Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Case for Scepticism

On Being Uncertain:
A Case for Scepticism
by Sean Gabb

I will write nothing yet again about the great issues of the day. I will instead respond to several of my readers who objected to my confession of scepticism in my last piece about ghosts. I am asked how I can be a sceptic when our knowledge of the world is based on such sure foundations. How can I deny the obvious, and so join myself to the nihilists whose own course of doubt ends in the various kinds of political correctness, and whose denial of reality in earlier generations cleared the way for the gulag and the holocaust?

My answer is that the probability of a belief is not determined by its alleged consequences. As for nihilism, I am not devoid of belief. I have strong beliefs, indeed, on just about every subject. I am a sceptic in the sense that I do not believe rational certainty to be possible in any of these subjects. In arguing this, I do not pretend to originality. Nor do I claim that this will be an academically useful essay. I am writing while sat on a railway train, far away from my books. If I draw on the thoughts of Plato, Lucretius, Cicero, Sextus Empiricus, Descartes, Berkeley and Hume, it is without consulting them on any point, and often without having read them for many years. I will use and conflate and alter the ideas of others as I see fit to argue my case. This being said, I will begin. Continue reading

On Ghosts and the Supernatural

On Ghosts and the Supernatural
by Sean Gabb

One of my readers has asked me to give up for the moment on political controversy—where I have been, during this present year, writing with equal passion and lack of influence—and turn instead to the existence of ghosts. Here, I will oblige him to the best of my ability.

When asked about ghosts, Dr Johnson once affirmed their existence, giving in support the universal testimony of mankind. He had a point. In all times and places, and often without external influence, people have believed in life after death. Our earliest recognisable ancestors buried each other with their household goods, thereby showing a belief that these would be of continued use. Every nation of which I know has believed that the dead could be somehow brought in contact with the living. In the 12th book of the Odyssey, for example, Ulysses sacrifices a sheep, fills a trench with its blood, and waits for the ghosts that surround him to drink until they become visible and he can question them. In the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh—which I have yet to read—I believe that the spirits of the dead are summoned and questioned. My Chinese and Japanese students have told me some of their own traditional ghost stories. Turn where you will, people believe and have believed in ghosts. Who am I to doubt such universal testimony? Continue reading

The Lurking Shadow People

by Jason Offutt

Note: A surprising number of our visitors have an interest in shadow people. Since we are nothing if not inclusive, here is one specially for them. SIG

The Lurking Shadow People

“This scares me and I don’t know what it is. I have been seeing them since I was a little girl. Always outta the corner of my eye a tall black shadow. I always feel like something or someone is by me. Last night I went down to my bedroom. There it was. Standing next to my dresser. I ran upstairs crying to my mom. She went down and looked saying it was only ’cause I was overtired. But I KNOW what I saw. It was so scary. I don’t know what it is. I need all the help I can get!” – Jessica’s cry for help, 10, January 2010. Continue reading

Is this legal under English Law?

For those who may not recognise it, this is Caravaggio’s St John the Baptist, which is currently on display in Siena Cathedral. The artist was apparently in the habit of treating his boy models in a way that would give Esther Rantzen a stroke. Should any English tourist suspected of looking at this be arrested and charged on his return from Italy? Or is it only proley paedos who get done in England? Continue reading

George Orwell and the Paranormal

Orwell and the Paranormal, by Philip Bounds

George Orwell sometimes complained that the English were incapable of intellectual consistency. One of the areas in which his own inconsistencies were most fascinatingly on display was that of the paranormal. As an atheist who was deeply interested in the ethical, cultural and religious consequences of the decline of religious faith, Orwell might have been expected to eschew all talk of ghosts, mediumship and psychokinesis.

In fact he had a casual interest in such things that lasted for the whole of his adult life. While at Eton he famously tore the leg off an effigy of an older pupil called Philip Yorke, reacting with horror shortly afterwards when Yorke died of leukaemia. More than thirty years later one of his last book reviews was a respectful account of Jean Burton’s Heyday of a Wizard, a well-documented biography of the Victorian medium Daniel Dunglas Home.

In between came a fleeting encounter with a ghost in Walberswick cemetery, correspondence with Sacheverell Sitwell on the subject of poltergeists and several other brushes with the world of the unknown. Whatever else it might have done, Orwell’s atheism did not preclude the feeling that there was more in heaven and earth than was dreamed of in Bertrand Russell’s philosophy.

Why was Orwell interested in the paranormal? And to what did extent did his fascination with it relate to his wider intellectual concerns? His most deeply considered remarks about the paranormal grew out of his engagement with literary modernism.

Several of the British modernists were Continue reading

No Matter, No Master: Godwin’s Humean Anarchism

by Roderick Long
No Matter, No Master: Godwin’s Humean Anarchism

The following article was written by Roderick T. Long for the SEASECS conference – February 2008 and linked on his Austro-Athenian Empire, May 10th, 2010.

William Godwin (1756-1836) is often regarded as essentially a Berkeleyan in his metaphysics and a Rousseauvian in his social philosophy. For example, Peter Marshall in his biography William Godwin describes Berkeley as “Godwin’s principal mentor in immaterialism” (p. 367); as for the Rousseau connection, Walter Bagehot described Godwin as “a disciple of Rousseau” (Economic Studies, 2nd ed., pp. 135-6), while Peter Landry more recently claims (incredibly, I should say) that Godwin “followed along in the footsteps of Rousseau in his nostalgia for the simple and the primitive.” (Biographical Sketches: The Thinkers.) Continue reading

The Fight for Faith

Christian Soldiers in Spiritual Conflict

Dr Alan C. Clifford

O HEAVENLY Father, the Father of all wisdom, understanding and true strength, we beseech Thee look mercifully upon Thy servants, and send Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, that when we must join to fight in the field for the glory of Thy Holy Name, we being strengthened with the defence of Thy right hand, may manfully stand in the confession of Thy faith and of Thy truth, and continue in the same unto the end of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Nicholas Ridley, bishop and martyr, 1555. Continue reading

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A Brief Argument for English Independence

A Brief Argument for English Independence
by Sean Gabb

The normal English response to Scottish nationalism is to ignore it, or to see it as an irritation, or to try shouting it down with reminders of all that shared history, or to point out the value of English subsidies and to wait for common sense to win the argument. None of these, I suggest, is an appropriate response. None takes into account that England and Scotland are different nations, and that the loudest and most energetic part of the Scottish nation has decided that the current union of the nations is not in Scottish interests. This does not make it inevitable that the union will be dissolved. It does, however, make this desirable. Scotland may or may not have suffered from the union. But the union has done much to bring England to the point of collapse, and it strikes me as reasonable to say that England can never be safe while there are Scottish members in the Westminster Parliament. Continue reading

The Joy of Puritanism

Ian B take note!

T H E  J O Y  O F  T H E  P U R I T A N S
Dr Alan C. Clifford


Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Nehemiah, Ezra et al (Nehemiah 8: 10) Continue reading

Shadow People: Attacks On Humans Increasing

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My novel, The Break, is a story of largely supernatural catastrophe. No shadow people here, but plenty of action, various scummy politicians, and a happy ending. SIG

Note: Will it bring men in white coats knocking on my door if I say that I “saw” such creatures when I was a very young child? That doesn’t mean I believe in their existence. Seeing things that aren’t there and can’t be there may be a part of tuning the human mind. But it’s interesting to read that others have seen them. Mr Blake describes one in his Blood of Alexandria. SIG

Second Note (26th April 2012): I’m reblogging this because people won’t stop looking at it. Continue reading

ConservativeHome’s Local Government Blog: From Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column


From Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column

Interesting item about Labour controlled Lewisham Council in the Rotten Boroughs column of the current issue of Private Eye. It concerns their Staying Put scheme. This is the scheme where home improvements are funded so that disabled people can remain at home – which they generally prefer than institutional care which would also be much more expensive to the taxpayer.

However, Private Eye adds:

That’s the theory. But after David and Sepi Peckover, from south London. applied to Lewisham Council for help building a loft extension so that their son, who from suffers asperger’s syndrome, could be cared for at home they ended up homeless with their house an uninhabitable wreck. Seven years after their nightmare began they are still living in ‘temporary’ accommodation with nod idea when they will be able to return to their home. And they reckon the saga has cost taxpayers at least £300,000 – so far.

The item goes on to detail years of delay with the Council’s Staying Put team and the Council’s Planning Department blaming each other for failure to produce the correct drawings. Calls went answered. Staff illness was blamed. More delay.

Eventually, work started in 2006, three years after the process began. But failure by the council to pay for the work on time led to the builders downing tools while the roof was off – leaving the interior exposed to heavy rain in the winter of 2007 which rendered the house uninhabitable. The council’s building control officers then expressed grave concerns about the substandard work their own grant surveyor colleagues had released money for. Three years later the Peckover’s house remains a wreck and they are reduced to living on benefits.

ConservativeHome’s Local Government Blog: From Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column

Precious: Film Review by Robert Henderson


Precious little to celebrate

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

 Main characters
Gabourey Sidibe as Claireece Precious Jones
Mo’Nique as Mary Lee Johnston
Paula Patton as Ms. Blu Rain
Mariah Carey as Ms. Weiss
Lenny Kravitz as Nurse John McFadden 

Director : Lee Daniels

Film Review
Robert Henderson

If  Joseph Goebbels was alive today and  wanted to make a propaganda film depicting  blacks as untermenschen, how would he go about it?  Well, the first thing he would do is  make the central characters  physical grotesques . They would be unambiguously black .   Their  behaviour would be gross and feckless, their living conditions slovenly.  Their intellectual incapacity  would probably  be demonstrated by showing  a  black character struggling with  an IQ  test.   They would be generally  portrayed as  unable to either attend to their own lives or be anything than other than a drain on society

As counters to the blacks,  Goebbels might place whites in positions of authority over the black characters and, a subtle touch this, have a hierarchy of  mixed race characters between the black characters and the whites to project the idea  that the whiter the person the nearer they are to being fully fledged human beings. This would be done by ensuring that the  whiter the mixed race character,  the higher their status, the better educated, the  more physically attractive and  the better behaved they are.  

To put the cherry on the cake, Goebbels could show the black lead character  longing for what she cannot have, namely, to be white. The overarching propaganda message would be that blacks are incapable of living independent lives without white supervision and maintenance.

Well, Goebbels is not alive but Lee Daniels is.  His  lead character Precious  is a sixteen year old who is pregnant with her second child. She  is grotesquely fat, ugly  and very black.  Her mother (Mo’Nique) is someone whose life revolves around the maintenance of her benefits and  whose natural method of discourse with her daughter is one of screeching abuse and violence. When not engaging in such pleasantries, she lolls around eating junk food, drinking and watching TV (Precious has much the same tastes when it comes to filling in her spare time).  She positively doesn’t want to work.  The flat Precious and her mother  live in is disordered and dirty. 

Precious’ father is absent but appears occasionally to rape her. The rapes have resulted in a Downs Syndrome child and  the pregnancy which occurs during the film. Precious’ mother fraudulently claims benefits for the child who is looked after by its grandmother.

The unambiguous blacks who provide the background music against which the main characters enact their dismal lives are all similarly uncontrolled  in their behaviour and hopeless in their present condition and prospects.

There is a constant lurking atmosphere  of violence and verbal abuse. Precious herself unthinkingly resorts to it when it suits her, throwing a young child to the ground for no greater crime than asking her a harmless question when she is in a bad mood or thumping a black boy in her mainstream school class who is causing uproar.

Precious wants to be white. Her  sexual fantasies revolve around  her white teacher and later a male nurse who is as good as white, When she looks in the mirror she see herself transformed into a slim blonde.

As for intellectual  incompetence, Precious is depicted as at  least functionally illiterate. When she takes an IQ test  and makes a complete mess of it, she is heard thinking to herself how she never could get on with “them tests”.   (This is more than a little absurd because Precious is portrayed at the beginning of the film as having a talent for maths. It is improbable that someone would have a talent for maths and struggle unduly with IQ tests).

Daniels uses colour-coding for status in much the  same way as British directors used  class in the forties and fifties, where,for example,  a police drama would  almost invariably cast  the beat coppers as working class, the inspectors as middle class and the chief constables as toffs.

White authority  appears in  the unlikely form of  Mariah Carey as Precious’ social worker, Ms Weiss. IN  a surprisingly  convincing performance  Carey adroitly captures the clinically detached and terminally irritating manner beloved of  those who write social work manuals. She behaves towards  Precious as an anthropologist would a girl belonging to a recently discovered deep jungle tribe whose mores have yet to be neatly catalogued and whose behaviour  elicits no emotional response beyond that of curiosity. 

The intermediate racial coding message is primarily transmitted  through Precious’ attendance at the  special school which she attends after leaving her mainstream school early in the film following the discovery of her  pregnancy.  None of her fellow students there is white or as unambiguously black as Precious herself .

Her  teacher at the school is  played by Paula Patton, an actress towards the extreme end of  what thorough going blacks would describe as “honky“,  with light skin,  Caucasian features and a manner and accent that would not to frighten the middle class white liberal horses should she be invited to one of their dinner parties.  (Ever noticed how the “blacks” who achieve celebrity in the US  and Britain are overwhelmingly those with a very heavy admixture of white blood? Think Thandie Newton in the world of films and Colin Powell and Condeleeza Rice in politics) . The only thing unambiguously black about Patton’s character is her absurd name, Blu Rain.

Ms Rain does not merely act as Precious’ educational mentor, she turns into an ersatz social worker when Precious finds herself homeless after a fight with her mother, giving her temporary accommodation and finding her a permanent place to live.  Once again, Precious plays  the dependant of someone less black than herself.

You might imagine from my description that the film was the child of white supremacists. Now here is an extraordinary  thing,   Daniels is black. Why is a black director portraying blacks in such a depressing way and demeaning way? One answer might be that he is simply trying to ingratiate himself with his white film making peers. Or the film could even be seen as a dark satire on the view of blacks which blacks think whites hold of them.

Those are pretty implausible explanations. Try this instead : Daniels has lost patience with blacks who aren‘t middleclass and educated or at least blacks who conform to the stereotype of wastrel blacks.    The most celebrated black American  director Spike Lee  did so some time ago, a fact he signalled with  his film  Jungle Fever in which an educated  black aspiring successfully to a professional career is constantly fearful of  being dragged back to his ghetto origins by his junkie brother and is assailed with doubts about how far the middle class white world really accepts him as an equal whatever their outward attitudes may be. 

A parallel can be found in the English radical film maker Mike Leigh.  Leigh’s equivalent of the black underclass is the white working class.  Like many white middle class intellectuals on the British post-war left,  Leigh wanted the white working class to remain true to their proletarian roots. He started by  conscientiously making unashamedly  agitprop films  such as  High Hopes and Naked! but gradually lost heart in the ideal of  an eternal proletarian purity as the English  working class  stubbornly failed to resist the temptations of aspiring to at least the material fruits of a middle class life . Today he makes films which commonly depict the working class as losers who are  barely able to survive in the modern world

But if Daniels has lost patience with the black underclass he hasn’t  jettisoned his sense of black victimhood.  He  may find the black underclass unsavoury, but instead of  blaming  them he prefers to peddle that most potent drug, the prisoner of circumstance apologia. The  film’s message is the black underclass is what it is because of forces beyond their control.   Precious is the prisoner of her mother but her mother is the prisoner of guess what,  the ol’ whitey devised (and largely funded benefits system.) To make sure you get the point the white social worker Ms Weiss says to Precious “Look at what benefits have done to your mother”.

The film just about restrains itself from saying overtly that  welfare is  a white plot to  debilitate and control blacks along the lines of  the widely believed fantasies (widely believed by American blacks) that  Aids and crack cocaine were foisted on blacks by the white American elite, but that is the implied message.

The film ends on what is  meant to be an uplifting note, but bottom line is that Precious is still massively obese, ugly,  an unmarried teenage mother with two children, one of whom is severely disabled, no man,  dependent on benefits  and  under the supervision of her white social worker, a rather  strange set of circumstances  to lift the spirits.

 If I was an American black I think I would be more than a mite put out by this portrayal of black American society, not simply because of the brutality and hopelessness of the lives depicted, but at the unspoken message:  blacks are prisoners of circumstantial chains  which few of them can break. 

None of this is to say it’s a bad film. It is  well acted, moves  at a decent pace with (thankfully) little sentimentality or preaching.  There is also a certain massive doggedness about the character of Precious which engenders sympathy. 

There is one glaring storyline implausibility.  Both Precious and her horror of a mother are depicted as being  vehemently anti-drug, despite living in a social slot where drugs are the norm. The idea that they would both have not only resisted using   drugs but be positively evangelical about their evils is  ludicrous. 

I saw the film in London’s West End, an area with dozens of cinemas, many of them multiplexes.  Despite its recent release and the very extensive favourable media coverage it has received in Britain,  I could only find two screens, both in multiplexes, showing the film.  That speaks volumes about the assessment of British distributors  of the commercial potential of the film.

Postscript:  At the viewing of Precious there was a trailer for another film out of the same “what do we do about the black underclass” stable , The Blind Side.  This dealt with a white liberal family taking in a black “troubled”  youth. The trailer suggests  it is wondrously patronising (of blacks).  If I can summon up the will to drag myself through it, I will  write a review of it.

Robert Henderson 28 2 2010

The Blind Side – Film Review by Robert Henderson

There is none so blind that can PeeCee.

The Blind Side

128 minutes

Main cast: Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw, Kathy |Bates, Jae Head, Lily Collins

Director John Lee Hancock

If you require a primer on the white liberal mentality in general and their perception of blacks in particular this is your film,

“The blind Side” ploughs the same rescuing-the-black-underclass furrow as “Precious” . But where “Precious” depicts the central character in the context of her day-to-day ghetto life and allows her to have some distinctly rough and unappealing edges, her equivalent in “The Blind Side” is a paragon, albeit one so bloodless as to be next to transparent. , Both films are fairy stories:  “Precious” is one by the Brothers Grimm, “The Blind Side”  a  white liberal version of  “And they all lived happily ever after”.

So off we go. Once upon a time there was a  rich white family consisting of Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw), a son of about eight known as SJ (Jae Head) and a teenage daughter who decide to take in a homeless black adolescent named Michael Oyers (Quinton Aaron) despite being (shock, horror!) Republicans, Christians and Southerners.

As befits a fairy story, Michael is a truly fabulous creature.  At the beginning of the film he is sixteen or seventeen. We are told that his mother is a hopeless crack addict who has borne  ” twelve children… or maybe more”  to  many of  whom she cannot  put a father  (when the mother fleetingly   appears she is the healthiest looking long  term crack user and  high-volume producer of offspring you ever did see.)

Michael’s childhood has supposedly been a mixture of physical, material and emotional insecurity in a classic  black ghetto – a violent, drug infested world – , glimpses of which were are shown as he occasionally revisits the projects where he grew up.  At the beginning of the film we are told that his  education has been next to non-existent and  his IQ has tested as a lowly 80. .  However, Michael has two things going for him: he is very large and very athletic. This gets him  into a decent private school where he encounters the Tuohys, whose children attend the school,  and eventually to university and a professional American football career.

Despite his upbringing  Michael is conscientiously non-violent, won’t look at a drug, finds alcohol distasteful and, Heaven forefend,  shows no apparent sexual interest in girls, despite being a teenager  with presumably raging hormones.   Even more amazing he has perfect manners. After his first  night at the Tuohys,   he immaculately  folds the bedclothes he has been given before leaving the house.  A little later there is an unintentionally hilarious scene when the family celebrates Thanksgiving. While  the Tuohys  take their plates and sit around the television, Michael, bless his ghetto etiquette educated heart, takes his plate to eat from the dining table.  Leigh Anne sees this and the Tuohys are  immediately shepherded  to the dining table to follow the superior manners of  their remarkable  guest.

The family are equally unbelievable in their reception of Michael. Leigh Anne is a veritable modern Mrs Jellaby, the terminally disagreeable character in Dickens’ Bleak House  who is  deeply concerned with the benighted natives of Africa and  negligent  of her own children.  She does not go to Africa for her benighted native, she finds him on her doorstep, the boy being  invited into the house  in the most casual way when she encounters him walking along a road,  never having previously spoken to the boy . From that  wildly  implausible start, Michael becomes a permanent fixture in the home without any meaningful discussion amongst the family as to whether he should do so.  Not only does no  word of protest about this gross intrusion into their lives fall  from the lips of the husband or children,  the family  immediately re-orients their lives to make Michael the focus of their family and fall over themselves to be nice to him – the son SJ does this in an extravagantly  precocious manner which would incline one to forgive Herod if the wretched child  had been included in the slaughter of the first-born.   Most wondrously, the  children  show no resentment or jealously  no matter how extravagantly their parents pander to Michael and, boy, do they pander.

Michael  is given his own newly furnished room, fed and clothed, provided with a private tutor (Kathy Bates) to help him get the grades he needs to take up a football scholarship, is taught to drive  and on his birthday receives as a present from the family a brand-new sports-utility vehicle.

When Michael celebrates his new car by taking the Tuohys’ son for a ride he crashes due to his wilful  inattention and injures SJ.  Leigh Anne far from being in a rage about the injury to her only son is all concern for Michael’s feelings and rushes to assure him it wasn’t his fault. The rest of the family don’t refer to the accident. The final cherry on the let’s-be-nice-to-Michael-at-any-cost-cake is the Tuoys offering to be Michael’s guardian, something which is met with universal  hyperbolic family joy.
This eerily unreal air of ecstatic jubilation at Michael’s very existence exuded by the Touhys seeps over into the parade of university reps who come to try to persuade Michael to  attend their university.

The  white liberal guilt trip rises to a crescendo when Michael is interviewed by a public official about why he wants to go to a certain university. The official is a black woman who is concerned that ol’ whitey is up to his evil ways by trying to emotionally capture black boys with athletic talent  who they can then direct to their own satisfaction. . She suggests to Michael that the only reason the Tuohys have done all that they have done for him is because they wish to direct his athletic  prowess to their old university. Notwithstanding the preternatural generosity shown him, Michael immediately becomes outraged at this shocking thought and  turns on Leigh Anne before going missing. Cue for  Leigh Anne  agonising about whether she and her family  have been trying to make choices for him, She frantically seeks Michael out and, wait for it, apologises for  even suggesting that he might want to go to a university for which she had affection.

But the  liberal  desire to wallow in guilt is a form of masochism, and like all masochists they wish to control the pain. They are happy to humiliate themselves only on their terms,   This means Apart from a few snatches of ghetto life “The Blind Side” takes place in a remarkably white world  of white home, white school, white tutor, white football coach. If there is an abuse of Michael it is his almost complete removal from people of his own race.  What the Tuohys want is a Michael  made in their image. .

There are three important  sub-plots. The first concerns anyone Leigh Anne knows or meets who makes any suggestion which can be interpreted as racist, a word which in the strange world liberals have foisted upon us can mean virtually any expression of opinion which is other than wildly enthusiastic about the joy of diversity. Leigh Anne’s lunching club female friends who have the temerity to suggest that she might be biting off more than she can chew or that this is just her latest worthy cause, are first reprimanded then cast into the outer darkness after one of them is rash enough to suggest there might be just a hint of danger in having a large black male adolescent in their house when they have an attractive  teenage daughter. This, of course, panders to another primary white liberal trait, an intense desire to play the role of the morally superior being.;

The second involves Michael’s education.  As already mentioned,  his IQ is   a “tested 80″ , a surprising intrusion of realism into the film because  the average IQ of American blacks is 85 .  However, that is where the realism ends about Michael’s intellectual ability  because he then proceeds with the help of a special tutor to gain the necessary grades for university entrance.

 The film does not actually say so, but the clear implication is that those pesky old IQ tests which are always showing blacks with a substantially lower average IQ than whites or Far East Asians such as the Chinese are really just indicators of social circumstances. (Interestingly, “Precious”  uses the same device with the central character making a mess of an IQ test early in the film).  This is an unpersuasive argument because ,despite the vast amount of money and manpower put into schemes such as Head Start, there has never been a proven case of IQ being substantially and permanently raised by teaching.  There is also the glaring fact that if it were possible to raise IQ substantially and permanently by teaching  the rich would long ago have purchased the privilege for their children. They have not because no such teaching exists.

The upshot is we are left with the startling idea that someone with an IQ of 80 can handle a degree course, startling because an IQ of 80 is the point at which most psychologists working in the field of intelligence testing think that an individual begins to struggle to live an independent life in a developed economy such as the USA.  Just to add to the wonder of it all, Michael, someone who supposedly has had no meaningful education until he is sixteen or thereabouts, is writing fluently about his life not long after we first  meet him  and before he has a personal tutor.

The third  sub-plot is the absurd portrayal of  Leigh Anne as a dominant woman.  The white men she meets throughout the film are wet in the extreme, an amazing fact as the main white male characters are all southerners, folk not generally noted for their subservience to the gentler sex.  .  Leigh Anne  addresses them as if they were naughty schoolboys in the manner of  a dominatrix with  the type of  shouty all purpose  “Southern” accent that is the American equivalent of the English “Mummerset”, To this  abuse  these Southern males merely bow their heads meekly and gaze in wonder at the marvel of the woman.  The nonsense reaches its apogee when at the end of the film she is searching for the missing Michael and ventures into the ghetto from which Michael has supposedly come. Here she harangues  a distinctly nasty looking gang of “rude boys” who cringe before her threats.  In the real world she would most probably have ended up dead or raped or both.

There are other problems with the film. The Tuohy family seem to live in a world of  not only almost perpetual circumstantial light, but of light which is dazzling. Nothing but nothing brings gloom and doom, not even SJ’s injury.   The characterisation is one-dimensional with Michael being  little more than a looming physical presence who acts as a reflecting board for the white liberal mentality.

The screenplay has been written by numbers with frequent exchanges of brute sentimentality.  The writers fondly imagine that they have been subtle in putting in the odd scene which clashes with the general air of undiluted worship of Michael, for example, on  the boy’s  first night in the Tuohys’ house  Leigh Anne makes a show of wondering if he is going to steal form them or wreck the place.  However, when such scenes arise, and they are very occasional, the non-pc thought is immediately squashed by a another scene which shows how ridiculous and racist is the very idea of Michael behaving badly .

 The screenplay’s cringe-making quality  is epitomised by the exchange when Michael is asked whether he wants the Tuohys to become his guardians: “Would you like to become part of the family, Michael?”. Michael: “I thought I already was”. There are plenty of other saccharine gems like that so those diligent enough to see the film are advised not to eat anything before viewing.

That this ridiculous piece of  political correct agitprop should have not only been an Oscar contender,  but landed Sandra Bullock the Oscar for best actress (no pc whining about gender specific awards when it suits the feminists note) demonstrates the grip which political correctness has on the US elite. . Unlike “Precious” which was a powerful film, this is simply feeble failing on every important criterion by which a film is judged: plot, screenplay, characterisation, and  acting. If you must see it, go as a duty to see what the multicultural  enemy is up to  not for recreation.

Why do white liberals behave in this grotesquely patronising fashion? Simple, blacks are their clients not their friends. Liberals do not see blacks as equals or even as fully fledged human beings. They relate to them in much the same way they might view an exotic animal which has become a fashionable pet.

 The problem with being a client of those with power and influence is that fashions change. In Britain forty years ago the role of liberal client  was played by the white working class, now the position is filled by a growing army of ethnic minorities.  The white working class lost their position by  disgracing  themselves in white liberal eyes through their failure to accept that they should  remain as pristine proletarians jealously guarding their working class culture without any aspiration to become middle class and  because of their growing hostility to the consequences of the white liberal policy of mass immigration, consequences which those who promoted the immigration ensured they avoided.

What would an interesting film involving white liberals acting as Lady Bountiful  to the black underclass be like in these pc times? How about this, a white liberal  family  takes in an adolescent  black ghetto gang member  who is heavily into drugs and guns, is functionally illiterate, has no inclination to be educated and  is sexually incontinent.

The white family then go on one of those  “journeys”  beloved of progressives,  from liberal fantasists to  race realists as the erstwhile gang member introduces the children to drugs, gets the teenage daughter pregnant, robs the family, beats up the parents and reduces the family home to ashes in an act of arson before being gunned down after re-joining his  ghetto  gang , I am not saying that would represent everyday reality, but it would be a good deal more plausible than “The Blind Side.”

Somehow I doubt whether that film will ever see the light of day.

Robert Henderson
31 3 2010

Zorba the Greek: Avoid the Film, Avoid Crete

Sean Gabb

Like many “classics of the cinema”, this film is best avoided by anyone who just wants to be entertained. The film itself is boring. And the portrayal of Cretan culture has put me so much off the island that I never plan to go there again. Most peasant cultures are vile. Cretan peasant culture is probably about as vile as Sicilian. Search me why the Turks so wanted to hold onto the place.

Next time I have a choice between Zorba the Greek and some black and white film in Swedish about lesbians dying of consumption, I’ll take the latter.

Democratic Art: The Non-Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 186
10th September 2009
Linking url:
Available for debate on LA Blog at

Democratic Art: The Non-Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy
by Sean Gabb

Last week, I sent out a brief note, lamenting the seventieth anniversary of our declaration of war on Germany. Most of the replies were positive, and I suspect that the burden of proof is now shifting to those who still believe in the absolute rightness of the second world war. However, this is not a matter I wish here to discuss. One of my correspondents sent me a link to what he described as a poem by Carol Ann Duffy, who is the new Poet Laureate. He suggested that I might find it agreeable.

Let me give the piece in full. It was written to commemorate the death of the last known British veteran of the Great War, who received a state funeral in August this year. As published in The Times, it goes as follows:

Last Post Carol Ann Duffy

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin
that moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud . . .
but you get up, amazed, watch bled bad blood
run upwards from the slime into its wounds;
see lines and lines of British boys rewind
back to their trenches, kiss the photographs from home —
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers
not entering the story now
to die and die and die.
Dulce — No — Decorum — No — Pro patria mori.
You walk away.
You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)
like all your mates do too —
Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert —
and light a cigarette.
There’s coffee in the square,
warm French bread
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queuing up for home. Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from History; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.
You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile.
If poetry could truly tell it backwards,
then it would

I do agree with the sentiment. I wish the Asquith Government had told the French and the Belgians to look to themselves in August 1914. Failing that, I wish we had made peace at the end of 1916. Failing that, I wish Tsar Nicholas had not been the only projector of the Great War to meet his just end. I wish, at the end of 1918, all the politicians who had rushed us into the catastrophe, and all the generals who had coordinated it, and all the newspaper editors who had jollied things along, and all the businessmen who had financed or built and fed the guns, and all the priests who had blessed them, could have been put up against a wall and machine gunned to death. But for the lunacy that began in Sarajevo, Lenin would have died a refugee in Geneva, Stalin would eventually have been caught and hanged for his bank robberies, and pictures modestly signed “AH” would be turning up now and again in the less prestigious auction rooms.

But if I agree with Miss Duffy that war is evil, I do not find her means of saying it in the least agreeable. I do not share my correspondent’s belief that she is a great poet. I do not even believe she is a bad poet. If Last Post is a fair sample of her work, I can only say that she no poet at all. She may have been appointed to an office previously filled by Dryden and Wordsworth and Tennyson. But she seems to stand in a tradition that reaches back through Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath and Ezra Pound to at least the 1920s. This makes her yet another poetic equivalent of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Now, in making such a claim, I accept that the burden of proof is on me. The critics and, it appears, much of the reading public agree that Miss Duffy is a poet. I disagree. I need, therefore, to explain myself.

I will begin by defining poetry as an exalted, rhythmical speech. This is not an arbitrary definition, but is true both historically and by necessity.  In every civilisation of which I know, poetry has been the earliest literature. Without writing, a text can be preserved, over many generations, only by composing it in a language somewhat removed from that ordinarily spoken, and by arranging the words into regular and predictable patterns. It can then be memorised. It can be handed down with a minimum of corruption, because its form allows corruptions to be easily found and corrected.

The spread of literacy allows the development of prose. This does not mean that rhythm and other poetic devices can be ignored. Good prose can be as carefully written as poetry. In the best Greek and Latin and English prose, obvious attention has been given to the choice and patterning of words. The difference is that the rhythmical patterning of prose is less intended to aid memorisation than add to its meaning, and so can be more open.

Nor does the development of prose make poetry redundant. The authority of the earliest literature will have created a tradition within which some writers choose to continue. It will also be found that certain kinds of utterance remain more suited to poetry. In a literate age, the natural medium of philosophy and the sciences will be prose, and writers such as Lucretius and Erasmus Darwin will be regarded as more or less eccentric. But for certain kinds of narrative, and for the expression of powerful emotions, poetry will remain the natural medium.

This is an historical matter. The necessity follows from the meaning of words. If the word “poetry” is to have any meaning, it needs to be kept distinct in its forms from prose. There is no reason in itself why I should not call the first paragraph of this article a sonnet. There is no reason in itself why I should not define a fugue as a piece of music that has one theme in the tonic, another in the dominant, a development passage, and then a recapitulation of both themes in the tonic. For that matter, I could define a triangle as a quadrilateral with four right angles, or a cactus as a small arthropod animal, having an adult stage characterized by three pairs of legs and a body segmented into head, thorax, and abdomen. I could do all of this. But the result would be an intellectual mess. So far as I impressed my definitions on other minds, it would lessen the value of our language as a means of communication. Therefore, while much of the Old Testament was composed as poetry, the Authorised Version in English – however exalted in tone, or beautiful, or “poetic” – is prose.

Having said what it is not, I will now return to the matter of what poetry is. Of course, it is not the same as mathematics. In every language, its forms will be different. Even so, it is always a rhythmical composition more or less heightened by the use of other devices. These various devices can be isolated and analysed. Let me illustrate this definition with an example. I will take the first of the Shropshire Lad poems by A.E. Housman, which is similar in theme to Miss Duffy’s Last Post.

From Clee to heaven the beacon burns,
The shires have seen it plain,
From north and south the sign returns
And beacons burn again.

Look left, look right, the hills are bright,
The dales are light between,
Because ’tis fifty years to-night
That God has saved the Queen.

Now, when the flame they watch not towers
About the soil they trod,
Lads, we’ll remember friends of ours
Who shared the work with God.

To skies that knit their heartstrings right,
To fields that bred them brave,
The saviours come not home to-night:
Themselves they could not save.

It dawns in Asia, tombstones show
And Shropshire names are read;
And the Nile spills his overflow
Beside the Severn’s dead.

We pledge in peace by farm and town
The Queen they served in war,
And fire the beacons up and down
The land they perished for.

“God save the Queen” we living sing,
From height to height ’tis heard;
And with the rest your voices ring,
Lads of the Fifty-third.

Oh, God will save her, fear you not:
Be you the men you’ve been,
Get you the sons your fathers got,
And God will save the Queen.

The most obvious device of this poem is its patterning of stresses. It is generally made up of alternating iambic tetrameters and trimeters – or we could say it consists of alternating lines of eight and six syllables, the stresses falling generally on the even. Thus:

from CLEE to HEAVEN the BEAcon BURNS,
the SHIRES have SEEN it PLAIN….

The rhyme scheme is important, but can be left aside for the moment as of less immediate notice than the patterning within each verse. This is not completely regular. Complete regularity has its place for achieving certain effects, but, in this kind of poem, will be monotonous. Instead, there is regularity throughout the first two stanzas – and see how “heaven” is contracted in the first verse to one syllable, or two very short and slurred syllables – until the rhythm has been set. This being done, Housman begins, in his third stanza, to vary the scheme, occasionally reversing an iambus into a trochee. Thus:

NOW when the FLAME they WATCH not TOWERS
aBOVE the SOIL they TROD….

This is to produce a more open, or dactylic, effect. It also marks a deviation of the theme from what the opening stanzas are intended to create. But I will come to this in a moment. For the present, I am interested only in the patterning of words. I have dealt with the obvious stress patterns. But there is also the quantitative patterning – that is, in the length of individual syllables, as determined by their nature or position. In Latin poetry, quantity provides the main rhythmical patterning, and stress, though important – see, for example, the last two feet of an hexameter verse – is subsidiary. In English poetry, the relationship is reversed, though quantity remains important. Because there is a tendency in English for stressed syllables also to be long, quantity can be as overlooked in poetic criticism as stress often is in Latin. But, if there is a tendency for the two to coincide, it is no more than a tendency. Take, for example, words like “however”. Looking at stress, it is an amphibrach. Looking at quantity, it is a dactyl.

In the Housman poem, there is, in the first two stanzas, a complete and therefore unusual coincidence of stress and quantity. The result is that the words have the steady, processional rhythm associated with state occasions. They lead naturally to the apparently triumphant and untroubled affirmation

That God has saved the Queen.

Add to this the avoidance of hiatus between the words and of combinations of sounds within words that might disrupt the rhythm. I mean by this words like “crisps” or “asterisk” or “Monckton”. There is perhaps no word that does not have a place somewhere in poetry. But words like this, in this poem, would break up the smooth flow.

Then there is onomatopoeia, or the use of words that imitate the sounds of or otherwise suggest in their sounds the things they describe. Except where animal or machine noises are concerned, this will often be more a matter of association within a particular language than direct imitation. But it seems to me that certain letters have a brighter or darker sound than others. Thus, the letter “l” reminds me of brightness, as does the diphthong “ai” and the long vowel sounds in “fair” and in “mean”. This may be a chance association, or it may derive from the traditions of the English language, or it may be universal to mankind. Whatever its cause, it is there. We can see this very cleverly used by Housman in his fifty third Shropshire Lad poem:

Light was the air beneath the sky,
But dark under the shade….

Under the stars the air was light
But dark below the boughs,

But we see it also in the first poem. Thus, we have, in the first stanza the “bright” words “Clee”, “beacon”, “shires”, “seen”. Their overall effect is to contrast the underlying ceremonial rhythm with an impression of beacons flaming in the night sky.

An unusual feature of this poem is the relative absence of imagery. It is largely from the choice and placing of the words that we know the setting to be the English countryside – a countryside still untouched – and therefore not yet frozen and not yet demystified – by the modern British State. Perhaps something is added here by the modern reader, who knows and laments what happened in the twentieth century. But I think much the same effect was produced in the mind of the first readers, who were carried back by the talk of “fifty years” to an age when the English countryside was a still wilder and more mysterious place outside the towns. And Housman does this with barely a mention of scenery. He does it all with the sounds and associations of his words

I turn briefly to rhyme. This is one of the less important poetic devices. The Greeks and Romans used it hardly at all. Milton grew to despise it in English, and most verse plays in English are unrhymed. Used other than in lyrics or in ballad narratives, it can be an annoyance in English – though this is not to deny the frequent wit and polish of the heroic couplet. Otherwise, it aids memorisation, and is another of those technical devices that allows a good poet to shine when he makes it appear natural. In this poem, the rhyme scheme “abab, cdcd” etc is there largely because it is expected in this particular form, and to emphasise alternating length of the verses.

The rhyme scheme also prevents a corruption I once read when a verse was quoted by itself. This went:

From Clee to heaven the beacon FLARES….

This is obviously wrong, as “flares” does not rhyme with “returns”. It is also wrong irrespective of the rhyme scheme. As the verse is written by Housman, no single word stands out from the whole. Change “burns” to “flares”, and undue attention is drawn to this word, thereby destroying the balance of the verse. It also creates an expectation that is not delivered in what follows. The word has too much brightness, and exaggerates an effect that Housman makes just strong enough to do its work. I think it was Cicero who said of Demosthenes that the speeches were so perfectly written that to change a single word would destroy the effect of the whole. This applies in all great literature – and naturally applies in this poem.

Moving away slightly from the sound of the words to their overall effect, it can be seen that Housman intends an ironic deflation of Queen Victoria’s first Jubilee. He never says that the dead were a useless or scandalous sacrifice. But he does remind you that the kind of national greatness celebrated in the Golden Jubilee rests on the death of young men, and that talk of God’s Blessing is but a euphemism for their death. Well before the last verse, with its repetition of saving the Queen, we know that this is not something any Victorian Poet Laureate would have been expected to produce. How the Shropshire Lad poems became so popular in the trenches is not something I can explain. Then again, great poetry says something different to every reader.

With even a short poem of this quality, it would be possible to write page after page of analysis and commentary, and still not finish the subject. But I will make only one more main point. This is the fifth stanza:

It dawns in Asia, tombstones show
And Shropshire names are read;
And the Nile spills his overflow
Beside the Severn’s dead.

What this achieves is to admit the remarkable achievement of Victorian England by associating it with the Roman Empire – and then perhaps to warn where it was leading. Talk of Asia and the Nile carry the mind back to the conquests of Caesar and Pompey. This is immediately followed by a mentioning of rivers that spill their overflow. This is an echo of the Third Satire of Juvenal

– quamvis quota portio faecis Achaei?
iam pridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes
et linguam et mores et cum tibicine chordas
obliquas nec non gentilia tympana secum
vexit et ad circum iussas prostare puellas.

Which is translated by Dryden as:

Nor Greeks alone, but Syrians here abound;
Obscene Orontes, diving under ground, [110]
Conveys his wealth to Tiber’s hungry shores,
And fattens Italy with foreign whores:
Hither their crooked harps and customs come;
All find receipt in hospitable Rome.

Is this intended as a prediction of how empire may destroy a nation? It may be interesting that one of Housman’s last students was Enoch Powell – who fell so entirely for a while under the older man’s influence that he wrote a volume of Housmanesque poetry.

In general, this is one of the last great poems written in English. And every effect that I have described is consciously intended. Housman was no unlettered balladeer, turning out works of beauty without ever knowing the means he used. As well as the last great English poet, he was one of the greatest textual critics of Latin. He knew the techniques of poetry as well as Schubert understood the techniques of setting poetry to music. He is the nearest, I think, to an English Catullus – poetic genius fused with perfect scholarship. I wish he were better regarded by the critics. Certainly, if his poetry has not found its way into any A Level Literature syllabus, his poems have never been out of print, and can be found in the poetry section of any moderately large bookshop in England, if not elsewhere in the English world.

I turn now back to Last Post. Now, what can I say about this? Where is the exalted language? Where is the known rhythmical pattern? The first two verses are a quotation, I think, from Wilfred Owen. He was at best a minor poet. His fame rests on his being the spokesman for a generation of young men tricked or bullied from their homes to be blown to mincemeat and rags. We have almost a duty to admire him. But he does not stand a close reading. Once, however, we are through this quotation, there is nothing at all that strikes me as poetic.

There are a few poetic conceits. There is one attempt at pathos that does almost work:

kiss the photographs from home —
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers….

But does this work because it really is poetic? Or am I simply primed to explode at every mention of slaughter in the trenches?

There is an occasional attempt at rhyme – “mud” – “blood”, “bread” – “dead”. But these could easily by the chance rhymes that come up in prose. With “bled bad blood”, there is a nod at alliteration. But this strikes me as clumsy in both sound and meaning. Blood can be bled – just as a boiler can boil and a clothes iron can be used for ironing. But this is the sort of verbal trick that entertains children at infant school, or foreign learners of English who need to memorise the various word forms.

The whole piece, indeed, could easily be colloquial prose formatted with an unjustified right margin. When I copied and pasted the piece from The Times website, I looked at it and wondered if some of the lines had been accidentally broken by the subeditor. They looked too short. I had to check the version I had against another on the BBC website. The two corresponded in their formatting. But is this how Miss Duffy wrote the piece? Or is this an error copied on both websites from a single corrupt source? Because there is no recognisable structure, the only answer to this question would be to look for a printed version, or to write directly to Miss Duffy.

When I was a young man, I came on the Shropshire Lad poems. I will not bore you with a telling of what effect they had on me. But a first reading was enough to stamp verses and whole stanzas on my mind. It took very little effort to commit around a third of the poems to memory, where they remain a quarter of a century later. I have read Miss Duffy’s piece several times. As I write, I cannot recall a single verse.

What we have here is not poetry. Its lack of rhythmical structure aside, there is nothing beautiful or memorable about it. What reason is there for just about any of the words not to be changed? Take, for example, the verse

to die and die and die.

Is there any reason why this should not be changed to

to fall and bleed and die?

Or is there any reason why

a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd

should not be changed to

a lad plays Pack up Your Troubles to the crowd?

I make no claim that my variations improve the piece. But I cannot see how either of them changes, let alone damages, the effect in the same way as changing “burns” to “flares” would wreck the Housman poem.

Am I missing something? There are endless examples of how novelty has been taken at first as perversity or incompetence. When Mozart sent the score of his Dissonnance Quartet to his father, he got back a letter accusing the copyists of mangling some of the parts. It took fifty years after his death for Mahler to be accepted as a great composer. Perhaps I am some poetic Beckmesser – too obsessed with form to see the beautiful substance.

But I doubt this. Miss Duffy is not a fresh voice, striking up against a background of flat Tennyson imitations. She stands within what counts nowadays as the poetic mainstream. As said, she she is another Ted Hughes or Sylvia Plath or Ezra Pound. And if there are some who would regard this as high praise, I do not intend it as anything but a bored moan when confronted with more of the same. I have reached an age where I feel reasonably sure of my artistic judgments. I say that Last Post is not poetry and is mediocre as prose. If Miss Duffy had called it a translation from the French of Apollinaire Cendrier, I promise I would not be running off to Kensington to look him up in the French bookshops there.

Why, then, is this stuff turned out by the ream? Why particularly has diligence in turning it out raised Miss Duffy to an office that Housman never filled? I want to think it is because she is Scottish. England is run by a clique of Scotchmen whose only similarity to their more illustrious forebears is nepotism and hatred of  their southern neighbour. It also helps that she is a woman. And I may have read somewhere that she is a lesbian. Except that she has a white face, she has all the qualifications nowadays needed for the office she fills. But, if this is the reason, why the unforced gusts of praise that attended her elevation? When Caligula made his horse a Consul, it was prudent not to laugh. But I cannot understand how anyone could, without a gun to the head, have written this about Miss Duffy:

Her poems are accessible and entertaining, yet her form is classical, her technique razor-sharp. She is read by people who don’t really read poetry, yet she maintains the respect of her peers. Reviewers praise her touching, sensitive, witty evocations of love, loss, dislocation, nostalgia; fans talk of greeting her at readings ‘with claps and cheers that would not sound out of place at a pop concert’. [Katharine Viner, writing in The Guardian on the 25th September 1999}

The answer, I think, to Miss Duffy’s popularity and official endorsement is the democratisation of the arts. The modern movement was motivated in part by a snobbish elite that wanted things to praise that ordinary people could not appreciate. Since then, however, the idea has taken hold that anything that everyone cannot do should be shunned. When the Victorians spoke of bringing the arts to the people, what they had in mind was Beethoven at sixpence a head in the Crystal Palace. What it means today is praising stuff that anyone could have created.

Of all the arts, music perhaps has suffered least. This is because most people still have some idea that music should entertain, and because composing and performing involve technical complexities that cannot be set aside. It may be that popular composes like Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson had no musical education, and had to hum their songs for others to write down and arrange. But these people had an ear for melody and a natural feeling for scales and intervals and time signatures. And, now the influence of Schoenberg has waned, classical composition has recovered to a tuneful mediocrity.

The visual arts passed though a decline that involved accomplished charlatans like Picasso and Henry Moore, who began with some ability to work in the traditional forms, but soon found there was money in merely pretending to be artists. They then settled into a scandalous trough dominated by Damian Hirst and Tracey Emin. But no one without a degree in fine arts really believes these people are artists; and ordinary people prefer to spend their own money on hanging up framed prints by Jack Vettriano.

The full horror is in poetry. Here we find the verbal equivalents of Tracey Emin and a universal insistence that what they write is poetry. What makes Carol Ann Duffy so popular is the knowledge that anyone else might have written her works. Writing in her style needs nothing more than a word processor with the spelling checker turned on. Her nationality, sex and possible sexuality aside, she is the ideal poet for an age that calls itself democratic – and, in a debased sense, probably is.

I have never read any modern literature in French, which is the only modern language I know very well. I have never found anything notable in poetry of any period in Czech or Slovak. This leaves me with trying to guess future trends in English alone.

But I believe that my language long since passed out of its classical period. In prose as in poetry, there are no great living writers. Sooner or later, there will be a reaction in public taste against everything written during the past half century, and against much writing in the half century before then. All the “great” modern writers now force fed to children in the schools will then be confined to the cheap bins in second hand bookshops, and there will be a recovery of interest in real literature. From that moment, literary English will be purged of distasteful modernisms, and will enter its Byzantine phase – growing ever more remote from the language spoken by the people. Then, with great labour, and a nervous examination of every word and its pronunciation, poetry will be written again that is not simply embarrassing. It will mostly be stale and rigid in its forms. But there will, every so often, be something new to add to the lower reaches of the classics.

This may happen just in time for the collapse of our technical civilisation – when the ruling class finally gets its hands on the ten per cent of the wealth owned by the rest of us and stops all further progress in the sciences. This may not be a cheerful prediction. At least it will mean, however, that no one will be expected to read Carol Ann Duffy a hundred years from now.

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

Nazi Gnomes.

Fred Bloggs.

Yep, you heard right, i did say Nazi Gnomes, they’ve been in the centre of a investigation in Germany. The Gnomes which were part of a art display in Nurenberg are being investigated because they could be breaking the law by performing the hitler salute, which is illegal in Germany.

But on the other hand, a spokesman from the prosecuters office said:

“It is also a question of art a bit, it will also depend on what the artist and the owners of the gallery have to say for themselves about the whole thing.”

I would normally say something humerous at this point, but i can’t really come up with anything good enough to top Nazi saluting gnomes.

Exams=Toilet Paper

Fred Bloggs

I have just been looking on the AQA site and i found the grade boundaries for januarys GCSE’s, and needless to say they symbolize perfectly how our education system is Stuka diving into oblivion.

To see how horrific the grade boundaries are click Here.


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 ¿)

Brainwashing in videogames now?

Peter Davis

Now I’m a big fan of games, obviously, I’m a 14 -year-old, and thanks tho the f****d-up school curriculum, I have learnt more about World War II from the games Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 3, and Call of duty: World at War than I have from every history lesson I have sat through on the subject.

So I was on this website looking through the index of free full games to download, and I saw:

Eco Warriors: Invasion of the Necrobots

Acording to the descrition, it is set in southern Italy ”In a not so far future away…” At first, it had the makings of a normal game:-

Robots appearring in towns, woods and countrysides.
A dark enemy is conspirating to destroy us all blah, blah, blah………

But then, this popped up in the description:-

But there’s a new hope!

A team of warriors has been raised to defend Nature: The Eco Warriors!

A huge battle is getting closer…

and that’s the description…..but its basically about saving the environment, and the game is absolutely S***: here are some screenshots for your enjoyment:

Eco Warriors Screenshot #1

Eco Warriors Screenshot

Eco Warriors Screenshot #3

Eco Warriors Screenshot

(if the pictures did not load up, here is the link)

If you want to try this game, (that is to say, if you are delusional), here is the link to download it:

I and the Libertarian Alliance and the blog, are NOT responsible for any damages to the mind or your PC or Mac or whatever you have, I did download it and try it, and my PC was undamaged. !DOWNLOAD AT YOUR OWN RISK!

not sure how to end this, so  here is a poll:

You may pick multiple answers.

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...."

An Open Letter to Polly Toynbee

Kevin Dowd

I have never liked the Guardian. Before word processors became the norm, the spelling errors for which it was renowned were at least entertaining. Now it is just irritating. I then lost all respect for the newspaper nine years ago when it falsely accused a friend of academic fraud and showed no interest in the truth of the matter. I see from yesterday’s (October 28, 2008) Guardian that its standards have not improved since.

I am referring to Poly Toynbee’s hysterical rant about a letter of which I was a co-signatory that was published in last Sunday’s Sunday Telegraph. The letter itself was a politely worded criticism of the Government’s decision to adopt a Keynesian public expenditure policy to try to offset the recession into which the economy is sliding. It reads as follows:

“Further to your interview with Alistair Darling (October 19), we would like to dissent from the attempt to use a public works programme to spend the country’s way out of recession.  It is misguided for the government to believe that it knows how much specific sectors of the economy need to shrink and which will shrink “too rapidly” in a recession.  Thus the government cannot know how to use an expansion in expenditure that would not risk seriously misallocating resources.

Furthermore, public expenditure has already risen very rapidly in recent years, and a further large rise would take the role of the State in many parts of the economy to such a dominant position that it would stunt the private sector’s recovery once recession is past.

Occasional economic slowdowns are natural and necessary features of a market economy.  Insofar as they are to be managed at all, the best tools are monetary and not fiscal policy. It is inevitable that government expenditure and debt naturally rise in a recession but planned rises in government spending are misguided and discredited as a tool of economic management.

If this recession has features that demand more active fiscal policy, which is highly disputable, taxes should be cut. This would allow the market to determine which parts of the economy shrink and which flourish to replace them.”

It was signed by 15 other economists and me.

It is, I believe, a reasonable position: the last time we tried Keynesian economics we ended up with stagflation and had to be bailed out by the IMF in 1976. Keynesian macroeconomics was then repudiated by Labour PM Jim Callaghan. In my opinion, it doesn’t work, but I recognise that there are others who do not share that view and I make no claims of infallibility.

Most of the Keynesian economists I know would disagree with this view, but they would not regard it as self-evidently evil or stupid. Ms. Toynbee, however, seems to think otherwise.

Some of what she wrote is given in italics below, and the comments after them are my responses:

The gloves are off, and an epic ideological battle has begun. The enemies of Keynesian economics are launching a fight-back.

We agree on this, at least.

Hardly pausing despite the crashing failure of their wild, free markets, the old forces of darkness are back.

The causes of the present financial crisis need to be discussed in a calm and reasoned way, but your referring to those who do not share your views as the “forces of darkness” is uncalled for, Ms. Toynbee. The people who disagree with you are not evil: they simply disagree with you. Why can’t you debate the issues on their merits without the need to give gratuitous offence?

Opening salvoes from the vanguard of neo-conomics came in a letter 16 economists wrote to the Sunday Telegraph attacking the Brown-Darling plan to borrow and spend to ease what threatens to become a recession at least as bad as 1981. “Occasional slowdowns are natural and necessary features of a market economy,” they wrote breezily. Laissez-faire is the best policy, but if something must be done, “which is highly disputable”, then “taxes should be cut”.

This gives the misleading impression that we suggested that nothing should be done in the middle of a crisis. Read the letter Ms. Toynbee: we didn’t suggest that. Why don’t you debate what we actually wrote?

These people know what they mean: they have been here before. It flatters some of these crude marketeers to call them anything as grand as Hayekians – but that was the ideology of those who devised the catastrophic Thatcher-Howe 1981 budget they seek to reprise. It cut spending and sent unemployment over 3 million. They turned recession into social catastrophe and now Sir Alan Peacock, Professor Tim Congdon and Ruth Lea, along with the chief economists of Lloyds TSB and Cazenove, advocate making the same callous mistake again.

I am not aware of anyone who is going around saying “Lets make the same callous mistake we made the last time” and would certainly not agree with anyone who did. So why the need to undermine your arguments with this sort of sanctimonious abuse? As for the actual issues, my view is that the 1981 budget was a good one, but that the Thatcher recession was an avoidable mistake due to botched monetary policy. Of course, whatever the cause, no-one wants us to go through that again and you have no grounds to suggest otherwise.

And I am not a Hayekian, by the way.

She goes on to make the patronising assertion that “The truth is, few have changed their mind, apologised for past errors or learned any lessons.”

I take it you haven’t?

Gordon Brown seems unable to stop saying things so blindingly untrue that you wonder how he gets the words out.

I have wondered this too. But how do you expect a man who cannot tell the truth to win the confidence of the public and lead the country out of its current predicament?

What’s needed now to win trust is unvarnished truth.

Indeed, and you should take your own advice: your readers will have more trust in you if you stick to the unvarnished truth.

I quote one last passage:

Meanwhile, Hayekian commentators are sharpening their knives against “Brown’s misty-eyed Keynesian adventure”. The argument has not been won yet: Labour has to make the case eloquently, as opinion polls show profound scepticism of government’s ability to spend money well. Conservatives may be wavering, uncertain which way the public will jump, but Labour would be rash to think pro-Keynesianism was a done deal.

Do you even read what you write? – “opinion polls show profound scepticism of government’s ability to spend money well.” So why do you think that is? Are the public just stupid or are they onto something that you haven’t noticed?

And, to repeat my earlier question, how do you expect Labour (and I quote your own words) to “make the case eloquently” whilst under the leadership of a man who “seems unable to stop saying things so blindingly untrue that you wonder how he gets the words out”. How do you expect Labour to square that circle?

With arguments of this calibre, you are certainly right that the case for Keynesianism is not a done deal.

Issues as important as these need to be properly aired. I would suggest you cut the sanctimony and don’t assume that people who do not share your views are callously trying to recreate the Thatcher recession or are secretly in league with the Antichrist. You would also earn some respect by not twisting their arguments or presuming an infallibility or superiority that I know you do not have. But if you really want to help the debate on economic policy, the next time you are thinking of writing something on it: don’t.

October 29, 2008

Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize Winning Essay

Sean Gabb

I, writing from the National Liberal Club in London, where the Libertarian Alliance and Libertarian International are holding our 2008 conference.

This is going well.

This evening, at the dinner, I will announce the winner of the Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize. I can tell you all now that the winner is Keith Preston. His essay was, in my opinion, the best. Here it is:

Keith Preston is the founder and director of American Revolutionary Vanguard, a U.S.-based tendency committed to advancing the principles of anti-statism, personal liberty, cooperative individualist economics, and the sovereignty and self-determination of communities and nations. He is a graduate student in history, an independent business owner and entrepreneur, and advocate of a new radicalism that reaches beyond the archaic left/right model of the political spectrum. See the ARV website at

Free Enterprise: The Antidote to Corporate Plutocracy

A political libertarian, broadly defined, is someone who wishes to dramatically

reduce the role of the state in human social life so as to maximize individual freedom of

thought, action and association. The natural corollary to libertarian anti-statism is the

defense of the free market in economic affairs. Many libertarians and not a few

conservatives, at least in the Anglo nations, claim to be staunch proponents of free

enterprise. Yet this defense is often rather selective, and timid, to say the least.

Libertarians and free-market conservatives will voice opposition to state-owned enterprises, the social welfare and public health services, state-funded and operated educational institutions, or regulatory bureaus and agencies, such as those governing labor relations, relations between racial, ethnic, and gender groups, or those regulating

the use of the environment. Curiously absent among many libertarian, conservative, or free-market critiques of interventions by the state into society are the myriad of ways in which government acts to assist, protect, and, indeed, impose outright, an economic order maintained for the benefit of politically connected plutocratic elites. Of course, recognition of this fact has led some on the Left to make much sport of libertarians, whom they often refer to, less than affectionately, as “Republicans who take drugs”,

or “Tories who are soft on buggery”, and other such clichés.

Some advocates of free enterprise will respond to such charges by indignantly proclaiming their opposition to state efforts to “bail out” bankrupt corporations or subsidies to corporate entities for the ostensible purpose of research and development. Yet such defenses will often underestimate the degree to which the state serves to create market distortions for the sake of upholding a corporation-dominated economic order. Such distortions result from a plethora of interventions including not only bailouts and subsidies but also the fictitious legal infrastructure of corporate “personhood”, limited liability laws, government contracts, loans, guarantees, purchases of goods, price controls, regulatory privilege, grants of monopolies, protectionist tariffs and trade policies, bankruptcy laws, military intervention to gain access to international markets and protect foreign investments, regulating or prohibiting organized labor activity, eminent domain, discriminatory taxation, ignoring corporate crimes and countless other

forms of state-imposed favors and privileges.1

Perhaps the efficacious gift to the present corporate order by the state has been

what Kevin Carson calls “the subsidy of history,” a reference to the process by which the

indigenous inhabitants and possessors of property in land were originally expropriated

during the course of the construction of traditional feudal societies and the subsequent

transformation of feudalism into what is now called “capitalism”, or the corporatist-

plutocratic societies that we have today. Contrary to the myths to which some subscribe,

including many libertarians, the evolution of capitalism out of the old feudal order was

not one where liberty triumphed over privilege, but one where privilege asserted itself in

newer and more sophisticated forms. As Carson explains:

There were two ways Parliament could have abolished feudalism

and reformed property. It might have treated the customary possessive

rights of the peasantry as genuine title to property in the modern sense,

and then abolished their rents. But what it actually did, instead, was to

treat the artificial “property rights” of the landed aristocracy, in feudal

legal theory, as real property rights in the modern sense; the landed

classes were given full legal title, and the peasants were transformed

into tenants at will with no customary restriction on the rents that could be charged…

In European colonies where a large native peasantry already lived,

states sometimes granted quasi-feudal titles to landed elites to collect

rent from those already living on and cultivating the land; a good example

is latifundismo, which prevails in Latin America to the present day.

Another example is British East Africa. The most fertile 20 percent of

Kenya was stolen by the colonial authorities, and the native peasantry

evicted, so the land could be used for cash-crop farming by white settlers

(using the labor of the evicted peasantry, of course, to work their own

former land). As for those who remained on their own land, they were “encouraged” to enter the wage-labor market by a stiff poll tax that had

to be paid in cash. Multiply these examples by a hundred and you get a

bare hint of the sheer scale of robbery over the past 500 years.

…Factory owners were not innocent in all of this. Mises claimed that the

capital investments on which the factory system was built came largely

from hard-working and thrifty workmen who saved their own earnings

as investment capital. In fact, however, they were junior partners of the

landed elites, with much of their investment capital coming either from

the Whig landed oligarchy or from the overseas fruits of mercantilism,

slavery and colonialism.

In addition, factory employers depended on harsh authoritarian measures

by the government to keep labor under control and reduce its bargaining

power. In England the Laws of Settlement acted as a sort of internal passport system, preventing workers from traveling outside the parish of their birth

without government permission. Thus workers were prevented from “voting

with their feet” in search of better-paying jobs. You might think this would

have worked to the disadvantage of employers in under populated areas, like Manchester and other areas of the industrial north. But never fear: the state

came to the employers’ rescue. Because workers were forbidden to migrate

on their own in search of better pay, employers were freed from the necessity

of offering high enough wages to attract free agents; instead, they were able

to “hire” workers auctioned off by the parish Poor Law authorities on terms

set by collusion between the authorities and employers.2

The Central American nation of El Salvador provides an excellent case study in

how “actually existing capitalism” came about. The indigenous people of El Salvador,

known as the Pipil Indians, were conquered in the early sixteenth century by the Spanish

conquistadors. It was not until 1821 that El Salvador claimed its independence from

Spain and subsequently became an independent nation in 1839. The system of land

ownership in Salvadoran society was communal in nature as late as the end of the

eighteenth century with ownership rights relegated to individual towns and Pipil villages.

The primary agricultural products produced by the peasants were cattle, indigo, corn,

beans and coffee. The Pipil were essentially practicing a type of collective self-


As the international market for coffee expanded, some of the wealthier and more

powerful merchants and landowners began pressuring the Salvadoran government to

intervene into the economic structures of the nation in such a way as to make the

accumulation of personal wealth more rapid through the establishment of larger, private

plantations with a more greatly regimented labor force. Consequently, the government

began to destroy the traditional system of property rights held by the towns and villages

in order to establish individual plantations owned by those from the privileged classes

who already possessed the means of acquiring credit. This change was implemented in

several steps. In 1846, landowners with more than 5,000 coffee bushes were granted

immunity from paying export duties for seven years and from paying taxes for a ten year

period. Plantations owned by the Salvadoran government were also transferred to

politically connected private individuals. In 1881, the communal land rights the Pipil had

possessed for centuries were rescinded, making self-sufficiency for the Indians

impossible. The government subsequently refused to grant even subsistence plots to the

Pipil as the Salvadoran state was now fully under the control of the large plantation

owners. This escalating economic repression was met with resistance and five separate

peasant rebellions occurred during the late nineteenth century. By the middle part of the

twentieth century, El Salvador’s coffee plantations, called fincas, were producing ninety-

five percent of the country’s export product and were controlled by a tiny oligarchy of

landowning families.3

The phrase “means of acquiring credit” from the previous paragraph is a

particularly significant one as the purpose of state control over banking and the issuance

of money serves to narrowly constrict the supply of available credit which in turn renders

entrepreneurship inaccessible to the majority of the population at large. Indeed, Murray

Rothbard argued that bankers as a class “are inherently inclined towards statism”4 as they

are typically involved with unsound practices, such as fractional reserve credit, that

subsequently lead to calls for assistance from the state, or derive much of their business

from direct involvement with the state, for instance, through the underwriting of

government bonds. Therefore, the banking class becomes the financial arm of the state

not only by specifically underwriting the activities of the state, such as war, plunder and

repression, but also by serving to create and maintain a plutocracy of businessmen,

manufacturers, politically-connected elites and others able to obtain access to the

narrowly constricted supply of credit within the context of the market distortions

generated by the state’s money monopoly.5

The process by which “capitalism” as it is actually practiced in the modern

countries developed-by means of a partnership between the forces of state and capital,

rather than through a genuine free market-has already been very briefly described. There

remains the question of how this relationship has subsequently been maintained over the

past two centuries. Gabriel Kolko’s landmark study of the historic relationship between

state and capital traced the development of this symbiosis from the “railroad government

complex” of mid-nineteenth century America through the supposed “reforms” of the so-

called Progressive Era to the cartelization of labor, industry and government by means of

Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.6 At each stage of this development of American state-

capitalism, members of “the capitalist class”-bankers, industrialists, manufacturers,

businessmen-adamantly pushed for and were directly involved in the creation of a state-

managed economy whose effect would be to shield themselves from smaller, less

politically connected competitors, co-opt labor unions and generate a source of

monopolistic protection and cost-free revenue from the state. Similar if not identical

parallels can be found in the development of state-capitalism in the other modern


Indeed, parallels can also be drawn between the structures of contemporary state-

capitalism and historic feudalism. Since the High Middle Ages government has been

transformed from its earlier identification with a specific person or persons into a

corporate entity with a life and identity of its own beyond that of its individual members.8

Out of this process of transformation from personal government to corporate government,

the evolution of a system of state-capitalist privilege that has supplanted feudal privilege,

the ever greater interaction and co-dependency between the plutocratic elite and the

minions of the state, and the wider integration of organized labor, political interests

groups generated by mass democracy and unprecedented expansion of the public sector

has emerged a politico-economic order that might be referred to as the “new

manorialism”. These “new manors” are the multitude of bureaucratic entities that

maintain an institutional identity of their own, though their individual personnel may

change with time, and who exist first and foremost for the sake of their own self-

preservation, irrespective of the original purposes for which they were ostensibly

established. The “new manors” may include institutional entities that function as de jour

arms of the state, such as regulatory bureaus, police and other “law enforcement”

agencies, state-run social service departments or educational facilities, or they may

include de facto arms of the state, such as the banking and corporate entities whose

position of privilege, indeed, whose very existence, is dependent upon state intervention.9

Out of this domestic state-capitalist order there has emerged an overarching

international order rooted in the pre-eminence of the American state-capitalist class and

its junior partners from a number of the other developed nations. Hans Hermann Hoppe

describes this arrangement:

Moreover, from a global perspective, mankind has come closer than

ever before to the establishment of a world government. Even before

the destruction of the Soviet Empire, the United States had attained

hegemonical status over Western Europe…and the Pacific Rim countries…

as indicated by the presence of American troops and military bases…

by the role of the American dollar as the ultimate international reserve

currency and of the U.S. Federal Reserve System as the “lender” or

“liquidity provider” of last resort for the entire Western banking system,

and by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the

World Bank and the…World Trade Organization. In addition, under

American hegemony the political integration of Western Europe has steadily advanced. With the recent establishment of a European Central Bank and a European Currency (EURO), the European Community is near completion.

At the same time, with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

a significant step toward the political integration of the American continent

has been taken. In the absence of the Soviet Empire and its military threat,

the United States has emerged as the world’s sole and undisputed military superpower and its “top cop.”10

Such is what “big business” has wrought. Such an international imperial order is about as

far removed from the libertarian principles of small government and free enterprise as

anything could possibly be. Thus far in this discussion, the surface has only been

scratched concerning the deformation of the natural market process from what it might

otherwise have been because of state intervention and the corresponding system of

corporate plutocratic rule. No mention has been made of the monopoly privilege inherent

in patent laws and the legal concept of “intellectual property.” The role of transportation

subsidies in the centralization of wealth and the destruction of smaller competitors to “big

business” has not been discussed. Indeed, a credible case can be made that without direct or indirect subsidies to those transportation systems such as air, water or long distance land travel that are necessary for the cultivation and maintenance of markets over large geographical entities, the kind of domination of present day retail and commercial food markets exercised by such gargantuan entities as Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Tesco and others would likely be impossible. 11 No challenge has been made to conventional

views regarding legitimacy of land titles as opposed to contending views, such as those

rooted in usufructuary or geoist principles.12 There has been no discussion, as there easily

could be, of the role of the state in the creation of the underclass of contemporary

societies and the related social pathologies, a situation whose roots go far deeper than the

mere “culture of dependency” bemoaned by conventional conservatives and some

libertarians.13 The role of the state in the dispossession of the indigenous agricultural

population in the period of early capitalist development in the West and in the

contemporary Third World has been mentioned, but such dispossessions continue to

occur even in modern societies.14

The implications of these insights for libertarian strategy are rather profound

indeed. If libertarianism is to be identified in the public mind and among lay people as an

apology for the corporation-dominated status quo, and if libertarians proceed as if

“conservative” apologists for big business were their natural friends, and insist that a libertarian world would be one ruled by the likes of Boeing, Halliburton, ‘Tesco, Microsoft, or Dupont, then libertarianism will never be anything more than an appendage to the ideological superstructure modern intellectual classes use to legitimize plutocratic rule.15 However, if libertarianism asserts itself as a new radicalism, the polar opposite of plutocrat-friendly “conservatism”, and more radical than anything offered by the increasing moribund and archaic Left, then libertarianism may well indeed inspire new generations of militants to take aim at the statist status quo. Libertarianism may become the guiding system of thought for radicals and reformers everywhere as liberalism was in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and as socialism was for subsequent generations.16

As for the question of what an economy devoid of statist, corporatist and

plutocratic rule would actually look like, it can be expected that removal of state-imposed

barriers to obtainment of credit, entrepreneurship and economic self-sufficiency (as

opposed to dependency on state and corporate bureaucracies for employment, insurance

and social services) will be one where Colin Ward’s ideal of a “self-employed” society is

largely realized.17 No longer will the average man be dependent on Chase Manhattan, Home Depot, General Motors, ‘Tesco or Texaco for his livelihood or his sustenance. Instead, he will have finally acquired the means of existing economically as a self-sufficient dignified individual in a community of peers where privilege is the result of merit and equal liberty is the unchallengeable prerogative of all.

Early in the twentieth century there were a variety of movements championing the independent small producer and the cooperative management of large enterprises including anarcho-syndicalism from the extreme Left and distributism from the reactionary Catholic Right.18 These tendencies still exist on the outer fringes of political and economic thought. One need not agree with every bit of analysis or every proposal advanced by these schools of thinking to recognize their visionary libertarian aspects. Numerous economic arrangements currently exist that offer glimpses into what post-statist, post-plutocratic institutions of production might be.

One of these is the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, a collection of worker-

owned and operated industries originating from the Basque region of Spain. Having been

in existence since 1941, the Mondragon cooperatives initially established a “peoples’

bank” of the kind originally suggested by the godfather of classical anarchism, Pierre

Joseph Proudhon,19 for the development of still more enterprises, which now total more

than 150 in number, including the private University of Mondragon. Its supermarket

division is the third largest retail outlet in Spain and the largest Spanish-owned food store

chain. Each individual cooperative has a workers’ council of its own, and the entire

cooperative federation is governed by a congress of workers from the different

enterprises. 20

Still another quite interesting example is the Brazilian company Semco SA. While

privately owned as a family business, Semco practices a form of radical industrial democracy. Under the leadership of Ricardo Semler, who inherited the company from his

father, Semco maintains a management structure where workers manage themselves and

set their own production goals and budgets with remuneration based on productivity,

efficiency and cost effectiveness. Workers receive twenty-five percent of the profits from

their division. Middle management has essentially been eliminated. Workers have the

right of veto over company expenditures. Job duties are frequently rotated and even the

CEO position is shared by six persons, including owner Semler, who serve six month

terms in the chief executive position. The company now has over 3,000 employees,

annual revenue of over $200 million and a growth rate of forty percent each year.21

An economy organized on the basis of worker-owned and operated industries,

peoples’ banks, mutuals, consumer cooperatives, anarcho-syndicalist labor unions,

individual and family enterprises, small farms and crafts workers associations engaged in

local production for local use, voluntary charitable institutions, land trusts, or voluntary

collectives, communes and kibbutzim may seem farfetched to some, but no more so and

probably less so than a modern industrial, high-tech economy where the merchant class is

the ruling class and the working class is a frequently affluent middle class would have

seemed to residents of the feudal societies of pre-modern times. If the expansion of the

market economy, specialization, the division of labor, industrialization and technological

advancements can bring about the achievements of modern societies in eradicating

disease, starvation, infant mortality and early death, one can only wonder what a genuine

free enterprise system might achieve, and would have already achieved were it not for the

scourge of statism and the corresponding plutocracy.

1 Kevin A. Carson, The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand: Corporate-Capitalism As a State-Guaranteed System of Privilege (Red Lion Press, 2001-Revised January 2002).

2 Kevin A. Carson, “The Subsidy of History”, The Freeman, Vol. 58, No. 5, June 2008.

3 Raymond Bonner, Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador. (New York: Times Books, 1984), pp. 19- 23.

4 Murray N. Rothbard, “Wall Street, Banks and American Foreign Policy”, World Market Perspective, 1984.

5 Rothbard, Ibid.; Kevin A. Carson, “Tucker’s Big Four: The Money Monopoly”, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Chapter Five: Section B. Archived at http:// . Accessed September 10, 2008; Hans Hermann Hoppe, “Banking, Nation-States and International Politics: A Sociological Reconstruction of the Present Economic Order” The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (Boston/Dordrecht/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993), pp. 61-92; Benjamin R. Tucker, “Part II: Money and Interest”, Instead Of A Book, By A Man Too Busy To Write One, 1897. Archived at

Accessed on September 10, 2008.

6 Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservatism, MacMillan, 1963.

7 Terry Arthur, “Free Enterprise: Left or Right? Neither!”, Libertarian Alliance, 1984.

8 Martin Van Creveld, The Rise and Decline of the State (Cambridge University Press, 1999).

9 James Burnham, The Managerial Revolution: What Is Happening in the World (Greenwood Press Reprint, 1972, originally published in 1940). This classic conservative work argues that modern societies are neither “capitalist” nor “socialist” in the way these terms were historically understood. Instead, a new kind of politico-economic order has emerged in modern times where political and economic rule is conducted by a “managerial class” of bureaucrats presiding over mass organizations-governments and their bureaus and agencies, corporations and financial institutions, armies, political parties, unions, universities, media, foundations and the like. Membership in the upper strata of these entities is often rotational in that many of the same individuals shift about from the various sectors of the managerial class, for instance, from elected positions in government to corporate boards of directors to key positions in the media or elite foundations to appointed positions in the bureaucracy.

10 Hans Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God That Failed. (New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 2001), pp. 108-109.

11 Kevin A. Carson, “Transportation Subsidies”, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Chapter Five, Section E. Archived at Accessed on September 10, 2008.

12 Among anti-state radicals, a fairly wide divergence of opinion exists concerning the manner by which property rights in land should be defined. Most “mainstream” libertarians hold to some version of Lockean property rights while more radical libertarians (mutualists, syndicalists, anarcho-communists) along with some distributists argue that property rights should be defined according to the principles of occupancy and use. Still others adhere to the view of Henry George (geoism or geolibertarianism) that land ownership should be subject to a land value tax. For a discussion of this controversy among libertarians, see Kevin A. Carson, “Tucker’s Big Four: The Land Monopoly”, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Chapter Five: Section B. Archived at Accessed on September 10, 2008. Carson summarizes the matter elsewhere: “In Chapter Five of Mutualist Political Economy, I included an extended discussion of property rights theory that relied heavily on “Hogeye Bill” Orton’s commentary from sundry message boards. According to Orton, no particular theory of property rights can be logically deduced from the axiom of self-ownership. Rather, self-ownership can interact with a variety of property rights templates to produce alternative economic orders in a stateless society. So whether rightful ownership of a piece of land is determined by Lockean, a mutualist, Georgist, or syndicalist rule is a matter of local convention. Questions of coercion can only be settled once this prior question is addressed. And since there is no a priori principle from which any particular set of rules can be deduced, we can only judge between them on consequentialist grounds: what other important values do they tend to promote or hinder?
So it’s quite conceivable that non-severable, non-marketable shares in a collectively owned enterprise might depend, not on contract among the members, but on the property rights convention of the local community. Saying that such an arrangement is “coercion” is begging the question of whether the Lockean rules for initial acquisition and transfer of property is the only self-evidently true ones.” Carson, “Socialist Definitional Free-for-All, Part I”, Archived at Accessed on September 10, 2008.

13 No doubt much conservative criticism of the welfare state for creating perverse incentives for anti-social behavior, such as familial dysfunction, criminality and a hindered work ethic, are correct and insightful. Yet, many of the social pathologies associated with the “underclass” populations of American and European cities is traceable to detrimental state interventions far beyond those of conventional social welfare systems. A number of works by libertarians and non-libertarians alike have documented the process by which organic social, economic and cultural life has been destroyed among these populations by a wide range of interventions, most of which are imposed for the sake of advancing plutocratic interests. See Kevin A. Carson, “Reparations: Cui Bono?” Archived at Accessed on September 10, 2008; Charles Johnson, “Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty As We Know It”, The Freeman, Vol. 57, No. 10, December 2007; Keith Preston, “The Political Economy of the War on Drugs”, (American Revolutionary Vanguard, 2001), Archived at Accessed on September 10, 2008; Thomas J. Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, (Princeton University Press, 1996, 2005); Walter E. Williams, The State Against Blacks, (McGraw-Hill, 1982).

14 For an illuminating discussion of the role of state intervention in the dispossession of the indigenous rural agricultural population of America’s heartland in the 1980s and 1990s, see James Bovard, Farm Fiasco, (ICS Press, 1989) and Joel Dyer, Harvest of Rage, (Westview Press, 1997).

15 The role of the intellectual class as both a constituent group for statism and as the creators of the ideological superstructure of statism is discussed in Hans Hermann Hoppe, “Natural Elites, Intellectuals and the State”, Mises Institute, July 21, 2006. Archived at Accessed on September 11, 2008. Of course, the concept of an ideological superstructure used to legitimize a particular system of class rule is most closely associated with Marxist analysis. For an examination of the differences as well as the points of agreement between Marxists and libertarians, see Hans Hermann Hoppe, “Marxist and Austrian Class Analysis”, The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (Boston/Dordrecht/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993), pp. 93-110.

16 Murray Rothbard considered libertarians to be the far left end of the political spectrum, with “conservatives”, i.e., proponents of an authoritarian order based on hierarchy, status, and privilege (and justified with appeals to tradition) to be on the far right, with Marxists and other socialists constituting an incoherent middle-of-the-road position. See Murray N. Rothbard, Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty, (Cato Institute, 1979). The left-wing anarchist Larry Gambone’s exhaustive examination of the thinking of the early socialists indicates that the original aim of socialism was not the state-run economies associated with socialism in contemporary political discourse, but an economy ordered on the basis of decentralized cooperative enterprises. Larry Gambone, “The Myth of Socialism as Statism”, (Porcupine Blog, May 6, 2006). Archived at Accessed on September 11, 2008.

17 Colin Ward, “A Self-Employed Society”, Anarchy In Action, (London: Freedom Press, 1982), pp. 95-109.

18 Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism, (Martin Secker and Warburg, Ltd., 1938); Hilaire Belloc, The Servile State, (The Liberty Fund, originally published in 1913); G. K. Chesterton, The Outline of Sanity, (HIS Press, 2002, originally published in 1927); Anthony Cooney, Distributism, (Third Way Movement Ltd., 1998).

19 Larry Gambone, Proudhon and Anarchism: Proudhon’s Libertarian Thought and the Anarchist Movement, (Red Lion Press, 1996).

20 William Whyte, Making Mondragon: The Growth and Dynamics of the Worker Cooperative Complex, (ILR Press, 1991).

21 Ricardo Semler, Maverick, (Arrow Press, 1993).


Arthur, Terry, “Free Enterprise: Left or Right? Neither!”, Libertarian Alliance, 1984.

Belloc, Hilaire. The Servile State. The Liberty Fund, originally published in 1913.

Bonner, Raymond. Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador. New York: Times

Books, 1984.

Bovard, James. Farm Fiasco. ICS Press, 1989.

Burnham, James. The Managerial Revolution: What Is Happening in the World.

Greenwood Press Reprint, 1972, originally published in 1940.

Carson, Kevin A. “Reparations: Cui Bono?”Archived at

Carson, Kevin A.,“Socialist Definitional Free-for-All, Part I”, Archived at Accessed on September 10, 2008.

Carson, Kevin A. The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand: Corporate-Capitalism As a

State-Guaranteed System of Privilege. Red Lion Press, 2001-Revised January


Carson, Kevin A. “The Subsidy of History”, The Freeman, Vol. 58, No. 5, June 2008.

Carson, Kevin A., “Transportation Subsidies”, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy,

Chapter Five, Section E. Archived at Accessed on

September 10, 2008.

Carson, Kevin A. “Tucker’s Big Four: The Land Monopoly”, Studies in Mutualist

Political Economy, Chapter Five: Section B. Archived at Accessed on September 10, 2008.

Carson, Kevin A. “Tucker’s Big Four: The Money Monopoly”, Studies in Mutualist

Political Economy, Chapter Five: Section B. Archived at http:// . Accessed September 10, 2008.

Chesterton, G. K. The Outline of Sanity. HIS Press, 2002, originally published in 1927.

Cooney, Anthony. Distributism. Third Way Movement Ltd., 1998.

Dyer, Joel. Harvest of Rage. Westview Press, 1997.

Gambone, Larry. Proudhon and Anarchism: Proudhon’s Libertarian Thought and the

Anarchist Movement. Red Lion Press, 1996.

Gambone, Larry, “The Myth of Socialism as Statism”, Porcupine Blog, May 6, 2006).

Archived at

statism.html. Accessed on September 11, 2008.

Hoppe, Hans Hermann, “Banking, Nation-States and International Politics: A

Sociological Reconstruction of the Present Economic Order,” The Economics

and Ethics of Private Property. Boston/Dordrecht/London: Kluwer Academic

Publishers, 1993.

Hoppe, Hans Hermann. Democracy: The God That Failed. New Brunswick and London:

Transaction Publishers, 2001.

Hoppe, Hans Hermann, “Marxist and Austrian Class Analysis”, The Economics and

Ethics of Private Property. Boston/Dordrecht/London: Kluwer Academic

Publishers, 1993.

Hoppe, Hans Hermann, “Natural Elites, Intellectuals and the State”, Mises Institute, July

21, 2006. Archived at Accessed on September 11,


Johnson, Charles, “Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty As We Know It”,

The Freeman, Vol. 57, No. 10, December 2007.

Kolko, Gabriel. The Triumph of Conservatism. MacMillan, 1963.

Preston, Keith, “The Political Economy of the War on Drugs”, (American Revolutionary

Vanguard, 2001), Archived at

of-the-war-on-drugs/ Accessed on September 10, 2008

Rocker, Rudolf. Anarcho-Syndicalism. Martin Secker and Warburg, Ltd., 1938.

Rothbard, Murray N. Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty. Cato Institute, 1979.

Rothbard, Murray N., “Wall Street, Banks and American Foreign Policy”, World Market

Perspective, 1984.

Semler, Ricardo. Maverick. Arrow Press, 1993.

Sugrue, Thomas J. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar

Detroit. Princeton University Press, 1996, 2005.

Tucker, Benjamin R., “Part II: Money and Interest”, Instead Of A Book, By A Man Too

Busy To Write One, 1897. Archived at

tucker/instead-of-a-book/. Accessed on September 10, 2008.

Van Creveld, Martin. The Rise and Decline of the State. Cambridge University Press,


Ward, Colin, “A Self-Employed Society”, Anarchy In Action. London: Freedom Press,


Williams, Walter E. The State Against Blacks. McGraw-Hill, 1982.

Whyte, William. Making Mondragon: The Growth and Dynamics of the Worker

Cooperative Complex. (ILR Press, 1991).

The British political class and enslavement: I have revised the poll below as it was constructed in haste:

David Davis

I didn’t think enough about the last post before publishing it. Sorry.



Did they turn us into barnyard-animals by public-culture-degradation and removal of schooling, in order to be able to tyrannize us overtly with our consent, so as to show that the idea of wanting Liberty can then be destroyed inside a Free People?



Did they destroy the idea of Liberty, in order to turn us into their barnyard-animals because they are pre-capitalist-barbarians, and wanted to have some animals to mistreat and shag?


The political Class in Britain today does not know what it is doing and is flying blind, carried along by the masturbatory howlings of its predatory hangers-on and suppliers who sell stuff to it, and who have been to the wrong universities, or too many (unis), for too long; the cameras and systems are arriving under their own momentum and the consequence is unintended,


The Political Class in Britain today only has the best interests of ordinary people at heart, and is acting in the role of teacher/benefactor/moral mentor, so that everything has to be noted and seen at all times from the cradle to the grave,

The question does vex me often.Try this one instead:-

…UPDATE…and I have just found this, this morning.

I quite agree: what the f*****g hell has the USA got to “apologise” for, and to whom?

David Davis

Gerald Warner asks if it’s just him who’s perplexed by this. And how exactly does electing an anti-Western fascist lefty like Barack Obama, and during a war to boot, which is to say: shooting oneself in both feet instead of one, help either the USA or assuage some kind of mediarati Beltway collective guilt, and about what?

The dude has done nothing except be a lawyer, a political activist (on the wrong side) and collect degrees. This is not what wannabe-Presidents of the most importan nation on earth do, if its people are to be served well – assuming that is what they still want out of a President.

The epistemologically-measured distance between Obama and Pol Pot is less than the similarly-measured distance between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

Remember what this dude Obama said earlier, and ask yourselves, especially you Americans who read us, what you’d do about a guy who thinks you are great, and is going to change you…..into what?

Poor old fascist Robert Mugabe really does need the cash, give him a break you saddo grasping aid agencies.

Peter Davis

Please do. He can’t manage to pay his murderers otherwise, now, can he?

And finally, how to pick your nose in public

David Davis

An oldie is a goodie. Things are old, because they are good.


David Davis

I can’t do better than the Devil, sorry – you’ll have to read about what “choice-editing” is by yourself!

And what, pray, might “Food Policy” be, and why can there be a professorship in it?

And why do all stalinists end up looking the same? Just look at the bugger, you’ll see what I mean: no ordinary person can look like that and walk down the street without being murdered, as a suspected stalinophile… I’ve saved the pic elsewhere, somewhere in Russia, in case The Devil gets shut down by the Gestapo authorities “promoting content standards”… that like throwing Jews into incinerators resettling them?

Perhaps their “choices” were “edited” by people who thought like this man clearly does:-

must be in a university then...

must be in a university then...

Another reason why you should choose to smoke.

David Davis

Irate Robot is understandably irritated by the fascist jackbooted hegelian nannying increasingly persecuting smokers, who choose to enjoy a still (limitedly) legal habit. Only tolerated of course because the Soviet government would probably be nust without the tobacco Excise revenue.

The “graphic images” on packs, as proposed, should be cut out and mailed to, or stuck on, the doors of all State offices nearby. This will soon close down places full of “public employees” owing to “workplace stress”, and we will all benefit.

Libertarian Alliance 2008 Conference, London. Places still available!

Sean Gabb

As we are all busy trying to keep up with the depredations of Gordon Brown’s (or anyone else’s for that matter) government, this is Just a reminder about the Libertarian Alliance conference this
coming 25-26 October, at the National Liberal Club in London.

This will be perhaps the best event of its kind in many years. We have,
among others,

Aubrey de Grey on life extension,

Hans-Hermann Hoppe on the
Law, and

David Friedman on the future of liberty.

You can see the full brochure, and reserve your place, by going here:

On a separate matter, I notice that yesterday – the 30th September – was the
70th anniversary of the Munich Agreement. I think there is much to be
said for Neville Chamberlain.

You can read my thoughts on the matter here:
There is even a blog-like facility here

for you to express your disagreement.

Oh, and I have added a random article button to my website. Go here, and
you can find any one of the hundreds of articles written by me during the
past few decades:

Hit the back button in Internet Explorer, and you can get something else
and so on. Just like on the Libertarian Alliance website as you are all doubtless aware…

And the “dangerous Marxist twaddle award of the day” goes to….

The Gramsco-Eagletonian “student activist and welfare wing” of these people, who were spotted in the toilets by Obnoxio the Clown.

Some of this pretentious tripe just has to be quoted. Sorry:-

A row has broken out at the University of Manchester after its students’ union toilets were “de-gendered”.

Temporary signs have made the “ladies” simply “toilets”, while the “gents” have become “toilets with urinals”…


……the student union said it was needed to tackle transphobia.


Welfare officer Jennie Killip told the BBC: “If you were born female, still present quite feminine, but define as a man you should be able to go into the men’s toilets – if that’s how you define.

“You don’t necessarily have had to have gender reassignment surgery, but you could just define yourself as a man, feel very masculine in yourself, feel that in fact being a woman is not who you are.”

And what’s the place doing with “35,000” students anyway? I thought it was a University, not a small city. Mine had about 10,000 when I was up, and we thought that was big – alhough it was moderated somewhat by us being parcelled out to various august institutions for living and drinking and shagging socialising purposes.

Of course, a strictly libertarian stance might be taken that one can “feel that one is” [the buggers use "define as" : gosh what a two-edged sword the English Lanuage is] whichever sex one likes to be. Except that if you are a man but “define as” (I never heard that before! What lovely, lovely, priceless twaddle! ) a woman, you can’t be f****d: and I guess if you are a woman but you “define as” a woman, you’re about as much use to your “partner” [who I presume "defines as" a woman, and whom you can't f**k either] as a one-legged man at an arse-kicking-party.

Right: we’ve thrown smelly squashed tomatoes and bad eggs at the fascist lefties…now comes the philosophy bit:-

Problems would arise though when it comes to behaving in ways that have evolved largely by consent, such as what toilets one ought to go in. Segregated toilets (which is to say, in public spaces and places with public character like offices and factories etc, as opposed to family homes) are really a voluntary product of “Free Institutions”, and have probably always existed in some form.

Perhaps feminazi-toiletwatch is another assault-tactic on the existence of free institutions, and these  “trans” people (who ought to be receiving boisterous assistance and lots of free alcohol from their mates instead of being encouraged to parade their particular hangups) are merely a stalking-horse for the erasure of more of ordinary Western civilisation.

I wonder what the good burghers of Manchester make of it?

Come to think of it…..two “lesbians” wanting a pee:- which one goes into the Men’s, and how can we tell?

Nice valve amp with 8 x KT88…would you like one of these?

David Davis

This is in the process of being built now. it is basically a Williamson but updated and improved using modern components. Copies would be between £4,000 and £5,000. And you’d have to have it without the Avro-Lancaster-T1154 meters, as I only have one more,

It uses 4 x KT88 in each output stage. But lesser copies could be built using 6L6 output valves, for about £2,000.

I designed the entire transformer set of four myself, and they were specially wound to order by a good maker in England. An identical set would cost about £1,000 of the total price, like a Bentley or an Aston Martin. You could have lesser ones of course, which would work perfectly well, like a Peugeot, for less than £500 of it.

The specifications are as follows:-

(1) Two channels, VERY conservatively rated at 50Watts RMS per channel.

(2) Total Harmonic distortion <0.7% between 30Hz and 30KHz.

(3) Outputs to speakers 4, 8 or 16 ohms.

(4) 40-volts DC aux power supply for preamp using valves or transistors.

(5) variable or removable neg-feedback.

(6) Front-panel meters from recycled Lancaster bombers (you will not be able to have any more of this pattern as this was the last pair I owned, but others could be subbed.)

(7) Optional high-voltage-delay for valves (heaters on first).

Those of you who knnow about audio/HiFi and valves also know that there is a certain indefinable something about the valve sound. Yes of course transistor amps are perfectly faithful to the signal and in some ways even more reliable and  responsive, but …. it’s not like that entirely. Valve stuff just, well, sounds better to the human ear.

If you would like a Williamson, get in touch. I am happy to make it entirely to your order, and will quote bespoke accordingly. In a recession, Libertarians have got to do what they have got to do.

He likes us!

He likes us!

Disgusting woman – and how to curse leftie fascists in future.

David Davis

She’s from Waterloo, down’t-road although technically we have to accept her as ours (that is to say: Lancashire, ‘coz that’s where Bury is.) NEARLY all people from either place are of course charming and normal human beings, as is ever the case.

She has said, among other things:_

Mrs Blair also admitted that her husband had not reacted well to her decision to disclose in her memoirs, “Speaking For Myself”, that their son Leo was conceived on their annual weekend at Balmoral with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

“I think he’s rather embarrassed by the love affair bits,” she says. “I don’t think he particularly read those closely. Been there, done that! He did read the political things.”

But she defended her decision to include in the book the fact that she had forgotten to pack her “contraceptive equipment” for the Balmoral weekend. She said it struck a blow against outdated taboos about women speaking about their birth control experiences.

“Part of that is the fact that women can control their own fertility. I’m not ashamed of the fact that that has helped me. My mother fell pregnant with me and it changed the course of her life. That was something I had a choice about. All my children were my choice.

“I’m sure that in political books people don’t talk about their contraception, but this is not a political book,” she said. “This was a book about a woman’s life, about my journey and how it reflects the journey of so many other women.”

Mrs Blair revealed that when she was in Downing Street she followed the advice she had been given by Hillary Clinton when she was First Lady.

“Hillary said to me: ‘You have to realise you’re not going to please all the people all the time, and there are going to be some people you’re never going to be able to please. So you must be true to yourself and to the people you know and respect’.

“It’s a difficult role, to be First Lady. That’s why I admire Hillary so much. She played that role, and she also showed us she could play the role of president too.”

Terrible and silly woman. I hope and pray that she does not have quite as much effect on the world’s stage as she thinks she will either have, or thinks she is entitled to.

TELL these people:-


Oh dear. We are now worse off than we were yesterday.

David Davis

Cameron “stands ready to work with the Government” on the “financial crisis”. I thought that:-

(a) he was supposed to be in opposition – that is to say, he is to bite their ankle, throttle their windpipe, garotte them,, pull them down and then kick their bloodied faces until they die in the ambulance…. (after all, that is what they have done to him and to us since 1997…and this govmint is a collection of overgrown hoodies after all… would not they actually have been delinquents, aggresso-hippies, lefty demonstrators, femaile students who smelled, and thugs, while at “uni” in the 70s and 60s?)

(b) he was to pin the blame for the “crisis” on government, and on Stalinist New Labour regulation and interference.

This will NOT gain Cameron votes. No, not even a poll lead. It is the wrong speech. It will merely serve to continue to identify the Tories with all other (which is to say, leftist) politicians in the UK.

Better the devil you know, eh?

This is something he said:-

Seeking to portray himself as a national leader above partisan concerns, Mr Cameron asked Gordon Brown to bring forward legislation to increase protection for savings and overhaul the rules covering the collapse of banks.

Conservative MPs will vote with the Government in the national interest, Mr Cameron said, dropping earlier objections to some parts of the legislation.

He said: “We are all in this together. Let us stick together and together we will find a way through.”

He added: “Everyone needs to know that we are doing everything we can to help you keep your job, your saving, your pension, your mortgage safe, that we are not playing politics with this and we will always do the right thing to protect your job, and your pension.”

Nah, Dave. You’ve lost it. Sorry. You have just snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.


Am I the only person who thinks that “Mortgage” has become a “terror-word”, deployed by lefty journalists (most of the buggers as we all understand) to whip up pro-Gordon sentiment to bash capitalism? I thought that, so long as you can pay it ongoing, as per the original terms, then they can’t foreclose, even if they are Northern Wreck. Or has the law been changed while our back was turned?

John McCain Gambles…… And your point is….?

David Davis

Hands up now!

Who plays the Lottery here? (Or whichever is your national or Euro one? it’s all the same?)

Honestly, I’m such a slow bumpkin sometimes. I’ve picked up the latest Democrat lefty smear-jibe via The Remittance Man, whose women I periodically check from whom I get occasional useful hat-tips.

Read the blogpost. You’ll see that it’s a case of “Parturiunt montes: tamen nascetur ridiculus mus”.

The first private space ship in Earth orbit!

David Murphy

Forget about failed banks and corporate communist bailouts, this is the top story today.


This is where the Udenopticon will be

(NB! The videos refer to the populated Berneray – not the uninhabited one which was originally intended!  – Blogmaster.)

David Davis

Do you remember when I suggested what would be done with captured socialists, other similar fascist-lefty right-wing scum, bureaucrats (same thing), stalinist Wireless Tele Vision “Tycoons” and the rest of the Enemy Class who would not beg to break stones and heft bricks in our nirvana? Well, here it is. Berneray…but I changed my mind later:-

Actually, now I think about it, Berneray is too flat, too benign now, too near other islands, and has people living on it, and actually looks quite civilised. There are even roads and live buildings and quite nice houses (all of which would have to be ruined first before turning it into a prison for lefties.) I will put the buggers on St Kilda instead:-

The irony of its status as a “United Nazis Nations World Heritage Site” will not be lost on the new, albeit slightly unwilling, inhabitants:-

It’s a pity really, that it’s not further away from us than it is. I suppse we could put them on South Georgia instead (see below) but there are two issues: (1) They are too far away to have a cheap eye kept on them and be serviced with daily rations, and (2) fascist idiots like the Soviets Russian Government might try to “rescue” them while our back is turned one night.

Richard Hammond is a driving God

David Davis

Libertarians will like this car. If a true libertarian state was to come about, then i expect they, and the petrol, would also beocme far cheaper, and we could all enjoy one.

Fractional Reserve Banking

Freedom and Whisky puts it in its proper place.

ID cards: want to stop this Stalinist GramscoMarxiaNazi plan from happening? First, watch the funny video…


Global stalinist bank meltdown…no money…F1 “chiefs” voice fears

David Davis

Formula -1 is, in the final analysis, a quite libertarian sport. Not like the Stalinist collectivist flag-waving “olympics”, in which States pretend to idolize individuals, but don’t mean it at all, for there is no champagne or cups. The regulation bureaucrats, such as the “Regional Prime Minister of upper-Thuringia-Alsace” (er…I made it up, but he probably exists) troop on but are relegated mercifully to secondary supporting roles, like handing up the cup.

In the end, it’s this. It comes down to how good a driver or his engineers, or his computer-techies, are. I would like it to be cleaned up just only a little bit, so that we could have some more excitement while yet preserving the individuality.

Gerhard Berger, great guy, good driver, thinks this. I think so too. if the buggers want £300 million a year for a couple of engines and about 8 tyres and a driver and a petrol hose, then right now it’s not going to happen like before. Especially if half the banks who used to sponsor them don’t exist or are bust.

The whole sport should gird itself up, grit its teeth, and follow our new suggested model, which will both make it cheaper to enter and also more fun.

Techie stuff, war and Marianne Mikko

David Davis

(Oh, and Obnoxio the Clown has noticed Marianne Mikko, wallowing in his own distress, too. I do not know what this man has against bloggers, except that bloggers, being unpaid sovereign individuals, have no interest in any thing but saying what they think the truth is. I wonder what he would do with socialist anti EU bloggers? There must be some.)

Those grand heroes at The Landed Underclass, who always do more than their duty in the current-and-to-be-sadly-continued titanic battle for liberty (and no, DD here didn’t join up to be shot at, honest, Guv) have also noticed that the awful EU-neoGestapo-man Marianne Mikko, an Estonian person who thus ought absolutely to know better than to be in favour of muzzling inconvenient opinions, has it in for bloggers.

I suspect the chaps at TLU are fellow-techies: here’s a couple for you, lads:-

And here’s a sadder one. Shame they didn’t put in a better armour belt, or at least flash-proof doors in the turret inter-stages and lobbies – and in the secondary-armament-lobbies too, where it actually went off, on the day. Seydlitz learnt it at Dogger Bank, more than a year before Jutland – why not us? (Or don’t we care about winning and defeating evil?):-

Here’s Seydlitz stuff too for you techies:-

Thanks to Peter Davis, Libertarian Alliance Youtube Research Officer, for help here.

Things must be getting worse than we thought

David Davis

Poor, stressed 183-year-old Hugh Hefner, boss of the bunny thingy, may have to sack staff. Playboy’s shares have lost even more value…well, with the increasingly ready availability of pretty girl pics on the internet, what does one want to buy “Playboy” for?

Oh well, I expect that The Remittance Man will show us where the excess bunnies have gone instead, and I do hope TRM will re-attire them in something less (less is more, here) and give them some brunette (or even darker) hair-colouring. Getting rid of the very very dated high-leg rubbish, that awful shiny creasy thick material they make the swimsuits out of, and the tights (yuk-k-k-k!) would be a start. The rabbit-ears don’t do much either; since most men don’t, in my experience, want to shag rabbits.

I wonder what it is they are all looking at, of camera-down-right?

States are beginning to make blogging illegal

David Davis

According to Obnoxio the Clown, Italy has already done it. I guess we’d all better build some servers.

Or we could all just blog without headlines. And Guido has spotted that the Irish have spotted something too.

Defending [a] Libertarian nation[s] from such things as protests about “unfair tax competition”, and other marxist twaddle

David Davis

We haven’t done ship stuff for a while – except to mention that the RN now has more admirals than ships (and we didn’t mean “big” ships either – we’ve included the lot….and admirals still come out ahead.

Well, it’s an excuse for some big-ship pron:-

Thsi one has a pretentious and irrelevant sound track, but is technically interesting:-

This is educational regarding a famous class of ships:-

Good archive photos of Warspite, but says little about individual actions portayed:-

And here’s some American stuff, probably more recent. Must be a practice of some kind as it’s too stately for reality:-

Whatever, if a libertarian nation was to come into being, I imagine it would face immediate threats from most quarters. Its very existence would expose, mortally, the now-dangerous hideousness of ordinary modern states, with the previously-usual machinery installed in them such as “taxation”….”surveillance”….terror-police….identity cards….”enviro-crime”….”the national curriculum”….”citizenship” classes in schools….”public-private-partnerships”….”social workers”….and the like.

All the above machines would be next-to-useless today, but the fledgeling libertarian state would need some kind of credible way of defending itself, at least in the initial stages of its existence when old-type “Big-States” still think it can be overpowered on some pretext, before their own slaves notice it and all try to do a runner.

I think that defensive power greater than any combination of two or three Big-States that decide to gang up for a mugging, would be needed. Then, we could afford possibly to wait out the period in which they fall over, just like the USSR. It would be shorter than the cold war, as we would be VERY libertarian, instead of just vaguely-capitalist/corporatist-with-a-thin-veneer-of-liberty….and the contrast would be striking, and (for a little while yet) the internet exists.

F1: Mark Webber takes you round the Singapore night-race this weekend.

David Davis

If I as a libertarian was running Formula-1, I’d probably throw away some of the rules, as restricting the fun, frolics, f***-ups and offs. The objective ought to be to keep more drivers in the race for longer, while increasing the number of incidents of all kinds. The races should still be short, under three hours, otherwise we might just as well all go to Le Mans or on Top Gear with those humorous madmen who drive across continents in disreputable old bangers costing $5…

We’d probably relax the car specs compared with now, and go to bigger engines both for endurance and cheapness, to encourage more teams and make the entry-cost lower. A 2.4-litre V8 that needs to do upwards of 17,000 RPM, for up to 500 miles, and provide something like 800 or 900bhp, is just madness on stilts. Put these in road-cars as-is, to do the usual 4,000-ish, where they belong – and get real about racing engines.

Much, much longer circuits, such as the old Hockenheim which disappeared for miles through proper forest, would come back. See our Lancashire one which we proposed a little while ago. We might even get 10 laps of the M25! That would test engine endurance a bit, here:-

And on-track real-time repairs (you could drop the mechanics, with their tools and stuff, right “on” the beached car, by helicopter) would be allowed. There’d be more hazards as a result, which will be more fun.

Such rules would re-advantage the Anglosphere and the Germans, which is what we want now. We and they are good at responding to stress under fire- this would also have the benefit of re-disadvantaging Ferrari, who, with their friends in Paris, re-jig the rules in their favour every time they are losing out a bit.

An injection of a little libertarianism will not do this sport any harm.

How much is a trillion, again? Daubenmire/dave knows!


Yeh, a trillion is a biggish number, Dave. Even the Universe will not last that long.

Just count the dried peas, man.

Here’s what we said about a billion some time ago.

And here are our trillions.

and our GOLD. £100 billion of it.

Can anybody tell me why enemies of liberalism fail in their first duty to themselves and their cause: which is to take the piss out of us?

David Davis

No comment needed.

Ah…of course…we should have known. The Marxist CofE Archbishops do.

David Davis

Here, you can see the whole sad thing, but…

…to prove my point in the title, I have to quote directly from the article:-

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, condemned the financial traders who made millions by driving down the share price of leading banks as “bank robbers and asset strippers”.

In a powerful speech to City bankers on the effects of the credit crisis on Wednesday, he denounced the “Alice in Wonderland” world of global finance where short-sellers profited by laying bets that shares in HBOS would fall in price.

Meanwhile the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, warned in a magazine article that modern devotion to the free market is a form of idolatry and that Karl Marx was right in his analysis of the power of “unbridled capitalism”.

The pair’s attacks came following a tumultuous week in which four major financial institutions went bust or were taken over, triggering multi-billion pound government rescue plans to steady the markets, after traders targeted banks that had been weakened by exposure to unrecoverable mortgage debts and a reduced ability to borrow money.

I have to say, here, that I originally thought that Dr John Sentamu was (what messrs Sellar and Yeatman called, in “1066 and all That“) a Good Thing. But sadly, he’s turned out to be just as bad a fascist lefty as all the other Stalinist/de-Christianising redistributionist terroristloving Devilworshipping lefties of today’s Chief officers of the Church of England. John Carey was probably the last Archbishop of the CofE who could be called (more or less) Christian.

And…let’s just straighten this out while I’m on fire…the “women priests thing” is not the problem. It is a Feminazi sideshow, conducted merely to undermine the CofE as an Anglospheric Institution, which used once to act to do great good, for more people, for less money, and in less time, that socialism and “big-state-charity paid for out of taxation. the Feminazi thing, and the aggressive promotion of “gay” priests, to help shatter the bonds of memory about ordinary charity and Christian life in England. It has largely succeeded.

( Regarding the “molestation” issue, many priests, in all times, and in all religions, have liked choirboys or over-young girls. I submit that it’s to do with the emotionally-highly-charged states that lonely men and inspired young people, forced together in concentrated study and practise of skill, can reach, in the environment of a grand and numinous building, and in the presence of very very large, expressive music and deep emotions. Anything that went on as a result ought to have been merely a matter for the civil authorities, if their voters decided to take a position…which under Liberal Classical pluralist democracies, they have been allowed to for the first time!)

(Furthermore, nowhere, nowhere did Jesus Christ ever say that women could not minister to His Word, nor that they could not bear His Witness to others. Indeed, Mary Magdelene did more than her heroic duty in this regard, in her life, in Jesus’s own time. He just didn’t think it was worth mentioning separately: he had other stuff to do.)

But I digress (shut up, you KNOW you like it!) Let’s get back to hysterically chewing the trousers and underpants off the two English Archbishops, who have so disgraced themselves, in public, and who have yet again succeeded in shooting capitalism, the ONLY father of Freedom and Natural Rights, in the foot.

I have to quote Sentamu again:-

Speaking to the Worshipful Company of International Bankers (what’s this? Ed.), Dr Sentamu said: “Those who made £190million deliberately underselling the shares of HBOS, in spite of its very strong capital base, and drove it into the bosom of Lloyds TSB, are clearly bank robbers and asset strippers.

“We find ourselves in a market system which seems to have taken its rules of trade from Alice in Wonderland, where the share value of a bank is no longer dependent on the strength of its performance but rather on the willingness of the Government to bail it out, or rather on whether the Government has announced its intentions so to do.”

Dr Sentamu will speak in New York on Thursday as the United Nations hosts a summit on the progress made by world leaders to end poverty. (Next post: how to staple jelly to the ceiling. Ed.)

He clearly has understood nothing. Which is to say, that the price of something is what someone else is willing to pay for it now, and which can be known right now (today) or else also estimated in the future IF all other factors are equal and the Bank’s (or whatever’s) behaviour is unaltered (say 6 months’ time or whatever.)

Or, he has been got at, by whatever Nazis and other fascist lefty scumbags are at work inside the fabric of the Church of England.

I did admire the silly bugger. In the face of white-hot post-Christian Blairism in Britain, Sentamu deliberately baptised real people, by Total Immersion, in public. He could have been hauled off, and even martyred by Stalinist shits and twats like David Blunkett and Ed Balls and “Jacqui” “Smith” (such an anodyne name, for such a person!)

YOU know! Hate-crimes, and all that anti-Western, fascist leftist multiculturalistical shit. But he did it. I think he’s been got at by the other bugger, the Welsh windbag with the bushy eyebrows.

You might buy a used car from him, but would you let him hold your baby?

You might buy a used car from him, but would you let him hold your baby?