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Category Archives: Obesity Nazis
A Nanny Looks Forward To 2013 Sorry, I did try but just can’t let this pass without comment.
A government minister has written to magazine editors asking them not to promote post-Christmas “miracle” diets because they pose a “health risk”.
Equalities minister Jo Swinson wrote an open letter asking magazines to “shed the fad diets and fitness myths” in their January editions.
She suggested they “celebrate the beauty of diversity in body shape, skin colour, size and age” instead. Continue reading
The Risks that Adverts Must Run and an Authoress’s
Fear of Freedom
By David McDonagh
The jennyass, Felicity Lawrence, feels that it is a big mistake of the CONDEMS’ new Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, to dismiss the recent campaign of Jamie Oliver against obesity. Writing in the totalitarian propaganda sheet, that is so aptly named The Guardian, Thursday 8 July 2010, she protests that Lansley is overlooking the fact that it was only the nanny state could have recently saved the UK population from smoking. The Jamie Oliver campaign, backed by the state, has also worked in getting children to eat better at school, she says. Lansley was wrong to think it was all down to individual choice. Has he never heard of the power of marketing? Advertising can be used to get people to consume junk food. Andrew Lansley is not only facile, she says, but he is also clearly wrong headed in thinking that all social ills are down to individual responsibility rather than to the actions of powerful firms and their advertising campaigns.
This authoress wants to say, “Nanny does know best, Andrew Lansley.” She begins: “The health secretary’s belief that children should be responsible for their own diet choices would be risible were it not so scary” showing, thereby, a naked fear of freedom and responsibility, and a longing for totalitarian security and all round state
She indicates that Lansley is naïve to hold that “the captains of the food industry are decent chaps” who will choose not to sell junk food if only the state stops regulating them. “Lansley’s analysis of public health is so facile that it would be risible even in a prep-school debating society”, says this exceedingly stupid woman. It is unrealistic, she thinks, to expect schoolchildren to be responsible about their food.
She feels that Lansley has not even bothered to master his brief here “Figures out yesterday show that, far from putting large numbers off school meals as Lansley had claimed, Jamie Oliver’s campaign to improve school meals, and all the government work on nutritional standards that followed, has increased uptake of healthy hot meals at lunchtime. It turns out those in loco parentis, or to use that pernicious rhetoric of the privileged right, ‘nanny’, should decide what’s best for children. It works” she triumphantly exclaims.
Like so many Romantics, this is a tribal thing for the authoress. She does not seem to know that the pristine right of the French Assembly in 1789 was protectionist, as she is, and that the left was for the free trade, that she is so ardently opposed to. The Fabian Society called some old Tory ideas “socialist” in the 1890s, which was perfectly true, but they also said they were left wing. They did not fit in well with free trade, but this was widely accepted as being apt nevertheless. The dichotomy has been somewhat confused in common sense ever since.
Nor is Lansley even aware of the literature that shows that choice is a myth, she continues, as we are all ruled by the unconscious mind. He might begin his homework, she says, by reading up on Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, he who wrote an essay on The Engineering of Consent. Advertising is more than just free speech; it is also a way of controlling those it broadcasts to, as the people all have an unconscious mind that any broadcast can enter to manipulate any one amongst the masses listening by using their modern techniques. Bernays was the first to realise that the public could be manipulated “into buying products they did not want or need by targeting their unconscious desires.” In the 1920s, he aided the large scale selling to the public of cigarettes and junk food. The state was needed to break the habit of smoking that such advertising had long built up, and it will similarly be needed to break the habit of consuming junk food too, says the authoress. With smoking, the adverts needed to be stopped first. Then the state was needed to put up taxes on the cigarettes and only later to ban smoking in public places. This long strategy alone could “quell the desires that had been so skilfully awakened” by the giant tobacco firms, she says. She writes as if there would be no smoking or eating of junk food at all if it was not for this tremendous manipulation ability of advertisements.
“Why does Lansley think the food industry has fought tooth and nail to avoid restrictions on its marketing to children? It has to catch them young, to form their palates and create their desires” she says.
This woman thinks that the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola, was quite right to think that what we learn young enough; we can never quite analyse, or reasonably check out for truth in any way. It is worth mentioning that Voltaire was the product of such a Jesuit college.
We may hothouse the brain by early education to enlarge the brain by dendritic growth, but we cannot realistically hope to build in a special protection for any particular doctrine by any advantage in early education. And, as the pristine Romantic propagandist, J.J. Rousseau, rightly said, any material will aid brain development such that we will be able to think all the better as a result. Any ideas at all will educate us but none will stop further consideration as to whether they are true or not; quite the contrary, any will aid us to think clearly. Having learned about things – any particular things or things in general – we will be better able to think about fresh ideas than we would had we not been educated. A developed brain will better be able to think critically rather than being merely made loyal to whatever doctrines was used during its development.
Thus, the taxi driver’s knowledge of London will be as good as an intensive course of philosophy to that end. Both develop dendrites in the brain that basically boost the learner’s general ability. In the 1930s the best schools in the world were those run by the Jesuits, but they all, very oddly, confined themselves to Aristotle on physics, owing to their Thomist dogma. But their pupils soon caught up with modern physics as adults. Learning any subject will aid us to learn other subjects. Even if we could all be taught actually true doctrines, anyone might rethink them and fall into adult error, despite the fact that the external world, presumably, gives the truth a lift. Our brains simply do rethink all things. That is why this brainwashing idea is false. It assumes that we can be loyal to ideas indoctrinated but there is no way that we can prevent automatically revising all that we behold.
Richard Dawkins on memes is partly right. One aspect of the meme idea is that we believe, or catch, ideas like we do a virus, much as we catch a cold. But his idea that it is no use reasoning about the ideas that we thus catch, or pick up, any more than it would be to reason about a cold is clearly false, for all ideas are subject to reason not prior to adoption but at any time after they have been adopted. Thus, it is no advantage to get an idea adopted if it can be shed with ease, and false looking ideas can be shed with ease. Our minds automatically search for error and the rejection of anything that looks like error to us is automatic. We can never deliberately err, as Plato rightly said.
Earlier the authoress, Felicity Lawrence, wrote “Free choice isn’t healthy for the food industry’s menu” The Guardian, Wednesday 23 June 2010. She fears the market, loves the state yet also fears that the state has no chance unless it is very careful. I rather think that she is right that the state is not up to much, but she seems to merely imagine her supposed dangers of the market. “Traffic-light labelling was voted down in Europe only last week, scuppered by food industry lobbying of breathtaking determination and expense“. European consumer watchdogs have said that up to a billion pounds was spent by giant multinationals to get the members of the European parliament by use of emails and meetings to sway their vote, she tells us. The result is that an industry-sponsored scheme of nutrition labelling that serves only to confuse the customers emerged instead of her hoped for version of state regulation. The authoresses beloved Food Standards Agency [FSA], that had upset the giant firms in the food industry by successfully naming and shaming manufacturers for use of excess salt in their products, but it may now be abolished in the CONDEMS cuts even before it can fully sort out the big firms. There is simply too much fat in the foods that the big food companies sell today, says Felicity Lawrence, but the FSA might have put them in their place had the new government not been recently elected. “Plans are well advanced to emasculate it by returning its role in improving public nutrition to the Department of Health, whose past performance on food has been lacklustre” she says. “Another success, then, for the food industry and its lobbyists, who were hard at work in the run up to the election.”
The giant firms that produce all this dreadful junk-food for profit will not worry much over the plans that the state is making to control the advertising to children before the 9 pm TV watershed, as it can now use the internet to bypass any such regulations. It can use its adverts to get the children to pester their parents to buy junk food regardless of the planned restrictions. “This is not a world in which individuals make free, fully informed choices about food” she tells us. Rather “it is a world in which children are targeted by junk-food manufacturers from the youngest age. We live in a culture in which adult appetites are shaped by marketing that preys on our insecurities and emotional needs. It is an environment in which understanding the labels on our food practically requires a Ph.D. in food chemistry.” So she feels that the state is badly needed to protect the public from being victimised by the big firms that exploit them for profit.
But indoctrination is not as powerful as she thinks, even if we grant the idea that the adverts can indoctrinate; which there seems reason to think is false, as there is not even the time in most cases. The old adage “use it or lose it” seems to be the rule for all ideas, for if we do not use any set of ideas then they will tend to be forgotten. The general development of the brain, the growth of dendrites, will have been achieved by the use of any ideas used in education in the past. Not so the belief that the ideas in question are true, as that will depend on what the beholder thinks is the case at any one time only; even if, in revising what he thinks, he does not amend the content. The fact is that at any time, he might amend the content if it seems apt to do so. To think is to revise, even if we do not change our minds. And to be alive and in normal health is to think. We think automatically.
However, Felicity Lawrence has the daft idea that there is something called the “unconscious mind” that is the irrational enemy within us all. It will ensure that we are unhappy. That seems to be its main aim. So it urges us to do things that are bad for us. So we all need the guardianship of the state, which is, presumably, manned by politicians that lack this unconscious mind. How otherwise could they know what is best? But the idea that politicians are special in this way seems to be rather far-fetched. More realistic is the idea that there is no such unconscious mind, or any other means of manipulation through adverts.
Moreover, almost any history of psycho-analysis will show a falling off of this idea of the unconscious mind within the very movement that gave rise to it: within psychoanalysis. Any history of the movement will tell the reader about how the unconscious was abandoned by many, if not most, of the followers of Freud. . J.A.C. Brown, in Freud and the Post-Freudians (1964), for example, tells his readers that first Alfred Adler, and then many others, the majority, indeed, of the therapist followers of Freud, after a time, dumped this ‘unconscious’ meme as irrelevant to anything they thought was real. I think they were right to do so.
Similarly, the Jesuit colleges have exactly no chance of making a Catholic for life, given the first seven years. If ever such a successful former pupil is later willing to debate at any time, then all the Catholic doctrines learnt earlier will thereby run the risk of being discredited. This would be so even if the doctrines were true. If any opponents of the fondly indoctrinated Catholic ideas can get the pupil to debate then they do have a chance of wiping out any beliefs in the Jesuit creed that he was indoctrinated in. The Jesuits have no chance at all with Christianity in open debate, as Catholicism is, objectively, such a silly creed. But even if it were true it would still risk being abandoned on being criticised. Brainwashing is a mere myth, like mental illness, or irrationality, or socialism [as an alternative economy to the price system for the mass urban society] or the idea of God.
Even though all those bogus ideas – mental illness, irrationality and socialism – do give fools lots of pleasure, no one can actually believe as they wish, so anyone who discusses those bogus ideas thereby risks either being disillusioned, or even understanding an actual refutation in some cases. Bias cannot crowd out criticism, even though many fools feel utterly certain that it can. We are free to say what we like, but never to believe as we like. The one thing that Freud got right was “the reality principle”. We may not want to re-think, but we do re-think all the time; indeed we rethink any time that we do think, even if this is usually only superficially done. Any attempt to manipulate people will need to stand up to the normal test of reason or normal thinking that we all automatically do. It is not foolproof but it is a test.
In any case, the giant firms would need to compete with all the others in their adverts, even if we granted the bogus manipulation theory via the unconscious mind; but that theory looks lame so there is no need to grant it. Yet if we did, it would not be easy manipulation. Competition would ensure that.
Peter Watson in Ideas (2005) writes that the German historian of science, Theodor Gomperz said, “Nearly our entire intellectual education originates from the Greeks. A thorough knowledge of their origin is the indisputable prerequisite for freeing ourselves from their overwhelming influence” (p148) . But this is mere hyperbole, in both sentences, but complete folly in the second cited sentence, as ideas cannot gaol us in any way at all. Influence tends to push us out rather than to suck us in, thus the wider educated mind is usually the more independent mind and a man with a degree in Greek is not likely to be limited to ancient Greece in his outlook.
That we often deliberately make assumptions obfuscates the fact that we often make many tacit assumptions automatically too. Indeed, the latter assumptions are the norm. To repeat, the biologist, Richard Dawkins with his meme idea has the merit of getting the fact that we adopt ideas automatically, rather like we pick up a virus, correctly but he errs, and he errs very badly, when he says that what we automatically assume is thereby immune from criticism. E contra, we will automatically drop any assumption as soon as we see it as bogus, even if we are not right in it actually being bogus. As Plato rightly said, no one can deliberately err.
Indeed, few will think that this current common sense idea of irrationality, at least in the buying of what they do not want as result of advertising, applies to themselves. It only pertains to others; only to the masses. People may foolishly grant that they are irrational in other ways. But only the gullible masses seem open to being duped by advertising; but the masses are only an abstraction. We all feel we are better than others. It is the sort of value that we need to have, as it is, maybe, basic to survival; or at least it will have been so for our ancestors prior to the rise of civilisation. We realise that most adverts fall on barren ground as far as we are concerned. Few males want to wear the widely advertised female underwear, for example. But adverts must affect the masses, we think; even though we can also see that most people are not affected by adverts for wares that are made for the opposite sex or for products that are otherwise not suitable to most people who see or hear the advert. But why not, if they can manipulate any of us at will? Because we think about them, and in doing so we realise that the broadcast is not even aimed at us, of course. But if we do think in this way, then why should we ever grant the manipulation theory that Felicity Lawrence thinks is so silly of Lansley to ignore?
Even road-sweepers, or men selling newspapers, realise adverts have never persuaded them to buy what they do not want, though they still often feel that the adverts must work this way on the masses. The fact is that adverts persuade none. They do aid distribution by merely calling the attention of the people who already want the wares on offer to wares that they already want. That is enough to boost sales. No persuasion is needed.
Most adult people will admit that they have long forgotten most of whatever they learnt at school. I myself remember learning nothing at school on the normal day. I was very pleased never to be asked what I learnt on getting home for I would have usually had nothing to say. Most pupils seem to learn nothing on most days at school today too. That is why most nominal Catholics, sometimes even enthusiastic ones, know next to nothing about their creed, despite all those years of RI lessons at school. Most people do credit the schools with learning them to read and write, but they would have, most likely, picked these skills up as they grew up in the mass urban society. As Stephen Berry says, schools are mainly providing a child minding service. There has been no real building up of doctrine at school, let alone by the giant firms through adverts for smoking and junk food on the media. Mass indoctrination is greatly exaggerated.
Felicity Lawrence feels Lansley overlooks that the various firms have no social responsibility, beyond doing well for their shareholders. Why should they not want to sell more junk food? Bigger sales means more profits. She here overlooks that the firms have no interest in selling junk food, any more than any other food, and that firms actually sell only what is selected by the individual members of the public whenever such an individual chooses to become a customer. In each case, there is the money that the individual will need to pay whenever one wants to buy what is for sale, and that is a built-in disincentive to buy any particular good. Does the ware match up to whatever else the customer can obtain with money elsewhere? Our alternative uses of money have far more impact than any advert could ever have in ensuring that we only buy what we want, even if there was some sort of manipulation. We all do want money so we need to want any good that we actually do buy a bit more than the money that we pay for it and any manipulation, even if we grant it as real, will need to be strong to counter that. But Felicity Lawrence does not seem to realise that fact.
However, she will have experienced it whenever she has to pay for whatever she buys. By contrast, she will not have experienced the power of manipulation from the adverts, for it is not real at all. But she might think that, as this influence occurs unconsciously, she need never expect to have any experience of it. This does not seem to be a very realistic line of thought; but neither do the main ideas she accuses Lansley of ignoring look one iota realistic either. In any case, if the adverts can get the unconscious mind to buy anything, then why not get them to buy healthy food? Presumably, anything the public buys will yield a profit.
In any case, if the adverts can get the unconscious mind to buy anything, then why not get them to buy healthy food? Presumably, anything the public buys will yield a profit. Or does it all depend on the unconscious desires, as most accounts of it seem to suggest? If so, it does not even claim to get people to do as it wants but instead it simply depends on what is wanted by the unconscious mind already. Things are not looking so good for the big firms after all. They are going to need entrepreneurship with its risk of getting what the customers buy wrong, and thus making losses rather than profits. In this line of argument, it looks as if the firms do not have the alternative of handy manipulation by advertising to dodge the risk of losses after all.
Many amongst the UK public have feared greatly, just lately, that the law on product placement within TV programmes is about to be relaxed and they see this as sinister. Like Felicity Lawrence, they fear that advertisements will manipulate them through their unconscious mind by the use of modern techniques of persuasion. I recall a class in which the teacher put a case against adverts as a sort of running joke to lighten up the lesson [it was a mathematics night school class]. Towards the end of the class, he came near the end of his case against the Guinness adverts.: “Then it is on your mind that you might buy a pint of Guinness!” he exclaimed. He was a Guinness drinker and so was I. About seven of us went for a drink after the class each week. “And then you recall that you do not like Guinness!” I retorted. The class laughed. Just getting the message over will never be enough to sell a good. The good, or service advertised, will need to be wanted beforehand.
The authoress knows, or she thinks she knows, that social class rather than individual responsibility decides those things. Class is still a major determinant of how healthy a person is, says Felicity Lawrence. Inequality is the big factor that causes a lot of bad health by sales of cigarettes and junk food. The fact that the crass ideal of equality is impossible, in any case, is, presumably, not realised by the authoress. She goes on about how salt is bad for our blood pressure. But any reader might think that her silly articles are not the best recommended reading for dodging high blood pressure, nor is a daily reading of that rag, The Guardian. It may help its readers if they take their daily reading of it with a small pinch of salt.
Felicity Lawrence finds the idea of individual responsibility, that she calls a Tory idea, to be “truly frightening”. This idea “which casts everything as personal responsibility – social injustice, like obesity, is indeed a moral failure, but only on the part of those who suffer it” she writes. Felicity Lawrence finds the idea of individual responsibility, that she calls a Tory idea, to be “truly frightening”. This idea “which casts everything as personal responsibility – social injustice, like obesity, is indeed a moral failure, but only on the part of those who suffer it” she writes. But, if we look at it historically, if we go back to what Tory and Whig meant up to the 1840s, or what Tory and Liberal meant in the 1850s and 60s, then she is, basically, a one nation Tory par excellence. What is more, she writes for a pristine Tory warmongering rag that campaigned against Cobden and Bright for opposing the Crimean War, and helped to get both of them thrown out of the House of Commons for opposition to that war. However, she seems to lack the historical knowledge to realise all that.
My guess is that she will be very confused as to what is social injustice. It will be linked to the rather arbitrary ideal of equality in her mind, as in the mind of anyone who writes for The Guardian, but justice bears no relation to that crass ideal in reality. There are many things that we are not responsible for – how the way the moon affects the tides or, less obviously, the earth daily. But it is plainly true that we are responsible for how fat we are at any one time. It is also up to each of us whether we smoke cigarettes, or not. Being a member of the proletariat does not mean that I have to smoke cigarettes and eat beef-burgers. Many such classified people do not follow the norm in that respect, if it is a norm. It will only happen in my case if I want to do those things. My social class has exactly no actual bearing on my choice there; none whatsoever. Ditto for everyone else. But Felicity Lawrence prefers to personify mere social class; for she writes as if she feels that a mere academic abstraction can refute a plain reality, the reality of personal choice. She is hardly alone in that folly. But only actual agents can be responsible [i.e. to be able to respond to blame] and those mere abstractions are clearly not agents. So it is merely futile to blame them. This is, basically, what Mrs Thatcher was saying when they cited her on there being no such thing as society, for when it comes to blame, society is not an agent [and it is not actually a thing either, but mere social interaction]. It does not make sense to blame society, as it cannot do anything at all. Similarly, social class does not decide who smokes or eats junk food. Abstractions simply cannot be responsible in that they cannot respond.
I do not think that there is much of worth in any plea that Lansley has in mind to make to the food industry. It would be better for him to do nothing at all.
The less state regulation there is, the better. Regulation is going to be dysfunctional. This is because the state is bound to victimise some when it taxes and to corrupt others when it favours people with handouts too. It is going to be negative sum on the whole transaction, as there will not only be the funds transferred from OY to McX, but bureaucrats will also need to be paid for the administration costs that will be involved.
Felicity Lawrence tells us that Edward Bernays had his main influence in the 1920s but the essay she recommends Lansley to read dates from 1947. Bernays brought out a book he called Propaganda (1928). It adopts the absurd idea that we have an unconscious mind. The plain reality is that what is unconscious is not of the mind, ipso facto. To be unconscious is exactly to be not of the mind.
“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?” – Edward Bernays
Many people who champion the idea of an unconscious mind credit the fact that things can often become clearer if only we sleep on it. To let the action of the unconscious mind work on the problem for us (for example, on a new bit of mathematics) overnight. This time, contrary to the normal idea that it is the enemy within, the unconscious mind is held to be a friend who helps us with our homework. But what has most likely actually happened is that fresh brain development has taken place overnight, in that new dendrites have emerged in the brain. This will be unconscious, but not really to do with the mind, any more than muscle development that can, similarly, occur overnight. This is not of the mind at all but of the body. Either may be owing to a decision made to exercise the mind, or the body, but the development will be physical in each case rather than being mental.
Bernays had the very widespread idea that people are irrational and he thought that this explained why they bought things that he, when considering them with his advanced theories, thought they did not really need, or even want. As we do not need most things, the former idea of Bernays looks realistic. But with the second idea, that the customer does not even want whatever is purchased, there is the built-in disincentive of parting with some money that, in each case, tends to refute the idea that we never want what we buy. Indeed, that the customer parted with scarce money for whatever was bought suggests that the customer wanted whatever was bought even more than the money that they had to pay for it, even if they did not need what they paid for. Many of Bernays epigones in marketing thought that firms made things and then got the customers to buy them by secret methods involving the unconscious mind. But that looks a little nebulous if we but think about it.
Felicity Lawrence, too, seems to think that the choice was made for people by the firms before the customers buy anything. This is quite true as far as it goes and it is simply the great risk of ordinary entrepreneurship, but Felicity Lawrence and the literature she so admires, usually written by silly psychologists and marketing experts, did not mean that the firms risked a loss in guessing what could sell. Rather that the firms might be able to cut out the risk altogether by simply manipulating what people want towards whatever they found it easiest to produce, that they might cut out the risk of making unwanted losses with the aid of Bernays’ advanced theories. They thought that the whole of the risk of guessing what the customers might buy, what they wanted enough to pay for, could be bypassed by modern techniques of persuasion. It seems clear that they did not do much conscious thinking on this unconscious idea.
Oddly, the followers of Bernays usually also thought that making a study of people was needed, to see how the customers felt. If one understood what those “unconscious desires” were, then one could use this to the firm’s advantage. It could be used to sell products the giant firms had already decided to produce, to greatly increase sales of well-established goods. One example was where they found that many housewives felt a bit guilty, in their unconscious mind, that they were having it way too easy in the home by making a cake from a popular cake mixture, so the firm recommended, on the packet, that adding an egg would be needed. That made the housewife feel that the end result was a bit more of her own work, thereby easing the guilt by quite a bit and greatly increasing sales of the product as a result.
This cake mixture example is given in a few internet accounts of those hidden powers of manipulation that I finally resorted to in an effort to find out whatever it could be that Felicity Lawrence was referring to. Yet this much repeated example is odd in at least two senses:
1) Why did the guilt need to ever be unconscious and, if it was such, how was it ever found out by the researchers? Clearly, the unconscious meme was only included as it was a beloved false idol, or a mere fad. That is its attraction for the likes of Felicity Lawrence, Edward Bernays and all the others who adopt it. It is actually a counter productive idea in the story they tell of the housewives guilt. Their love of the paradox leads them to overlook the absurdity involved.
2) Why was research, such as this on housewife guilt, ever needed when they claimed to have the advanced means that could be used to sell her anything in any case? We have been told and retold, that what is needed, or even wanted, by the mere individual housewife does not matter but that theoretical abstractions, like the unconscious mind or social class, decides whatever she does. So why all this research into what it is that she desires? If sales are to be achieved by manipulating desires on the unconscious level, why not just get on with it then? That the masters of the advanced techniques seemed to think that some research was needed suggests that they did not consciously believe in the power of their own advanced means of manipulation.
Many who dislike the market ironically greatly over-estimate the power of money. They think that state services always would work, if only more money was supplied to them, for example. They also think that adverts simply must have a great effect merely owing to the money that goes into them. If the adverts did not persuade people then lots of money would never be spent on them, it is claimed. But adverts aid distribution even when they do not begin to persuade people of anything. It is enough that they remind people of what they advertise. Most people who reject the market do so on the idea that it is about greed and selfishness, but the market is, ironically, where the workers are all institutionally geared to serving others. This is so clearly the case that it might be far more aptly labelled as institutionalised altruism. Profit is a sign that wide sections of the public have been served by the firm who reaps the profit. By contrast, I fear that the state invariability mucks society up. It is always a negative sum activity, which is intrinsically uneconomic and thus dysfunctional and wasteful. So the CONDEMS seem to be on the right track in their aim of replacing the state sector with private sector jobs.
Some people feel that adverts are propaganda, and that is indeed the case, but they think that propaganda is all lies,ipso facto. The state used what it called propaganda against other states whom it was at war with in 1914 and 1939, but this wartime use of words by the state was indeed a war of words, rather that an attempt to recruit or propagate, so it might have been more aptly called polemics than propaganda. Propaganda sets out to persuade rather than to alienate or to discourage or to demoralise. It is out of place in war. So “wartime propaganda” is something of a misnomer.
In a moment of rare candour Galbraith remarked “You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too.”
However, it is not the case that propaganda has to persuade. There simply is not the time to persuade in most adverts, though there is the occasional lengthy advert in magazines, which may be mistaken for an article, and may be of a similar length. It might have an opportunity to break this advertising norm by successful persuasion. However, most adverts are merely drawing attention to the item advertised. The notice of the Libertarian Alliance [LA] monthly meetings is an example. They draw attention to the meetings in the hope that those who see the advert will already want to come along to such meetings. Adverts rely on people wanting the ware, the good or the service that they set out to promote beforehand. The LA adverts are part of the distribution in the making of those LA meetings. They act merely like the ringing a big bell, but ringing a big bell only works in the wake of the achievement of any needed persuasion. They work only on the idea that what they call attention to is already desired. The persuasion needs to have been, long since, done before any advert can have an effect. Entrepreneurship in general also does not set out to persuade but rather to guess what people will, or might, want. It similarly conforms to what is out there already, or to what might soon emerge out there, rather than attempting to get people to buy what is simply easy for the giant firms to produce.
Entrepreneurship embraces the unavoidable risk of error, but the likes of the late J.K. Galbraith, or nowadays his son James, tend to feel, with Felicity Lawrence and The Guardian readers, that this risk can be taken away by the sheer power of advanced modern advertising techniques. It is merely naïve to think otherwise, we are told.
However, the reality is that if the ware being advertised is not wanted beforehand then the adverts will merely be barren. Thus the adverts for junk food will be lost on those that think it is aptly named, that the food being advertised really is junk. Adverts do not usually have the time to persuade, even if such rejecters of junk food could be persuaded, and entrepreneurship is not about persuasion anyway. Rather it is about guessing correctly the likely desires of potential customers. The adverts merely seek to draw attention to the product they set out to promote. They can only help to distribute what the customers already want.
Adverts are propaganda, but they are usually also post-persuasion phenomena. They only work on the already persuaded. They are wasted on the people that do not already like the ware, or service, advertised. They aid sales greatly, but only by calling attention to wares that people already want. Recent adverts have been less widely broadcast, but rather more like narrow-casts, thus they are better aimed at the target people who are more likely to already want the product promoted. This is simply to cut out the realised barrenness of the older wider broadcasts. Why would firms bother with all this if they had known how to get anyone to buy anything, as the authoress, Felicity Lawrence, and many others seems to hold?
The facts concerning the wares or services on offer do not usually even matter to adverts, apart from occasionally the facts of access, as to where and when they are on offer; i.e. merely the facts saying “it is here!”
The whole aim, then and now, was simply to drawn attention to what was on offer. That is why they so often use women, those masters of drawing attention to themselves, and they will use them in advertising any ware at all. It is the ability to draw attention to themselves, mastered by women, that the advertisers seek to use. It does not matter one whit that the ware being promoted has nothing to do with women. It is not sex, but the arts of attraction that women have mastered, and that makes them so very useful in all sorts of adverts. Adverts really are still, in effect, rather like the pristine adverts in the seventeenth and eighteen century, that did actually ring a big bell to call the attention of people to the goods on sale. The whole aim, then and now, was simply to drawn attention to what was on offer. That is why they so often use women, those masters of drawing attention to themselves, and they will use them in advertising any ware at all. It is the ability to draw attention to themselves, mastered by women, that the advertisers seek to use. It does not matter one whit that the ware being promoted has nothing to do with women. It is not sex, but the arts of attraction that women have mastered, and that makes them so very useful in all sorts of adverts. They draw attention not only from men; for females are even better noticed by other women who, presumably, have no sexual interest in them at all [though the PC crew might object to that; how they still love Freud, who held by dogma that we were all polymorphous perverts.] Adverts are there merely to draw attention: nothing more. But that is enough. It is all that an advert ever seeks to do and it is all it needs to do. It is not about persuasion. Still less is it about any manipulation. It does not even need to be agreeable. It only needs to draw attention to the ware, or service, that it seeks to promote. Maybe to rub people up the wrong way will draw their attention even more successfully than to be agreeable. That is a point for any advertising firm to seriously consider. They will need to think about the risk of failure, for advertising can never remove that risk.
However, we liberal propagandists need to realise that it is best to inform people if we are to persuade them. We do need to win the public over to seeing that the state is a big mistake and that taxation is anti-social rather than a sign of welfare. But adverts do not need to persuade. They do not need to tell the public much about the wares being promoted, but there may well be a need to state the time and the place where access to the wares promoted may be had, though with many, or even most wares, this might be well known already. So most adverts will need only to draw attention to what is being advertised.
This theory of adverts as unconscious manipulation, as advanced techniques of persuasion that can get people to part with needed money to buy anything that the giant firms can easily produce is not very persuasive. But this is what the authoress, Felicity Lawrence, rather stupidly and unrealistically, thinks is so very realistic and she is brazen enough to say that Lansley is facile to ignore it. The very idea of it is absurd, as there can be no unconscious mind, ipso facto. Similarly, there are no means that the giant firms have to get people to pay for things that they do not even want. So the whole line of thought is a mere brutum fulmen. There is no reason at all for this authoress to fear freedom.
Now this is just being silly. I mean, that’s just being malicious. I like my sausages, stay away from them, they’re mine I say, they’re MINE!.
Sorry for the outburst, but this is a subject that I feel very strongly about.
You still can’t have them…
I now present to you….. The Super Scooby:
* Four 1/4lb beef burgers: 1,160 calories
* 12 onion rings: 300 calories
* Eight rashers of bacon: 275 calories
* Eight slices of cheese: 480 calories
* Two lettuce leaves: 4 calories
* Six slices of tomato: 25 calories
* Four slices of onion: 15 calories*
BBQ sauce, burger sauce and relish: 40 calories
* Mayonnaise: 90 calories
* White burger bap: 256 calories
Total Calories: 2,645
The Telegraph did an article on it, here.
by Sean Gabb
The National Health Service:
A Libertarian Perspective
by Sean Gabb
During the past week, much of the English speaking world has been drawn into a debate on the merits of the National Health Service. For those unaware of this debate or its subject matter, I will say that the NHS, established in 1948, provides health care free at the point of use for everyone legally in the United Kingdom. It is paid for by the British State out of general taxation, and no account is taken, in treating patients, of how much they have paid or are likely to pay in taxes. The new American Government has proposed changes in the provision of health care that will move the American system to some extent in the direction of the British. This has been denounced by many Americans as a step towards an inherently sinister and inefficient system.
The debate has been joined by Daniel Hannan, one of the Conservative members of the European Parliament for the region in which I live. Speaking in America, he has said that to copy the British system would lead America towards bankruptcy “where we are now.”. He said further: “We have a system where the most salient facts of it you get huge waiting lists, you have bad survival rates and you would much rather fall ill in the US…. How amazing to me that a free people. . . should be contemplating, in peacetime, burdening themselves with a system like this that puts the power of life and death in a state bureaucracy.” ["Conservatives turn on MEP Daniel Hannan for anti-NHS tour in America”, The Times, London, 14th August 2009]
These comments have, with some mild dissent, united the British political media and political classes in denunciation. The Labour Government of Gordon Brown has leapt to defence of the NHS. The Conservatives have joined in. Mr Hannan finds himself an isolated figure, facing accusations that range from a lack of patriotism to something that approaches blasphemy. Indeed, except no one has yet issued a fatwa, he is almost the secular equivalent of Salman Rusdie in his gleeful sneering at what many in this country regard as an object of veneration. Now, I am sure that he can do without my support. Even so, the scandal that his behaviour has raised in this country gives me the opportunity for speaking, as a libertarian, on the legitimacy and on the merits of the NHS.
At the most fundamental level of analysis, legitimacy and merits have no connection with each other. The NHS is funded by compulsion. I am forced, as a taxpayer, to contribute to a system that provides health care of a kind and at costings that, given any choice in the matter, I would never accept for myself and those who look to me. I am also forced to pay towards the health care of strangers. I have no objection to charity. I try to be generous to those I know. I am prepared to be moderately generous even to those I do not know, and whom I might dislike if I did know them. But so far as I am compelled, paying for the health care of others cannot be described as charitable. It is as much an act of theft as if I were to be robbed in the street. The whole present system, therefore, is illegitimate. If it were, as we are continually assured, the “envy of the world”,my opinion would not alter. It is in itself unjust. I resent its existence in my country. I join with Mr Hannan in warning the Americans not to accept it for themselves.
This, however, is the most fundamental analysis, and no discussion can be regarded as complete without some examination of its merits. And in examining these, I fell an obligation to be as fair as possible. I will begin with the quality of health care provided by the NHS.
Here, I must dissent from much of the American condemnation. There is no doubt that the NHS is inefficient, and that it rations health care by waiting list and by explicit refusal to provide certain kinds of treatment to anyone, or by refusal to provide certain kinds of treatment to those deemed unlikely to benefit from them given their cost. But rationing in one form or another is inevitable to any system of health care. The demand for health care is unlimited. There is almost no one so ill that his life could not be prolonged, or his condition while alive not improved, by some expensive treatment. The problem is always at what cost. In a broadly private system, demand will be rationed by price. In the British system, it must be rationed by cost and benefit analyses undertaken by the doctors. It is easy for American critics to point to how long someone over here must wait to have his haemorrhoids cut out, or that he may be denied some drug that will put off or ease his death from cancer. But their own system is hardly perfect.
In attacking the British system, these critics seem to argue that their own is based on individual choice and free from any taint of collectivism. I am not an expert on the American system, but it does strike me as so heavily regulated and cartellised as to have little connection to a free market. The professional associations have worked to limit the numbers of doctors and nurses, even as they have obtained the exclusion of the unqualified from the provision of medical services. The drug companies benefit from patent laws and trade protections that raise the price of medicines far higher than in neighbouring countries. The insurance companies are regulated in the interests of medical suppliers. I am told that forty million Americans cannot afford health insurance premiums, and that millions more cannot afford what most would regard as appropriate cover. These people, I accept, are not denied all treatment. But the treatment they receive is often rather poor. Even those who can afford to pay as they go find that it can take years for new medicines or medical procedures to be allowed by the authorities. In particular, I am told that many dying of cancer cannot obtain adequate pain relief. It is legal for opiates to be prescribed in America. But the regulatory framework is so ferocious that many doctors are frightened to write out the prescriptions they otherwise would.
If I contrast what I am told about the American system with what I know from personal experience about the British, the NHS is not really that bad. In December 2007, my wife needed an emergency caesarean. This was performed by the NHS. At all times, we were kept informed of our options and our legal rights. I was allowed to stand beside my wife in the operating theatre. I was then allowed to sit with my wife and daughter until gone midnight. My wife spent the next few days in a room of her own, and was left to make as many calls from her mobile telephone as her work and family duties required. While there were visiting hours, I was allowed to come and go as I pleased. The quality of treatment was first class. Apart from the flowers and chocolates and bottles of wine that I chose to lavish on the medical staff when we left, there was no final bill for any of this. About ten years ago, the father of my best friend died of cancer. There may be more effective cancer treatments than the medical establishment prefers to see provided. But within the terms set by the medical establishment, he had excellent treatment. When all else had failed, he was allowed to die in peace under a broad umbrella of opiates. Another of my friends was diagnosed with prostate cancer about seven years ago. He is a university lecturer with a good enough knowledge of statistics to discuss his chances on an equal basis with the doctors. He remains well and has no complaints about the NHS.
Perhaps these cases are exceptional. I am discussing the experience of articulate, middle class people. We know what we should ask for and how to ask for it, and we know how to show gratitude when we get it. Perhaps I should think of the newspaper reports of people suffering needlessly in filthy, open wards. On the other hand, perhaps not. Those who get bad treatment from the NHS are mostly poor and ignorant people. I pity them. But they are the sort of people who would also suffer in the American system. I do not think the American critics are comparing like with like. They are holding up the best aspects of their own system with the worst of ours. They also do not seem to have noticed that increasing numbers of middle class people over here do have private health insurance. This gives us the ability to switch back and forth to the NHS as we find convenient. I am writing this article on a railway train. If there is a crash and I must be cut from the wreckage, I shall be taken to an NHS hospital and be stitched up and reset as well as anywhere in the world. If, on the other hand, there is no crash, but, somewhere between Tonbridge and Charing Cross, I suspect the beginnings of heart disease , I can use my insurance and be looked at by an expert within two days. If it turns out that I need an operation, this can be arranged within a few days more. If, on the other hand, I need continuous medication, I can present myself and my private case notes to my NHS general practitioner, who will then prescribe the relevant drugs at a heavily subsidised price.
I will add that the NHS is probably not unsustainable in the long term. It costs about £90 billion a year to run. But this is about eight per cent of gross domestic product, and is about half the American level. There are more doctors per head of population in Britain than in America. British life expectancy is higher than American. [Facts: "The brutal truth about America's healthcare", The Independent, London, 15th August 2009] And much of this budget is spent in ways that even slightly better management could reduce. I recall attending a speech that Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute gave in 1986. For reasons that I no longer recall, but found convincing at the time, he predicted that the NHS would collapse under its own weight within three years. That was not far off a quarter of a century ago. And the NHS is with us still.
This should not be taken as a defence of the NHS. I am simply pointing out that is is no worse on balance than the American system. They are differently organised and differently funded. Each has specific advantages and disadvantages. neither has much connection with a free market. In both countries, however, the middle classes are able to get very good health care. In both, the poor and ignorant do not. The NHS is not a bad institution relative to the American system. It is bad for other reasons – and these may be bad reasons that apply in some degree to the American system.
What is so fundamentally bad about the British system – its compulsory principle aside – is that it nearly abolishes individual control over health care. Compared with the system with which we entered the twentieth century, all real power is centralised into the hands of the professional bodies. A hundred years ago in this country, the market in medical services was decentralised and diverse. The professions themselves were lightly regulated. Most doctors lived on the fringes of genteel poverty. Many sold their services directly to clients – rather as lawyers and accountants do still. Others worked for charitable institutions. A few worked for the State, looking after the inmates of the workhouses. These were the two extremes of the market. The British population of a hundred years ago was about thirty million. Those who could afford to buy medical services directly numbered a few million. Those who relied on private charity or the workhouse numbered perhaps another few million. Those in between relied on private insurance. This was provided sometimes by employers, but mostly by friendly societies and trade unions. These were strongly working class organisations. They were autonomous of the State, and prized their autonomy. Their elected officials had the job of picking and choosing among doctors and other health professionals, and stating the conditions on which they would do business. By modern standards, it was a very basic system. Most people died in their fifties, and of conditions that are often no longer listed in the medical textbooks. Then again, medicine itself was only just into its really scientific phase, and England was, by our standards, a very poor country. But the system worked and was improving.
The growing state involvement in medicine that began with the National Insurance Act 1911, and culminated in the establishment of the NHS forty seven years later, was largely a power grab by the medical professions. Doctors were relieved of having to do business with ordinary working class people, and could deal instead with officials and politicians of their own class. These officials and politicians had their own status enhanced by the ability to spend vast amounts of the taxpayers’ money. For the rich and for increasing numbers of middle class people, choice remained – if at a cartellised price. For ordinary working people, however, medicine became something that was doled out by their betters. This was attended by a great increase in the quality of health care – though this was improvement felt in all other countries regardless of how it was financed. But the result here was a growing apathy among the working classes. Where health care was concerned, they were no long active clients, able and willing to negotiate for what they wanted. They were passive recipients. They paid through their taxes for what they received. But their only input was to vote for politicians who promised better funding or better management of a system that was now insulated from direct pressure.
This contributed immensely, I think, to the decay of free institutions in England. Freedom owes much to historic evolution and to paper guarantees. It owes far more to a people who are accustomed to take responsibility for their own lives. The main difference between us and our free ancestors is that, unlike them, we find ourselves trapped within a system that provides the amenities of life but over which we have no personal control. If we want light or heat, we must rely on vast networks of energy distribution that interlock with other vast networks of energy extraction and transport. If we want our life and property to be secured, we must rely on agencies that claim a monopoly of force and that are only formally accountable to us. And for most people, it is the same with health care. Whether public or private – and there may be little real difference behind the names – these vast, impersonal networks do encourage passivity in the face of authority. When everything but housing and food shopping is provided in this way for most or all of a population, it is no surprise if these people stop being sturdy, self-sufficient individuals, suspicious of the claims of government.
Add to this the fact that the NHS employs over a million people. It is not the only bureaucratic mass-employer in this country. But it is the largest. These institutions impose values of hierarchy and obedience on those within them that are hostile to liberty. People who are regimented in their working lives – and who do not rebel against this – will tend to accept regimentation in their private lives. They will accept it for themselves. They will vote for politicians who promise it for everyone. They will spread these values directly to others so far as they have contact with the public as providers of services.
Paragraph here deleted. I don’t withdraw from the position advanced, but feel that it is irrelevant to the main point of the essay
Certainly, we are lied to and oppressed in ways that English men and women before about 1940 would have thought unimaginable. Let me return to the NHS. Last month, while in Slovakia, I was called by the BBC to comment on the case of a young man denied a liver transplant on account of his drinking. I was supposed to denounce this as more NHS fascism. When the details were explained to me, I had to give a less forthright response. Apparently, this young man needed a liver transplant if he was to live. However, the doctors had told him that the transplant would have little chance of success unless he could stop drinking for six months. Because he was not able to give satisfactory guarantees, the doctors decided to give the liver to someone else. Undoubtedly, this was not a pleasant choice. Even so, there is a shortage of organs for transplant. And given that the NHS does not ration health care by price, this was the most rational use of resources. For all I know, private insurance companies in America make similar choices by way of setting premiums or authorising treatment.
But this is not the limit of how the NHS is coming to ration health care. Superficially analogous arguments are being used to regulate general lifestyle. For a generation now, the anti-smokers have been arguing that smokers place heavy additional costs on the NHS. The reply has always been easy. Whatever inflated figures are fabricated to show how much smokers cost, they never match the amount of extra taxes paid by smokers. And there is the alleged fact that smokers die younger, and so save on pensions and long term care. But facts never get in the way of an argument for oppression. And what began as an argument for higher taxes on tobacco has insensibly changed into an argument for the creeping prohibition of cigarettes.
Smoking bans are being justified on the grounds of saving money. And assuming the facts are as we are told – they are not, but let us assume they are – the argument may be a valid one, given the system we have in this country. The NHS involves a coerced pooling of risk. Given that the costs of the NHS are high and rising – and assuming that costs cannot be controlled by better management – it makes sense for those who spend our tax money to insist that those most likely to call on large amounts of that money should be required to change their lifestyles. Of course, by the same argument, homosexual acts should be recriminalised to reduce the incidence of AIDS and hepatitis, and all women over the age of forty should be sterilised to save on the costs of treating pregnancy complications. Equally, the athletic should be prevented from taking vigorous exercise, and Asians should be forced to give up on spicy food. For the moment, political correctness stops these arguments from being put. But lifestyle regulation is a valid secondary principle to be derived from the primary principle of the NHS. Let there be a compulsory pooling of risk, and those who place themselves at higher than average risk become fair targets for oppression. Smokers and drinkers and the obese are current targets. It is only a matter of time before an increasingly degraded political culture allows other targets to be found.
I believe that similar calls for lifestyle regulations are being made in the United States. Many companies that contribute to the insurance premiums of their employees are already insisting on contractual agreements not to smoke or to drink excessively. Given that American political culture is hardly less degraded than our own – if for slightly different reasons and in different ways – this is a consideration for those Americans who oppose the changes currently proposed by their government.
Now, I have said what I, as a libertarian, dislike about the NHS. It should be plain what I am not proposing. But since misrepresentation of opinions is so common in any discussion of health care, let me be explicit. I believe that the NHS should be dismantled and replaced with a more diverse, private system. This does not mean that I want to cut off health care for millions of older people who have made no alternative arrangements. It also does not mean that I want to cut off state funding and leave the current system of cartellised and regulated health care otherwise unchanged. I believe in a radical attack on all state involvement in health care, and this includes an attack on all state-created and state-upheld monopoly in health care.
I believe that all drug patent laws should be repealed. These do nothing to encourage innovation, but are simply a means by which well-connected drug companies extract huge rents from the rest of us. I believe that there should be no controls on who can practise medicine. State regulation does less to weed out medical incompetence and fraud than to guarantee high incomes to middle class graduates who have learnt the approved techniques of medication. The common law of contract and torts is enough to deal with incompetence and fraud. I believe there should be no controls on the development and provision of medical products. The existing laws did not prevent Vioxx and Prozac from coming to market. Again, the common law is enough to ensure some standards of propriety. I believe there should be no controls on the advertising of medical products or services. The present restrictions simply prevent ordinary people from learning what options may be available to them. Again, the common law is all we need to deter inflated and fraudulent claims. I believe that everyone should have the right of self-medication. This means the right of any adult to walk into a pharmacy and, without showing any prescription, to buy whatever medical product he desires. If many people will buy and use recreational drugs, they can do that already if they know the right street corner – and it is not the business of the State to tell us how to live. Most people will have enough common sense to take some advice before swallowing or injecting their medications. The rest should have the right to experiment. If they fail, they will have themselves to blame. If they stumble across some truth so far unknown, they will deserve our thanks.
These reforms would bring down health care costs at once. They would also clear the way for the information technology revolution to transform the market in health care. I will not try to predict how all this will be funded, though it strikes me as reasonable that it will fall into the same pattern of direct payment, charity and voluntary mutual assurance as was common before the State took over. And when I speak of mutual assurance, I mean both for-profit insurers and not-for-profit organisations. The idea that only profit-seeking organisations are consistent with libertarianism is to take a shockingly arid view of the ideology. What libertarians should like about commerce is not its taste for profit but its distaste for compulsion. What legitimises markets, in libertarian terms, is that they are structures of voluntary association. This is what brings the friendly societies and much trade union activity, and so much of what in Victorian times was called “socialism” within the heritage of the modern libertarian movement. Health care reform should not be about providing yet more money-making opportunities for state-licensed professions and state-privileged corporations. It should be about disestablishing statist structures and allowing free people to associate for their mutual benefit. If some people make a lot of money from providing services that others want, good luck to them. But the key objective should be free association. Be assured – it will be the most solid foundation on which medical progress can rest.
I will repeat – cutting off state funding all at once, and leaving in place the present system of monopoly, would be cruelty and folly. It would easily result in a step away from liberty rather than towards it. But reducing this funding over several years, as part of a general attack on monopoly, would be a blessing, the fruits of which were plain even before it was complete.
And this would apply as much to America as to England. As said, the American system is hardly the sort of free market any libertarian would recognise. But if the Americans do follow our example, I agree with Mr Hannan that they would deserve to be pitied. Worse – we adopted our system before its faults had been fully realised. Anyone inclined to copy it now deserves as much contempt as pity.
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
Has nobody among these GramscoFabiaNazi “researchers” considered that children need to be fat in places like Stockton-on-Tees, because it’s effing cold a lot of the time? (So your children can, indeed must, be fat, or they will be uncomfortable.)
And that in wealthy, hot Sussex, way-down south of here, it’s just, well, hot? (So your children can, indeed must, be thin, or they will be uncomfortable.) They have successful vineyards, for f***’s sake.
Anyway, those effete southerners are too close to all those “Haute Couture” designers in strange places like London and Paris who seem to think all humans ought to be 3-meter-high-skeletal boys with a scowl, so they probably get to like thin children…
And of course, picking and treading the Sussex grapes, for the Political-Enemy-Superclass to crow about in venezuela and Cuba, in the traditional pre-capitalist-barbarian grape-treading-manner, gets you fit and thin.
Chemistry = Geology and why we shouldn’t mine/ Jolobial Warmin’
Physics = Basic math with nice pictures about Jolobial Warmin’/how we mustn’t use any electricity
Biology = Heathy eating/save the whales/how farmers all cause pollution, all the time, everywhere
English = illitrcy/pretentshoos twiiadle masceradin’ az poemz.
Geography = Anthropology/Evil Capitalists dumping illegal waste (everywhere, ‘coz they want to and it’s what they have to do)/evil TNCs exploiting WEMs in LEDCs to make globalised goods for consumers in MEDCs…
IT = The difference between a keyboard and a Monitor. And how “Ness” organises the fields of her “database” of her members at a “fitness centre”…
RE = How peaceful other religions are.
PE = Dont move! You might hurt yourself!/ Fitness programs for disabled lesbians/obese people.
PSHE = Don’t go there.
“Citzenship” = How great the EU and the UN are.
I would like to start this article with a word of thanks. Thank you New Labour!.
Now you are most likely wondering why i thanked New Labour, well, i was having a read of Labourlist.org (I needed a laugh) and i found a new video of that lovely man, Daniel Hannan. Now, i would have never found this video without labourlist, so again, thank you.
One other thing, ajoining the video of Daniel was a another video, this time John Prescott replying to Daniel’s vid. To briefly summerise John’s rant, the video consisted entirely of John saying “Daniel’s wrong, ‘cos, er,er,he’s wrong.”
Ok, here’s the vids:
The comment that John said about America wanting something like our health care system, genuinly shocked me, as i thought that the Americans were against compulsory euthenasia
Truly: people are now State Property.
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.
I’ve commented about this poor, sad, unhistorically-educated Monty Don chappie on The Landed Underclass, earlier, but Bella Gerens does a better academic demolition job on him and his hypotheses.
Yes it’s nice to play at growing a few veg – even keeping a few chickens, if you can stand the slimy shit, are prepared to shoot, gas or snare the inevitable foxes and hawks (beware of the RSPB Gestapo*** on that one!) and stuff their corpses in your wheelie-bin, and if you can bear, as a metropolitan dweller, to kill, pluck, draw and then cook and eat the poor bastards when the time comes.
I don’t object to play-growing. But it won’t feed a nation of 60 million, no way Monty. You can afford to, but we can’t.
***Hawks are of course quite OK, and ought to be allowed to predate your stuff all they want, but your food-birds are of no interest ot them whatsoever.
Sometimes we here, on whichever of the duty-typwriting squadrons is on “watch”, are tempted to emulate the language of Obnoxio The Clown, or the Devil himself. (He’s uncovered a previously unstudied State-Bogus-Charity in that one…Obnoxio’s latest just refers to some bureucrat or other as a c*** . )
But this is a family blog, so, apart from saying shit and crap which is rather weak playground stuff now, we only go so far as to merely write f*** (sometimes even c*** these days.) And also we only show pictures of Keeley Hazell wearing bras (until we get bored with her and we go and get someone else. Possibly Lucy Pinder – anybody got any preferences? See poll below. If in doubt, go here and select someone else.)
To get back to the point, the government is bust, the main world’s private banks have feverishly bought themselves into virtual bankruptcy by queuing for 15 years to buy each others “securitised” pigs-in-pokes, Gordon Brown is printing money….and then they all go and spend it on what? Food-police. Here’s an exerpt:-
Home cooks will also be told what size portions to prepare, taught to understand “best before” dates and urged to make more use of their freezers.
The door-to-door campaign, which starts tomorrow, will be funded by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a Government agency charged with reducing household waste.
The officials will be called “food champions”. However, they were dismissed last night as “food police” by critics who called the scheme an example of “excessive government nannying”.
WE MUST ALSO BEAR IN MIND THAT THIS IS ! “ALL ABOUT PROPERTY RIGHTS” ! People who have purchased food are entitled to dispose of it how it pleases them. The bought food DOES NOT become State Property: it belongs to the householder.
No bureaucrats yet come round to tell you not to throw a brick at your Wireless Tele Vision, thus rendering it at least partially if not fully unserviceable, whenever Jonathan Ross come on screen: why should they come and tell you what to do with food whiche displeases you?
It’s all very sad: it’s as if the poor government buggers just can’t kick the gravy-train (sorry) habit, even when there’s really no money, as opposed to just the appearance of no money.
The whole of this post from Junkfood Science is worth reading, for it perspectivises the more or less articulate refutations which a lot of us have suspected and been trying to focus for all you lot, over the last couple of years.
If libertarians are at all serious, then I’m not suggesting that we should shoot all State-food-bansturbators immediately – in the way Stalin accused an obsequious IRA delegation of not being “serious” because the IRA “had not shot any bishops yet”. But…..we ought to make more of the point that if a human being owns his own body, then it’s surely axiomatic that he can place whatever foodstuffs – or anything else whatever for that matter - that he chooses, inside it. If certain foods are to be “banned”, then this negates that principle and we have become the State’s Farm Animals in very truth. Cigarettes, (any) alcohol, tobacco and (all) drugs, too, are part of the same argument.
Part of the problem of course is that modern pithed people do not understand the economy of, the present dynamics of, and the ultimate reason for, the DHSS. They think that “it costs” the DHSS money to treat people. No analysis is done of where the money has arrived from. Of course, if you are a DHSS bureaucrat, then it “costs” you some of your ultimate yearly bonus if you have to irritatingly spend some of it on some doctors or beds or medicines, to treat the people who supplied the taxation-take in the first place. But if you pith the population, employing techniques such as “good television”, then they won’t realise the conjuring trick you have performed. Furthermore, they will go about supporting you, saying that “smokers are selfish ‘coz they cost the NHS money” and other similar witticisms which televise well on the Wireless Tele Vision thingy machine.
I am afraid I can find no use for this machine at all these days, except to view videos of The Lord Of The Rings, a couple of times a year – that’s quite enough too. Or perhaps as a source for weird electronic parts suddenly needed to complete a project, and Maplin’s closed. Can anybody illuminate my problem please?
As it gets colder, and sterling becomes toilet-paper, we shall be glad to be able to have chip-butties.
I have even met builders, with whom I worked a bit last summer as a second-fix trade-polisher on a housebuilding job, who had crisp-butties for their tea-breaks (many.)
The Landed Underclass tells us, I am happy to relate, that the Vegan stuffed vine leaves are off in 2009 because of Sterling’s continuing fall. I can’t say I’m very sorry about that, although I do like stuffed vine leaves, preferably full of a nice lemony mixture of minced lamb, rice, pine nuts, coriander and other poncy (but scrumptious) Wireless Tele Chef type comestibles. However, his main point is the most cunningly marvellous exposition about foods in general by a proper doctor, the kind who knows about war and stuff. We’d all really prefer to get treated by guys llike that whom he describes, if push came to shove: and not the sneering hectoring sub-types of “professionals” like State “dieticians” whom I met in a certain famous children’s hospital not 30 miles form here, a few years ago when our new-born (now five) was rather less well than he orta-av-been.
The problem arises of course where the State, whether nanny, jackbooted or otherwise (I can’t tell the difference) steps in. I quote from landed’s quote from the Daily express:-
Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said …: “As prices rise and incomes fall, people will be drawn to the cheaper, less healthy processed foods, which are precisely the sort of things we are trying to wean people away from. Once habits change, it becomes hard for people to go back, especially because cheaper junk foods are so seductive.”
I have not previously heard of the “National Obesity Forum”, but I bet it’s (a) not a national movement and (b) it’s anything but a forum in which people engage in civilised discourse.
The libertarian issues are as follows:-
(1) If people are to be “weaned” off certain foods, and forced to eat others which they desire less, then they are the state’s farm animals. I do feel quite sure that this is what “Tam” “Fry” does truly intend, although he’d not see it like that. he’d be “helping” people. Like Stalin did.
(2) If there was a real market in food, then the price of Vegan stuffed Vine Leaves would reflect demand and also the affluence (or otherwise) if the clientele that would go for it.
Within the last hour of this post, the value of the Pound Slerling has gone below the value of the EURO!!
this is a terrifying prospect, but as of 23:11 GMT, £1 is worth 0.72 Euro cents (my keyboard cannot do euro signs, funny though, because it can do everything else though, even these: Ψ Φ ♦ ♣ ← ↑ → ↓↔ θ Ξ ¿)
According to The Independent, Britain seeks to expand its empire with 77,000 square miles of Atlantic seabed.
Splendid news. I propose Tony Blair as Governor General. We could give him a nice plumed helmet – and a pair of lead-soled boots to help his descent to this latest territory to be painted red on the map.
THE BLOGMASTER ADDS:-
This is actually a very important point raised here by Sean. If Libertarians care about property rights and what they are and what they are for, (and many of us do,) then there ought to be an agreed legal method, which everybody respects (that’s the point of Law after all, no?) to define what entitiy or “corporate person” or individual, owns what parts of the seabed.
We ought to care about who’s administering such “Law” – in case it is a bunch of “authoritarian-nationalists” (a great term, which I picked up on a newsgroup just this morning, as a description of the government of the USSR Russia today in 2008.)
MUCH MUCH better, than the crass, sad term “nazi” which gets liberals into so much trouble when used by them to describe ordinary socialists accurately.
We here do not care whether there is stuff on or under the seabed round Ascenscion Island or not. Naturally, the inhabitants, of which there are several thousand, will. It’s their life, not ours. But we think that the general point that’s being made in the article is a vital issue for the next 100-200 years, while the Earth is still the primary source of New Property Rights.
Comments please, pronto! (There will be a short written test on 31st August, to see who’s paying attention.)
Debunking junk science. THIS IS HOW to use numbers in the blogosphere, to trash lefty propaganda and brainwashing…
…that is engineered to force approved behaviour-patterns on unwilling human beings.
Read The Remittance Man, on alcohol and breast cancer here.
This is how it ought to be done – a fast, well-thought-out attack, based on a fair bit of general knowledge and common sense, plus correct use of statistics and “real numbers” in their right contexts and having regard to how small some things are and how big are others. All of us in the liberal Blogosphere ought to have thses simple skills, or we’d not be here.