Category Archives: smoking

I was reminded of “The Final Solution”


David Davis

Driving near Bootle this morning, I spotted a van of “some firm or other” (I can’t remember sadly what – and there was a police car nearby so I couldn’t lift my phone and photograph it) that said on its side:-

WORKING  WITH  COMMUNITIES  TO  DELIVER  SOLUTIONS

Since we have “Fake Charities”, whose site is at http://www.fakecharities.org ,

then perhaps someone should set up a site called

http://www.fakecompanies.org

I bet you all 5p that “WORKING  WITH  COMMUNITIES  TO  DELIVER  SOLUTIONS” gets about 100% of its revenue, to a first approximation, from the State.

How to Start Smoking


http://www.smokingfeelsgood.com/node/4

How to Start Smoking.


So you’ve read the FAQ and decided to experience the pleasures of smoking. We wrote this guide to start you off right so just follow this step by step guide and you’ll be smoking in no time. If you have a friend that’s also interested, do it together!

Step 1: Buy two packs of cigarettes and a bic lighter.
There are literally hundreds of brands and styles to choose from, each with its own taste and unique characteristics. To start, I recommend purchasing a pack of Marlboro Light 100s (Gold Pack) and Marlboro Red 100s (both in the box, not soft pack.) If you’re not comfortable with these, then pick two that you are comfortable with, one light and one full flavor. Buy these from a store that sells a lot of cigarettes – you don’t want to be stuck with an old pack for your first time out. Continue reading

The Campaign To Force Vapers Back To Tobacco Intensifies


by Dick Puddlecote
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DickPuddlecote/~3/mekvXNs1s1k/the-campaign-to-force-vapers-back-to.html

There’s a scene in The Big Lebowski which always strikes me as an analogy for ineptitude displayed by the tobacco control industry towards e-cigs. You see, the canny little devices fuck up their long-strategised plan.

The whole point, you must understand, is that when you quit you are supposed to use the medical route. You quit using pharmaceutical devices or – if you really must – cold turkey, but you mustn’t enjoy it. If you choose such a method, they’d frankly prefer you die instead, all things considered.

E-cigs have stumbled into this cosy little scenario and turned the former entrenched balance of power on its head. You may have noticed a few shots across the e-cig bows from anti-tobacco activists previously – in the form of misinformation, hideous scaremongery and outright lies – but the environment seems to have moved into sinister overdrive very quickly. Continue reading

Passive Smoking: A Review of the Evidence


All Party Parliamentary Group
on Smoking and Health
Call for Evidence

Smoking in private vehicles:
Comments on the Peer-reviewed literature

Imperial Tobacco Group

25 October 2011

http://www.imperial-tobacco.com

Republished with permission by the Libertarian Alliance Continue reading

Quit Smoking, Get a Harder Erection – No Evidence, but now an Official Fact!


by W.C. Douglass MD

Don’t believe the hype: Smoking won’t make you smaller

The “science” on smoking isn’t about finding the truth. It’s about getting people to quit, no matter what. The latest research proves again that you can make any wild claim you want as long as it pushes that anti-tobacco agenda. Continue reading

Smoking, Class and the Legitimation of Power


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Libertarian Alliance News Release on the Car Smoking Ban


News Release from: Sean Gabb, Director, the Libertarian Alliance
Contact: Sean Gabb – sean@libertarian.co.uk – 07956 472 199
Release Date: Wednesday the 22nd June 2011
Release Time: Immediate
Other Details: See below

Sean  Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance on BBC Three Counties Radio, on
Wednesday the 22nd June 2011, to discuss whether smoking should be
banned in cars where children are present. A Bill to this effect was
discussed on that day in Parliament.

Sean says no for these reasons:

•  The claim that 300,000 children suffer ill-effects every year in the
United Kingdom from “passive smoking” is a falsehood. There is no way
of gathering such data. There is even no sound epidemiological evidence
that passive smoking even exists. The alleged figure of 300,000 children
is what is called a “junk statistic.” It is in the same league as the
claims made in the 1980s about the number of people who would die of
aids by 1990, or the claims made in the 1990s about the numbers who
would soon be dead from mad cow disease. It is almost as gross a
falsehood as the fraudulent global warming claims made by British
scientists.
•  These statistics produced by pressure groups and
politicians are plainly dubious on their own account. Every single
statistical claim reported by the media and accepted by the politicians
seems to justify higher taxes or tighter controls on adult actions, or
both. There was a time when it was necessary to bribe priests into
saying that God wanted if before the authorities could oppress ordinary
people. Nowadays, a set of junk statistics is produced.
•  The demand for a smoking ban in cars is also an instance of the “saving the
kiddies” argument. This proceeds by hiding the agenda of control behind a
cloud of hot air about the need to protect children.

Therefore, the Libertarian Alliance is against any smoking ban in cars.

Listen here:
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/?q=node/565
http://www2.libertarian.co.uk/?q=node/362

End

Notes to Editors

The  Libertarian Alliance was founded in 1979, and is the foremost civil
liberties and free market policy institute in the United Kingdom. With
over 800 publications already available, its website grows by the week.

Dr  Sean Gabb is Director of the Libertarian Alliance. He has written over a
dozen books and around a million words of journalism, and has appeared
on hundreds of radio and television programmes. His seven novels have
been commercially translated into Spanish, Italian, Greek, Hungarian,
Slovak and Complex Chinese. His latest novel, The Churchill Memorandum,
can be found on Amazon

His latest book, Smoking, Class and the Legitimation, was released on the 22nd June 2011, and can be seen here:
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/smoking-class-and-the-legitimisation-of-power/16111783

Another New Book from Sean Gabb


News Release from: Sean Gabb, Director, the Libertarian Alliance
Contact: Sean Gabb – sean@libertarian.co.uk – 07956 472 199
Date: Wednesday the 22nd June 2011
Release Time: immediate
Other Details: See below

New Book by Sean Gabb

SMOKING, CLASS AND THE LEGITIMATION OF POWER
by Sean Gabb

The “War against Tobacco” is one of the central facts of modern life. We have high taxes on tobacco, bans or at least controls on the promotion of tobacco products, campaigns against smoking financed by the taxpayers, and growing attempts to criminalise smoking outside the home—and even perhaps soon inside the home.

In this book, Sean Gabb analyses the nature and progress of the “war”. He shows how it began almost as soon as tobacco was first brought out of America. James I of England (1603-25), for example, tried to suppress its use with heavy taxes. Sultan Murad IV of Turkey (1623-40) used personally to behead smokers in the streets of Constantinople. In parts of Germany until 1691, smoking carried the death penalty. By 1901, Louisiana and Wyoming were the only American States not to have passed laws restricting the sale and public smoking of cigarettes.

The stated reasons for the war have varied according to time and place. According to Dr Gabb, however, all reasons have one thing in common—they rest on a base of lies and half truths. The dangers of smoking are far less proven than governments and the anti-tobacco lobbies insist they are. The dangers of passive smoking have never been proved at all.

But this is not simply a book about the history of tobacco and the scientific debate on its dangers. It also examines why, given the status of the evidence against it, there is a war against tobacco. Dr Gabb shows that this war is part of a much larger project of lifestyle regulation by the ruling class, and that its function is to provide a set of plausible excuses for the extraction of resources from the people and for the exercise of power over them. This book provides a kind of “unified field” theory to bring within a single explanatory structure some of the most important attacks on free choice and government limitation that we face today.

This is a class issue, and no discussion of tobacco policy can be complete without an understanding of the dynamics of class.

Sean Gabb is a writer and broadcaster whose novels have been translated into Italian, Spanish, Greek, Hungarian, Slovak and Chinese. He is Director of the Libertarian Alliance. He lives in Kent with his wife and daughter.

Smoking, Class and the Legitimation Power
by Sean Gabb
Paperback, 204pp, £7.99
Published 22nd June 2011
by the Hampden Press, London
Hampden Press ISBN: 0 9541032 8 9
Lulu ISBN: 978 1 4477 5772 6


(http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/seangabb)

FLC200, The Passive Smoking Scare: When Ruling Class Propaganda Masquerades as Science, Sean Gabb, 26th November 2010


FLC200, The Passive Smoking Scare: When Ruling Class Propaganda Masquerades as Science, Sean Gabb, 26th November 2010.

Sean Gabb on the BBC again to defend smokers


This is an interview, not a debate, and is much more sedate than the previous evening’s enjoyment.

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/multimedia/2010-09-14-fags-sig.mp3

Sean on the Beeb to defend Smokers


I did this last night on Radio 5 Live. I did it from a landline, and my own sound is pretty awful. Even so, I think I walked all over the silly woman who was put up against me.

Sean Gabb defends smokers

Perhaps the British State wants pubs to close


David Davis

h/t VelvetGloveIronFist

I’m not a conspiracy-theorist – really, honest, guv! But you wonder about the juxtaposition of the increasing rate of pub closures, coupled with a nationwide smoking ban in buildings used by the public and also with the feeling that “they” don’t want you to be able to plot gainst them and whinge about them to your friends, in places where “they” can’t bug you easily.

The pub closure stats make astonishing reading.

Here’s even more statistics from the same place.

Reasons to smoke, revisited


David Davis

Rather more than two years ago, I suggested on here, at this place, some reasons why you might choose to smoke.

Things have moved on, the GramscoFabiaNazis have moved forwards and we that defend liberty and sovereign individualism are retreating still. This is sad but we did predict it.

However,  Over at this blog (which has some excellent photos on it every day) is one of an embattled smoker, in London. The comment thread is interesting as it reveals the emotions of some “antis” towards other fellow human beings. WE here did warn you all, time and time again, about the ineffable evil-ness, and astonishingly detached inhumanity, of “anti-smokers”, which are droids that we have always said that we would conflate with sub-humans, for they do not register human emotions or responses to individual behaviour. Hitler, for example, was a vegetarian anti-smoker. I am sure that Pol Pot and Mao-tse-Tung did not smoke either.

Found commented, at Legiron’s place. Read him, GramscoFabiaNazis, to find out about the seething undercurrent of hatred towards you, that by your repression and by your surveillance-state, and by your control-philosophy, you are stoking – as a fire, for yourselves.

When you will have “won” in your eyes, and there is nothing, for anyone, amywhere, then we shall simply have to come for you, and kill you and eat you.

How Smoking can be Good for You


THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS OF SMOKING AND NICOTINE

http://www.forces.org/evidence/evid/therap.htm

   
Smoking lowers Parkinson’s disease risk – More evidence that smoking fights Parkinson – “A new study adds to the previously reported evidence that cigarette smoking protects against Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, the new research shows a temporal relationship between smoking and reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease. That is, the protective effect wanes after smokers quit.”
Impact of Smoking on Clinical and Angiographic Restenosis After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention – This large study shows yet another benefit of smoking. This time the benefit concerns restenosis, that is, the occlusion of coronary arteries. Smokers have much better chances to survive, heal and do well. Where is the press? Nowhere to be found, of course; we are talking about a significant positive about tobacco and smoking, which affects the health of people, don’t we? Well, come on! We are also talking about responsible media, here… people better increase their chances of death from cardiovascular disease then getting the idea that smoking may be good for them – a totally unacceptable paradox.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines paradox in these terms: “A statement or tenet contrary to received opinion or belief … as being discordant with what is held to be established truth, and hence absurd or fantastic”. Since the benefits of smoking are too numerous and consistent to be attributable to error or random chance, it follows that the established truth asserting that smoking is the cause of (almost) all disease cannot be true – a reality that dramatically clashes with the gigantic corruption of public health, its pharmaceutical and insurance mentors, institutions and media. Therefore, it is constantly suppressed in the interest of public health, but not of the people.

Severe Gum Recession, Less Of A Risk For Smokers –  In the strange world that anti-tobacco has wrought, any research that deviates from the tobacco-is-the-root-of-all-evil template is noteworthy.  Here is a study that shows that smokers are actually at lower risk from gum disease. In this page (scroll down) there is more scientific evidence from other sources about oral health and smoking.Honest scientists have always known that smoking has some benefit.  From the apparent shielding effect against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases to the more intangible benefits associated with well-being and tranquility, smoking tobacco in many ways is definitely good for your health.
One of the “Health Warnings” on cigarette pack in Canada. There is no solid proof for any of the diseases attributed to tobacco – just statistics and speculative associations, but the ministries of health continue to lie to the public, in a dazzling display of intellectual, professional, moral and political corruption.
Twin Study Supports Protective Effect of Smoking For Parkinson’s Disease“Dr. Tanner’s group continued to see significant differences when dose was calculated until 10 years or 20 years prior to diagnosis. They conclude that this finding refutes the suggestion that individuals who smoke more are less likely to have PD because those who develop symptoms quit smoking.” “‘The inverse association of smoking dose and PD can be attributed to environmental, and not genetic, causes with near certainty,” the authors write.’Total silence from the antismoking mass media droids, of course, on this pivotal, long-range study that shows yet another benefit of smoking. The reasons are obvious, and they need no further comments. If the intention of “public health” is to inform the public about the consequences of smoking on health as it proclaims, why don’t we see “warnings” such as: “Smoking Protects against Parkinson’s Disease,” or “Smoking protects against Alzheimer’s Disease,” or “Smoking protects against Ulcerative Colitis” and so on, alongside with the other speculations on “tobacco-related” disease? Isn’t the function of public health to tell the citizens about ALL the effects on health of a substance? Obviously not. “Public health,” today, is nothing more than a deceiving propaganda machine paid by pharmaceutical and public money to promote frauds, fears, and puritanical rhetoric dressed up in white coats.

Does tobacco smoke prevent atopic disorders? A study of two generations of Swedish residents“In a multivariate analysis, children of mothers who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day tended to have lower odds for suffering from allergic rhino-conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, atopic eczema and food allergy, compared to children of mothers who had never smoked (ORs 0.6-0.7). Children of fathers who had smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day had a similar tendency (ORs 0.7-0.9).”

Kids of smokers have LOWER asthma! You certainly won’t see this one on the health news of BBC or ABC, as they are too busy trying to convince us that smokers “cause” asthma in their kids – and in the kids of others. That, of course, is not true, as smoking does not “cause” asthma.
doc04.gif (346 bytes)Shocker: ‘Villain’ nicotine slays TB - “Nicotine might be a surprising alternative someday for treating stubborn forms of tuberculosis, a University of Central Florida researcher said Monday. The compound stopped the growth of tuberculosis in laboratory tests, even when used in small quantities, said Saleh Naser, an associate professor of microbiology and molecular biology at UCF. … Most scientists agree that nicotine is the substance that causes people to become addicted to cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

“… But no one is suggesting that people with TB take up the potentially deadly habit of smoking.” Of course not.It is much better to develop medication-resistant superbugs than to start smoking…It should be said that the “most scientists” in question are paid off by the pharmaceutical industry for their research; and that most of the aforementioned “scientists” promote the nicotine-based “cessation” products manufactured by their masters — mysteriously without explaining why such an addictive substance becomes “un-addictive” when used to quit smoking!

doc04.gif (346 bytes)Carbon Monoxide May Alleviate Heart Attacks And Stroke -  Carbon monoxide is a by-product of tobacco smoke.  A report indicates  very low levels of carbon monoxide may help victims of heart attacks and strokes.  Carbon monoxide inhibits blood clotting, thereby dissolving harmful clots in the arteries.  The researchers focused on carbon monoxide’s close resemblance to nitric oxide which keeps blood vessels from dilating and prevents the buildup of white blood cells.  “Recently nitric oxide has been elevated from a common air pollutant . . . to an [internal] second messenger of utmost physiological importance. Therefore, many of us may not be entirely surprised to learn that carbon monoxide can paradoxically rescue the lung from [cardiovascular blockage] injury.”   The pharmacological benefits of tobacco are nothing new.  
doc04.gif (346 bytes)Smoking Prevents Rare Skin Cancer - A researcher at the National Cancer Institute is treading treacherous waters by suggesting that smoking may act as a preventative for developing a skin cancer that primarily afflicts elderly men in Mediterranean regions of Southern Italy, Greece and Israel.  Not that smoking should be recommended for that population, Dr. James Goedert is quick to assure his peers.  What is important is not that smoking tobacco may help to prevent a rare form of cancer but that there is an admission by a researcher at the National Cancer Institute that there are ANY benefits to smoking. 
Smoking Reduces The Risk Of Breast Cancer – A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (May 20, 1998) reports that carriers of a particular gene mutation (which predisposes the carrier to breast cancer) who smoked cigarettes for more than 4 pack years (i.e., number of packs per day multiplied by the number of years of smoking) were found to have a statistically significant 54 percent decrease in breast cancer incidence when compared with carriers who never smoked. One strength of the study is that the reduction in incidence exceeds the 50 percent threshold. However, we think it important to point out that this was a small, case control study (only 300 cases) based on self-reported data. 
Nitric oxide mediates a therapeutic effect of nicotine in ulcerative colitis“CONCLUSIONS: Nicotine reduces circular muscle activity, predominantly through the release of nitric oxide-this appears to be ‘up-regulated’ in active ulcerative colitis. These findings may explain some of the therapeutic benefit from nicotine (and smoking) in ulcerative colitis and may account for the colonic motor dysfunction in active disease.”
doc04.gif (346 bytes)Effects of Transdermal Nicotine on Cognitive Performance in Down’s Syndrome - “We investigated the effect of nicotine-agonistic stimulation with 5 mg transdermal patches, compared with placebo, on cognitive performance in five adults with the disorder. Improvements possibly related to attention and information processing were seen for Down’s syndrome patients compared with healthy controls. Our preliminary findings are encouraging…”

More benefits of nicotine. Of course, it is politically incorrect to say that this is a benefit of smoking – only of the pharmaceutically-produced transdermal nicotine, the one that is terribly addictive if delivered through cigarettes, but not addictive at all, and even beneficial, when delivered through patches….
Antismoking nonsense aside, nicotine gets into the body regardless of the means of delivery. And more evidence about the benefis seems to emerge quite often, though the small size of this study cannot certainly be taken as conclusive.

biblio.gif (2261 bytes)Nicotine Benefits – The benefits of nicotine — and smoking — are described in this bibliography. This information is an example of what the anti-tobacco groups do not want publicized because it fails to support their agenda. Some of the studies report benefits not just from nicotine, but from smoking itself.  But of course, according to the anti-smokers, all these scientists have been “paid by the tobacco industry” … even though this is not true.  Sadly, personal slander and misinformation are the price a scientist has to pay for honest work on tobacco.
biblio.gif (2261 bytes)Parkinson’s Disease Is Associated With Non-smoking – Bibliography of references from studies associating Parkinson’s disease with non-smoking. Certain benefits of smoking are well-documented, but the anti smoking groups, backed by several medical journals (more interested in advertising revenue than in informing the population), are silent. By the way, what about the cost of non-smokers to society due to their prevailing tencency to contract Parkinson’s disease?
biblio.gif (2261 bytes)Alzheimer’s Disease Is Associated With Non-Smoking“A statistically significant inverse relation between smoking and Alzheimer’s disease was observed at all levels of analysis, with a trend towards decreasing risk with increasing consumption”.
doc04.gif (346 bytes)Research indicating that nicotine holds potential for non-surgical heart by-pass procedures honored by the american college of cardiology – Dr. Christopher Heeschen of Stanford University was honored by the American College of Cardiology for his research on the effect of nicotine on angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth). His work took third place in the 2,000 entry Young Investigators Competition in the category of Physiology, Pharmacology and Pathology.  Dr. Heeschen presented compelling data from research done at Stanford revealing that the simple plant protein, nicotine, applied in small harmless doses, produced new blood vessel growth around blocked arteries to oxygen-starved tissue. 
doc04.gif (346 bytes)Smoking Your Way to Good Health - The benefits of smoking tobacco have been common knowledge for centuries.  From sharpening mental acuity to maintaining optimal weight, the relatively small risks of smoking have always been outweighed by the substantial improvement to mental and physical health.  Hysterical attacks on tobacco notwithstanding, smokers always weigh the good against the bad and puff away or quit according to their personal preferences.Now the same anti-tobacco enterprise that has spent billions demonizing the pleasure of smoking is providing additional reasons to smoke.  Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s Syndrome, even schizophrenia and cocaine addiction are disorders that are alleviated by tobacco.  Add in the still inconclusive indication that tobacco helps to prevent colon and prostate cancer and the endorsement for smoking tobacco by the medical establishment is good news for smokers and non-smokers alike. Of course the revelation that tobacco is good for you is ruined by the pharmaceutical industry’s plan to substitute the natural and relatively inexpensive tobacco plant with their overpriced and ineffective nicotine substitutions.  Still, when all is said and done, the positive revelations regarding tobacco are very good reasons indeed to keep lighting those cigarettes.
Does maternal smoking hinder mother-child transmission of Helicobacter pylori infection?“Evidence for early childhood as the critical period of Helicobacter pylori infection and for clustering of the infection within families suggests a major role of intrafamilial transmission. In a previous study, we found a strong inverse relation between maternal smoking and H. pylori infection among preschool children, suggesting the possibility that mother-child transmission of the infection may be less efficient if the mother smokes. To evaluate this hypothesis further, we carried out a subsequent population-based study in which H. pylori infection was measured by 13C-urea breath test in 947 preschool children and their mothers. We obtained detailed information on potential risk factors for infection, including maternal smoking, by standardized questionnaires. Overall, 9.8% (93 of 947) of the children and 34.7% (329 of 947) of the mothers were infected. Prevalence of infection was much lower among children of uninfected mothers (1.9%) than among children of infected mothers (24.7%). . Click here for more information on smoking and pregnancy.There was a strong inverse relation of children’s infection with maternal smoking (adjusted odds ratio = 0.24; 95% confidence interval = 0.12-0.49) among children of infected mothers, but not among children of uninfected mothers. These results support the hypothesis of a predominant role for mother-child transmission of H. pylori infection, which may be less efficient if the mother smokes.
Risk of papillary thyroid cancer in women in relation to smoking and alcohol consumption.“Both smoking and alcohol consumption may influence thyroid function, although the nature of these relations is not well understood. We examined the influence of tobacco and alcohol use on risk of papillary thyroid cancer in a population-based case-control study. Of 558 women with thyroid cancer diagnosed during 1988-1994 identified as eligible, 468 (83.9%) were interviewed; this analysis was restricted to women with papillary histology (N = 410). Controls (N = 574) were identified by random digit dialing, with a response proportion of 73.6%. We used logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (OR) and associated confidence intervals (CI) estimating the relative risk of papillary thyroid cancer associated with cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption.
Women who reported that they had ever consumed 12 or more alcohol-containing drinks within a year were also at reduced risk (OR 0.7, 95% CI = 0.5-1.0). Similar to the association noted with smoking, the reduction in risk was primarily present among current alcohol consumers. The associations we observed, if not due to chance, may be related to actions of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption that reduce thyroid cell proliferation through effects on thyroid stimulating hormone, estrogen, or other mechanisms. “
A history of ever having smoked more than 100 cigarettes was associated with a reduced risk of disease (OR = 0.7, 95% CI = 0.5-0.9). This reduction in risk was most evident in current smokers (OR = 0.5, 95% CI = 0.4-0.7).
Urinary Cotinine Concentration Confirms the Reduced Risk of Preeclampsia with Tobacco Exposure – This study, though small, shows one of the benefits of smoking during pregnancy. “These findings, obtained by using laboratory assay, confirm the reduced risk of developing preeclampsia with tobacco exposure. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1999;181:1192-6.) ”  Click here for more information on smoking and pregnancy.
Fact Sheet on Smoking and Alzheimer’s – From Forest UK.
Smokers have reduced risks of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease – Of the 19 studies, 15 found a reduce risk in smokers, and none found an increased risk. And smoking is clearly associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, another disease in which nicotine receptors are reduced. The fact that acute administration of nicotine improves attention and information processing in AD patients adds further plausibility to the hypothesis.
The Puzzling Association between Smoking and Hypertension during Pregnancy – This large study has examined nearly 10,000 pregnant women. Conclusion: “Smoking is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension during pregnancy. The protective effect appears to continue even after cessation of smoking. Further basic research on this issue is warranted. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1999;181:1407-13.) ” Click here for more information on smoking and pregnancy.
Smoking: Protection Against Neural Tube Defects? – Swedish researchers have some surprising news for pregnant women who smoke: a decreased risk of neural tube defects in babies.  Click here for more information on smoking and pregnancy.

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

A Libertarian Perspective on the National Health Service


by Sean Gabb

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 185
18th August 2009
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc185.htm
|

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 http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

 

 

The Smoking Goons, by L. Neil Smith


 

Big Head Press




THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 523, June 14, 2009
Clearly, no nation with a Bill of Rights that includes
freedom of expression has any place anywhere for
anything even remotely like the FCC.

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The Smoking Goons
by L. Neil Smith
lneil@netzero.com

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

I haven’t smoked a cigarette since 1993, when I had two mild heart attacks and had to quit. Before then, I had smoked two packs a day for thirty years, having started back when I was a freshman in college.

I had enjoyed smoking and was sorry I had to quit. In my time, starting in 1964, I’d happily consumed Winstons, Salems, Camels, Luckies, Pall Malls, English Ovals, Half & Half, Parliaments, Kools, Malboros, Gaulois, and Gitanes. Mostly it was Marlboros. I was smoking Nate Shermans in an attempt to cut down (because they’re extremely good but very expensive even then), when I experienced the first of my infarctions. I may be the last individual alive ever to smoke Sweet Caporals.

When I first came to CSU in 1964, a pack of Winstons cost 35 cents and there was a little store near campus where you could buy Mexican cigarettes (not that kind of Mexican cigarettes) in pinstriped brown paper for 20 cents. I hadn’t paid attention to prices for a while, so you can imagine my surprise and horror when I was in a liquor store the other day and discovered that the price of a pack of smokes is now $4.76!

Now we hear that the Obama Administration, thanks largely to a round-heeled congress greedily spreading its legs to the proposition, and like the sanctimonious, hypocritical, power-hungry, dogwhistles that they truly are, will call upon the federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products as if they were narcotics, when the fact is that the FDA shouldn’t be regulating narcotics—and shouldn’t really exist at all, under the United States Constitution as written.

So much for the Democrats’ sympathy for the working poor who do most of the smoking in this culture. You union guys, remember this day.

Another day will come, sooner than you believe, when you will have to go to a government store, stand in a line, and when you finally reach the window, surrender your money, signature, and Social Security number to some slovenly-dressed bureaucrat smelling of sour, unwashed clothing, in exchange for a ten-pack of horrible-tasting generic cigarettes manufactured under the close supervision of the federal government.

As time goes on, they’ll want your fingerprints, DNA, and retinal scans, as well. As the filtered part of your cigarette grows longer, the part with tobacco will grow shorter. Ever see what they smoke in Russia?

It says here 21 percent of the American public smokes cigarettes. (I’d bet almost anything that the real number is higher; I’ve seen the same pollster lie about guns and the Vietnam war.) There being about 300,000,000 Americans, that means at least 63,000,000 of them smoke, a number comparable to that of gun owners, and half again the number of blacks or Hispanics, two minorities politicians pay close attention to.

The same pollsters say smokers are "too diffuse" a group to be useful to any party or individual candidate, and besides, most smokers say they want to quit. (That much is true; I spent most of my thirty smoking years saying I wanted to quit, and occasionally trying to, but it took the poleaxe of a heart attack to make me do it for once and always.)

Another reason it’s hard to organize smokers is that government, media, and the schools have been making them feel guilty about their habit for three generations and now the Gang of Three has them by the nads. Guilt is a solitary affliction and keeps people apart from one another.

What smokers need is a smokers’ union—I’d join up in a minute, as a "smoker emeritus"—to identify their common interests , provide certain benefits, and put a finger on the disgusting politicians who prey on them. It might begin as a smokers’ caucus of the Libertarian Party.

However that turns out, if you smoke—if you ever smoked—I want you to pledge with me, right now, that you will never vote for another Democrat again, for as long as you live. They are the ones who did this to you—FDA regulation, $4.76 a pack, no smoking even in restaurants that would prefer to allow it, huddling in the broiling sun or freezing rain outside your office building trying to get a nicotine break—and they are the ones who must be forced to pay for it.

Vote for any Republicans or Libertarians who will treat you with respect. I’d be interested to see where Dr. Ron Paul stands on all this.

In the end, there can be only one resolution: abolish the Food and Drug Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, as well. Both have murdered more individuals than they claim to have saved. Neither is sanctioned by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which makes them nothing but gangs of outlaws, bent on stealing our money and destroying the last tattered vestiges of our freedom.

Now if you’re gonna write to tell me smoking’s bad, or that people who do it—especially near kids and pets—should be castrated with a rusty chainsaw and baked in clay over a slow fire, save it. Better yet, stuff it. Having never been permitted to hear half of all the facts about tobacco, you are operating out of ignorance. Check out the connections it has historically with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and asthma. Whatever the truth may be, my life is none of the government’s business.

How about it, smokers? You can get it started in our letters column.

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world’s foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of more than 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at lneilsmith.org.
Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil’s 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas is currently running as a free weekly serial at www.bigheadpress.com/lneilsmith/?page_id=53
Neil is presently at work on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on What Libertarians Believe with his daughter, Rylla.
See stunning full-color graphic-novelizations of The Probability Broach and Roswell, Texas which feature the art of Scott Bieser at www.BigHeadPress.com Dead-tree versions may be had through the publisher, or at http://www.Amazon.com where you will also find Phoenix Pick editions of some of Neil’s earlier novels.

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Big Head Press

The Smoking Goons, by L. Neil Smith

What is the Ruling Class? by Sean Gabb


Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 183
28th May 2009
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc183.htm

What is the Ruling Class?
By Sean Gabb
A Paper Given on Sunday the 24th May 2009
to the Fourth Annual Conference
of the Property and Freedom Society
in the Hotel Karia Princess in Bodrum, Turkey

In giving this paper, I make no pretence to originality of thought. Everything I am saying today has been said already – usually better, and always in greater detail – by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, by Roderick Long, by Kevin Carson, by Christian Michel, and by many others. If I can contribute anything to the libertarian analysis of class, it is brevity alone.

Libertarians often define a ruling class as that group of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, businessmen, therapists, educators and media people who derive income and position from the State. By definition, so far as such people operate as members of a ruling class, they are parasitic on the efforts of ordinary people. Their position comes from forcing others to act as they would not freely choose, or by excluding them from activities they might freely choose. Their income is based on forced transfers of wealth.

The size and activities of a ruling class will be determined by the physical resources it can extract from the people, by the amount of force it can use against them, and by the nature and acceptance of the ideology that legitimises its existence. None of these determinants by itself will be decisive, but each is a necessary factor. Change any one, and the working of the other two will be limited or wholly checked.

Of these determinants, the ideological are the most open to control and change. In the short term, resources are fixed in quantity. At any time, the amount of force available will be limited. What will always interest ruling classes, therefore, is the nature and acceptance of its legitimising ideology. This will vary according to circumstances that are not fully within the control of any ruling class. It may involve averting the Divine Wrath, or promoting acceptance of the True Faith, or protecting the nation from external or external enemies, or raising the condition of the poor, or making us healthier, or saving the planet from us. The claims of the ideology may, in other times and places, seem unfounded or insane. What they generally have in common is the need for an active state directed by the right sort of people.

Since the function of these ideologies is to justify theft or murder or both, they need to be promoted by endless repetition – which is a valid form of argument if truth is less important than winning – and by at least the discouragement of dissent. Efficient promotion will produce a discourse – this being the acceptance of a language and of habits of thought in which dissent cannot be expressed without also conceding its immorality. Efficient promotion will also produce a state of almost universal false consciousness – in which ordinary people are brought to accept ideological claims as true that are opposed to their own interests as these might be reasonably considered.

Now, to speak of ruling classes, and in these terms, will often produce a strongly hostile reaction from libertarians and from conservatives. In the first place, it sounds like Marxism. Indeed, in summarising my own beliefs about a ruling class, I have deliberately borrowed terms from the Marxist theory of class – “discourse”, “false consciousness”, “class consciousness”. This is sure to disturb many – and perhaps many in this room. For at least three generations, our movement was at ideological war with Marxism. We did all we could to refute its claims and to spread the truth about its consequences wherever it was tried. To use its language to express broadly similar concepts will appear to be making concessions that amount to intellectual surrender.

In the second place, many libertarians deny that the concept of a ruling class has any meaning in our own world. In 1605, for example, Guy Fawks and his fellow conspirators tried to blow up Parliament while it was being opened by the King. If they had succeeded, they would have killed the King and the whole of the senior aristocracy and the leaders of the Established Church and – give or take a few nominees – the leading men of every shire and town in England. At one stroke, they would have killed around seven hundred men, and this would have snuffed out the whole of the English ruling class.

And this was a ruling class. Its members were largely there by virtue of birth. They were often related to each other. They shared a common education. They dressed differently and spoke differently from those over whom they ruled. Generally, they were cleaner. They were committed to the Protestant faith and to the land settlement of Henry VIII. Their class consciousness was expressed in countless ways, and was reflected in their language. They spoke of “persons of quality” or “persons of gentle birth” or of “gentlemen”.

In England or America today, whatever I call the ruling class is far larger and has far less apparent unity. I have defined it as a group of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, businessmen, therapists, educators and media and business people. Perhaps I should just call these a gathering of groups, united only in their competition for power and income via the State, and each with a different legitimising ideology. Perhaps they are best compared not to the undoubted ruling class of Jacobean England, but to the members of a French bus queue. The common defining characteristic of these latter is that they all want to get on the bus. But it plainly serves no analytical or propagandistic purpose to define them on these grounds as a class.

Then there is the problem of collective action. Members of a supposed ruling class, for example – just as of a cartel – have personal interests as well as group interests. The former will often be more pressing than the latter; and the tendency over time will be for the rich and powerful to preach class solidarity while undermining it in their behaviour.

I will deal with the second of these objections in a moment. The first is easily answered. There is nothing specifically Marxist about the analysis of class and of class conflict. The Wealth of Nations is largely an exercise in class analysis. In France, J.B. Say was the father of a whole school of classical liberal class theory that was developed by, among others, Charles Compte, Charles Dunoyer and Augustin Thierry. In England, Cobden and Bright conceived their struggles against the corn laws and against war in terms of a class struggle. Marxian class theory, when it emerged in the middle of the nineteenth century, was one theory among many, and not at all the most prominent or most widely accepted.

This being said, Marxian class theory has, since then, received by far the most attention, and has been most fully developed. It is natural for many of us to feel uncomfortable about accepting any parts of this theory. But, if understandable, this is to be regretted. Marxism is false as a theory of human behaviour. But it has been developed by men of sometimes considerable talent and insight. To reject the incidental truths found by these men is rather like denouncing motorways because the first person to build them was Hitler. Astrology and alchemy were false sciences. Their claims about prediction and transformation were long ago falsified. Even so, the real sciences of astronomy and chemistry owe many incidental debts that no chemist or astronomer is ashamed to admit.

It should be the same with libertarians and conservatives in their view of Marxian class theory. Marx himself, together with Marxists like Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser and even Michel Foucoult, have much to tell us, and I am not ashamed to use Marxist terminology when I think it suits the needs of a libertarian class theory.

The main difference between Marxist and libertarian theories of class is in where each side locates the source of class power. For the Marxists, class power derives from ownership of the means of production. Standing in the tradition of Rousseau, Marx and his followers believe that mankind lived at first in a state of primitive communism, in which the means of production were held in common. This ended with the rise of a class that was able to take the means of production into its own possession. This class then set up the State as an executive committee to assist in its domination of everyone else. Since then, there have been successive revolutions as changes in the means of production have raised other classes to wealth, and these classes have then consolidated their own leading position by taking over the State.

According to this theory, therefore, the source of class power lies in wealth, and political power follows from wealth. This explains the Marxist belief that a communist revolution, by abolishing class domination, will rid the State of its oppressive nature. The State may then be dispensed from the liberal requirements of limitation and due process, and can be safely used as an instrument for ending such class power as remained. It will then, of itself, wither away.

This theory is manifestly false. Even without the thirty or fifty million corpses piled up by Marxist tyrannies in the twentieth century, it shows a terrible ignorance of human nature. Whether we dismiss the Marxists, in their main theory, as idiots or as villains depends on who is being discussed. But this is not to deny the incidental truths uncovered by Marx and his followers.

And these can be fitted into a libertarian class theory that locates the source of ruling class power in the State. For us, the State is not something created by the already powerful. It is, instead, something captured by those who want to become powerful – and who cannot become powerful by any other means. Without a state, there can be no exploitation. Without a state, the only transactions would be exchanges of value between free individuals from which all parties benefit according to their own conceptions of their interests. It is the State that can steal and kill. It is the State that raises up or calls into being groups that hope to benefit from the use of these powers, and that then constitute a ruling class. Abolish the State – or severely limit its size and power – and class domination will fall to the ground. The groups that comprise the ruling class will either die like tapeworms in a dead rat, or will be forced to offer their services on terms attractive to willing buyers.

I will now deal with the second libertarian objection to the concept of a ruling class. I accept that there is a problem of collective action. But this does not make an absolute refutation. For some purposes, group solidarity may be weaker than the pursuit of individual interests – but not always. Anyone who doubts this has only to look at the large number of young men in every generation who allow themselves – or volunteer – to be put into uniform and sent out to die for their country. Cartels are generally accepted to be conspiracies against the public interest. Class solidarity – so long as based on a legitimising ideology that is as firmly accepted by rulers as by ruled – can generally underpin collective action for many purposes and over long periods. Indeed, one of the sure signs that a ruling class has lost its will to rule is when significant numbers of those within it make fun of their legitimising ideology, or merely cease in private to believe in its truth. It is then that class solidarity becomes a sham, and the rulers begin to act like members of a cartel.

I also accept that ruling classes are, in our societies, much larger and more diverse than in the past. But accepting its size and diversity does not refute the claim that there is a ruling class. It is not necessary for the various groups I have mentioned to agree with each other in all respects. There is no reason for the ruling class to be monolithic. The medical establishment and tax gathering bureaucrats do not agree about state policy on smoking. Big business may disagree with the education establishment about what and how children are taught. Just a few years ago in England, the Government and the state-owned BBC fell out very bitterly over the Iraq War. During such disputes, different groups within the ruling class may even turn for physical or moral support to groups far outside the ruling class. They may even, from time to time, recast themselves – by accepting newly attractive groups, or expelling groups that no longer contribute to the class as a whole, or that endanger the continued existence of the class as a whole.

Even so, there is a general solidarity of interest that holds an effective ruling class together. No matter how they argue over the details of what the State is to do, its constituent groups will extend each other a mutual recognition of legitimacy. They agree that the State is a force for good, and that they are the right people to direct it. Their disputes will not be carried to the point where they knowingly undermine their overall legitimacy as a class – or the legitimacy of any of the constituent groups. Roderick Long has likened modern ruling classes to Church and State in old Europe. For the better part of a millennium, these institutions fought – and often bitterly – over which should be the predominant force in their societies. They hardly ever lost sight of the fact that they had a common interest in keeping the rest of the population subject to authority.

Sot it is now. Anyone who has ever taken money from big business will surely have noticed how his paymasters have been willing to use weakened forms of libertarian ideology to make specific points – but have never shown interest in promoting libertarianism as a full agenda of attack. In all cases, libertarian defenders are brought in to argue for concessions from the taxing and regulatory groups of the ruling class. They are never permitted to argue against the general legitimacy of taxes or regulations. That would risk undermining the system from which all groups –even if they might lose out in the short term – derive income and position in the long term.

This may be the common defining characteristic of a modern ruling class – a belief in the State and in the right and fitness of the groups I have described to direct it, and to gain income and status from their positions within the State. And, as in the past, class consciousness is reinforced by more than commonality of interest. I grant that, in America and to a lesser but similar extent in England, individual position is no longer rigidly fixed by birth, and it is common for people, wherever they start in life, to rise or sink according to their abilities. Nevertheless, we can still see families and networks of families that, in generation after generation, turn out individuals who occupy positions within the ruling class. Remember names like Toynbee and Gore and Kennedy and Cecil.

Otherwise, members of the British and American ruling classes share a common outlook on the world that is gained by attending the same schools and universities, and that is maintained by small but significant movements from one group to another that comprise the ruling class. In England, for example, it is common for politicians to begin or to end their careers in the more privileged big business corporations or in other agencies that look for their existence to the State. And it is fairly common for people from these groups to be recruited into senior political or administrative positions. There may be cultural differences between these groups. But these are not so great as to endanger close cooperation between them in the common project of exploiting ordinary people.

I agree that this is not an entirely satisfactory account of the ruling class. If I were a Marxist, it would be much easier. A member of the ruling class is someone who owns the means of production. I cannot supply an equally clear common defining characteristic. I cannot even put too much emphasis on the parasitic nature of a ruling class. The groups comprising a modern ruling class are parasites so far as they act as a ruling class. But they will often act both as members of a ruling class and as members of the productive class.

Companies like Wallmart and Tesco, for example, are privileged organisations. They benefit from incorporation laws that let them exist in the first place, from transport subsidies that externalise their diseconomies of scale, from taxes and regulations that disproportionately harm their smaller competitors, and in many other ways. At the same time, they provide cheaper and better food than their customers might once have thought possible. The media may be a producer or and conduit for propaganda. At the same time, it provides entertainment that people appear to enjoy. The medical establishment wants to coerce us into giving up probably harmful things like tobacco and probably beneficial things like vitamin pills, and procures laws that limit patient choice. At the same time, it does appear to be encouraging rapid medical progress in at least some areas.

Western ruling classes are not like the Soviet Nomenklatura. Many of the groups within these ruling classes have double functions inside and outside reasonably functioning market systems. Their activities are illegitimate only so far as they take place outside the market.

And so, while I do believe that the concept of a ruling class has meaning in our societies, I cannot dispute that it has problems. Nevertheless, in spite of all reservations, I do believe that the concept of a ruling class is not wholly useless, and I do suggest that those of us who have so far paid it little attention might do well to give it some thought.

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

Mexico coming undone at the seams: why ALL drugs should be legalised absolutely everywhere.


David Davis

We stand aghast, at the possibility of “military intervention by the USA” against – of all places – Mexico. We know that, since “drugs” are grown in Latin America, and since Mexico is in the way of their transfer to “Film Stars” and wannabes in British North America, where these things are officially illegal to have or trade, that therefore mexico will be on the road of transfer.

This is all very well and ought not to matter. Cars and lorries carrying cocaine and other stuff whose names I can’t remember ought to be able to cross Mexico as though it was anywhere. The problem arises because – and only because –  it is locally illegal to have, sell or use these substances, in the points of destination.

This has several effects:-

(1) It makes the substances themselves more desirable in the eyes of certain people. They will want it more because “The State” says they shouldn’t have any at all at all at all, for their own good at all at all at all .   Nsty useless Hollywood delinquents film stars will leak details of their use of it, and because they are pretty and shaggable (and that’s just the men) you will want to do it too, as you are sheeple because the liberals Stalinists have told you to become so.

(2) It makes it risky and unprofitable and demoralising, for legitimate businesses to supply the stuff. If you wozz an off-licence, would YOU want to supply cocaine to any willing buyer, if you got raided every week by the rozzers for doing it, and had your shop smashed up by them (rozzers) and were put in jug?

(3) It makes the risks of supplying it worthwhile, for shysters and hoods, who don’t mind having to shoulder the boring business of killing people including police and soldiers, in the course of securing their hold on the distribution of of their stuff, to you. The £5-a-day habit, if the stuff was legally sold through chemists even including the impost of State Taxation, becomes the £100-a-day habit if you have to buy it through hoods who have to insure themselves – at your cost –  for their own risk against both the State and against other hoods who want to compete, for what is really a rather small niche sector.

(4) it makes jobs for Police rozzers. Rozzers are inherently tormented people, who ought not to have got like that; they need psychiatric help, and quickly.  Just as you ought not to want to be a criminal, also you ought not to want to be a policeman in the 21st century: what does that desire say about you, and your morals, and world-view, as a person?

So the way forward is quite clear. ALL drugs have to be legalised, in all jurisdictions, preferably by yesterday. This will have a number of good effects:-

(1A) The “Police”, currently a pantomime collection of gamma-minus droids unfortunately increasingly supplied with real guns as opposed to things that shoot out a flag which says “bang”, and who are “employed” by their “states”  not in chasing real muggers, robbers, burglars and killers but in harrassing “drug dealers”, “motorists”, “paedophiles”, “racists”, “terrorists”, “non-payers of council tax”, “TV-license-evaders” and “climate-change-deniers”, will find that their workload is decreased alarmingly. We will “need” fewer of them. Good.

The main solution to civilisation’s ills is

fewer Laws,

and more and better people.

There may even be “calls for” “FEWER POLICE ON THE STREETS”. I think that in a civilised society, the police ought to be invisible: see poll below.

(2A) The use of “drugs”, which is to say substances currently classified as drugs”, by all people, will fall dramatically. or it may not: I do not know. But I think it will fall.

(3A) The legalisation of “drugs” will mean that Galxo-Smith-Klein, Schering-Plough, Ciba-Geigy, and all the others, will be abot to compete legally for whatever market they think they can get. Adverttisisng will be allowed. Advertising is the best way to garotte bad stuff fast. The purity and quality of products will thus rise, and the price will fall to the point where the “State” will come in.

(4A) The “State” will take a take. Where GSK wants to sell you your Ecstasy for 50p a go, via the chemist down the road in Shaky-street (PR8  . . . ) , the State will take £4 or so, making it about the price of 20 fags. What’s the point of going and doing crime, if it’s only that much? You can get it from your dosh you that get “on the sick”.

OK so the “State” wins, win-win in the short run. But it’s got to justify how it needs to spend so much less on policing, since there’s so much much less less petty crime going on down.

That in itself will be tremendous fun to watch.

The heat’s really on the Jews now.


UPDATE3:-

JANUARY 13, 2009 – During the past months, Canada has increasingly become one of Israel’s staunchest supporters as reported today in The Toronto Star.

“OTTAWA–Canada stood alone before a United Nations human rights council *** yesterday, the only one among 47 nations to oppose a motion condemning the Israeli military offensive in Gaza. (*** what is that please?)

The vote before the Geneva-based body shows the Stephen Harper government has abandoned a more even-handed approach to the Middle East in favour of unalloyed support of Israel, according to some long-time observers.

Thirty-three countries voted for the strongly worded motion, which called for an investigation into “grave” human rights violations by Israeli forces, while 13 nations, mostly European, abstained.

The United States, regarded as Israel’s greatest ally, is not a member of the council.

Marius Grinius, Canada’s representative on the council, said the language of the motion, which accused Israel of sparking a humanitarian crisis, was “unnecessary, unhelpful and inflammatory.”

He said the text failed to ‘clearly recognize’ that Hamas rocket attacks on Israel triggered the crisis.”

The report can be read in its entirety at: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/569872

UPDATE2:-

Call to move Arab League to Venezuela

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – A Kuwaiti Islamist MP called on Wednesday for moving Arab League headquarters from Cairo to Caracas after Venezuela expelled Israel’s ambassador because of its onslaught on the Gaza Strip. “I call for moving the Arab League from Cairo to Caracas,” MP Waleed Al Tabtabai said during a special debate in parliament over the Israeli offensive. Tabtabai said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez “has proved that he was more Arab than some Arabs”, after he expelled Israel’s ambassador to Caracas on January 6. Israel retaliated a day later, saying it was expelling Venezuela’s charge d’affaires.  - Jordan Times, January 14, 2009.

(When Hugo Chavez weighs in against you, you know you are right.)

UPDATE:- Actually the phosphorus bit is quite old….here it is on All-That-Jazzera from Monday just gone (12th.) From Moliberty’s newsblog. And here’s some moral relativism from Carmenscafe.

David Davis

Oooooooh……tut tut tut !!! White Phosphorus….what naughty boys….been raiding the chemistry-lab cupboards then, have we? Even that boy Saddam (always persisted in playing with guns and killing his fellow pupils) didn’t do that….not after he gassed the Kurds anyway, and got a bit of a fright witht he ADI he got in 1991.

And hitting a UN building building which would be inevitably and predictably full of top Hamas thugs too (probably smoking indoors)…..wonder if Israel will get a detention for that one? Or will it be an ADI? *** …or, even….EXLUSION FROM SCHOOL?

Will the punishment be mitigated because the occupants were smoking? I think we should be told.

Officially the Libertarian Alliance has nothing that could be described as a foreign policy, in regard to the various wars going on around us today. Insofar as these interest most British Libertarians, if there is no vital british interest at stake, then we should take no position and not become involved. that’s fair enough.

However, the libertarian issues of interest to this blog, which is concerned about creating and maintaining a world in which libertarian ideas can spread and become effective, are that “world opinion” seems inexorably to be turning in favour of totalitarian thugs who oppose Western-style democracies however imperfect, and against the same said democracies. In the UK in particular, much of the same media bias is in favour of the setting up of a Police State that will structurally resemble a theocratic one – although outwardly cloaked in a non-religious legal system.

We should watch the progressing demonisation of Israel with trepidation.

Look at all this hearsay:- (from All-That-Jazzera)

Doctors in Gaza City have told Al Jazeera that people have been admitted suffering burns consistent with the use of the controversial chemical white phosphorus.

Human rights campaigners say that Israeli forces have used the munition, which can burn away human flesh to the bone, over Gaza City and Jabaliya in recent days.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, said: “Doctors here say they are seeing unprecedented levels of deep burns.

“They cannot categorically say that white phosphorus is being used, they are saying that the munitions being dropped are unprecendented.”

Residents in densely-packed Jabaliya have described Israeli forces exploding shells that drop scores of burning fragments and spread suffocating smoke.

“Its the first time we see this type of weapon, it must be new and its seems like its phosphorous,” one resident told Al Jazeera.

“Its suffocating and has a deadly poisonous smell that I am sure will cause a lot of sickness and disease on all of the civilians here,” he said.

***All-day-Isolation

Obesity: it gets worse – now, tasty foods are to be banned!!!


David Davis

The robotic-Gramscian-cockroach-troidatron known as “Tam” “Fry” has surfaced again. We did him just recently here, and the Landed Underclass is to be thanked for spotting it first. We and Landed did him for having stuff like “National” and “Forum” in his junta’s title, when it’s certainly no forum, and “National” when used by socialists implies “Nazi” – as I keep on being belaboured on-line for pointing out.

Now, the Tam-Fry troid is saying that it’s not enough for the “food industry” to “give £200 million” to the anti-obesity campaign, so as ot try apparently to deflect legislation. The Tamtron-Machinetroid (it clearly does not eat, and is clearly not a humanoid) is going to enforce what it likes anyway – that’s the gist.

What, oh what, OH WHAT is it? About people who run private sector companies that do things which people want – like food and cigarettes? WHY do they cravenly crawl, and cave in, and play up to the Stalinist nonsense with which they are threatened?

The correct answer to this troid-tron-challenge would have been to say:-

Look. Fats and salt and sugar makes foods taste nice. That’s what people want. If they could eat tasteless starch and protein, then mammalian genes would have eveolved to make bodies that found this stuff nice. fats are esters, which are the only molecules that taste of anything, except salt and some sugars. So, f*** off to your concentration camps and health farms, Mr Fry.

Sue us!

Just look at this Nazi stuff:-

Ben Bradshaw, the Health Minister, warned that obesity was rising so fast that by 2050 four out of 10 children and nine out of 10 adults will be overweight or obese.

He promised that the Government would not shy away from bringing in new rules to force food companies to play a part in changing the country’s eating habits. Limits could be imposed on the amount of fat and salt in certain products.

He said: “We have already made progress on things like labelling and fat and salt content working with the industry. But … if this three-year campaign does not succeed, we don’t rule out regulating in future.”

Tam Fry, a National Obesity Forum board member, told the BBC that greater regulation of the food industry was needed to tackle rising obesity.

He said: “What we fear is that the industry is very willing to give £200 million to the campaign as a way of deflecting the Government’s interest in regulation.

“Unless you get the food to the right quality and unless you avoid the prospect of advertising junk food to children, you are going to have a continuation of the problem.”

The Government’s Change4Life campaign will begin tomorrow with television, magazine and national advertisements urging people to adopt a more healthy lifestyle.

The action is being taken after forecasters said obesity was rising so fast that by 2050 four out of 10 children and nine out of ten adults will be overweight or obese.

DISASTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Peter Davis

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 ¿)

Special Christmas Day Post coming: “ANNOY A BUREAUCRAT FOR THE CHILDREN AT CHRISTMAS” – Please could all readers contribute ways…?


David Davis

Please…..? Either on this comment thread, or else on the post just below.

And here’s Mike Oldfield, at Montreux  27 years ago:-

Liberty and tyranny: what non-violent and legal things could everyone do, every day, to upset and rile bureaucrats and “big-States”?


David Davis

I confess: the idea is not mine. Sean Gabb and I were discussing, in our inimitably pessimistic way, earlier this year, what kinds of things ordinary Subjects of the Crown could do, in their daily lives, to either annoy or make more difficult the lives of our political masters and their more lowly appointees.

The provisos were that:-

(1) We should try not to cause criminal damage. So 30,000 builders in 10,000 White Vans with 20,000 Stihl-Saws at 02.00 am GMT, all cutting down the posts of the speed cameras at one moment in time, will NOT do.

(2) We should not physically harm or otherwise assault bureaucrats, Ministers, MPs, their families, and the like. I recall that we could not decide what to do about “Traffic Wardens” or “Artificial Policemen“.

Please could ALL readers suggest something in the comments. Some things I can think of:-

(1) ALWAYS be seen to be filming the officers of the State, or else pretend to photograph them, while they are going about their “business” – even if you are not so doing. We all now carry little peanut-sized-thingies that not only film stuff but phone people, make tea, tell you whree you are etc. It is not (yet) a crime to make privaye movies in public places. this will increase their “workplace stress”, and with a bit of luck some of them will clock off “sick”. We will not be any the worse thereby, even though they still cost us.

(2) Place “Britain is leaving the EU: it is inevitable” stickers on State notices of all kinds. Also on the rear number plates of “official cars” and the like. Or, over the bar-code on their tax discs. This will cause inconvenience when the vehilces pass through ANPR camerae (now believed to be live) and does not cause any damage as they wash off.

(3) Place small but ostensibly accidental amounts of the wrong recyclable material (such as a large rusty steel automotive pressing like a flywheel or a Brake Disk,  into a plastic box for beer cans) into any State Receptacle designed for another sort. If what they say is true, this renders the entire bulk amout later, useless.

(4) ALWAYS ( or affect to ) smoke in the presence of a State Employee, ideally inside a building or a car (it becomes a “workplace” if there are 2 or more of you in it!) or if not, then in your house or on the street.

I would welcome lots more suggestions. I want 100 good ones by Christmas, to cheer you all up with on a special “ANNOY A BUREAUCRAT FOR THE CHILDREN AT CHRISTMAS” post………………..

And beer makes women beautiful.


What’s the betting that the government Beer-Nazi Soviet is going to get some fake-charity to ban beer ads next?

And  all you indolent bastards  out there might find this even a bit funny too:-

…oh, and good for the Okkers. Sod the veggies:-

And this is probably too comfortable to be an Udenopticon….

SMOKING, health fascism, New Labour, and Children: two more reasons why you should smoke. And Keeley Hazell wants her little shops to stay open late.


UPDATE:- And Gordon Brown wants  __YOUR__  body…..

David Davis

We talked about this some months ago. Now also, you should smoke for the children, and also to keep up ZanuLieborg’s taxation-takings, so they can continue to dip their hands in the Till at the expense of poor-people who have nothing else much to lighten their miserable Nazi-jackbooted lives.

It is an absolute wonder, to me, that nobody else in the media-Glitterati can see that we are being marched, by jackbooted ThugNazis in our government, back to a pre-capitalist, neo-feudal society, that looks like anything pre-1381 – the date of the first bourgeois tax-revolt.

Ordinary common-or-garden Nazis were disarmingly frank and openly brutal, by comparison. They approached Mugabe’s PR skills, in fact.

Now  then….This caught my eye as the Firefox foxthingy animal-dooberry started to run just now.

What else is “to be sold under the counter” on direction from “ministers”, in due course?

Alcohol (causes death by driving), knives (kill people), tabloid newspapers and “Zoo” and “Nuts” (offend wimmin), FHM, pork (offends Moslems and contains cancer-causing chemicals), automobiles (pollute the planet), and we could all name more things that “dangerous”, “offensive” or risky in use.

You’d have thought that this junta, so keen on promoting the plight of “small shops” and “small businesses” would want to make it easier for them to sell gear to people, not harder. I don’t believe for a moment that !”ministers” who write and spout this stuff are unaware of its shining fascism: I think they mean it very, very sincerely and that they absolutely know that they can, must, and will force people to behave in defined ways predicated by themselves and theyr gramsco-Marxian “uni” Tutors. Just regard some of this blisteringly fascist prose:-

Tobacco products will be barred from display in shops despite fears it could hit small stores during the economic downturn.

The new restrictions come after an extensive consultation on measures to reduce the number of children who take up smoking and helping those already addicted to quit.

But ministers will not go as far as recommending all cigarette packaging be plain with only the brand name and health warnings printed on them.

Sales from vending machines will also be restricted as research has shown children can buy cigarettes from them easily even though they are supposed to be in places where shops owners and pub landlords can supervise them.

Experts are keen to build on the success of the ban on smoking in public places, introduced in England in July 2007, and the increase in the legal age to buy tobacco to 18.

The main opponents have been concerned at the impact on small businesses during the downturn and a surge in illegal tobacco smuggling into the UK.

Last night a Business Department source said: “We know that business has been resisting this but there are times when the consumer’s interest must outweigh that. We believe the public are with us on this move.

“We have asked smokers’ views on this too. There is no doubt that the vast majority want to quit.”

It was reported last month that Business Secretary Peter Mandelson was attempting to block the moves because of the effect on small newsagents and corner shops which rely on cigarette sales for up to a fifth of their custom.

Research has shown that children recognise many brands of cigarettes and prominent displays of products helps to reinforce their familiarisation which influences them to take up smoking. A study in California found children aged between 11 and 14 were 50 per cent more likely to smoke if they had been exposed to tobacco marketing in corner shops.

Shelves full of cigarettes also lure those trying to quit smoking into buying more packets or tempted those trying to quit to buy them, the Department of Health consultation said.

Almost a third of smokers thought removing cigarette displays would help them to give up.

The products will not necessarily have to be placed under the counter but should not be visible, ministers will say today.

It could mean that cigarette packets are covered, placed in a cupboard or a back room.

Launching the consultation in April, health minister Dawn Primarolo said: “It’s vital we get across the message to children that smoking is bad. If that means stripping out vending machines or removing cigarettes from behind the counter, I’m willing to do that.

“Children who smoke are putting their lives at risk and are more likely to die of cancer than people who start smoking later.”

Other countries have already banned the display of tobacco at the point of sale or are planning to do so including Iceland, Thailand, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Norway.

Latest figures show 22 per cent of adults smoke in England, which is down by 1.9m since 1998, and the Government is on target to reduce this to 21 per cent by 2010.

However almost 30 per cent of those in routine and manual jobs still smoke and rates are not dropping in this group as fast.

Smoking is one of the leading causes of early death and accounts for 87,000 deaths in England each year and smoking related illness costs the NHS £1.5bn a year to treat.

Among children nine per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds smoke regularly, rising to one fifth of teenagers aged 16 to 19. More than three in ten 20 to 24 year olds smoke, which is the highest of any age group.

And…I’m sure that Keeley Hazell would not want her little local shops, in Bromley, to go bust through lost ciggy-sales…the sales merely lost to the pushers, at £125 for 20 smacks! I’m not betting on it, but I’d guess the “street” price of 20 “Marlboro’s”, not legally manufactured by Philip Morris, at all, to be about £5 or £6 per spliff… and that’s for starters, until it gets more difficult to supply….

Sorry Im not allowed to smoke on film....

"Sorry I'm not allowed to smoke on film...."

Eurovision “song” “contest”: there will be no reason to be forced to watch it at all (at-all-at-all-at-all) now that Sir Terry Wogan is not performing.


David Davis

I have always wondered what the point of the Eurovision “Song” “Contest” was.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were some fairly good Beat Groups, such as ABBA, and even some soloists, such as Cliff Richard, who sang fairly musical stuff, which was kind of about something or other that people cared about. (I count ABBA as honourary British since they could (a) sing, (b) write music, (c) they were Swedish, kind of,  and (d) they sounded quite good most of the time.) The times were pre-the-rise-of-the-EUSSR-supersoviet, and so people tended to vote for the best song, and never mind whow their awful neighbours were whom they had to be seen to publicly-placate-on-EUSSR_wide-TV, so that they would not get into trouble with the authorities Gestapo afterwards and have their benefits EU handouts withdrawn.

Then, we were dragged more firmly into the EUSSR EU, and we started to stop winning. This in itself didn’t totally matter, as we had Sir Terry Wogan to compère it and be suitably cynical about everybody on there, in his charming way, the good Englishman that he is, so he is, to be sure, to be sure.

Now, there is no point in being on. Not only do we not win, or even come next-to-bottom as opposed to absolutely totally and utterly bottom, but we absolutely tank. This is because nobody feels they have to pretend to like us any more, as we are Maritime-liberals with no land borders and they are Euro-authoritarians with very very long borders with other scratchy neighbours.

But the worst thing culturally speaking, about it, is that nobody even pretends to vote for the best music any more. They vote for whoever is the most powerful neighbour, or the one with most “clout of the day” in the corridors of Eurofascism power.

Furthermore, dear old cynical, funny Sir Terry is going. What’s the point of the thing? Why don’t we just read some books instead, while the blasted thing is on?

I don’t think that Libertarians would object in any way if the European subject-peoples of the EUSSR want to self-flagellate publicly to “music”, on the Wireless Tele Vision once a year, while pretending to sing songs which they think will be “for” “Europe”. But I guess that most liberals, being somewhat puritanical (unlike socialists) about time and resources wasted on pointless acts such as flag-waving, parading and collectively performing – especially acts which are only designed to get the “act-or” into the Public Prints, will think twice about this fascist smugfest in future.

Goobye and good riddance (I hope!) Let’s hope against hope that we get “invited” to “not participate”.

I’ve just put this on another blog but I have to share it with you here.


David Davis

Please go to Big Brother Britain, if you fell that you’d like to, for more good stuff.

This has got to be a fabricated wind-up…


David Davis

This is…..

…Either created in-house, to artificially boil the blood of retired colonels, so the journo has something to say to the News Editor about having got “initiative-driven results” and being “pro-active” in news-gathering….

…Or it’s been placed by the Enemy Class, is also a fabrication, and is intended to make us all feel that the “State needs to take more control”.

Go down to our POLL about the motivations and intentions of the British Political Class, here.

Famous, important, opinion-leading actroid “would have joined IRA”.


Well, after arguing about 9/11 for a day, we here have now succeeded in outdoing “The Daily Star” in triviality. (For foreign readers’ benefit, the Daily Star majors on mostly unconfirmed but mostly scurrilous reports of the sexual activities of “foot” “ballers” and their “wives”, and on the similar activities of “Big Brother inmates”. “Foot” “ballers” are “signed” by, which is to say, they work for, “Major Clubs” (whoever he might be, I have no clue) and they “play” “foot “ball”, for money (which is fine in itself: I’m a libertarian after all: I don’t have to like it, though. )

“Big Brother” is a Wireless Tele Vision series of programmes about rude people shagging on the Wireless Tele Vision, and off it too I learn. It is funded indirectly by purchases of things that poor people need to buy, such as cigarettes and strong alcohol, since these people bear the brunt of Stalinism for all their lives without respite, and need anaesthetics on a regular basis, like every day.  These things are therefore taxed heavily (this is called “progressive txation”) and then the tax-take is used by the Labour Government to pay its Enemy-Class-agentroids for the progs to be commissioned, to take people’s minds off Gordon Brown and Stalinism.

David Davis

Today, however, we have this. A really really famous “film” “star”, of whom the entirety of humanity has heard, and to whose opinions all Men willingly defer, has stated, on taking part in a film about Irish Republican terrorists, that she would have certainly joined the IRA. Her wikipage makes interesting between-the-lines reading….

She says:-

“I imagine, had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100 per cent have been in the IRA,” said the actress, whose father is Irish.

“My heart just broke for the cause. Violence is not to be played out daily and provide an answer to problems, but I understand it.”

One is actually less interested in the opinion itself, than its existence and newsworthiness on account of the fact that this young actronnette (she’s only 35, the poor baby) is a movie star. (I do not really watch “movies” these days, finding “new” ones as I do increasingly unhelpful in elucidating stategic solutions to the world’s problems.)

She’s actually quite f***able. Perhaps the rest of her that’s off-camera is even OK too. What a waste that she (claims to) like lefties, and wants to be on their side. Sad: they deserve double-paper-bag-jobs*** such as Harriet Harman and Polly Toynbee.  I’ve sacked a similar girlfriend, quite as pretty as that, in 1980 for saying I MUST stop talking-up Governor Reagan, since he was planning to blow up the world and threaten the poor Soviets. These people need to learn lessons on how to co-exist with normal humans, and can’t expect sex with decent people while yet having wrong opinions. (Perhaps I’m a chauvinist male bastard pig.)

This takes us also onto Barack Obama territory. I noted the other day that most of the “high profile names” who support the bugger are all to do with either the movie or entertainment industries (these may be two different things or they may not, I do not know.)

But when exactly was it that the opinions of mummers and jongleurs, and the modern types of generally useless wastes-of-space-and-rations, began to matter, not just to politicians (which is a small problem) but to ordinary sovereign individuals, which is a bigger one?

*** YOU have to wear one as well, in case hers falls off.

How not to waste food, and what Gordon Brown ought to have said on the eve of the G8


David Davis

Honestly! The sheer bloodyminded brass neck the blasted man has! One recalls the Scottish jokes we use to be allowed to tell, that hinted at a certain parsimoniousness in their national character….like the one about how you can tell you are flying over Scotland….(I’m sure the Scots are not like that really; only the leftist politicians among them.)

Here we have a government, riding around in armoured Jaguars, pilfering the public purse to the extent of an extra £50,000-odd per head per year, for “expenses” and “home improvements”, then having the immortal crust to vote themselves a large pay rise, and then….lecturing us to stop wasting food?

Perhaps this is a form of transferred admonition: I’m sure the psychologists and head-bashers would have a word for it. He wants, really, to berate the bloddy foreigners for something or other, but can’t get away with that ‘coz that funny little man at the Foreigners Office would “brief against” him.

Firstly, about food in the modern world of a first-world-industrial nation:-

(1) We have never had it so good – or at least until recently. In the 60s, I learned with pride that Britain “IS THE MOST EFFICIENT MECHANISED FARM IN THE WORLD”, with wheat yields in tons per acre that were double those of North America (held up as a model continent too); also with livestock densities and tonnages of shipped butchered meat higher than anywhere except the USA (and much of it “local!) OK so the Greens have made this go out of the window while our back was turned, along with their murdering Pol-pot-ist chums peddling destructive education syllabuses containing Gramsco-Marxian-Sartre-ist nonsense and other falsehoods, but since capitalism does survive here, just, despite efforts to the contrary, we are still able to spend only about 9% of our net income on food and live, indeed fairly well.

(2) The madness of “sell-by” and “eat-by” dates, coupled with the Gramsco-Marxian effect on public understanding of science (see above) has made today’s UK population hypersensitive to the most innocuous Daily Mail headline about the latest “food scare”. Otherwise sane people routinely throw away stuff which could easily keep another day (soft fruit), a week (cheeses, meats – some of which taste even better if a bit high), a month even (most frozen foods) – and I’m being rather conservative here. The mere mention of “E Coli” (99% of Daily Mail readers probably don’t know what it is or where it lives.) No wonder they throw away so much food: they have not been given the information with which to trust their common sense, and they listen to false gods in the absence of real ones, which are the facts and the people’s subsequent ability to decide what to do for the best, when faced with the “Fridge That Time Forgot”.

(3) A few days ago, local (that is to say, a British) Stalinist EU bureaucrats, ordered a market trader to destroy (or send back to the supplier) 50,000 Kiwi Fruit that were “undersized”, in the interests of “consumer protection. He was NOT even allowed to GIVE them away to schools, hospices or even poor-people who could not pay, on pain of a criminal conviction. Gordon Brown should look to the beam in his own eye first, before taking out the mote in our eye.

(4) In 2000 and 2001, Brown’s august predecessor had nearly 9 million healthy animals, in England mostly, slaughtered and burnt. This was on account of the slight risk that some of them had contracted foot-and-mouth disease, for which vaccination in the UK was forbidden by the very same government’s DEFRA (the Department for Ending Farming and Rural Affairs). Yes, foot-and-mouth would cause a fall in animal tonnage yield, and probably make a prodicer miss his delivery-date of cuts of known wieght to a supermarket, but why not let the Market sort it all out?

So Gordon is going to the G8, then? Here’s what he could berate the others for:-

(a) Russia: for being an authoritarian one-party state dressed up as a liberal pluralist democracy, which tyrannises secessionist ethnic minorities, and uses its vicelike grip on Europe’s energy-windpipe to make smaller nations comply with its foreign policy.

(b) The USA: for going soft on the war on terror the war against Western civilisation, and for even thinking of entertaining the possibility of electing one of a pair of democratic Marxist Presidents, rather than someone else.

(c) Germany, for trying to pretend that the EU unitary state constitution Lisbon Treaty is still a goer.

(d) France, which is to say, West Germany, likewise.

(e) Canada, for even thinking of allowing the rise of Show-Trials in Stalinist Courts “Human Rights Commissions”, one of which recently tried to ruin Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant and McLeans, for simply saying something in a publication.

He ought to have a go at the other ones too, about something, but I can’t think what right now. I’ll email him while he’s on the plane.

Finally, he ought to have a go at the UN, for continuing, via the hegemony of its Bandung generation, the generation of oceans of blood, mountains ranges of sorrow, and millions of corpses, which we of the West still try to clear up today. this is caused by its fanatical and continual espousal of monarching pre-humanist tyranny, at the expense of the lives and prospects of billions of people.

Finally, he should say that the Green Terror is over, that Al Gore will be pensioned off to a mud hut in Nigeria, where his carbon footprint can be low, and that all the money we were going to spend ratifying Kyoto will be diverted to providing clean drinking water for all people on the planet, for ever.

But he won’t, will he.

Great move, socialists! how to increase “binge-drinking”, and the volume of secondary crime, in one hit!


David Davis

Here.

Not only do these people not care what human beings think or how they actually behave: they also conform to the dictum of :-

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, the solution to every problem has got to be a nail.”

I can see corner-shops and off-licences being broken-into or held up not just for cigarettes, but now for beer and alcopops too. Great move, Zanu-Laborg!

“Fourth-higest rate of binge-drinking among under-15s in Europe…” yeah, that’s a real real problem, to be solved by some more draconian measures. Yeh. How about building a couple of frigates, or some anti-missile defences instead? (But no, that would have some positive results…)

Fuels, Petrol. Biofuels, Starvation. Awfully useful and interesting. I am particularly struck by the picture of AL GORE SHITTING CRUDE OIL TO HELP MANKIND


David Davis

The Last Ditch says it here, and he got it from here. Al Gore can shit oil: this shall be for Mankind to live and breed and go forth and multiply in the Universe (where we shall find even more, as Titan has oceans of it the size of the Black Sea and almost inevitably more undiscovered since Titan is bigger than the Moon or Mercury.) The Wahabists can return to their roots, and their (respected) culture, which we have so rudely and impolitely disturbed, for them, being inferior to them in all ways possible, as we of course are.

Apologies for that sentence (above) being so long in the first draft. I was thinking and not writing. I have broken it up a bit now.

Passive drinking …. here we go down to the cesspit again! Next, it will be “passive driving”. Wonder when we will have to admit to “passive sex” as a way of reducing “teenage pregnancy”?


David Davis

Here we go. The stalinist bastards have got out of bed before us, as ever (‘coz they izz boring turds who don’t write computer-games or run silicon-valley firms.) Perhaps we should design less comuter games, and have less long hair and lip-piercings; and instead carry more real guns and point them while loaded at bureaucrats who have no sense of humour.

Why don’t bureaucrats laugh at anythng? When did you last see a “public employee” laugh?

I though so.

Here’s some of it:-

 

The war on ‘passive drinking’

Posted by Bruno Waterfield on 17 Apr 2008  at 21:27 
Tags: 
Crime, EU, public health, Alcohol

 

European Union and United Nations officials are plotting to make drinking as socially unacceptable as smoking.

 

Your drink could endanger others, claim UN and EU officials

Hectoring campaigns over “passive smoking” are credited for Europe’s almost total smoking ban. Now alcohol is in the sights of the public health miserablists and they have invented the concept of “passive drinking” as their killer argument.

The Daily Mail takes up a report in New Scientist to trumpet a new “guilt campaign” that is heading our way. “The World Health Organisation’s global strategy will aim to match the success of campaigns which have made smokers feel guilty about the harm second-hand smoke does to others,” says the report.

Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians is wheeled on to confirm the new approach. “The tipping point for banning smoking in public places was third party damage,” he said.

The EU public health brigade are not far behind, in fact Brussels miserablists in the European Commission’s DG SANCO have been trying to poison the drinking debate with this new assault on reason for years.

I took up the EU “passive drinking” debate around two years ago in response to strident claims, in a Commission report, about the high environmental or social toll of alcohol, the “harm done by someone else’s drinking”.

“The total tangible cost of alcohol to EU society in 2003 was estimated to be €125bn (€79bn-€220bn), equivalent to 1.3 per cent GDP, and which is roughly the same value as that found recently for tobacco,” said the report written by Dr Peter Anderson, who has a background in the World Health Organisation (WHO) and who played a leading role in Tobacco Free Initiative Europe.

“The intangible costs show the value people place on pain, suffering and lost life that occurs due to the criminal, social and health harms caused by alcohol. In 2003 these were estimated to be €270bn, with other ways of valuing the same harms producing estimates between €150bn and €760bn.”

On Thursday, at an informal meeting of health ministers in Brdo, Slovenian Health Minister, Zofija Mazej Kukovič dusted off the report – and its language.

“Harmful and dangerous alcohol consumption causes more than seven per cent of the premature morbidity and mortality in our countries. The annual costs stemming from this have been estimated at as much as €125 billion for the EU as a whole. However, the harm caused by alcohol is still underestimated,” she said.

The figures are meant to be pretty scary. Drink is responsible for 2,000 homicides, four out of 10 of Europe’s annual murders. “The economic cost of alcohol-attributable crime has been estimated to be €33bn in the EU for 2003….while the intangible cost of the physical and psychological effects of crime has been valued at €9bn – €37bn,” said the Anderson report.

Children, too, are passive victims of drinking. “Many of the harms caused by alcohol are borne by people other than the drinker responsible. This includes 60,000 underweight births, as well as 16 per cent of child abuse and neglect, and five to nine million children in families adversely affected by alcohol,” says the EU report’s summary.

 

The link made by between alcohol and crime today, whether violence or child abuse or other social ills, follows not from hard facts but from an outlook that sees human characteristics as damaging in general. And if human beings, particularly when under the influence of stimulants, are destructive, then, the argument goes, social intervention must follow. The idea that almost any activity – drinking, eating, speaking, even thinking – can cause harm is often blown out of proportion and used to generate frightening figures and policies.

The sheer absurdity of the idea of “passive drinking” would be funny if the public health lobby was not so powerful and unpleasant. I found that in a twist of irony, probably lost on po-faced public health types, that the expression “passive drinking” seems to have originated as a spoof in two Peter Simple columns in the Daily Telegraph in 2002 and 2003, written by the late Michael Wharton.

Mocking the rise of nonsense research to justify social measures, he wrote about research work being carried out by “Dr Ron Hardware of Nerdley University”.

“They were the first to discover the scourge of ‘passive drinking’, showing by painstaking experiments and finely adjusted statistics that it was just as deadly as ‘passive smoking’ and equally capable of causing cancer and innumerable other ills,” he wrote.

It is no longer a joke or satire – do read more here on Spiked.

We need to stand up to these people.

Posted by Bruno Waterfield on 17 Apr 2008 at 21:27

 

 

 

 

 

Judith Hatton RIP


Sean Gabb

It is with deep regret that I announce the death last Thursday the 10th April of Judith Hatton. She was for many years one of the most formidable defenders in our Movement of the right to smoke. One of her last achievements, indeed, was to advise the makers of the film Topsy Turvy on smoking habits in Victorian England. Thanks to her, this remarkable film is drenched in alcohol, nicotine and other recreational drugs. She turned a film about Gilbert and Sullivan into a window on how life was lived in a free country.

Her death is to be lamented. However, bearing in mind its great length, and its general richness, we ought much more to celebrate her life.

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.

David Davis

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.

Does Britain Need a Libertarian Party?


http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/tactn/tactn031.htm

Does Britain Need a Libertarian Party?
Marek Kleinwald
 

Tactical Notes, No. 31

ISSN 0268-2923 ISBN 9781856376112

An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance,
Suite 35, 2 Landsdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6HL.

© 2008: Libertarian Alliance; Marek Kleinwald.

Marek Kleinwald is a European political writer and activist.

This essay was entered for the 2007 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize sponsored by the PROMIS Unit of Primary Care and announced at the Libertarian Alliance/Libertarian International conference held in London on the 27th and 28th October 2007.

The views expressed in this publication are those of its author, and
not necessarily those of the Libertarian Alliance, its Committee,
Advisory Council or subscribers.

FOR LIFE, LIBERTY AND PROPERTY

INTRODUCTION

Libertarianism is in retreat. Or perhaps—given that libertarianism has never been anywhere remotely close to being in the ascendancy in recent decades—it is fairer to say that libertarianism has made no significant advance from its contemporary position in the political bunker. The three major political parties have coalesced around an irritatingly vague—but deeply pernicious—brand of social democracy, ancient liberties have been incinerated in the name of the war on terror, government expenditure and waste continue unchecked and the state’s intrusion into trivial aspects of people’s lives—such as whether they smoke cigarettes in their local pub—has reached maniacal proportions.

 

All of this has happened with barely a murmur of public resistance, and often with the civilian population’s enthusiastic support.

 

I suppose the prospects for libertarianism could be worse—indeed they seem to keep getting worse with each passing year—but it would require a truly heroic level of optimism to believe that this long dark night is about to be broken by a bright new dawn. An even stronger dose of the happy pills would be needed to believe that a Libertarian Party would be likely to meet with any major electoral success in the short term.

 

But despite this bleak outlook, there are three very good reasons for libertarians to seriously consider forming their own political party and start electioneering forthwith. The two serious arguments against such a move merit analysis, but can be rebutted. Finally, there is an important question over timing. Our country may need us, but that does not mean we are obliged to answer that calling. At least not yet.

 

 

THREE GOOD REASONS FOR FORMING A LIBERTARIAN PARTY

 

Libertarian Alliance strategy has not met with success

 

Despite the noble and often brilliant efforts of the Libertarian Alliance’s leading lights, the strategy of seeking to influence intellectuals and opinion formers1 has not brought the libertarian movement anywhere close to the levers of power. None of the three major political parties have embraced libertarianism since the LA’s formation in 1979, and a good case can be made that the Conservative Party has moved further away from it. The number of libertarian Members of Parliament can be counted on the fingers of one hand—and probably on the fingers of one thumb.2

 

Of course, supporters of the existing strategy can raise a number of objections to this analysis. They may claim that although the strategy has not propelled libertarians into high office, it was still the optimal course of action to follow. They can point to the enormous amount of media coverage—surely tens of millions of pounds worth in advertising equivalent terms—secured by LA spokespeople on a shoestring budget. They could say—as Mao Tse-Tung did of the French revolution—that it’s still “too early to tell”. Nevertheless, the brutal truth is that if the last three decades of effort constitute relative success, it doesn’t bear thinking about what failure might look like.

 

In such circumstances, alternative political strategies—including the formation of an electoral vehicle for libertarianism—merit serious consideration. The prima facie case for a Libertarian Party is that engaging in and winning the argument is simply not enough and that libertarianism—or even concessions in a libertarian direction—requires an identifiable and measurable electoral force.

 

Political radicalism is “in” and there is no other libertarian option on the ballot paper

A detailed analysis of the breadth and depth of libertarian support amongst the wider electorate is beyond the remit of such a short essay.3 It could be relatively large—or fairly tiny. It could be growing, diminishing or remaining static. But we can say with confidence that whatever the size of the libertarian vote, it is homeless.4 Of course, it is no one’s duty to provide libertarian voters with a box they can cross, in good conscience, on a ballot paper. A hard-headed—and potentially expensive—assessment would need to be made by the putative founders of the Libertarian Party about whether there were enough potential crosses to be collected to make the considerable time and effort of marshalling them in one box worthwhile.

 

I’m neither a pollster nor a statistician, but I believe there are reasons to be cheerful. Minority parties5 representing a plethora of different ideologies and causes have experienced sustained and significant growth in recent years. This appears to be a long-term trend—perhaps fuelled by an increasing disillusionment with “mainstream” politics in general. Nearly half a century ago, in the 1959 General Election, 1% of the electorate6 voted for minor parties. In the 2005 General Election, this had risen to 10.3%, the highest proportion in modern times.7 In 1959, the share of the vote for the Conservative and Labour parties was 93.2%. In 2005, it was just 67.6%.

In other major elections, the rise of minority parties has been even more dramatic and—because of the increasing use of proportional representation—more profitable in terms of winning seats. In the 1994 UK elections for the European Parliament, 11% voted for minority parties. In 1999—the first such elections held under a proportional voting system—this had risen to 23.5%. In the last European elections in 2004, the proportion had increased further still to 34.8%. An interesting aside is that those elections also saw the two largest parties score less than 50% of the nationwide vote between them,8 the first time this has happened since the advent of universal suffrage.

 

The elections for the Greater London Assembly tell a similar story. In 2004, both the Respect Party and the British National Party came within a whisker of securing elected representation.9 In the 2000 elections, the obscure Christian Peoples Alliance polled 3.3% of the vote—falling just 1.7% short of securing an assembly seat. According to their latest submission to the Electoral Commission, the Christian People’s Alliance is hardly a mass movement—it has less than 400 members.10

 

Of course, this sort of number crunching doesn’t conclusively prove that a newly founded Libertarian Party would have a good chance of electoral success. Perhaps the various ideologies and interests represented by these relatively successful minor parties have a firmer, more committed base of support than libertarians could presently hope for.

 

It is also fair to say that even if a Libertarian Party did secure, for sake of argument, a seat in the European Parliament and the Greater London Assembly in 2009, this would not constitute a quantum leap towards control of either the executive or the legislature. Nevertheless, the gains in political credibility, and media impact, could be considerable. The arena of British electoral politics is clearly one in which small, poorly funded groups of determined and motivated individuals are starting to meet with modest forms of success. The mounting evidence is that libertarian absenteeism from this arena shouldn’t be taken lightly.

 

The electoral cycle can inspire libertarians to become advocates

Brian Micklethwait is one of my favourite libertarian writers. His writing usually makes me smile and always makes me think. I am rarely entertained or educated in the same way, or to the same extent, by any other political commentator. I don’t know Brian at all well—I have met him perhaps half a dozen times—so I’m particularly loath to criticise him personally. But, duty demands it Brian is one of those highly effective libertarians who seem to produce a highly engaging product, but laments—or perhaps even celebrates—his lack of self-discipline. He readily concedes that LA mailings he oversaw often went out late and/or haphazardly, and on his blog11 he casually refers to how he hasn’t got round to writing very much recently.

 

I think Brian proves my counter-intuitive assertion that libertarians need more collective discipline in order to increase our political influence. In his touching—almost pained—defenestration of the Independent Libertarian Party in 1999,12 Brian rails against the perpetual, externally-enforced, tedious administrative deadlines which require those seeking to garner electoral votes to act in certain (slightly odd) ways at certain (largely arbitrary) times.

 

But, I may well have been a more effective libertarian crusader over the past ten years if—rather than being kindly asked to commit to paper some of my ill-considered thoughts about Rawls’ veil of ignorance13 at a time of my choosing—I’d been encouraged to assist in a Libertarian electoral effort that was strictly time-limited. I can’t write as well as Brian Micklethwait. I’m not nearly as witty. But I’m pretty good at persuading ordinary folk in the pub or on the doorstep that libertarianism is a pretty good thing and that they should back it. I’m just guessing that there are a lot of libertarians like me. Why haven’t I set up the Libertarian Party myself? Well, I think I can confidently say that my own lack of self-discipline dwarves even Brian’s.

 

The truth is that the electoral cycle—with its clear deadlines and potential dramas—could act as a real incentive for those who don’t have the skills, knowledge, self-discipline or dedication of the LA’s leading lights. We might well see more libertarians talking face-to-face to more “undecided” people than seems imaginable at present. This is only a potential prize, but is a valuable one.

 

 

THE TWO PROBLEMS WITH A BRITISH LIBERTARIAN PARTY

The essential case against a libertarian electoral vehicle is that (a) the skills and talents of libertarian activists will become internally focused on trivial matters such as the need to raise substantial funds to meet the administrative criteria for participating in the electoral process and (b) contentious, obscure, ideological conflicts which have been satisfactorily—even productively—contained within the LA, would rip apart a formal political party.

Neither of these are real barriers to the formation of a Libertarian Party. Firstly, the idea that time and effort spent on tactical questions about how best to communicate the libertarian message to the wider public is necessarily less productive than an open-ended discussion between libertarian objectivists and libertarian utilitarians is misguided to the point of self-indulgence. The question (asked here) is not which activity is more intellectually fulfilling or better fun—but which is more productive. Shoving leaflets through doors, trying to explain your case on the doorstep, filing papers with the Electoral Commission to get a Libertarian onto the ballot paper—these are tedious and often tiresome pursuits. But they may well be what are needed to more successfully prosecute the Libertarian case.

 

 

Amongst those libertarians interested in acquiring political power before this century is out, ideological differences will—at some point—have to be resolved, or put aside. There is little reason to believe that continual discussion of our philosophical distinctions will create unity on these matters. One person might change his mind at one seminar. Another may hone their ideas at another conference. Such gatherings perform a genuinely valuable and fulfilling function. But they are not barriers to the formation of a political party. Libertarianism contains many strands—but for electoral and organisational purposes, we are considerably less divided than the bile and hatred that exists amongst our opponents.

 

 

We may be needed, but we might not be ready

For all the reasons stated above, I believe the case for creating—and supporting—a new Libertarian Party is strong. But it is not overwhelming. The British Libertarian movement could suffer real damage if there was a serious split along tactical lines.14 Those who favour the formation of a new party need not rush. There are—thankfully—no formal voting mechanisms to press for such a strategy, but therefore also no way to measure exactly “when to go for it”. I suspect that the Brian Micklethwaits might change their mind in the next few years. Britain does need a Libertarian Party. But we should take our time in forming it.

 

 

NOTES

(1) Libertarian Alliance Executive Committee, Purpose and Strategy of the Libertarian Alliance, Tactical Notes No. 1, London, Libertarian Alliance, 1981.

(2) Numerous Conservative MPs are described in as being “closet” libertarians. Richard Shepherd MP seems to be the closest to being a publicly declared libertarian.

(3) Nigel Meek (The Libertarian Party of Great Britain: An Idea Whose Time Has NOT Come, Tactical Notes No. 22, London, Libertarian Alliance, 1998) and Antoine Clarke (The Independent Libertarian Party: An Idea Whose Time Has Come (Being Among Other Things, A Reply to Nigel Meek), Tactical Notes No. 25, London, Libertarian Alliance 1999) explored—and disagreed about—these issues in depth. Clarke relies on IEA research suggesting that 19% of the population might be classified as libertarian. Brian Micklethwait, What Is Wrong With a Libertarian Political Party, Tactical Notes No. 26, London, Libertarian Alliance, 1998.

(4) The United Kingdom Independence Party appears to have pretensions to claiming the libertarian mantle, but at its last conference, it debated the imposition of tariffs and the re-introduction of national service, http://www.ukip.org/ukip/images/stories/pdf/conference%20programme.pdf.

(5) I use the term “minority party” or “minor party” to mean a political party other than Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat (or the Lib Dems’ predecessor parties). A fair case can probably be made that the Liberal Democrats are—or have been in the past—a minority party. But I use the term consistently to mean political parties other than these three.

(6) I use this term loosely—all stated percentages are of votes cast, not of all those eligible to vote.

(7) It is difficult to make comparisons with post-war elections prior to 1959, as the National Liberal vote is listed separately but should probably be considered a subset of the Conservative vote.

(8) The Conservatives scored 26.7% and Labour 22.6%.

(9) Respect polled 4.57% on the party list vote and the BNP 4.71%—the “threshold” is 5%.

(10) CPA Statement of Accounts, 31st Dec 2006, http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/files/dms/ChristianPeoplesAlliance_25539-18978__E__N__S__W__.PDF.

(11) The excellent http://www.brianmicklethwait.com.

(12)

(13) John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1972. It’s still as ridiculous now as when I first read it.

(14) The split in the LA in 1982 is still only discussed in hushed tones, if at all.

More self-promoting potty prelates in the poo … “Recycle or go to hell” … Vatican re-writes the seven deadly sins


David Davis

I don’t know what’s got into these people. Top church-wallahs, of whatever persuasion, are likely to be quite sharp intelligent guys. They have all that time to study and reflect, plus this is the age of the internet.

But we have them saying stuff like this. No longer, are you consigned to eternal lectures by Ken Livingstone about London’s celebratory diversity while standing naked in the pouring rain next to a large gutter-puddle in the Elephant-and-Castle oneway system, for showing  sloth, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride: these sins “now have a rather individualistic dimension”, says Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, a “close ally of the Pope and the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the Roman Curia’s main courts”. 

Instead, you will rot in the hell above through doing these….

genetic modification,

carrying out experiments on humans,

polluting the environment,

causing social injustice,

causing poverty,

becoming obscenely wealthy and …. naturally (what else?) …. 

taking drugs.

Don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel like running the odd little exercise in genetic modification on sunny summer afternoons.

There is also this uncontrollable compulsion to cause a spot of poverty…..I just HAVE to stock up these days on tungsten filament light bulbs, against the day when they will be banned, so I can still see to type. 

After a couple of drinks (it’s always a couple, isn’t it) I sometimes get the urge to go out and cause some social injustice. Perhpas like punching out some bureaucrat’s lights, or making a rude face at a picture of Gordon Brown while nobody is looking…..or (really really daring, this one) saying something nice about tesco in front of Sir Terry Leahy.  

                                                    

ANOTHER REASON WHY YOU MUST CHOOSE TO SMOKE


I think libertarians ought all to pretend publicly to smoke, even if they do not in reality. This would also be a grand gesture in memory of Chris Tame, who thought it was a nasty and disgusting, smelly, antisocial habit, would not allow it in his flat, and battled mercilessly against the health-nazis all his working life, especially while working for FOREST for the rights of smokers. Dear old chap, gold-pieces be upon him in Paradise. 

David Davis

Here’s the BBC on this anti-smoking Statist Nazis thingy-stuff

A cigarette “display ban” is being considered. A particular and identifiable droid, known in certain circles by other droids as a “Dawn-Primarolo” , is “concerned” “for the children”.

How could any living being give any job whatsoever, to someone called “Dawn” and “Primarolo” in the same line? It would have to be a wind-up by students on a rag-day.  There are no people called that. The droid referred to  must therefore be a real droid, and so legally therefore can’t exist as a person or a corporate person. Therefore it can’t discuss stuff known as “draft legislation” or “consultation” “papers”, “white papers”, green papers”. (We were given “green paper” at school in the 1960s when we had failed some task and had to redo it)

This stuff is for Nazis to discuss and not droids, so I don’t know what an early-mark Primdroid is doing being switched on here and running.

Moreover, as this blog’s historian readers will know, smoking was first linked with lung cancer by “scientists” in the Third Reich. Of course, they were quite correct. But that’s not the point: if people tell you to not do something for your own good, you become their FARM ANIMAL.

You are a  human being. Either you want to be that animal, or you do not.

Your body is either yours, or theirs (think of the implications, if you are a woman or girl – a much more dangerous thing to be under post-60s-post-western-deconstructionistic-femi-nazism, than was the case in the British Empire and Commonwealth, which functioned according to the Ten Commandments (sorry, I meant the Gospels! spotted by the comentariat..) and the Mosaic Decalogue, and also, er, Magna Carta and other stuff that is very very scary to socialists and Kingists……)

Will you allow yourself, as a woman, to be raped, because a bureaucrat says she(he) wants to “do” you? if S(he) brings the right forms, duly signed and countersigned, to your house?

Will you forbear from smoking because a bureaucrat says you must not?

 YOU have to decide. 

Nazi control freaks, new labour, Dawn Primarolo, binge drinking, crime, teenagers. Do go and have a look, it is so funny.


David Davis

Here.

The comment thread is also brilliant, in its extended wittiness and insight into the minds of tyrannical idealists.

Political Correctness – more on this and the enforcement thereof. Degrading of property rights in the UK by stalinist government


In today’s TIMES, we have this;

Here is a summary if the link breaks;

Greater powers for official ‘snoopers’
Jill Sherman, Whitehall Editor
More than a dozen Bills going through Parliament extend

the powers of state inspectors to enter
people’s homes, the Government has admitted.
Despite a pledge by Gordon Brown last October
that he would limit powers and introduce a liberty
test, he has extended the right to enter property in
planning, crime, environmental, education and
health legislation.
A parliamentary answer obtained by the
Conservatives shows that nine Bills and one draft Bill contain
new powers of entry, with three others entrenching
existing powers.

“The fact that Gordon Brown is entrenching and
extending powers of state bureaucrats to enter
people’s homes makes a mockery of his so-called
review into powers of entry,” Eric Pickles, the
Shadow Communities Secretary, said.
The Counter-terrorism Bill and the Criminal Justice
and Immigration Bill, for example, allow entrance to
properties to enforce “social disorder” and
anti-terrorist laws. The Education and Skills Bill
allows the State to inspect private schools and the
Climate Change Bill allows officials to enter homes
to enforce black bin charges and to monitor
carbon-trading schemes.

Mr Pickles, who said that there was a need for
measures to tackle crime and terrorism, added:
 “Yet this uncontrolled extension contradicts Gordon
Brown’s empty promises on liberty and is another
worrying sign of the surveillance state.”
A survey of state powers to enter people’s homes
by the Centre for Policy Studies last April highlighted
a significant expansion of entry powers under Labour.
The spokesman from the Home Office said that all the
Bills would be included in the review of powers
of entry. The spokesman added that it was inevitable
that some new powers had to be included in the Bills
to ensure the laws were enforceable.

[This is a typical response from a person stripping you of your
liberties, and a somewhat lazy and casual one at that -Christina Speight] (see her blog)

There comes a point where, if we consider what property rights are, the line dividing them from the “rights” (temporal) delegated by consent to a “state” becomes stepped-over, and not by us but by the “state”.

We have to begin putting the word “state” in parantheses, to indicate our further and further sundering from it and its now avowed objectives. This is despite however in favour we were formally, even slightly, of a minimal “state”, as minimal-statist libertarians (there really are such people!)

We ought to consider what remedies can be taken, against this increasing tide of forced entry and (inevitable) turning-over of our private possessions, including our rubbish (which ought also to be private, for quite sound reasons.) So you green-nazis you can go stuff this new stuff up your jacksis – look it up if you don’t know what a “jacksi” is (and I bet you won’t find it on any wiki either.)

Suppose I wanted to dig a coal mine in my back garden, here? I will have to go quite deep, at least 11,000 feet as the “Wigan-Nine” – that great and renowned seam which drove the Battle of the Atlantic in WW1, and which probably does still yet underlie me here, had its shafts about 20 miles east, and tilts west at a gradient of about 1 in 11. Apart from the problem of disposing of the spoil (a simple matter of property rights and contract) why can’t I do it?

The boundary of property rights between the individual and the “state” stops at the individual’s fence. If we allow “states” to tax fixed property (and there are reasonably sound minimal-statist arguments for allowing a limited measure of this, as opposed to “direct taxation of income” which can be corrupted and get out of hand as is now the case) then in return we must have rights of limitation of allowing Nazi bureauphilia-crazed loons to trample unannounced all over our property. If there is no private sphere (the Englishman’s Castle) then we live in Cuba or North Korea and we might as well go there.

Scissors beat paper. (The shortest headline in the history of the Libertarian Alliance Blog.)


scissors beat paper

David Davis 

Scissors beat paper.

You can learn more about this T-shirt from Kathy Shaidle’s blog.

The sooner that the West’s mortal enemies learn that humour is actually one of our key weapons against them, and that that cannot, under any circumstances or conditions, ever, ever silence this one, the better. Individual human beings will have to be “chipped” and RFID’d, and wired, for sound, for this to be so.

Or is this what they plan?

Oh and by the way, your Che Guevara (nasty wicked fascist murdering bastard who deserved to die as painfully as we all hope he did; may he rot in Hell somewhere vaguely inside Stalin’s frozen orbit) T-shirt is even less cool than whan I had a go at you over it last month. So I wouldn’t bother to put in on any more. And I’m not sure that the nice old lady in the local charity shop really wants it either, so why don’t you just put it in the bin, walk away quietly, say nothing, and hope nobody and no vido-cameras noticed you there? As you socialist buggers well know, and tell us all the time, those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear.

Six reasons why you might choose to smoke


David Davis

Like my old friend Chris Tame, who abhorred smoking and thought it was a disgusting and filthy habit, but for some of his life worked for FOREST, and with deep sincerity about the necessary liberty of the individual to decide, I would not smoke even if you paid me. Well……..now you’re offering, of course every Man has his price, but in my case it would be quite high, say £100,000 a year tax-paid, for life. You’d have to be able to wave goodbuy to about 5 million of capital.

The current lack of defence of smokers in the UK, in the face of a staggeringly cruel and merciless onslaught by the Nazi Smoke-Police, has I think its roots in the former hubris with which smokers freely (it was of course allowed) polluted the air in offices, rooms, trains, pubs and the like, without (mostly) asking if they might be allowed. When, until the late 70s, they were a majority of adults,  I guess this was tough but inevitable.

The point is, because we all felt so put-upon by their habit and its nasty smells, when we couldn’t do a thing about it, we are failing to defend Continue reading

More on the chemistry set. I invite comments from anyone about what ought to be done about the preposterous British GCSE “science” “syllabus”.


David Davis 

See title, and please feel free to comment!

Today, I tore up my afternoon lesson plans for my students (they are rather hypothetical anyway, it depends what I feel like educating them about after a morning think and a read of the papers) went out with a new cheapo German microscope by a firm called Bresser (I don’t know anything about this firm yet, but I could not leave the machine in a Lidl store for £39.95 just sitting there) and taught.

I used a collection of slides made by my father in the late 1930s when he was a botany/insect-physiology student at Imperial College, and the boys and girls were wowed. None ever imagined that small things in the Natural World could look the way they do.

The machine comes in a kit with a digital camera-thingy, a USB cable and software for Windows/Mac – you can display the image on-screen as well as shove optical eyepieces in and look at it traditionally.

Chemistry in British schools is similarly emasculated, and we need to change this fast, or we as a nation will sink into a new Dark Age of fear, un-knowing and credulousness, much-to-be-desired by wicked socialist politicians and “movers/shakers”.

These people hate us, for showing the world the Door Out Of Hell, pointing the way to it, and teaching the world How To Live.

PS (update) I am now convinced that ALL good chemistry sets should contain a small phial of Mercury (metal), say about 50 to 100 grams,  plus the apparatus needed for its proper handling and use to make stuff like small barometers etc – also for it ot be used as a mobile cathode in electroylsis experiments.

“Political Correctness Gone Mad”. I wish…God, how I wish, that it was just some sort of madness…..


  David Davis

……and that this was true and it was just a bad dream, and not a misrepresentation of what “PC” is really for. How many, many times do you read in the papers about some poor, sensible human being, tormented by The Forces of Darkness in the form of officials of some British Soviet or other?

A nice old lady who is forbidden to tidy her grass verge outside her house and plant plants on it, because she must wear a hard hat and a yellow-fascist-jacket, and have cones to stop the traffic?

The Soviet of a large British city which celebrates “winterval”, whatever that is? (Must be Nazi….it sounds sort of neopastoral/Nordic/pagan.)

The (many) schools which do not stage a Nativity Play any more (it’s supposed to be “offensive” to other “faiths”) and in a Christian Nation?

I could go on. You know them all, for you – and the entire civilised world – are all irritated by the supposed need these threatening leftist busybody stormtroopers have for upsetting ordinary conservative people, as some sort of displacement activity to make up for their staggering lack of social graces, or of educational/cultural qualifications of any actual value whatsoever.

“Political Correctness”, as a phrase, shows all the marks of self-regarding intellectual arrogance plus an assumed monopoly of the truth. (And I thought the fascist left derided monopolies?) We liberals, being not (infantile or grown-up) leftists but on the “extreme-right” (their term for our position, not ours!) by contrast know that we ARE correct. This is because history bears out the truth of our hypotheses, about how and why the world and civilised human society functions as it does.

Moreover, we do not distort the terms of civilised discourse by banning the use of certain words that we think can define concepts with which we disagree.

To associate the English word “correct”, with (a) political discourse, and (b) the censorship of words so as to lead to the censorship of ideas, is a crime. I only have to wonder for how long a War Crimes judge will send each of these min-Gramscians to prison for, when we finally get our teeth into their bollocks, in return for all the harm they have done to people.

Merry Christmas, and peace and goodwill to all men – but not to you buggers who are trying to destroy our civilisation. I’m sorry, but I can’t make myself extend the Forgiveness of God at this Christmas time to you bastards. There is too much at stake, too many defenceless people alive whose lives you plan to ruin,  and your gloves have been so very, very off, against us, for so long now, and we have run out of patence with you evil imbeciles.

You understand force and threats and death and abolition of cultural ideas you don’t like; so be careful that your ideas don’t end up perishing in the same way. Better just to become real liberals and forget all that childish Marxist stuff, before it’s too late for you to recant.

HOW LIBERTY DIES…REMOVED YOU-TUBE VIDEO ON SEAN GABBS LAST POSTING TODAY IS ON http://devilskitchen.me.uk


IT’S CALLED   >>>  HOW LIBERTY DIES  <<< RIP IT    RIP IT    RIP IT

Ghastly, sick socialist behaviour by the Gauleiters and “ushers” of the “Europarliament”, against a very very large and loud protest IN THE CHAMBER by EuroMPs.

ACRYLAMIDE…(don’t they mean acrylaldehyde?) and the EU – another assault on FOOD. I mean, what do these fascists want?


David Davis 

“Acrylamide” – CH2=CH-CO-NH2 – a fairly harmless organic intermediate in the production of some forms of plastics, has received a wide press lately, having been slated by the EU (no less!) for “increasing” the risk of uterine and ovarian cancers in “women” – (not in men, I hasten to notice.) it is apparently and allegedly a product of overcooking food in all the “nice” ways; that is to say, toasting and frying it. In fact all the ways that Man had cooked food (except boiling which produces tasteless crud and is the reason that “English” cooking has been satirized and execrated the TV-world over for 60 years, and is why “telechefs” exist at all.)

I mean, yer-no’……can you imagine a world without…..bacon? (No I don’t mean “boiled ham” either…) Or “Barbies”…?

Firstly; the pretentiously-higgorant journos don’t mean “acrylamide” at all – they mean “acrylaldehyde”, which was what we chemists call “acrolein”. It is mildly oxidizing in the presence of liver-alcohol-dehydrogenase, inhibits it, and can extend hangovers caused by other reasons. It tastes and smells nasty and so it therefore might be a little bitty toxic as is the case with other poisons. It is produced in small amounts by carbonizing fried food further than necessary. Its formula is CH2=CH-CHO….a bit different form acrylamide (which does not occur naturally.) (But we’re all going to die anyway sometime; the evolutionists say it’s necessary but I’m one of them and I’m not so sure, for the Universe is quite large.)

The pretentiously-higgorant journos don’t know this of course. They are merely busy imbibing some press-release, rendering its content so it’s a lot less exact than it was, draining it of meaning, and regurgitating some copy.

 The EU has now stipulated that we must not toast bread “more than is absolutely necessary”. We mjust fry potatoes to a “light yellow colour” and not any shade of “brown”. The PM ought to listen here.

Truly, we have become their farm animals. They are doing this for “our good”. Bugger them then, for a start. They’ll be telling us not to smoke next.

I think that the fascist master “Honestiories” want the “Humiliories” to eat tasteless nasty food as befits (our) station.

“THE NAZI DIET” ….. interesting search-engine term. I wonder what it can mean?


David Davis 

I don’t know, do you? I mean, don’t socialists have more or less the same dietary requirements as ordinary people?

Fascist assaults on Advertising gather pace; now it’s the turn of “junk foods” and “alcohol”.


David Davis 

The Sunday Telegraph carried in its business setcion a thingy saying “new ad curbs would slash TV income.” The gist is that proposed “controls” (it’s “for the children” of course) and a 9pm “watershed” for ads for the next things this gumment disapproves of will lower the share prices of the TV contractors further, and “cost the advertising industry” £250million.

ALL THE BLASTED STUPID MYOPIC BUGGERS, collecting their salaries for the now, HAVE MISSED THE POINT. They are heading for disaster, rather fast.

They will go the way of the cigarette manufacturers in the last century, as they will not make this fight a fight about individual freedom and censorship, which is actually what it is.

In a market-civilisation, advertising is essential to individual liberty. Advertising a good product, or one which people want, ensures its success. Advertising a bad product causes it to be garotted fast and relatively painlessly, except for the maker who chiefly suffers, but that’s freedom for you.

Socialists and other Nazis can’t take this at all. They are so hung up on “planning” and direction of masses of people that they just can’t see that successful advetising means there has to have been a successful and wanted product, which people, er, wanted. If they did not want it, they would not buy it. They even teach my students that “advertising makes people buy things they don’t want or need.” Yes, they do, in England, in 2007. It’s difficult to combat except one-2-one, when you can use logic and reason, but you can do it, slowly. (But that’s not enough.)

Many of you here know the pre-capitalist societies of Central and Eastern Europe pre-1989. There was by then little or no advertising – notwithstanding that there were rather few goods available anyway. This was not the fault of producers, who were not allowed. Totalitarian societies are characterized by the lack of goods and info thereof, and the plethora of State glorification of their leaders and “parties”. We are heading that way rather quickly in England.

In about 1980 I was asked with a good friend, now a succesful London IP lawyer, to draft a case for tobacco advertising, courtesy of Peter Marsh, of Allen Brady and Marsh, for whom I worked at that time. (Rod Allen died recently.) This would be presented to a committee of marketing directors of the major tobacco companies, in support of their opposition to an ad-ban. My friend and I came up with a liberal (I would not go so far as to say Libertarian) defence of any advertising including that for tobacco products, based on the fact that control of information, or its suppression, amounted to censorship. We said that if the product was legal to make and sell and own, then people who made it ought to be allowed to speak well of it. Any encroachment on their ability to do so would amount to suppression of free speech, and oculd not be tolerated in a free Market-Civilisation. Thatcher was young, FOREST was young, and they might just have got away with it while the enemy-class flank was unguarded.

Instead, the report was blown out. They said “we can’t get away with this”. They decided to try and contradict the medical evidence about lung cancer (not possible to do) and also to try to say “advertising is all about getting the consumer to switch brands”…”we can switch them to “lower tar” brands!”

I and my friend said we would recommend this plan if they took it up as they wanted to, as a recipe for utter disaster, and ultimate defeat by the State.

The rest, as they say, is history. (Our recommendations were not adopted, although dear Peter Marsh endorsed every word.)

So, now that smoking is almost outlawed, people, espeically  poor people, drink heavily and eat nice-tasting food from hot-food-joints, to help distance themselves from the eternal hellfire of safety-socialism for a few minutes or hours more. The state-sponsored prevalence of post-Christian atheism means that they can’t expect anything after this life (the gumment says so) and nobody believes all those Moslems about all those virgins anyway, and half of the poor buggers are also non-virgin women and certainly not lesbians as they have children, so where do they go to, then? Hell? 

So there is only tobacco (where still allowed) burgers and chips, and drink.  Gambling will stop when they poor-buggers all run out of money, and as the state is bust there won’t be able to be a “weekly lucky chance benefit payment” scheme (to keep it running) masterminded by that man whose name I can’t remember but who is described as a “Chancellor of an Exchequer”.

There is talk that the “industry” will “work with” the gumment. That, alas, is what happened last time.

Those who do not learn from history will be condemned to repeat it.

Libertarian overtakes Marxism on Google. (2nd July 2007, an update of that position.)


The first part is what the title was.

Here are today’s results from about a minute ago:

Libertarian = (about) 11,600,000

Marxist = (about) 8,370,000

Marxism = (about) 6,420,000

And some addons, now, for some effect;

“Right Wing” = 3,350,000

Interestingly, “liberal” = (about) 77,200,000

“left liberal” = 294,000 (really? That little?) (almost-real lefties, sort of holograms of one)

“genuine liberal” (that is to say, REAL lefties who are Stalinists and Castro-worshippers) = 17,100 (WHAT??????)

and………….

 “Fascist Bastard” (see Freedom and Whisky for more about this animal) = 713  (yes just 713.) 

Are we on the “right” (I will use the enemy’s terms here, so that their deluded map-readers can tell their Gauleiters where we are sitting, so they can throw stuff at us) all just the victims of a smoke-and-mirrors-game? Will we all wake up in a minute and find it’s just been a bad dream, and the world really is a Market-Civilisation after all?