a preview of the Cameron Government, we need only look at what Boris Johnson has achieved during the past year as Mayor of London. He has not closed down one of the bureaucracies set up by Ken Livingstone and his Trotskyite friends. The race equality enforcers are still collecting their salaries. The war on the private motorist continues. Rather than cut the number of New and Old Labour apparatchiks, he is currently putting up taxes. David Cameron will be no better. He may be forced to make some changes and to slow the speed of the transformation. The transformation will continue nevertheless.

We need to speculate on the purpose and nature of counter-revolution. It is useful to know what ought to be our long term purpose. It inspires us to action in an otherwise bleak present. But we need also to know what present actions are to be inspired. My advice is that we need, in all our thoughts and in whatever of our behaviour is prudent, to withhold our sanction.

Any system of oppression that does not rely on immediate and overwhelming – and usually foreign – violence requires the sanction of its victims. We cannot all have guns put to our heads all day and every day. We therefore need to believe, in some degree, that what is done to us is legitimate. We must believe this if we are to obey. We must believe it if those who oppress us are to keep their good opinion of themselves. I suggest that we should withhold that sanction. I do not say that, without our sanction, the illegitimate power that now constrains our lives will fall immediately to the ground. I do suggest, however, that it will be insensibly undermined, and that it may therefore collapse suddenly in the event of some unexpected shock. This is how Communism died in Eastern Europe. It may be how the New Labour Revolution will die here.

The Police

One of the myths, endlessly repeated through what is called “Middle England”, is that the Police are among the victims of Labour rule – that they have been forced to act in ways that they find abhorrent or absurd. But this is only a myth. The Police are no friends to respectable people in any class or race. When I was a small boy, I was reduced to tears by what seemed a gigantic policeman in a tall helmet. One glare of his bearded face, and I was straight off the municipal flower bed where I had thrown my ball. He spoke to my grandmother before moving to other business, and that was the end of my transgression.

His sort retired decades ago. They have been replaced by undersized, shaven headed thugs – frequently with criminal records – who take delight in harassing the respectable. If you are robbed or beaten in the street, they will be nowhere in sight. If you approach them to complain, they will record the crime and send you on your way. If, on the other hand, you try defending yourself or your loved ones, they will prosecute you. They will do nothing about drugged, aggressive beggars, but they will jump on you if they see you smoking under a bus shelter. These people have been given powers that move them closer to the East German Stasi than to the uniformed civilians many of us can still remember. They can arrest you for dropping a toffee wrapper in the street. Once arrested, you may be charged, but you will more likely be released after being fingerprinted and having DNA samples taken and stored. We do not know what other body or government will be given your DNA. We do not know what future oppressions it may enable. Regardless of any littering charge, you will have been punished already.

We should not regard the Police in any sense as our friends. They are not. This does not mean that we should have no dealings with them. There are times – insurance claims, for example, where things must be reported. There are times when the Police are needed, and when they may give some limited assistance. Even so, we should on no account behave to them as if they were uniformed civilians. They are an armed, increasingly out of control pro-Labour militia.

The Law

We were all of us born in a country where the phrase “The Law is the Law: it must always be obeyed” did not seem absurd. Yes, it may not have been quite as we were told. By and large, however, it was a law made by our representatives and with our loose consent – or it was made by Judges rationalising honestly from assumptions grounded in common sense notions of justice. It is that no longer. For all its blemishes, the old laws of England were there to stop us from knocking into each other too hard as we went about our business. Its function was reactive. The function of law nowadays is transformational. It is there to change the ways in which we think and live. So far as this is the case, the law has been delegitimised.

And this is how we are to regard uses of the law. At the moment, The UK Independence Party is being edged towards bankruptcy over some matter of a political donation. It seems not to have complied with the requirements of a law made in the year 2000 that effectively nationalises all political parties – and that may one day be used to control what policies they advocate and how they oppose measures with which they disagree. Again, there are complaints about how the BBC has invited the Leader of the British National Party to appear on Question Time. It is said that the BNP is currently an illegal organisation because of its internal rules. The alleged illegality is based on a novel interpretation of a 1976 law, as amended in 2000, that is itself illegitimate.

There was a time when it was enough for us to be told that someone had broken the law for us to think ill of that person. But times are altered. When the laws themselves are corrupt, they lose moral force. It is no longer enough for us to be told that someone is a law breaker. Whatever we may think of these parties for what they advocate, they are to be seen not as law breakers but victims of political oppression. To think ill of them purely for their disregard of the law is rather like calling Alexander Solzhenitsyn a jailbird on account of his time in the Gulag.

The Law is no longer the Law. It is a set of politicised commands made for our destruction as a free people. It no longer deserves our automatic respect. Yes, the laws that protect life and property are still to be respected. But it is now rational to inspect every law thrown at us to see which do bind in conscience and which do not. I know that this is a dangerous principle to announce. There are many people for whom the law is a unified thing: say that one part has no binding force, and all parts are weakened. But this is not our fault. We have not made the law disreputable. We are simply facing a state of affairs that has been called into being by others.

The Constitution

I have already mentioned the remodelling of the Constitution. As a people, we have long amused foreigners with our respect for titles and old forms of government. I once chaired a meeting addressed by a Member of the House of Lords. This was before the Internet, and I spent nearly an hour in a library clarifying that he should be introduced as – let me change the name – John, Lord Smith of Wilmington, rather than Lord John Smith or Lord Wilmington. This was all good fun. It also had a serious point. I was helping maintain one of those innumerable and seemingly absurd customs that among were the outer defences of our rights and liberties. Our Ancient Constitution may have struck outsiders as a gigantic fancy dress ball. But it covered a serious and very important fact. This was an imperfect acceptance of Colonel Rainsborough’s claim that “the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he”.

But, again, times are altered. The more gorgeous events of the fancy dress ball have been retained. But the underlying substance – the protection of rights and liberties – has been stripped out. This being so, all obligation of deference has lapsed. I will not defer to the man whose name has been changed by a sheet of parchment sealed with wax to Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty. Nor will I call Peter Mandelson other than “Mr Mandelson. Nor, unless I am in his court, and he is likely to take more against me than he naturally would, will I address the former Communist Stephen Sedley as “My Lord”. Nor will I acknowledge his Knighthood out of court. I am not yet sure if it is appropriate to stop recognising hereditary honours, or those granted before 1997. But I certainly regard all honours granted since 1997 as void. They have the same legitimacy as those conferred by Cromwell during the Interregnum. No – Cromwell was a great man who did honour to this country and who deserves his statue outside Parliament. Recent honours have the same status as those conferred by James II after he ran away to France. They are to be seen as a badge of ridicule and disgrace on those who have accepted them.

Now, this may seem a pedantic and self-indulgent point. But it is not. These people should not be allowed to wrap themselves in any remnant of the associations that once bound us to the past. And they evidently enjoy playing at nobility. I once did a radio debate with a police chief who had been recommended for a Peerage by Tony Blair. He was annoyed by my substantive arguments. He was reduced to spluttering rage when I addressed him as plain “Mister” and sneered that his title was a sham. Bearing in mind that it is not illegal to drop their titles, and how it upsets them, I think it worth doing on every convenient occasion.

And it is part of what I would see as a more general approach. Conservatives often denounce what is being done to us as a “breach of the Constitution”. It is really no such thing, because the Ancient Constitution has been abolished. As said, the fancy dress ball continues in something like full swing. But “the poorest he that is in England” has been stuffed. We do have a constitution in the sense that every organised community has one. Ours says that whoever can frogmarch a majority of placemen through the lobbies of the House of Commons can do whatever he pleases. I did hope, earlier in the present decade, that the Judges would intervene to limit parliamentary sovereignty. The Labour response, however, was to pack the bench with their own people. Therefore, since it has been destroyed, or has been suspended, we are in no position to claim that the Constitution has been breached. The obvious result is that we should not regard ourselves as morally bound to recognise any of the authority that is claimed and exercised over us.

And if our people ever get into power through the electoral coup that I mentioned earlier, I see no reason for recognising any purely “constitutional” limits to the nature and speed of our counter-revolution. For example, regardless of the withdrawal mechanism in the Lisbon Treaty, I would be for just repealing the European Communities Act 1972 as amended. That would be complete and immediate withdrawal. If any Judges tried to block this, I would have them removed. I might also be for passing an Act voiding every previous law made since the first session of the 1997 Parliament. Otherwise, I would prefer to declare a state of Emergency under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, and then repeal hundreds of laws by decree. A slow revolution can take place when those at the top have the numbers and staying power to take it slowly. When there has been a revolutionary or counter-revolutionary seizure of power, change must be swift and determined if it is to be a success.

There must be a return to constitutional norms – and the extraordinary measures that may enable this return must not be allowed to set any precedents of their own. Nor – let me emphasise – do I hope that our reaction will involve violence. But if conservatives are to bring about a reaction, so that we can again be a free people in an independent nation, we have little positive to learn from Burke’s Reflections. There comes a point beyond which a constitution cannot be rescued. I think we have reached that point. There can be no patching up this time, as happened at the Restoration in 1660, or after the Revolution of 1688. By all means, we should not innovate just for the sake of neatness. But we shall need to innovate. We shall need to create new safeguards for our rights and liberties that take into account the country in which we live.

The Monarchy

This means, I increasingly believe, a republican constitution. There is nothing wrong with the principle of hereditary monarchy. I suspect that the division of authority and power that took place between 1660 and 1714 contributed much to the freedom and stability of England during our classical period. The problem is not the institution of monarchy, but the person of the Monarch.

When she came to the throne, Elizabeth had what seems to have been almost the universal regard of the people. She has spent the past 57 years betraying the people. Whatever the constitutional lawyers may claim, there is a contract between Monarch and people. We pretend to treat whoever wears the Crown as the Lord’s Anointed. The wearer of the Crown agrees in turn to act as a defence of last resort against tyrannical politicians. That is the truth behind the phrases of the coronation oath. The Queen could, without bringing on a crisis, have blocked the law in the early 1960s that removed juries from most civil trials. She could have blocked the subsequent changes that abolished the unanimity rule and the right of peremptory challenge. She should have risked a crisis, and refused her assent to the European Communities Bill, or demanded a fair referendum first. She could have harried the politicians of the past two generations, reminding them of the forms and substance of the Ancient Constitution. She had the moral and legal authority to do this. Had she spoken to us like adults, she would have had popular support. She did nothing. I believe she bullied Margaret Thatcher into handing Rhodesia over to a communist mass-murderer, and made repeated noises about South African sanctions. And that was it.

Whatever her failings in the past, she had every legal right to demand a referendum over the Lisbon Treaty. This had been promised by every party at the 2005 general election. When the promise was withdrawn, she would have had public opinion and much of the media behind her in refusing to give assent to the Treaty’s Enabling Act. Again, she did nothing.

We are continually told about the Queen’s sense of duty. All I see is much scurrying about the country to open leisure centres – and otherwise a total disregard of her essential duties. If the Constitution was in decay before she was even born, she has spent her reign watching all that was left of it slip between her fingers.

It may be argued that she is now very old and will not remain much longer on the throne. The problem is that her son will be worse. She has been lazier than she has been stupid. He is simply stupid. So far as he insists on using his powers, it will be to drive forward the destruction of England. His own eldest son might easily be an improvement – but he could be decades away from the Crown. We are in no position to wait on what is in any event uncertain. The Queen has broken the contract between her and us. Her son will do nothing to repair the breach. We live in an age where hereditary monarchy must be strictly hereditary or nothing at all, and so we cannot waste our time with new Exclusion Bills or Acts of Settlement. If, therefore, we are ever in a position to bring about a counter-revolution, we shall need to find a head of state who can be trusted to do the job of looking after our new constitution.

Closing thoughts

I could go further on this theme. I know that many conservatives – and a few Conservatives – have lost faith in democracy. Undoubtedly, representative democracy has thrown up a political class that is separate from the people, and that is increasingly hostile to the rights and liberties of the people. But I cannot think of a lasting new settlement based on Caesaristic dictatorship or a limitation of the franchise. My own suggestion would be to select most positions in the executive by sortition – to choose rulers, that is, by a lottery – as in ancient Athens, and to settle all legislative matters by local or national referendum. Most judicial business that had any bearing on the Constitution could be put before juries of several hundred people, chosen by the same random process as criminal juries now are.

But, you will agree that this takes me far, far beyond my stated theme. It would make what has been a long speech longer still. I will close by observing that if you want to be a conservative in an England broken by revolution, you need to look beyond a rearguard defence of forms from which all substance was long since drained.. The conservative tradition may have been dominated since the 1970s by Edmund Burke. But it does also contain the radicals of the seventeenth century. And – yes – it also has a place even for Tom Paine. If you want to preserve this nation, you must be prepared for a radical jettisoning of what is no longer merely old, but also dead. The conservative challenge is to look beneath the plumage and save the dying bird.

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

Hoppe Festschrift Published


 

Hoppe Festschrift Published

Birthday Greetings to Hans-Hermann Hoppe


Sean Gabb

Professor Hoppe was sixty on the 29th July. At a private celebration of this occasion in America, he was presented with a Festschrift – that is, a book of essays by those he has influenced. One of these essays is by me, and I republish it here. The whole book can be found here: http://www.stephankinsella.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/hulsmann-kinsella_property-freedom-society-2009.pdf

On behalf of the Libertarian Alliance, I wish Professor Hoppe a happy birthday, and many more years of happiness and of creative activity.

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.

This makes it difficult to know where to start when it comes to writing a single chapter about his achievements. What I have decided to do, however, is to try and show how what he might regard as one of his minor achievements is contributing to a new and potentially significant consensus within the libertarian and conservative movements.

The End of the Cold War: A Victory Denied

In the ideological sense, the Cold War was fought between the defenders of liberty and tradition and their most open and comprehensive enemies. Yet in the settlement that followed the defeat of Communism, the main losers have been libertarians and conservatives.

Those who still regard this defeat as one for the enemies of liberty and tradition have failed to see beneath the surface of things to the underlying reality. Orthodox Marxism-Leninism, together with its numerous heresies, was mostly important not in its own terms, but as an excuse. In every generation, there are people who want to live at the expense of others, or to make them unhappy, or both. Unless they are able to be predators by act of conquest—the Assyrians, for example, or the Mongols—these people always need arguments to persuade their victims that being robbed or murdered will make the world a better place. Most of them need themselves to believe these arguments.

Long before the Berlin Wall came down, Marxism had become an embarrassment. Its historical and economic underpinnings had crumbled. Its predictions had all been falsified. Its promises were all broken. Its body count and the poverty of its survivors could no longer be denied. It no longer served to justify the actions or the existence of the Soviet state. Its disestablishment after 1989 was less a defeat for the enemies of liberty and tradition than a release.

The accelerated rise of politically correct multiculturalism since then, and the rise from almost nothing of environmentalism, should not, therefore, be seen as ideologies of asylum for dispossessed Marxists. Rather, they are ideologies of transformation and control more in keeping with the spirit of the present age. Just as Marxism once did, each provides a shared narrative, a shared terminology, and shared feeling of doing good for those whose objects are anything but good.

They are, moreover, better than Marxism, so far as they are less threatening to the powers that be in the West. Diversity and sustainability requirements raise up bureaucracies that allow a cartelisation of costs that privilege established wealth against the competition of new entrants. They otherwise provide jobs and status in organisations that look reassuringly like conventional businesses.

The New World Order

The result has been the emergence since 1989 of a new order in which broadly liberal and democratic institutions are being transformed into the agencies of a police state, and in which traditional ways of life and real diversities are being swept aside in favour of centrally-directed homogeneity.

There is nothing unusual about what is happening. There is nothing that should not have been at least dimly perceived back in 1989. At the end of every real war, the winning alliance tends to break up, as the often radically different interest groups that comprised it find that what brought them together no longer exists to hold them together. New alliances then form between interest groups on the winning and losing sides.

This happened at the end of the Napoleonic wars, when Britain and France found themselves increasingly on the same side against the Central European powers. It happened again at the end of the Second World War, when the Americans and Russians fell out, and both recruited their zones of occupied Germany as allies in the new struggle. It has now happened with the new ideological that emerged at the end of the Cold War.

Whether or not this was to be expected, libertarians and conservatives have reason to feel aggrieved. They were perhaps the two most prominent ideological groups in the battle against Communism. Libertarian economists provided the most devastating weapons of attack. Conservatives did most to articulate the revulsion that ordinary people felt when confronted with the kleptocracy and mass-murder at the heart of Communism. They are now jointly surplus to requirements in a world where ex-Trotskyites and even former Communist Party members have put on suits and become government ministers, and now sit happily at dinner with the heads of global corporations.

There are three possible responses to this state of affairs. Libertarians and conservatives can whine piteously about the unfairness of things. Or they can carry on, as if nothing had changed after 1989, addressing arguments to the same allies and against the same enemies. Or they can recognise that the world has changed, and that promoting the same values requires differences of approach.

New Times, New Ways

Let me now drop the impersonal tone. I will not speak directly for the conservatives. But I will speak for the general libertarian movement. There is no orthodoxy here. Libertarians disagree with each other almost as much as we disagree with our various opponents. Even so, it is possible to see an emerging consensus—first that there is need of a new approach, and second of its nature.

In explaining this, the logical place to start is with our thoughts on the free market.

Limited Liability: The Worm in the Free Market Bud

Everyone knows that libertarians believe in free markets. Something we have not always made sufficiently plain—something that we may not always have been clear about ourselves—is that when we talk about free markets, what we mean is markets of free people. It does not mean that we endorse markets simply because they are efficient, or even because they are creative. In particular, we have no affection for big business.

Though there can be no doubt they have enriched the world, companies like Microsoft and General Motors and ICI are not natural institutions. They are creatures of the State. They came into being and are sustained by incorporation laws. These laws permit individuals and groups of individuals to act not as themselves, but as servants of a fictitious entity. The directors and shareholders are not legally responsible for the debts of the entity. Nor need they feel morally responsible for their actions or inaction on its behalf.

Because of limited liability, business corporations can attract large amounts of investment. Because they are not natural persons, they need not follow the cycle of growth and decline normal to unincorporated businesses. Instead, one generation of directors and shareholders can give way to another. These devices allow business corporations to grow much larger than unincorporated businesses.

It might be argued that incorporation laws are similar to marriage laws—that is, that they gather what would otherwise be a number of complex agreements into a single act. If there were no state, people would still cohabit. Each partner could still make the other next of kin. There would be agreements or customary rules to regulate the management of common property and the rearing of children.

But this is not the case with incorporation. Certainly, the owners of any business could agree with their suppliers and customers that they are servants of a fictitious entity, and that their liability for debt is limited to their investment in the entity. But they could not contract out of liability in tort. This fact alone would put off any investor who was not able to buy a controlling interest. I and countless millions of people like me own shares in companies of which I know nothing. If we knew that we were to be regarded, in the event of a large award of damages, as jointly and severally liable for payment, hardly any of us would risk being shareholders.

Now, except for anarchists, to say that something could not exist without the state does not make it in itself illegitimate. But it is a reasonable presumption.that whatever cannot exist naturally needs a strong justification in terms of utility. It is not enough to point to the achievements of big business. Libertarians have faced similar arguments for centuries now about the state. In most countries, the state provides education. In my country, the state provides most healthcare. Obviously, this does not mean that education and healthcare would not be provided without the state. It is the same with business corporations. All pharmaceuticals and most computer software have been developed by big business corporations. But there is no reason to suppose they cannot be otherwise provided.

And even if it could be shown that there would be fewer of these things in a world without incorporation, the costs of incorporation must be weighed against the benefits.

Crony Capitalism

When the number and size of business corporations grows beyond a certain limit, they tend to become part of the ruling class. To create a new business and make it grow large requires entrepreneurship, which is most often a quality of outsiders. To administer what is already established and make it bigger require skills similar to those required by politics and state administration. Between the state and the larger business corporations, therefore, there will be an overlap or a continual exchange of personnel.

This will make it possible for business corporations to externalise some of their costs of growth. They will, as political insiders, press for state involvement in the building of roads and railways and other transport infrastructure that allows them to enjoy greater economies of scale than would otherwise be possible. They will press for the political control of foreign markets. They will be best placed for securing government contracts—often to provide things that they themselves insist are necessary.

Given an ideological climate favourable to active intervention, they will fashion the tax and regulatory system to the disadvantage of smaller competitors.

There are then the cultural costs. Anyone who works for any length of time in a large business corporation tends to become just another “human resource”—all his important life decisions made for him by others, and encouraged into political and cultural passivity. To do well here, he needs to become a receiver and transmitter of orders, to accept authority and avoid arguments with superiors, and to regard success in terms of steady income punctuated by steady advances. He must essentially be a bureaucrat. He will know nothing of how real business is transacted. He will care nothing about laws and taxes that stop others from transacting real business. He will not be inclined to resist paternalism in the political arrangements of his country.

An End to Compromise

As said, this rejection of what may be called “actually existing capitalism” is only an emerging consensus. There are still many libertarians who see nothing wrong with business corporations in themselves. And until quite recently, people like me were on the fringe of the libertarian movement. But, then, until recently, it was not unreasonable for libertarians to look favourably on business corporations.

Until 1989, all politics were shaped by the great ideological tug of war over socialism. We had little choice about joining that tug of war, and none in which direction we would be pulling—and none about with whom we would be pulling. The Communists wanted to destroy business corporations as well as market freedom. Even corrupted markets are better than no markets. And it should never be forgotten that “actually existing capitalism” works. It may constrain both markets and the human spirit. But it has been better than any other system of economic organisation offered in the last hundred years. It has been fantastically productive. It has raised, and is raising, billions from poverty to prosperity. A libertarian world of small and unprivileged business units would be better. But what we has was pretty good, and was to be defended against all its mainstream rivals.

But times are altered. Business corporations have become increasingly global since the end of the Cold War. They have been moving steadily out of their entrepreneurial phase into the bureaucratic. They are increasingly demanding naked privilege. They are demanding intellectual property rights laws that go far beyond what any ordinary person might think reasonable. Through what are called “free trade” agreements, they are promoting regulatory cartelisation at the world level. Nobody of consequence wants to nationalise the corporations. They work happily with governments of every apparent persuasion. Their leading personnel are, more than ever, members of the ruling class.

The more libertarians doubt the legitimacy of the business corporation, more we reconnect or connect with other traditions of resistance to state power. There is nothing anti-libertarian about strong working class organisations. So long as there is no grant of legal privilege, libertarians can have no objection to trade unions, or cooperatives, or other institutions. We might have nothing against the break up of large landed estates—country and town.

Big business no longer needs or deserves our support. We can now safely emphasise the radical elements of our ideology. We are no longer in danger of supporting alternative institutions that may turn out to be Communist front organisations.[1]

Outreach to Conservatives: Old Friends in New Times

So much for the first part of our emerging strategy of resistance. But there is now the matter of our relationship with the conservatives. I do not mean by this the neo-conservatives. Generally speaking, the prefix “neo” has a negative meaning. And these people are less interested in tradition than in keeping up a military-industrial complex that may have been necessary to face down Soviet Communism, but which now is simply a standing danger to freedom at home and peace abroad.

No—what I mean is real conservatives in the English-speaking sense. Their defence of tradition is necessarily a defence of limited government, of due process, of civil liberty, and of market freedom. They were natural allies in the past. There is no reason why they should not continue to be in the future.

The problem so far has been that there are certain differences between libertarians and conservatives that have prevented full-hearted cooperation. With the ending of the Communist threat, it did seem for a while as if we might go our separate ways. Even now, it is not commonly accepted that there is a new threat just as deadly and just as much in need of co-ordinated resistance.

The main difference is one of vision. The libertarian utopia is one of maximum choice in a world of rapid technological progress. What we ultimately want is an order not wholly based on this planet, in which people live for at least a very long time. We are not very interested in keeping up old ways of life simply because they are old.

Conservatives, of course, are interested in keeping up these old ways. They hated socialism as an attack on their ideal order. They sometimes regard libertarianism as barely less of an attack. In particular, they do not believe in mass immigration, which they perceive as a threat to their organic nation state. And they are dubious about a freedom of trade that may prevent their country from feeding itself or from producing its own manufactures.

Here we come at last to what I see as the main achievement of Hans-Hermann Hoppe. I am not ualified to assess his economic work. Because my own philosophical outlook is bounded by the Greek sceptics and by Epicurus and the British empiricists, his epistemology does not really answer any of the questions that I have ever asked. Nor will I claim that he agrees with my own dislike of business corporations. But his clarification of what a libertarian order might be is something that I can appreciate. And it is this that I think his greatest contribution to the joint cause of liberty and tradition.

The Problem of Immigration

Let us consider his work on immigration. Until the end of the twentieth century, there was a libertarian consensus over immigration that had emerged during earlier concerns about the entry of Jews and Irish Catholics to England or of the southern and eastern races of Europe to America. Libertarians insisted, and gained agreement over time, that the problems raised by these immigrations were either imaginary or short term; and that policies of benign neglect would turn strangers into citizens.

With the rise of mass immigration from outside the European world, this opinion has had to come under review. If every Jew in Eastern Europe had moved to England before 1906, it would have raised the population by perhaps three million. If every Slovak in Europe had moved to America before 1920, it would have raised the population also by three million. These were peoples whose appearance and values were reasonably similar to those of the native population, and who could be expected in time to become largely indistinguishable from the native population.

It may be different with non-European immigrants. These look different. Their values are often radically different, and even hostile. There are potentially unlimited numbers of them. Their simple presence seems likely to displace cultural patterns that have long been vaguely favourable to freedom, and to place a strong downward pressure on the incomes of the poor. They are, moreover, being used as an excuse to create an order in which freedom of speech and contract and in which democratic accountability are being set aside in the supposed interests of public order.

The mainstream libertarian response has been to deny that there is in itself any problem at all, and that the experience of past immigrations will simply be repeated. Their only policy recommendations are to raise louder objections to the multicultural police state that was already growing before the quickening of non-European immigration. They also point out that much dispute between newcomers and natives takes place within areas controlled or influenced by the state. Let there be no state education, and there need be no argument over whether some schools should allow teachers to wear veils and others should teach the inerrancy of the Bible or the non-existence of God. Let there be no welfare state, and there need be no argument over taxes on natives to maintain the children of strangers or over taxes on strangers to pay the pensions of natives.

As for the argument over falling wage rates, this is countered by the observation that greater market freedom would after a while check or even reverse this trend, or by denying the legitimacy of any state concern with the living standards of the poor.

What Professor Hoppe does is to ignore the polarity of the debate as it has been set up. Those who want an anarchist order have so far had to accept the legitimacy of mass-immigration. Those who have been worried about mass-immigration have had to accept the need of a state to control the border. Professor Hoppe walks straight through this debate.

The State; Not Guardian but Traitor at the Gate

He regards the mass immigration of the past half century into western countries as an instance not of libertarian open borders, but of “forced integration”. It is different from free trade in goods and services so far as it is not a free choice of individuals to associate as they please. Instead, it is a product of anti-discrimination laws and state welfare policies.

In a democracy, politicians will have an interest in importing those most likely to vote for big government, or those most likely to lend themselves to an electoral balkanisation that puts an end to the accountability of rulers to ruled. Given enough pressure by the majority, these politicians will make immigration laws that look tough. But these will lead at best to random acts of oppression against the sorts of immigrant who, in any rational order, might be welcomed. The policies of indiscriminate welfare that attract paupers into the country, and of political correctness and multiculturalism that prevent the majority from resisting, will continue unchecked.

But let us imagine a society in which there is no state. Obviously, there would be no welfare provided by the tax payers. Nor would it be possible to frighten the natives into passivity. Nor, though, would there be unchecked immigration.

Professor Hoppe says:

“[L]et us…assume an anarcho-capitalist society…..All land is privately owned, including all streets, rivers, airports, harbors, etc.. With respect to some pieces of land, the property title may be unrestricted; that is, the owner is permitted to do with his property whatever he pleases as long as he does not physically damage the property owned by others. With respect to other territories, the property title may be more or less severely restricted. As is currently the case in some housing developments, the owner may be bound by contractual limitations on what he can do with his property (voluntary zoning), which might include residential vs. commercial use, no buildings more than four stories high, no sale or rent to Jews, Germans, Catholics, homosexuals, Haitians, families with or without children, or smokers, for example.

“Clearly, under this scenario there exists no such thing as freedom of immigration. Rather, there exists the freedom of many independent private property owners to admit or exclude others from their own property in accordance with their own unrestricted or restricted property titles. Admission to some territories might be easy, while to others it might be nearly impossible. In any case, however, admission to the property of the admitting person does not imply a ‘freedom to move around,’ unless other property owners consent to such movements. There will be as much immigration or non-immigration, inclusivity or exclusivity, desegregation or segregation, non-discrimination or discrimination based on racial, ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural or whatever other grounds as individual owners or associations of individual owners allow.

“Note that none of this, not even the most exclusive form of segregationism, has anything to do with a rejection of free trade and the adoption of protectionism. From the fact that one does not want to associate with or live in the neighborhood of Blacks, Turks, Catholics or Hindus, etc., it does not follow that one does not want to trade with them from a distance. To the contrary, it is precisely the absolute voluntariness of human association and separation—the absence of any form of forced integration—that makes peaceful relationships—free trade—between culturally, racially, ethnically, or religiously distinct people possible.”[2]

Indeed, he does not stop with immigration. He argues that a libertarian world would have room for highly traditional communities in which conservative views of morality would be the norm.

Now, I repeat, this may be a theoretical contribution that Professor Hoppe rates lower than his work on Austrian economic theory. For me and for anyone else who wants a fusion of libertarian and conservative movements, it is a contribution of first class importance.

Resisting the New World Order: The End of the Beginning?

Conservatives might not be wholly pleased by such a world. Their organic ideal has room for a powerful state. But the answer to this at the moment—and for some time to come—is that any state able to intervene in matters of personal morality will necessarily be run by the kind of people who now run the state that we have. This will not be a conservative state. Therefore, libertarianism must, for the foreseeable future, be a strategy for conservatives.

We are talking here about a debate that is taking place between a few hundred people, and that is ignored by almost everyone else. There is no chance, either in England or in America, of a libertarian or even of a really conservative electoral victory.

But, if regrettable, this is not necessarily important. What is important is that two groups of intellectuals should arrive at the truth and agree between themselves on that truth and how it should be promoted. If what they decide is the truth, it will eventually have its effect.

I have said that those who enjoy living at the expense of others hardly ever argue honestly about what they want. They hardly ever admit to themselves what they want. Instead, they operate from behind the most presently convenient ideology of legitimisation. Attack these ideologies hard enough, and they will crumble. That may provoke the oppressed to stand up and demand their rights. More likely, it will confuse and weaken those who benefit from such ideologies so that they eventually give in to less violent demands.

Libertarians and conservatives may have lost the Cold War. But the battle continues. And, thanks in part to the work of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, what just a few years ago might have seemed a futile last stand may be the prelude to a dazzling counter-attack.


[1] [1] None of the above should be regarded as original. There is a large, though mostly American, literature on this point. See, for example, Murray Rothbard: “Every element in the New Deal program: central planning, creation of a network of compulsory cartels for industry and agriculture, inflation and credit expansion, artificial raising of wage rates and promotion of unions within the overall monopoly structure, government regulation and ownership, all this had been anticipated and adumbrated during the previous two decades. And this program, with its privileging of various big business interests at the top of the collectivist heap, was in no sense reminiscent of socialism or leftism; there was nothing smacking of the egalitarian or the proletarian here. No, the kinship of this burgeoning collectivism was not at all with socialism-communism but with fascism, or socialism-of-the-right, a kinship which many big businessmen of the twenties expressed openly in their yearning for abandonment of a quasi-laissez-faire system for a collectivism which they could control…. Both left and right have been persistently misled by the notion that intervention by the government is ipso facto leftish and antibusiness.” (Murray N. Rothbard, “Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty,” Left & Right 1, no. 1, Spring 1965.

For further discussions, see: Gabriel S. Kolko, Railroads and Regulation, 1877-1916, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1965 and The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916, Free Press, New York, 1965; Murray N. Rothbard, “War Collectivism in World War I” in Ronald Radosh and Murray N. Rothbard, eds., A New History of Leviathan, Dutton, New York, 1972; Robert Higgs, Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1987; Paul Weaver, The Suicidal Corporation: How Big Business Fails America, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1988; Butler Shaffer, In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918-1938, Bucknell University Press, Lewisburg, 1997; John T. Flynn, As We Go Marching, Free Life, New York, 1973; Roy Childs, Big Business and the Rise of American Statism, unnamed publisher, 1971; Joseph Stromberg, “Political Economy of Liberal Corporatism” and “The Role of State Monopoly Capitalism in the American Empire”, both from the Center for Libertarian Studies, New York, 1978; Kevin A. Carson, The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand : Corporate Capitalism as a System of State-Guaranteed Privilege, Red Lion Press, Montreal, 2001; Kevin A. Carson, Austrian and Marxist Theories of Monopoly-Capital: A Mutualist Synthesis, Economic Notes 102, The Libertarian Alliance, London, 2004.

I particularly commend the works of Kevin Carson. See also Appendix Two for a more extended discussion of these matters.

[2] Hans-Hermann Hoppe, On Free Immigration and Forced Integration, 1999—available at: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/hermann-hoppe1.html (checked September 2008)

Attack the System » Blog Archive » Program for a fictional ARV-ATS Scholars Conference


Attack the System » Blog Archive » Program for a fictional ARV-ATS Scholars Conference

Sean Gabb

This would be an interesting conference to attend, if exhausting.

The Top Ten


Fred Bloggs.

Read the article on the Telegraph website

Very very dangerous people, and it’s the fault of our own laziness that we shall see more and more of…


David Davis

…them….as the earth cools down, and the perverted science of “climate change” sinks its pustulent claws of falsehood, further into the consciousnesses of uncurious media consumers.

Greenpeace”, as a word, could have been invented by Goebbels, or Darré. Bloody clever, you have to admit…

Greenpeace, IFAW, PETA, ALF, and FOE, and their like, are essentially anti-libertarian, collectivist-intellectual fronts for fascist “ruralisation” movements, such as the Khmer Rouge and its foul post-Bandung cousins. There is no place for these dangerous, crazed mountebanks, on a nice cosy crowded spaceship in which everything works, hurtling through the Galaxy against an astronomical timer, whose bell-striking times we do not yet know, and at which points one or more of the Musical Chairs will get removed: they do not have the interests of the rest of the passengers at heart.

We ought to take these people far, far more seriously than we now do, and regard them as the real enemies of Western Civilisation, their plans for which they have always been cheerfully and disarmingly frank about. We just did not listen or take them “seriously” when we could (as Stalin would have said,) thinking them to be unmotivated cranks: so it’s our fault not theirs that they and not we are currently driving the planetary agenda.

“Fundamentalist Islam” is merely a distraction: its Western-Leftist-driven campaign of terrorism will ultimately founder in the face of an assault by pretty young girls armed with cashbags containing $20,000 each: one per terrorist. Muslims are being taken for suckers by the other lots named above.

And still we never learn: get a load of this then….

Patrick Foster, sorry, who?


UPDATE1:- Curly’s Corner Shop has done a masterful roundup of blogosphere reactions to Patrick Foster’s “outing” of poor old hard-writing Nightjack – whose output will grow in stature with time, unlike Foster’s which will crumble to dust and blow away… (apologies, it’s the Blogmaster butting in unannounced here)…and an excellent perspective by CarterMagna. Here’s mummylonglegs, which is why you are reading in the first place!

MummyLongLegs

Patrick Foster has just become a legend in his own lunch time. For all the wrong reasons. Enjoy it Patrick, it won’t last long.

The Times discovers something nobody is interested in.

Yep, top news story this. The Times has decided to disclose the details of Richard Horton aka NightJack. He tried to defend his right to privacy but The Times were so determined to ‘oust’ him they even went to court over it. They spent a lot of time, effort and money to do this. Why ?. Was he a kiddy fiddler ? - No. Was he a rapist ? - No. Was he a murderer? – No. Was he, god forbid, a corrupt MP? – Oh no, no, no.

So, Why?. Well, NightJack is a blogger. Not any old blogger (like Moi) he’s a copperblogger. And one of the very, very best. Last year he was awarded the Orwell Prize for political writing.  The Times reckon there was a public interest in non-compliance by a police officer with his obligations under the statutory code governing police behaviour.

Me, I reckon that Times journalist, Patrick Foster, is a nasty, lazy, bitter little so and so that would rather spend hours/days/weeks at his computer trying to mess up someone else’s life, rather than get off his useless backside and investigate something, in fact, anything, that the British public actually give a flying monkeys chuff about?. I think Foster and his ilk are more than a little jealous and more than a lot scared by bloggers. I wonder how many writing awards Foster has won in his journalistic career.

Let’s be honest, the likes of Patrick Foster know their days are numbered. More and more big stories are being broken by bloggers. Those that blog the serious shit do so because they feel a need to. They stick to their topics and plug away at them. They don’t publish a quick headline grabber then bugger off to the next Jade Goody/Jordan type tripe. Bloggers can choose what they want to write about. They do not get paid so they can keep going back again and again and again to their chosen area.

Why pay for a paper when you can scan the net, pick out what you are interested in and ignore the rest. Journalists like Patrick Foster know this. Their papers are losing readers and money, hand over fist. They don’t like it. They could of course start their own bloggs but they are too lazy and too greedy. Why write honest truthful opinions for free when you can get some dead wood manufacturer pay you lot’s of money for utter bollocks.

Bloggers care about what they write, they feel passionately about the topics they choose to focus on. They write about stuff that means a lot to them. For no real benefit other than getting their opinions out there for all to read. Journalists get paid to write stuff, so what gets written depends on who is paying the check. Journalists write to make money. Do they care about what they write about, I don’t think so. It’s just a story, write it, flog it, move on.

There is a difference between bloggers and journalists. A very big difference. People have to pay for journalists. They don’t have to pay for bloggers. I read approx 25 – 40 bloggs a day. I read them because they write what I want to read. I don’t buy a single paper. I read the MSM online to see what is going on in the wider world but I read bloggs to see what is going on in mine. The bloggs I read relate to me and my life and I suspect that a lot of blog readers are the same as me. I don’t always agree with the bloggers opinions but via the comments section, I have a way to air my views and discuss our differences.

Patrick Foster, I am sure you have gotten youself very excited over your ousting of NightJack. I bet you feel just fab. You ‘exposed’ a blogger. Get you honey, rocking along with your investigative journalism. Fuck me, I bet you reckon you could teach Sherlock and Watson a thing or two right now. I hate to be a party pooper and all that, but, I have to point something out. Who have you really upset. In reality. Have you pissed off NightJack – yep, a lot, but he took it on the chin, and so did his seniors. Written warning, he expected that and so did we. NightJack deleted his blogg. Who read his blog. Well I did, but I’m just a Mum. I reckon 70% or above (shoot me if I’m wrong) of his readers were Coppers.

Some advice Patrick. If I were you I would set up a savings account and not move from my desk. You grabbed a headline and made some wonga. You also fucked off, beyond all belief, just about all of the British Police Force. I hope you paypacket for this story was worth it. If I was a copper, right now, I would hunt you. And make you pay for what you have done. I would watch your bins, watch you parking, I would fine you to within an inch of your bank balance.

NightJack – I wish you all the best and I thankyou for your blog, it was fucking ace. I am sorry that some wittering fucking twat put you in fear of your job and I am sorry you have been exposed. I hope, one day, to see your writing again (write the book – WRITE IT!!!!!).

This is nearly a double post but I have removed most of the swear words, well, the really sweary ones anyway.

Mummy x

Gardening on the cheap


Fred Bloggs.

The other day I was travelling down the A 580 ( The East Lancs to normal people) and I saw that a entire lane was cordoned off for about a kilometer with traffic cones, so, fearing holdups, I had a good look to see what was causing all this commotion upon my usually quiet journey. Upon further investigation, I saw about 20 guys with what seemed to be riot gear, patrolling up and down the pavement in a very militaristic and thisiscostingthepublicalotofmoney fashion.

 And then I realized just what they were doing. They used twenty heavily armoured guys, three tractors and cordened off a lane on a duel carriageway for a kilometer, TO CUT THE GRASS. And this wasn’t any old grass, no, this was a two foot verge on the pavement. I mean really, is all of that really necessary? Probabaly the thrice cursed heath and saftey people up to their shennanigans again.

Well thats my whinge for the day done.

Oh, one other thing. Although it gained a bad name due to the Battle of Bosworth during The War of the Roses, the Chelsea Flower show is now much more respectable.

Jolobial Warmin’


Fred Bloggs.

After rooting through several blogs, i found a brilliant post on the UN report which says that 300,000 deaths are caused by Jolobial Warmin’ every year.

Oh, one other thing, every time you think about free speach, a leftie dies.

Sean Gabb on the Commons Expenses Row


Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 182
18th May 2009
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc182.htm

A Political Class is Blown Away:
Cui Bono?
by Sean Gabb

My British readers will need no reminding of what has happened during the past few weeks. However, most of my readers are not British, and many will be coming on this article several years into the future. So I will begin by saying that The Daily Telegraph has “acquired” a disk that contained about a million pages of expenses receipts put in by Members of the House of Commons, and has been publishing its findings day after day. Many of the receipts show a scandalous indifference to the niceties of honesty and proportion. There has been one resignation from the Cabinet so far. Several other Ministers are at least tainted, and may not survive much longer even in Gordon Brown’s apology for a Government. Dozens of letter political careers have been blighted. The Police have now been called in, and we are waiting to see who will be charged and with what.

It is very funny to watch these creatures squirming – rather like bugs in the sunlight when the stone under which they were sheltering is pulled over. The general defence is either to blame accounting carelessness. Otherwise, when this defence cannot reasonably be made, they blame “the system” that never stopped them from slipping their hands into the till. That the sums involved have not usually been that great makes it all the funnier. These people have, since 1997, burned their way through about two trillion pounds of our money. Most of this has been used to buy Labour votes or to oppress us – often for both at the same time. If they are now on the brink of political oblivion because of a few thousand pounds here and there spent on tampons and television sets, it is because these are things that we can comprehend. A trillion begins with one digit and is followed by twelve zeros. Claiming back £65 for a summons for non-payment of council tax is much easier to imagine.

Various further questions arise from the scandal. The first and most obvious is how anyone could be so careless in his accounting – especially when he has spent decades advertising his peculiar fitness to govern this country. Then it may be asked how so many politicians can afford to write out repayment cheques for what the rest of us might think substantial sums of money. I am not poor, but would have to wait a while before signing a cheque for £20,000. Have these people additional sources of gain that have not so far been revealed? But the question I want to ask today is why has The Daily Telegraph seen fit to expose all this dirt?

One answer is that this is the sort of thing the media of a free country exists to do. But this is not a satisfactory answer. I have been watching the British media at work for about thirty years now, and I can say that – weather reports and cricket scores aside – nothing is published in the way of news that does not serve some agenda of the great and powerful. These expense claims show at worst rather petty corruption. There are much larger scandals that are not covered by the mainstream media – and certainly not by The Daily Telegraph. There is, for example, the former police chief who used his position to stop his mistress from being blackmailed. There is a senior judge who was arrested for exposing himself to little girls in a bus shelter. There is the whole background to the Dunblane massacre in 1996. There is much else that has never found its way into the newspapers. So why this?

Another possible answer is that The Daily Telegraph is supposed to be a Conservative newspaper, and that it should, therefore, do whatever it can to hasten the end of this Labour Government. However, it has done very little against either Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. Most of the dirt published on this Government has been in The Daily Mail or The Independent. In any event, if the worst abuses have been by Labour politicians, these expenses claims have damaged politicians in all the main parties. Using them for party political purposes is much like using atom bombs to win a trench battle.

No – I believe that this wind that will blow away much of our political class was produced for – if not by – Boris Johnson. He is not currently in the House of Commons, but is Mayor of London. He has obvious ambitions to be at least the next but one Conservative Prime Minister. He is, so far as I can tell, the only person of significance likely to benefit from this expenses scandal. He benefits so far as he is untouched by it, and so far as many of those who do or might stand in his way will be discredited.

I have no direct evidence of this claim. But I can supply what I regard as reasonable inferences from past behaviour that stand beside estimates of present interest.

To begin with past behaviour, it may be recalled that, around the turn of the century, I ran the Candidlist Project. This provided information about the stated or likely views of Conservative politicians about the European Union. It was a very feeble thing compared with what has since been achieved by Guido Fawkes – or even by The Daily Telegraph. But it scared the life out of several hundred normally shameless politicians, and destroyed about a dozen careers. I may have unseated one Member of Parliament. During the approach to the 2001 General Election, I put the Candidlist Questions to Boris Johnson, who was at the time the Conservative candidate for Henley and a senior journalist at The Daily Telegraph and Editor of The Spectator. At first, he refused to answer my questions. Then he gave some very unsatisfactory answers. I made great fun of him, and this was picked up by several newspapers.

What I did next was to start pressuring the directors of companies that were funding a campaign for Britain to join the Euro. This pressure included a threat to publish the home addresses of directors who refused to stop funding what I regarded at the time as treasonable propaganda. Almost at once, I found myself on the front page of The Daily Telegraph, for two days running accused of what would nowadays be classed as terrorism. The journalist concerned managed to claim that publishing the home addresses of people like Fred Goodwin was tantamount to putting dynamite through their letterboxes. I was outraged by the claims, and it took me several days to appreciate the funny side of things. Back then, though, this was still a free country, and everyone else had a good laugh at me and then forgot the matter. It is unlikely that the Police even read the claims, let alone considered how many dozen officers they could fit through my front door before shooting me.

Now, it might have been some alarmed company director who had me done over. More likely, it was Boris Johnson, calling on his friends to punish me for what I had done to him. This was his newspaper. He has always had a reputation for bearing grudges and for a ruthless viciousness in advancing his own interests. If so, it may be relevant that the journalist who defamed me in 2001 was Benedict Brogan – and that it is Benedict Brogan who is now supervising the publication of the Commons expense claims. It may also be relevant that no claim submitted by Mr Johnson while he was in Parliament has yet been published or commented on. Perhaps Mr Johnson ran his finances as a Member of Parliament with more attention to the proprieties than he did his private life. We may one day learn the truth.

As for present interest, I have already explained this. At the beginning of the present month, Mr Johnson was an important elected officer. But he was out of Parliament, and had dropped out of competition with a leadership that growing in confidence with every downward step of the Brown Government. He is now the one leading Conservative who has not been tainted by allegations of fraud or allegations of having tolerated the frauds of others. It still looks as if the Conservatives will win the next election – even they cannot managed the incompetence and cowardice now needed to save Labour. And it looks as if David Cameron will be the next Conservative Prime Minister. But Boris Johnson has grown in public stature during the past fortnight, and he may be able, after the next election, to come forward with claims to preferment that cannot be denied.

I have no reason for not wanting Mr Johnson to succeed in politics. He is no worse than anyone else, and has given the occasional sign of being better. He was beastly to me a long time ago, and has almost certainly been beastlier to other people who have got in his way. I say what I have said because I believe it to be true, and because, if it is true, I might pick up some credit for having said it first.

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

Too little, too late


David Davis

(And here’s what we said about a year ago, about  a call for “Poles to Join British Army”. Sounds good to me.)

Not many people left alive now, who remember what this was all about. Probably the same applies in Germany, to the matter of this particular epic confrontation and its symbolic significance: so the entire event, within its historical context, will pass just like WW1 out of living memory and into legend.

Perhaps I’ll have to put him on the banner above (since he’s white, dead and famous) after that one’s come down.

PD*21083786

Gordon Brown Comes out of the Closet


Sean Gabb

Many people have speculated on the Prime Minister’s true inclinations. I am now pleased to bring an end to all this speculation.

I can reveal that Mr Brown is indeed a socialist – a National Socialist. Of course anyone who has watched him during the past decade – supporting a government with a taste for invading other countries and for destroying civil liberties at home – will not have needed to see the photographic evidence.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8033388.stm

UK General election called – stop press Drudge Guido Iain Dale Huffington Landed Underclass Devil


David Davis

That got you. Yes. But sadly,

…there’s no UK election. Sorry. Go back to bed.

We are currently, for foreign readers who live in sunnier climes and more benign polities such as Venezuela or Russia, and who don’t know what it’s like here,  living under an administration which has done these things as follows:-

(1) Deliberately gone about the stealthy and also overt destruction of lots of free voluntary institutions which “represented the forces of conservatism” (such as firms, schools, charities,  local festivals, the Scouts, youth clubs, food hygiene, how people joke with each other in private, and the like)

(2) Deliberately monkeyed with the “constitution”, whatever that may have been, so as to change the sort of polity we are for ever (they did not have a mandate “for ever”)

(3) Handed over whatever “sovereignty” Parliament had in 1997, to the EU, a phantasmal construction in the minds of fascists, which   __/was specifically designed to undo totally, in time, /__   the work of the Anglosphere Coalition in Europe, between 1813 and 1945,

(4) Deliberately card-sharped the constituency boundaries so that any other party would have to win about 70% of the vote to get an overall majority in the Commons (they’d have done more but just could not get away with it)

(5) Deliberately destroyed what was left of sensible, hard (which is to say “crunchy” or containing stuff you’d want and need to know about in order to understand the Universe or to get empoyed by someone other than a quango) interesting and rigorous curricula in education, so as to create on purpose a very very very large class of uncritical persons, who watch “BBC TV News”, and “Big Brother” and believe what the variously featured ephemeradroids say.

The MSM is saying increasingly that this government is inept and cack-handed. Here’s an example from Simon Heffer, an angry old red-haired-man who has better credentials to be a liberal Prime Minister than Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, John Major or Michael Heseltine (remember – we nearly got saddled with that bugger with hair, over Westland and other matters – anybody remember what Westland did, or might now do?)

The Libertarian Alliance thinks that it does not matter if there is an election now, later or at any time in the forseeable future. The point of elections is now lost on many people, who also now face different problems from those that governments think they ought to solve. If there was an election now, which Gordon Brown might call in return for an hereditary-Vicountcy later, then either ZanuLieBorg will win slightly owing to the monkeying and falsifying with postal votes which it will certainly indulge in as it is their right so to do as taught by Al Gore their hero,  or else David Cameron will slilghtly win with about 13 seats, which means he can’t do anything, much, to undo the Police state created by his predecessor.

This is because the ZanuLieBorg government of the UK right now is not at all cack-handed. It knows, has known and will [as neither we nor anybody else civilised will expunge it properly] know, even after defeat at any election it can’t rig and when it is temprarily not called the “government”, exactly what it’s been doing for decades, if not at least a century, and why. GramscoMarxiaNazis, and their clone [singular as is proper] the GramscoFabiaNazis, will continue to operate in the shadows, under cover of academia and quangocracy. We shall not “service” them, nor even “re-educate” them or “re-settle” them, because we have nailed our colours to the mast and said that we agree that they have rights to express their views. These they will express, you bet 50p.

But in the end, we have to decide what to do. The threats to liberty will not just go away because a more “ept” crew of inept statists such as the Tories gets to be allowed to take over, for a bit. Individual liberty will still roll slowly and sadly downhill, to the cesspool ultimately.

Libertarians ought to start thinking about what to do about the sort of people whose individual freedom to upend mass liberty they defend right now, and who, in the end, may not be able to be persuaded to come onside. As Auberon Waugh would have said … “I’m not saying yet that we should pack them in fours in white W-reg Vauxhall Astras and propel them over Beachy Head” … but…

…what safe jobs could they be allowed to do in a Libertarian polity, so that they can’t get the even potential ability to destroy it? They certainly can’t mind their own lives being controlled in this way, since they have been advocating it for all others, all of their lives, so they need not be consulted. But it is a problem that troubles me.

Help, anybody?

Shotsmag Reviews -Conspiracies of Rome


 

Shotsmag Reviews -Conspiracies of Rome

CONSPIRACIES OF ROME

Richard Blake

Hodder, pbk
Feb 2008 £7.99
Reviewer L J Hurst

No matter what condition it is in, or which enemy might be knocking at the door, there always is and has been backstabbing going on in Rome. For the thriller writer the question has to be, when? Is it the Rome of the late Republic, or the early Empire? The Rome of the Middle Ages or the Rome of today? Rome has managed to be the same and yet different in every period. Richard Blake has found another of those Romes: that of 607 AD. Christianity has been established across the remains of the Empire, but the Empire itself is split into two, with the Emperor resident in Constantinople, while the Lombards have a kingdom of their own to the north of the Alps, and follow the Arian heresy rather the rule of the Pope.
In England, the Pope is still hoping to make angels of the Angles: Aelric is one of them, in theory a member of the conquering ruling class, whose relatives are ending unhappily, and whose attempts to make another life for himself in the Church are spoiled by his taste for young ladies. Not a wise move when those ladies might have fathers in power. Aelric and his church master, Maximin, manage to be sent on a mission to Rome, in theory to bring back Christian scripture and classic literature, though this is also convenient for Aelric as one of his ladies has fallen pregnant. Aelric, events are to prove, is a something of a picaro, an early Flashman.
Rome from a distance looks like the true Christian city on a hill, closer Aerlic finds it is a ruin above broken sewers. Drainholes might be blocked, they might have collapsed, they might allow bodies to be dumped within them. One morning, not long the priest and his acolyte arrive with some gold acquired unusually on their way, Aelric finds the body of his old master, stabbed and battered, victim of perhaps not one but two assaults. Aelric realises that the authorities are unlikely to find the murderers very soon and begins his own investigations. He is fortunate to have the help of one of the last members of the Roman aristocracy; he is lest fortunate to share Lucius’s sexual and pagan activities, which could lead to a heretic’s end. Aelric cannot stop himself, though, it seems.
Richard Blake has found a period rich in opportunities for murder, theft, even share and banking fraud. The Empire and the Papacy do not have common interests, nor do the slaves who still staff the civil service, and the barbarian tribes are learning to use more civilised methods to achieve their aims, as Aelric discovers when he intercepts an encrypted letter. His doubts about what he could do with the knowledge, though, are just another thread in Richard Blake’s tapestry of plot, cunning and brutal death that will move to Constantinople in the next book*. Look out for the series.
* The Terror of Constantinople (Feb 2009 Hbk £19.99)

Irony


Mummylonglegs

Even Superman needs saving sometimes. Gorgon has hit a real shitty patch. In fact, as it stood last week, he was positively drowning in shit, smears, fuck ups and disasters. He needed something to distract the whole country (in fact, the whole world!!!) from what an almighty cluster fuck NuLieBore have turned out to be. I’m not saying that he has been on his knees every night, praying for a 9/11 but I’m sure the idea has never been far from his thoughts.

Gorgon and the rest of the troughing Ickle-Piggies needed something (sooooooo badly) that would unite the British public, scare them shitless and more importantly, divert their attention from all the shit that is yet to hit the fan. It looks like Gorgon and all of his pals have had their prayers answered. And how aptly that saviour is named

Swine Flu.

BBC………………UK probes ‘17 swine flu reports’

Daily Mail………25 people undergo swine flu tests in Britain

Sky………………..Swine Flu: 16 possible cases tested in UK

Telegraph……….25 cases of possible swine flu reported in Britain

Express………….Swine Flu confirmed in UK

Sun………………..Swine Flu confirmed in UK

Mirror……………Swine Flu: 17 possible cases in UK

Guardian…………Europeans urged to avoid Mexico and US…..

These are all headline stories from the MSM. Now, we know they love a good scare scandel to get the dead wood moving, but when I say Gorgon and the rest have been begging waiting for this, Al Johnson was so quick off the starting blocks today, I wouldn’t be surprised if he left his swill untouched. It took over 400 very dead people to draw his attention to Stafford but he was in the Commons, spouting shite at ‘Clocking On’ time today.

I predict that Gorgon will fuck off to Ibiza/Switzerland/Zimbabwe to chair up an International meeting regarding the threat of Swine Flu. This will be done in the next 3 days, thus helping him avoid his latest shit fit bill bombing in the house. UPDATE – Have just noticed this – MP attendance pay plan is shelved.

Need I say more – NuLieBore and the MSM will play this ‘Bad Cold’ to the hilt. It will be used to divert/delay a lot of shit. Unless of course they fuck it right up like they did Foot and Mouth and Blue Tongue - which we know they will.

This is a double post, but I am very chuffed with it !!!!!!!!!!!

Easter Saturday plane porn


David Davis

Now, if we could combine the power of this sort of stuff with the morality and goodness of old John Sentamu seen below, we’d do good. And for all you saddoes looking for “Easter Porn” (very very strongly typed google-string into ours right now), here it is! (And we know who you are, but don’t worry, we won’t grass you….)

What being a point-defense-jet fighter is all about

What being a point-defense-jet fighter is all about

Nightjack is shutting shop, but there’s still lots to say


David Davis

There are, some say, 130 million blogs. I have no idea, and it doesn’t matter really, for 129,900,000 are read by one person a day, and you can guess who. I don’t even bother with “David Davis” and “Ordure! Ordure!” – not yet anyway, for I write nothing there at this time, being busy enough with this one. (We do try to think about what to write, you know.)

But via The Landed Underclass, our primary eyes and ears in the foremast director position, for he spends much time there, and from whom we learned first I think about Nightjack. Nightjack states that he now has said everything he thinks he ought to, and has other plans, such as a book which is fair enough – he does have a job to hold down too.

Says Nightjack:-

It is still fun but  I have now written  down everything that I think is worth me writing. In some areas I am conscious that I am starting to repeat myself.  If I keep on going I believe that I will end up spending the next year or so attack blogging the government rather than blogging about policing.  I don’t want to be all about that. There are plenty of other people doing that better already.

But, attack-blogging the government will provide everyone who wants to, and more besides, with more than enough material, almost for ever….sadly. In an ideal world, none of us liberal blggers would need to do what we do: we could become rich instead by selling things people want to buy, such as electricity, burgers deep-fried in goose-fat, tungsten, cars, steel, space-rockets, cigarettes, and sex. Furthermore, if we do not attack-blog the government, stridently, enthusiastically and with relentless ferocity, then it and lookers-on will start to think that it is winning, and we are losing heart.

Governments know, with perfect clarity, what they are doing, and they are doing it all, without exception, on purpose. They are composed of GramscoFabiaNazis, which is the sort of person who wants to be a GoverNazi – and that’s it, just it.  And thus everything is pre-planned and pre-agreed by them, from the first places where they meet each other: for these are astonishingly bright people we are up against, and not only that, but they have been to the finest education establishments you can buy, and have met each other and have been Eagletonized, and vulcanised, to (jack)boot (sorry.).  

For example, there was no “mistake” or “oversight”, or “error”, on the part of the husband of “Jacqui” “Smith”, a “Bair Babe”,  in claiming for whatever passed as “pornography”: it was claimed for deliberately, to check if it would get through, so that other MPs would know thereafter that they could do it also, and that this sort of expense would pass. There is no other reason – as the bugger is the Home Secretary, and his wife the “Bair Babe” sits in Parliament and does his wishes, this must have been the plan.

Nightjack’s loss to us in The Line is sad: his perspective as a proper Serving Police Officer was useful and illuminating, but his ceasing to write will not be a disaster. Others will come. But if you have any favourite Nightjack posts, I guess you’d better copy-paste them down to your Type Writing Machine as soon as you can, for as he says, his blog will self-destruct in not many days, as they do.

Electronic search terms;

Babes; Blair; parliament; guy fawkes; police; right to roam; farming; common fisheries policy; silver iodide; rain; acid; road access; education;

Free Enterprise: The Antidote to Corporate Plutocracy Keith Preston


http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/econn/econn112.htm
Economic Notes No. 112

ISSN 0267-7164                   ISBN
1856376303
An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance,
Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6HL.
© 2009: Libertarian Alliance; Keith Preston

Keith Preston is the founder and director of American Revolutionary Vanguard, a USA-based tendency committed to advancing the principles of anti-statism, personal liberty, cooperative individualist economics, and the sovereignty and self-determination of communities and nations.  He is a graduate student in history, an independent business owner and entrepreneur, and advocate of a new radicalism that reaches beyond the archaic left/right model of the political spectrum.  See the ARV website at www.attackthesystem.com.  He can be contacted at 1108 West Grace Street-Apartment 8, Richmond, Virginia, USA, 23220; email: kppgarv@mindspring.com; Phone: 804-355-7161.  This essay is a very slightly edited version of the winner of the Libertarian Alliance’s 2008 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize: “Can a Libertarian Society be Described as ‘Tesco minus the State’?”

THE PERILS OF SELECTIVE LIBERTARIANISM

A political libertarian, broadly defined, is someone who wishes to dramatically reduce the role of the state in human social life so as to maximize individual freedom of thought, action and association.  The natural corollary to libertarian anti-statism is the defense of the free market in economic affairs.  Many libertarians and not a few conservatives, at least in the Anglo nations, claim to be staunch proponents of free enterprise.  Yet this defense is often rather selective, and timid, to say the least.  Libertarians and free-market conservatives will voice opposition to state-owned enterprises, the social welfare and public health services, state-funded and operated educational institutions, or regulatory bureaus and agencies, such as those governing labor relations, relations between racial, ethnic, and gender groups, or those regulating the use of the environment.  Curiously absent among many libertarian, conservative, or free-market critiques of interventions by the state into society are the myriad of ways in which government acts to assist, protect, and, indeed, impose outright, an economic order maintained for the benefit of politically connected plutocratic elites.  Of course, recognition of this fact has led some on the Left to make much sport of libertarians, whom they often refer to, less than affectionately, as “Republicans who take drugs”, or “Tories who are soft on buggery”, and other such clichés. ….[More]

*sigh*


MummyLongLegs

Financial Fools Day.

Fools pretending to be protestors. Terrorists pretending to be protestors. Vandals pretending to be protestors. Greenies, Beardies, Trots, Commies, Scroungers, Losers and Wasters all pretending to be protestors. They are not protestors, they are f***wits.

What were they protesting for…………they weren’t. They were protesting against. Against everything that most people want in life.

These f***wits state that they speak for the population of Britain. No they don’t, they speak only for the idiots that support their cause. They are not interested in anyone else. They are happy to use violence and vandalism to get their message across. They are thugs, idiots and hypocrites.

Much beefing up of the Police in the blogosphere (I am guilty of this too). The only Coppers interested in starting a riot are the PoliticoPolice, those that stand to gain reward from Labour. The types that belong to Acpo. The ones at the very top. The ones have spent today, sat in ‘Head-Quarters’ , staring at CCTV monitors fed by 3000 cameras, watching the ‘real Coppers’ out on the street.

The Copper on the ground doesn’t want a riot. The regular Copper has been set up by his master (and he/she knows it). If they suppress trouble, those as the top will take all the glory. If they are seen to be inflaming it, they will be hung out to dry. Like the rest of us, the average Copper can’t win. He is just a pawn in the big Political Game.

I have watched the footage this afternoon, and I don’t care what anyone says, the Coppers on the ground have conducted themselves with great skill. And they should be applauded. It is very easy to see them as a group that ply the wares of this Labour Government and it is easy to forget that all those Coppers are just people like you and me. I myself, in the last couple of weeks have been swept up by the whole ‘Plod is out to get us’ way of thinking.

It is easy to forget that whilst I, as a member of the public, hate the restrictions this Government sees fit to put upon me. What I can drink, what I can eat, where I can smoke, what I can think etc… the average Copper also has to put up with this, and then when he/she goes to work there are more restrictions, targets, rules etc to follow. The average Copper isn’t the stooge of this Government, it is the fall guy. And I have only just realised this (another Mummy learning curve).

All those Coppers, on the ground, in London today, are real, down to earth people. They are members of the Public. They have families, mortgages, bills and commitments. Just like the rest of us. They are involved in the protests today. But not by choice. They have to be there. The thugs, idiots and terrorists (check your dictionary) get to cover their faces whilst they vandalise property and assault the Coppers. The Coppers don’t get this privilage. They are there for all to see. If they have to use a sheild, a baton, a taser, CS Gas or just their hands to protect THEMSELVES, they will be scrutinised. They could be punished. They could lose everything. They are the fall guys. Just like our Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. These Coppers can’t say no. They have to attend these protests.

But in the real world, they are just like you and me.

member-of-public-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A member of the public.

not-the-answer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members of the public.

member-of-public-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A member of the public.

I am going to post this at my place aswell. I have learnt something today. Something important.

Jade Goody at The Last Ditch


This is the best summary of who and what she was,

what she became, how she escaped, and who’s responsible

for robbing and enslaving this people’s youth.

Daniel Hannan on newsnight, behind enemy lines


And for light relief, here’s JamieOliveOil, talking about the EU Common Agricultural Police:-

Here’s what Prodicus thinks of the BBC, as it now stands, in the modern world…the poor old organisation just does not get it.

Thought it was a bit quiet.


Mummylonglegs

The start of this week was very quiet, it was hard to find anything decent to blog out, Politics wise. Obviously Dan Hannan was a hot topic but apart from that, not a lot appeared to be happening. I reckon I have figured out why.

The Government and Gordo have been drip feeding the MSM lots of scaremongering stories about possible riots at this week ends marches. As the week went on more and more time was devoted to covering and speculating what was going to happen in London. The MSM have been willing poodles in this propoganda, only because there wasn’t much else to write about.

Gordo sat in some country (not sure where) and rubbed his hands with glee. As far as Gordo was concerned he couldn’t lose. Riots, civil unrest etc was just what he needed. He could use it to invoke the Civil Contingencies Act if it got too bad, but more importantly he could use it to slip a whole wedge of bad news. Another Banking Bailout, JaqBoots hubby claiming porn on expenses, UK’s debt increasing at a F1 type speed,G20 Countries appearing to be doing a whole lot better that the UK etc, etc, etc.

Only there were no riots. 35,000 people from quango’s, fake charities and wagons of Righteousness decended upon London and only 1 person was arrested. Leaving nothing for Gordo to hide behind. He has had to hastily retract the Banking Bailout and hope for a sale on Monday (I still reckon the Bailout will go ahead – it will be announced on the 1st). Gordo should be presiding over the G20 summit next week from a position of authority, unfortunately, due to his and his Governments total incompetency he is going to be presiding over a very slow, prolonged, drawn out car crash of a summit.

I notice that after all the talk by the Police at the start of the week about how many thousands of officers had been drafted in to cover these protests, all the talk that intelligence led them to believe that some factions were planning violence and unrest, the Police are now changing their story a little. Now they are intimating that their presence was very low key. What a crock. And of course the propoganda is starting again.

But there are fears that trouble could flare when further protests take place as world leaders gather in the capital next week.

I for one am greatly relieved that yesterdays protests went off quietly. As we all know, The Righteous have no problem in turning to violence when the want to get their point across, and they could have easily given Gordo and The Government exactly what they were after. For once they kept a lid on it, which means next weeks real protest can go ahead. As one person said “We don’t think our protest will change the world, but if every unhappy person in Britain realises they are part of a larger group it gives the individual and the group much more power to try and effect change”. And that is the truth.

I hope next weeks protests are peaceful. Violence is not a solution to the troubles we face. It is easy to throw stones at a bankers house. It is easy to start a riot. It will not change anything. It will give more power to those we oppose. Gordo, The Government and the rest of the world must be shown how unhappy this country is. We cannot get The Government out any other way. Gordo will not call an early election. He has no need. He knows his party is doomed. All he can do is hang on long enough to ensure that who ever gets in after him, i.e David Cameron will have the most almighty struggle on their hands.

I don’t know too much about politics. I don’t know how a vote of no confidence in a Leader or a Party can be bought about. All I can hope is that next weeks protests demonstrate to all 646 members of Parliament how much this country wants Labour out. They will not be able to hide from the protests, they will not be able to ignore them. G20 is going to be a disaster for Gordo, and the press will be all over it, so all Gordo and Labour can hope for, is that the protests turn nasty. It will be very interesting to see what other Government disasters await us on the 1st.

To all those attending the protests I ask you, don’t give them what they want. Don’t give them something to hide behind. They need a riot more than anything else at the moment.

If in doubt….PAYRISE!


Fred Bloggs

In the face of the current economic crisis (some might say fiscal armageddon) the goverment has devised a plan, which consists of, briefly, giving themselves a 60% pay rise. No doubt this “plan” will solve all the economic problems in the world, feed all the starving Africans, raise Atlantis, and with all its well-crafted majesty, scare the Russians so shitless they’ll give Lenin a haircut. Or, well, maybe not.

Apart from the Atlantis bit.

Find out more Here.

Bloody hell! I thought the RSPB was a charity, until I discovered Wind Turbines.


David Davis

This is shocking and obscene. I’ve filed it under pornography.

What I thought was a charity about birds and wildlife, but is probably a quango instead, has a “Climate Change Policy”……

Here’s an extract:-

Ruth Davis, head of climate change policy at the RSPB, said the charity was promoting the development of wind power because the evidence of the increasing impact of global warming on birds was “truly terrifying”.

“Left unchecked, climate change threatens many species with extinction.

“Yet that sense of urgency is not translating into actions on the ground to harness the abundant wind energy around us.”

She said the solutions were largely common sense, including a clear lead from government on where wind farms were built and clear guidance for councils on how to deal with applications.

here’s another extract:-

The Government must step in to provide a clear lead on developing wind farms more quickly without damaging wildlife or alienating communities, the RSPB urged.

Make up your own mind what these people are for.

The Kevin Dowd lecture on free banking | Samizdata.net


Sean Gabb

The Kevin Dowd lecture on free banking | Samizdata.net

The Kevin Dowd lecture on free banking

Johnathan Pearce (London) Globalization/economics

As promised, I have some thoughts following on from the talk given by Kevin Dowd, a professor at the Nottingham University Business School and a noted advocate of what is called “free banking”. He gave his talk at the annual Chris R. Tame Memorial Lecture as hosted by the Libertarian Alliance. (The LA was founded by Mr Tame, who died three years ago at a distressingly young age after losing a battle against cancer.)

Professor Dowd covered some territory that is already pretty well-trodden ground for Samizdata’s regular readers, so I will skim over the part of the lecture that focused on the damage done by unwisely loose monetary policy of state organisations such as central banks, or the moral-hazard engines of tax bailouts for banks.

Instead, I want to focus on those aspects of Professor Dowd’s talk in which he tried to sketch out what a laissez faire, free market banking system would actually look like. This is essential; a great deal of commentary so far – while it is very good – has mainly focused on how we got into this fix and why the fixes being attempted by Western governments are proving so stupid. As PJ Rourke said recently, the attempt by the Obama administration to flood the market with cheap money as a “solution” is a bit like the case of when your Dad has burned the dinner, so you ask the dog to cook it instead. No, what Professor Dowd did this week was lay out three broad areas for reform.

Firstly, he says we should remove many of the existing regulations, government-mandated deposit protection schemes, bank capital adequacy rules and other restrictions on what banks can do and how they work. For example, government support for depositors – who are also effectively creditors to their banks – means that there is a moral hazard problem; the banks have less incentive than they would otherwise have to act prudently if there is always the government, acting like a sort of 7th Cavalry, able to ride to the rescue. That has to go. Professor Dowd also wants to hack away at the morass of rules and regulations that violate client/banker confidentiality, or those rules that force banks to lend to people, as is the case in the US, where banks are forced to lend to certain groups or else violate laws about racial discrimination, etc.

Secondly, Professor Dowd addresses the issue of letting banks fail. At the present, policymakers adopt a sort of “too big to fail” doctrine; this doctrine, while not explicitly laid down in any form of statute or operating manual – as far as I know – is a rule that says that some institutions are so large, and the attendant systemic risks posed by their failure so catastrophic, that they should not be allowed to go out of business. The problem of course is that this rule of thumb is often arbitrary and subject to political horse-trading. To wit: the US government’s decision to let Lehman Brothers go down last September, followed shortly by the $85 billion bailout for AIG, showed a total lack of clear message to the markets, and to bankers, one way or the other.

Professor Dowd believes that banks should be allowed to fail and furthermore, if modern limited liability laws were weakened or abolished completely, then such massive conglomerates would be economically and legally unsustainable in the first place.

As a result, banks would probably be smaller, and there would be a lot more of them, so the failure of any individual bank, while unpleasant for some, would not wreck the system as could happen if a mega-bank goes wrong. Also, instead of wide-ranging and hideously expensive bailouts, Professor Dowd favours putting banks into administration, writing down, in full, the value of their loan books, and getting depositors to exchange their status as creditors for that of an equity holder.

This “debt for equity swap” arrangement, while it would anger depositors who lose money, would come with the promise, and hopefully the reality, of a rise in the capital value of their equity stake in a bank if confidence returns to a more robust banking sector, as the debt/equity swap recapitalisation is designed to achieve. And of course banks are entirely free, as are their clients, to take out deposit insurance in a commercial market.

The third leg of his solution is broader, and more long-term, although there are some immediate measures that could be taken. Professor Dowd is against fiat money – money not backed by actual commodities or real assets of any kind – and in moving to a commodity-based/asset-based system. He is not, by the way, necessarily arguing for the gold standard or some gold-based system, although he points out that in the 200 years up to the First World War, the UK enjoyed a remarkable period of stable prices, with the odd blip. What he is arguing, however, is that the message on a banknote that says “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of X” should be an enforceable legal contract, not what amounts to the jeering joke that it now is.

In the subsequent Q&A session afterwards, one person made the excellent point that a simple reform would be to ban legal tender laws. Such laws currently require a person to accept as legal tender a currency that the state has mandated for a particular region. Instead, if a person wants to refuse to accept sterling and only wants to accept dollars, euros or Swiss francs instead, he can do so. He can also choose to trade in whatever medium of exchange he wants, and with whoever wants to accept it.

Inevitable questions arise. First of all, in thinking about free banking, private monetary systems and the like, the first objection will be is that this will be very messy; there has been no real experience of such monetary systems in the past, etc.

But this is incorrect. Free banking, as defined by Professor Dowd, in fact operated in Scotland, for example, up until legal changes in 1845. South of the River Tweed, the English system had operated under what amounted to state-controlled banking under the Bank of England, set up in 1692. In the 18th and 19th centuries, England saw a number of booms and recessions, such as the 1840s railway boom and the downturn of 1870s. One should remember that the BoE was established by the-then post-Glorious Revolution government as a way to raise money for wars without having to keep asking a fractious public for taxes, and without having to borrow at expensive rates in the money markets. N.A.M. Roger has explained this issue of financing for naval warfare brilliantly. Indeed, it reminds us that state monopoly money systems typically arose in order to finance wars, while the welfarist aspects came later.

There are also current, not just old, examples of banks that operate with unlimited liability partnership structures – Pictet, the Swiss bank, and Lombard Odier, are just two examples. There are dozens of such banks using these structures in Switzerland and by no coincidence; they have avoided the worst of the credit crunch. These banks are typically for the rich but it seems to me that there is no logical reason why such an approach could not be used more widely. So there are different ways of doing banking right now. And do not forget the humble UK mutual building society: they have their limitations, but as a business model they had a lot to recommend them.

Another objection might be that the debt-for-equity swap way of restructuring failed banks under bankruptcy protection laws would be politically unfeasible, since depositors would be hit. I understand that, but Professor Dowd is not trying to imagine what sort of reforms would appeal to David Cameron, say, but what sort of reforms would be workable. That is a rather massive difference, as I am sure readers will agree.

Another objection is that “real money”, as opposed to the state-arranged fiction that we have now, cannot work for as long as governments take such a large slice of GDP. That is probably correct. One of the reasons why so many advocates of Big Government regard “gold bugs” or free bankers as dangerous nutters is that they realise their welfare states would be unworkable under such monetary arrangements. The Ponzi schemes of most welfare states would not be able to function. Even so, as long as governments retain the ability to tax, they have the ability to raise debt in the financial markets in the knowledge that their collateral can be collected at the point of a gun. But a real-money system still hampers such activity considerably.

In the longest run, the best hope of avoiding such financial disasters in the future is to wean the public and policymakers off the seductive delusion that one can create wealth by turning on a printing press. Sooner or later, if you try to fake reality, it bites you hard in the arse. Of course, it is a mark of the kind of man Professor Dowd is that he is too polite to put it as bluntly as that.

I await comments!

Comments

It sounds all very interesting and I really wish now I had been there as the other event I was at did not afford me the opportunity I had hoped to grab my local Oxfordshire MPs and try and sell them my idea for a “Bank of Oxfordshire” using, believe it or not, partnerships and asset based scrip.

I particularly like his ideas about what to do now, practically speaking, because I guess I always focus on the “hereafter” policies of competitive currencies and so on which are probably still a bit far up the Overton window for most peoples’ comfort.

There was an interesting piece about C Hoare & Co in one of yesterday’s newspapers just so people recall that there is at least one UK based bank on an unlimited liability model.

Was any mention made of Gesell, WIR Bank and similar alternative structures that often started up in the Depression and some of which, such as WIR, are still going from strength to strength?

Posted by Jock at March 19, 2009 02:05 PM

Firstly thank you for organising an enjoyable evening and thought provoking talk.

One additional area that will be critical to moving in the direction of free banking is reform of the insolvency laws and procedures. However desirable it may be to put a bank into an enforced reconstruction the law, particularly in England, makes it impossible to complete in a realistic time scale. The timescale for advertising ceditor claims, the lack of sufficient powers of an administrator to cut a deal amongst creditors and make it stick without protracted legal action, and the absence of any legal recognition (in statute or precedence) of priority for the counterparties of many of the new financial instruments mean that any administration process under current law would take months or probably years to resolve. A bank will go under if the uncertainty lasts more than a few days.

Sorting out the legislation and enforcing the current competiton rule to break up the major banks into more managable units will be preconditions of Prof Dowd’s approach.

A further and slightly off topic thought. The Sarbanes-Oxley laws in the US require CEO’s and CFO’s of companies, including banks and other financial institutions, to sign declarations that their organisation has fully effective internal controls, the records are complete and accurate, and that the financial statements can be relied upon. Clearly these representation for AIG, Citibank and other were patently false. Why are there no CEOs and CFOs in handcuffs awaiting trial??

Posted by RobertD at March 19, 2009 02:16 PM

It certainly appears to have been an excellent talk; I look forward to seeing a video of it.

Johnathan’s summary mentions two points which I think could be implemented fairly quickly and do much to improve on the current system: repeal of “legal tender” laws and elimination of deposit insurance. The former is fairly straightforward and explained in the article. The second bears more discussion.

Deposit insurance (in the US, anyway) is an artifact of the Great Depression, installed to prevent catastrophic “runs” on banks, sometimes sparked by mere rumor. It was (and is) a legitimate concern, and while the problem is exacerbated by a fractional reserve system (as I’m sure Paul will interject here at some point), it would also be a problem even without fractional reserve lending. The US’s solution was to create a new federal agency (the FDIC) to run the insurance fund, and (not coincidentally) directly regulate most banks. Therein lies the flaw.

The FDIC is staffed by government bureaucrats with no personal economic stake in the game. They are, by and large, decent and well-meaning people, but they aren’t the “best and brightest” (such people don’t work for bureaucracies) and they are hampered by hidebound rules and a lumbering, ineffecient and inflexible system. Insurance “premiums” are not established on any actuarial basis, but are essentially identical for all banks, however well or badly managed [1], and setting the rate is quite politicized. The proper response should be to use private deposit insurance.

With private deposit insurance, banks could shop around for insurance companies with the best rates and service. The insurance companies themselves would more accurately and carefully assess “risk” than it would ever be possible for the government to do, and would price accordingly. They would set capital levels which make sense given the specific nature of the bank’s business (rather than one-size-fits-all rules), assess the true value of its assets and liabilities (including, where appropriate, off-balance-sheet contingent liabilities), and in general do a better job of assessing the because it is their (and their shareholders’) money which is at risk. If the FDIC misprices, the insurance fund gets depleted and they go to the government for more money. If a private insurance company misprices, its capital gets depleted and shareholders replace the management. Competition among insurance companies would keep any from becoming unduly risk-averse in their regulations or expensive in their pricing. It’s a true free-market solution, and would work.

[1] There has been a move in recent years to incorporate some sort of “risk-adjusted” element to the premiums, but if this has actually been implemented (I’m not sure about that) the differential was essentially nominal.

Posted by Laird at March 19, 2009 04:28 PM

RobertD, you make a good point about the speed of administration process under existing English law. Prof. Dowd made the point that the debt-for-equity swap and recapitalisation of a bank would have to be done very fast, over a weekend. A long delay would be a disaster, in particular, because of the need for businesses etc to make payments and handle invoices, etc.

Laird, thanks for the detail on the insurance angle.

Posted by Johnathan Pearce at March 19, 2009 05:01 PM

I am delighted to see articles like this posted on Samizdata Jonathan – excellent, more in this vein as and when you can please.

Posted by mike at March 19, 2009 05:19 PM

This is the problem I see with insurance: How can an actuarial table be constructed?

Do bank failures follow a known statistical pattern? Clearly not.

I wouldn’t believe any private agency offering deposit insurance. Gold reserves are all that can be believed. At least until an actuarial table can be constructed.

Posted by Current at March 19, 2009 05:23 PM

Two questions:

1. As Laird pointed out above, the bank guarantees were specifically made to avoid panics, wouldn’t the removal of these guarantees necessarily cause panics? With the advent of instantaneous communication available to even the stupidest among us, wouldn’t ‘runs on the bank’ become a regular event?

2. Fiat money v. asset backed currency -
With fiat money there is a good deal of leverage that is not possible with the asset backed. This seems to imply that under a asset backed regime the economy would be significantly less dynamic one, and growth could be curtailed. Yes, a blessing in the possible smoother booms and busts, but it would seem a curse in reducing growth, productivity.

Looking at the historical rates of inflation / deflation it really appears that prior to the 1930′s, this cycle was much more dynamic than after: (UK) Consumer Price Inflation Since 1750(Link)
I realize this study is a reconstruction and I have no way of evaluating the methodologies but it seems relevant.

Posted by Will Anjin at March 19, 2009 07:26 PM

This isn’t life insurance; there are no “actuarial tables”. That doesn’t mean that the risks can’t be rationally assessed. How do you think an insurance company insures any one-time event? Lloyd’s has known how to do this for centuries (even if they’ve fallen off course a bit lately). [I need help here from someone with better knowledge than mine about probability; is this a Bayesian analysis?]

Moreover, the real point isn’t whether there is going to be deposit insurance; that’s a given, after the experiences of the Great Depression. The only question is who provides it, and at what cost? I submit that government is the least qualified entity to do so, for a variety of reasons (some noted in my previous post). In a truly free market each bank would decide whether to offer it or not and the market would reward or punish that decision, but even in a regulated environment the government could simply mandate that banks carry some minimal level of deposit insurance as a condition to maintaining their charter. Banks could choose to carry more than the minimum amount, and again the market would determine whether or not that was a wise decision, but it’s still a market solution. (Probably a market would develop for banks with different insurance levels: minimal for those with relatively small balances wanting cheap banking services, higher for those with more money who are willing to pay a bit more for peace of mind. Let the market sort it out.)

Posted by Laird at March 19, 2009 07:36 PM

Obama Dollar Sterling money banking crisis credit crunch: Kevin Dowd gives Chris Tame memorial lecture 17th Mar 09: Libertarian View of the Financial Collapse


Sean Gabb

This is the Second Chris R. Tame  Memorial Lecture. It was given at the National Liberal Club in London on the 17th March 2009, and sets out a libertarian response to the financial crises of the past year. A full text of the speech will be published in the next week or so. In the meantime, here is the video. A better quality video file on DVD is available  on request from Sean Gabb <sean@libertarian.co.uk>for £5.

Chris R. Tame Memorial Lecture, by Kevin Dowd, at the National Liberal Club


Sean Gabb

I’m currently sitting in the National Liberal Club in London, getting ready for the second of our annual lectures. Tim and I did think we’d have about fifty people. In the event, we have over a hundred. Once again, therefore, we’ve had to close the list. The fire regulations do not allow any flexibility above a certain number. Unless you have told us you are coming, therefore, we cannot take any more names.

The lesson of this, if you are disappointed, is that you should not expect that you can just turn up at Libertarian Alliance events without warning. Despite the looming recession, we can still pack out the Liberal Club, and must still be strict with latecomers.

We shall publish a written text of the lecture by Kevin Dowd – which is to be all about the financial crisis and the recession, and how these were brought on by a useless, state-regulated banking system –  and I will video the whole event and make this available on the Internet.

I hope for an interesting and enjoyable evening.

Best wishes to all,

Sean

Oh the irony


Fred Bloggs

A woman recently attemped to rescue a seagull from some mud, but got stuck herself, which apparently warrented the use of two fire engines and twelve firemen, if it had gone on any longer they probably would’ve sent in a armoured brigade, fourteen helecopters and a destroyer.

At the end of it all a spokesperson announced that the bird had to be put down.

I couldn’t even write this stuff.

Samizdata, speed-cameras, surveillance, safety, security, and submission


David Davis

I am just as incensed about the notion that our travels should be as transparent to the State as our emails and blogs are and will soon be.

Obnoxio the Clown deftly deals with the entire matter in a few well-chosen words, as is his main skill. The dear fellow: how much poorer would the world be, without his frequent and carefully-phrased explanations of our rulers’ actions.

But something else has got into the woodwork of the corruption that is now the relational-space between The Individual and The State. I was surprised by this….something else has been advocated here. Samizdata is the last place I would have expected to see this, but one begins to share the sentiment that the time for the following types of protest is passed:-

“writing to your MP” (he’s not listening any more – he just want money, and to ride in an armoured Merc-4-a-Jerk)

“writing to the Times” (it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch who supports who’s in charge at the time: or perhaps the Editor won’t print you anyway)

“writing to the local paper” (it’s owned by the Daily Mirror now…’nuff-said)

“getting a petition up” (they’ll bin it, afetr taking your name and address, for…re-education, later)

It has been a source of wonderment to me at how very, very few speed cameras one sees having been serviced by the Common People. (I believe that “to service”, the infinitive of the transitive verb, was used in the Cold War to mean “kill the enemy on the battlefield”.)

I don’t think the Libertarian Alliance would want to be associated with advocating the vandalisation of speed cameras. Even though they are ever so intrusive and authoritarian as a notion. But there comes a point where 20,000 white vans, containing 60,000 chain-smoking brickies, who are equipped with 60,000 2-stroke Stihl-saws, all 60,000 of which start promptly on pulling the cord, could service most cameras in the UK between 02:00 am and 02:10 am on Thursday, and go home again.

Rather than that, I advocate the Poujadist solution, which is that ALL drivers ought to continuously and routinely fly past the new cameras, piling up “speeding” statistics, and refusing to co-operate with the Law here, which should be routinely and constantly broken. Bad, authoritarian laws are for breaking. The courts will be overwhelmed, and the confiscated-car-pounds will eventually overflow and have to be opened to the rightful owners.

Really, the abiding conundrum is why the English People – in all countries where they live – even such as Australia (which seems to be becoming a test-bed for all sorts of nasty stuff) – have been so very, very supine in the submissive acceptance of all this gear, even in the early stages> This was when a few old chaps who fought in the War could have growled menacingly, on television, thrown a few bricks and a bit of paraffin, and the BureauNazis would have backed away. Too late for that now, I fear: Samizdata may be right.

fakecharities.org has been noticed by charitable trough-piggers themselves. That was quick….


…..and shows that they must have been waiting, pooing their pants in fright, to get rumbled by someone. God, how slow can bloggers be sometimes? (But    _IF_    you go here, you will see that the Libertarian Alliance’s duty-Chimpanzee-Type-Writing-Shift for 2004 (in the unheated Nissen-hut, not the other one) had indeed spotted ASH already!) (And if you go here, we have a raft of ancient writings about fake-charity and its iniquities, or even real charity, and its role in a liberal civilisation.)

David Davis

The Landed Underclass notes today that Charity Finance (whatever that is for) has logged the existence of fakecharities.org, a site set up by the estimable Devil, to expose and monitor the use of public funds directly by “charities”.  

The “charities” named in fakecharities.org are almost entirely engaged in fake lobbying: lobbying, it may be added, for mainly liberty-restricting ends such as more persecution of smokers, alcohol-likers, drivers, people who enjoy tasty food such as burgers and chips, other kinds of poor people, and suchlike.

Libertarians of all kinds will know that under liberal or what we call “free” societies, history shows the greatest rate of expansion of private charity. This is contrasted with the situation of charities under a Big State, which forcibly confiscates so much of people’s resources that charities actually suffer and attenuate. The only way they can survive is to actually abdicate their caring role in favour of the Big State tkaing it over, and than “caring” on behalf of “the people”. Naturally, the “charities” which then do best out of the pig-trough are those with the most Statist ends themselves. Small charities which actually do charity may survive in odd niches and localities, such as this one: but those which don’t trough-pig mega with the sharpest elbows will eventually go down.

Of course, this is what a Big State wants.

Or you could have a charity like this one, which not only has been doing something supremely useful for many decades, but takes no money from Big States.

Very bad NASA satellite launch failure…..why?


…because we will not now get the truth in time.

David Davis

The global-climate-change-Gramsco-MarxiaNazi-buggers, and their   _very_   close friends who are the starvation-driving-mass-people-slaughterers, will not now be faced with the evidence – which is that Man is   _not_   causing “global warming”. Thye have cleverly scuppered the satellite – and can simultaneously discredit what ordinary people call “rocket-science”….so that it’s for them a “one-stone-solution to a two-bird problem”.

As regards rocket-science, they will be able to sya how inept we all are, and should stay here and subsistence-farm with chicken manure and stuff.

As regards “global warming”, they will be able to say that “the Science” is “still settled”, for there is still “no” evidence for their hypothesis being proved not to be true.

See?

Simple really.

You just do the insurance-equivalent of setting your car on fire, to claim the dosh and pretend it was all right anyway.

More on Sean Gabb speech to Conservative-Future: trenchant comment


David Davis

I take the liberty of using this comment (freely available on the thread for this post) as a new post:-

And here’s me been trying to impose a commenting moratorium on myself. Oh well, here I go again.

Sean’s prescription for what to do when power is gained, while perhaps or perhaps not perfect in the detail, is a good one, and is the kind of thought experiment which may bring one temporary cheer. However it does not (nor, one must absolutely acknowledge attempt to) answer the question of how such a position may be gained. As such it is much like discussing which stars to visit in a starship, while ignoring the hard problem, which is how to build a warp drive.

The problem is that by not discussing in the same breath the gaining of that position, we overlook the fundamentally recursive nature of the discussion. If a government of libertarians, or of “the right” (I dispute that label, but let us let it pass for now) or of “real conservatives” (I dispute that even more as I said before) has gained office in our thought experiment, then the war is already won. That which should be done by such government then becomes a trifle, as it will have the authority to do whatever it wishes.

Unless it has gained power by subterfuge, rather than gained office by honest campaigning, this imaginary government has already told the populace that it will slash government to ribbons, immediately leave the EU, abolish the BBC, hound the enemy out of local government, strangle all the quangos and so on. It can only thus gain office if it has the support of the majority of those citizens who care. To achieve that, it must have gained a cultural hegemony and, more significantly a moral hegemony.

It will have become moral to support small government and immoral to support big government. It will have become moral to support tax cuts, to despise the enemy class, and so on.

To achieve the initial conditions for such a libertian cultural revolution, the public morality must have already become libertarian, rather than the current secular evangelical statism.

This is the Hard Problem, and it would seem at this juncture to be entirely intractable, since altering the moral hegemony requires cultural hegemony, while the cultural hegemony is driven by the moral hegemony.

What is oft mistakenly believed is that the statists/Left/whatever invaded the institutions- government, education etc, from outside. This is not true. There were always socialists inside the elite; indeed it is an elite project and always was. We, on the other hand, have no insiders; and the defenders against whom we wish to move are entirely alert to the possibility of any counterhegemonic entryism and are thus able to nullify it before it gains purchase. The Hard Problem is thus profoundly hard. 

Vaclav Klaus scragged by walk-outer-MEPs, while a guest in “his” own EU “parliament”


…amd a good plug for Sean Gabb’s speech to Conservative Future, from these good people over there.

There are no videos of Klaus himself being shouted at and with grasping, totalitarian, trough-pigging-socialist-scumbags walking out, but we’ll put them on as soon as possible if they appear.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/daniel_hannan/blog/2009/02/19/meps_walk_out_when_vaclav_klaus_questions_european_integration

Sean Gabb: Speech to Conservative Future


Groan:- I don’t know what that smiley is doing there, but I can’t remove it. It’s none of my doing.

UPDATE3:-Please read this response-post, and _in particular_ the comment posted thereupon by an informed member of the blogateriat.

UPDATE2:- Here’s Sean Gabb’s thoughts earlier this year on holocaust denial, a hot subject.

Earlier comment from Blogmaster just after main post filed:-

(1) A direct link from the young Conservatives, who were kind enough to report the event charitably, is here.

(2)  This post by Sean is not for the faint-hearted: that is to say, those who may quail when the real assaults finally come. The prognosis for liberty in the UK is not currently good, and may not get better.

I have just read this on another forum, and would have published it unilaterally had not Sean Gabb done so already. You will find, on reading down, that the floor-response to Sean’s address was not as positive as a rational person would have hoped from today’s Tories, in Britain, embattled as they seem not to realise – or else prefer not to know, and pretend that all will be well if only they take power.

I think we can expect that, on ZanuNewLieborg being thrown out, as they will be, but not decisively (as we fear) then the British Conservative Party will remain a less certain but still definite enemy of individual liberty. this was not always the case as Sean points out. But it is now.

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 181
16th February 2009
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc181.htm

Text of a Speech to Conservative Future,
Given in The Old Star Public House, Westminster,
Monday the 16th February 2009
by Sean Gabb

I’d like to begin by praising your courage in having me here tonight to speak to you. I am the Director of an organisation that tried hard during the 1980s to take over the youth movement of the Conservative Party. The Libertarian Alliance provided a home and other support for Marc-Henri Glendenning, David Hoile and Douglas Smith, among others, when it looked as if libertarians might do the same to the Conservative Party as the Trotskyites nearly did to the Labour Party. Sadly, our efforts failed. Since then, the Conservative Party has become more watchful of people like us. It has also, I must say, made itself progressively less worth trying to take over.

I did say that I would come here and be rude to you. But that would be a poor thanks for your hospitality. Besides, while your party leadership has consistently ignored my advice during the past twelve years – and has, in consequence, been out of office during this time – there is no point in dwelling on what might have been. We are where we are, and I think it would be useful for me very briefly to outline my advice to a future Conservative Government.

Now, this is not advice to the Government that looks set to be formed within the next year or so my David Cameron. I may be wrong. It is possible that Mr Cameron is a much cleverer and more Machiavellian man that I have ever thought him, and that he plans to make radical changes once in office. But I do not think he is. I think what little he is promising to do is the very most that he will do. In any event, he is doing nothing to acquire the mandate without which radical change would lack legitimacy. And so this is advice that I offer to some future government of conservatives, rather than to any prospective Conservative Government. It may even be a government formed by the people in this room.

My first piece of advice is to understand the nature of your enemy. If you come into government, you will be in at least the same position as Ramsay MacDonald, when he formed the first Labour Government in the 1920s. He faced an Establishment that was broadly conservative. The administration, the media, the universities, big business – all were hostile to what it was believed he wanted to do. The first Labour Governments were in office, but not fully in power, as they were not accepted by the people with whom and through whom they had to rule the country. To a lesser degree, Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson faced the same constraints. A future Conservative Government will find much the same.

Over the past few generations, a new Establishment or ruling class has emerged in this country. It is a loose coalition of politicians, bureaucrats, educators, media people and associated business interests. These are people who derive income and status from an enlarged and activist state. They have been turning this country into a soft-totalitarian police state. They are not always friendly to a Labour Government. But their natural political home is the Labour Party. They will accept a Conservative Government on sufferance – but only so long as it works within a system that robs ordinary people of their wealth and their freedom. They will never consent to what should be the Conservative strategy of bringing about an irreversible transfer of power from the State back into the hands or ordinary people.

A Cameron Government, as I have said, seems willing to try coexistence with the Establishment. The Thatcher Government set out to fight and defeat an earlier and less confident version of the Establishment – but only on those fronts where its policies were most resisted. It won numerous battles, but, we can now see, it lost the war. For example, I well remember the battle over abolition of the Greater London Council. This appeared at the time a success. But I am not aware of one bureaucrat who lost his job at the GLC who was not at once re-employed by one of the London Boroughs or by some other agency of the State. And we know that Ken Livingstone was eventually restored to power in London.

If you want to win the battle for this country, you need to take advice from the Marxists. These are people whose ends were evil where not impossible. But they were experts in the means to their ends. They knew more than we have ever thought about the seizure and retention of power. I therefore say this to you. If you ever do come to power, and if you want to bring about the irreversible transfer of power to ordinary people, you should take to heart what Marx said in 1871, after the failure of the Paris Commune: �the next attempt of the French Revolution will be no longer, as before, to transfer the bureaucratic-military machine from one hand to another, but to smash it, and this is the precondition for every real people�s revolution�.�

The meaning of this is that you should not try to work with the Establishment. You should not try to jolly it along. You should not try fighting it on narrow fronts. You must regard it as the enemy, and you must smash it.

On the first day of your government, you should close down the BBC. You should take it off air. You should disclaim its copyrights. You should throw all its staff into the street. You should not try to privatise the BBC. This would simply be to transfer the voice of your enemy from the public to the private sector, where it might be more effective in its opposition. You must shut it down – and shut it down at once. You should do the same with much of the administration. The Foreign Office, much of the Home Office, the Commission for Racial Equality, anything to do with health and safety and planning and child protection – I mean much of the public sector – these should be shut down. If at the end of your first month in power, you have not shut down half of the State, you are failing. If you have shut down half the State, you have made a step in the right direction, and are ready for still further cuts.

Let me emphasise that the purpose of these cuts would not be to save money for the taxpayers or lift an immense weight of bureaucracy from their backs – though they would do this. The purpose is to destroy the Establishment before it can destroy you. You must tear up the web of power and personal connections that make these people effective as an opposition to radical change. If you do this, you will face no more clamour than if you moved slowly and half-heartedly. Again, I remember to campaign against the Thatcher “cuts”. There were no cuts, except in the rate of growth of state spending. You would never have thought this from the the torrent of protests that rolled in from the Establishment and its clients. And so my advice is to go ahead and make real cuts – and be prepared to set the police on anyone who dares riot against you.

I fail to see how you would face any electoral problems with this approach. Most Conservative voters would welcome tax cuts and a return to freedom. As for those who lost their jobs, they do not, nor ever will, vote Conservative.

Following from this, however, I advise you to leave large areas of the welfare state alone. It is regrettable, but most people in this country do like the idea of healthcare free at the point of use, and of free education, and of pensions and unemployment benefit. These must go in the long term. But they must be retained in the short term to maintain electoral support. Their cost and methods of provision should be examined. But cutting welfare provision would be politically unwise in the early days of our revolution.

I have already spoken longer than I intended. But one more point is worth making. This is that we need to look again at our constitutional arrangements. The British Constitution has always been a fancy dress ball at which ordinary people were not really welcome, but which served to protect the life, liberty and property of ordinary people. Some parts of this fancy dress ball continue, but they no longer serve their old purpose. They are a fig leaf for an increasingly grim administrative despotism. I was, until recently, a committed monarchist. I now have to admit that the Queen has spent the past half century breaking her Coronation Oath at every opportunity. The only documents she has ever seemed reluctant to sign are personal cheques. Conservatives need to remember that our tradition extends not only through Edmund Burke to the Cavaliers, but also through Tom Paine to Oliver Cromwell. We live in an age where it is necessary to be radical to be conservative.

But I have now spoken quite long enough, and I am sure you have much to say in response. I therefore thank you again for your indulgence in having invited me and the politeness with which you have heard me.

[A combination of silence and faint applause]

Comment 1: You accuse the Conservatives of having ignored you for twelve years. From what you have just said, it is a good thing you were ignored. Under David Cameron’s leadership, we have a Conservative Party that is now positively desired by the people. Your advice is and would have been a recipe for permanent opposition.

Response: I disagree. There is no positive desire for a Conservative Government. If there were, the polls would be showing a consistent fifty point lead or something. What we have is a Labour Government that is so dreadful that I have trouble thinking what could be worse.

[In a private conversation before my speech, I said that the Labour Party had turned out to be about as bad in government as the Green Party or the British National Party or Sinn Fein.]

There are two ways of doing politics. One is to listen to focus groups and opinion polls, and offer the people what they claim to want. The other is to stand up and tell them what they ought to want, and to keep arguing until the people agree that they want it, or until it is shown not to be worth wanting. I think I know what sort of politicians will run the next Conservative Government. What sort of politicians do you want to be?

Comment 2 [from an Irishman]: What you are saying means that the country would be without protection against obvious evils. With no child protection services, children would be abused and murdered. Without planning controls, the countryside would soon be covered with concrete. Without planning controls, cities like Manchester would be far less attractive places.

I will also say, as an Irishman, that I am offended by your reference to Oliver Cromwell, who was a murderer and tyrant. You cannot approve of this man.

Response: You have been taken in by the Establishment’s propaganda. This is to insist that we live with vast structures of oppression, or that we must accept the evils they are alleged to curb. I say that that these structures do not curb any evils, but instead create evils of their own. We have, for example, seventy thousand social workers in this country. They appear to have done a consistently rotten job at protecting the few children who need protecting. instead, they are taking children away from grandparents to give to strangers, and are setting the police onto dissenting ministers who allow their children to climb onto the roof. None of this should be surprising. The Children Act and other laws have created a bureaucratic sausage machine that must somehow be filled. I say let it be destroyed along with all else that is evil in our system of government.

[What I might have said, but was too polite to say: As for Oliver Cromwell, he was one of the greatest Englishmen who ever lived. It is partly thanks to him that we have just had around three centuries of freedom and political stability. When you refer to his actions in Ireland, you are repeating Fenian propaganda. What he did in Ireland has been exaggerated by the enemies of England, and in any event was in keeping with the customs of war universally admitted in his own time. If you want to throw an offended fit every time an Englishman in London praises an English hero to other Englishmen, you should consider moving to Dublin where all the letter boxes have been painted a reassuring green, and your own national sensitivities never need be offended again.]

Comment 3: All you speak about is winning and the destruction of enemies. Yet you are willing to consider keeping the welfare state. You are nothing but an unprincipled trouble maker. Thank God the Conservative Party no longer has any place for people like you.

Response: If we were facing the sort of Labour Government we had under Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson, you would be right. However, we have an Establishment that has already given us the beginnings of a totalitarian police state. Today, for example, the authorities will start collecting details of every telephone call, text and e-mail sent in this country. Children are about to have their details stuffed into a giant database that will enable them to be monitored by the authorities until they are adults – and probably through their entire lives. We live in a country were privacy is being abolished. Speech is increasingly unfree. The police are out of control. Everything is getting rapidly worse, and it is easy to see the end state that is desired, or total control.

If a government of radical conservatives ever does take power, it will have one attempt at saving this country. That means radical and focussed actions from day one. Anything less than this, and it will fail. I am suggesting a revolution – but this is really a counter-revolution against what has already been proceeding for at least one generation. If we are to beat the heirs of Marx, we must learn from Marx himself.

Comment 4: You are wasting our time with all this radical preaching. People do not want to hear about how they are oppressed by the Establishment, and how this must be destroyed. What they want to hear is that taxes are too high, that the money is being wasted, and that there are ways to protect essential public services with lower taxes. That is why the Taxpayers’ Alliance has been so much more prominent than the Libertarian Alliance. We must have nothing to do with the ranting lunatics of the Libertarian Alliance.

Response: You may have a desire for electoral success that I do not share. But I am the better politician. All debate is perceived as taking place on a spectrum that has a centre and two extremes. If the Libertarian Alliance did not exist, the relevant spectrum would simply reconfigure itself with the Taxpayers’ Alliance at one extreme, and the centre would be still less attractive than it now is. Since most people consciously take centrist positions, it is in your interest – regardless of whether I am right – to say what I do. It makes you and your friends moderate in relation to me.

[At this point, some unfortunate woman began screeching that I was a fascist, and the debate came to an end.]

[I normally like to comment on these events once I have described them. I think, however, the above stands by itself.]

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3