by Sean Gabb
One of my interests is long term movements in living standards. I have the full Phelps-Brown and Hopwood Index for the 12th to 20th centuries, but not in a form that can be easily republished. Here is a graph showing movements between the 15th and early 20th centuries.
The problems with making a long term series ought to be obvious. Even for England, we don’t have the complete data. The prices commonly used are for wholesale goods, and the most complete series of wage rates we have are for building workers in London, which may diverge for long periods from the wider average. Until fairly recently, money wages were supplemented by shifting degrees of payment in kind, and this is hard to take into account. Then we have unknown degrees of substitution between goods. Continue reading
I had business yesterday at the London branch of the Internal Revenue Service. This meant going inside the American Embassy – a vast, forbidding building, stuffed with armed guards and surveillance equipment. After twenty minutes of having my clothing and possessions pawed through, I expected I’d be confronted by some gloating fascist who would rip my papers across and send me back to Deal to start again. I found myself instead in the company of a rather jolly man. He confirmed I had the wrong papers with me and that I’d been given the wrong advice by everyone else. But he then filled out a long, and previously unknown form, telling me this was how to get a refund of all taxes paid to the American State and make sure I wasn’t bothered for another five years. I signed it. He stamped it. I left the building with a slightly better opinion of America than when I went in. That wouldn’t be hard, however, and I doubt it will last.
by Keith Preston
Note: Mutatis mutandis, this is worth discussing for England.
For some years now, I have advocated for the anarchist movement in North America a change in direction from the course it has followed since the 1960s. Essentially, the general flavor of the anarchist milieu is one that expresses the same set of primary values as Marxists, social democrats and left-liberal Democratic Party activists, with the added qualification of “by the way, we’re also against the state as well.” A principal problem with such an approach is that it fails to distinguish political anarchism from run of the mill leftism. Furthermore, anarchism exists primarily as a kind of youth culture/subculture which focuses on a very narrow ultra-leftism and hyper-counterculturalism that inevitably has the effect of relegating political anarchism into a fringe ideological ghetto.
This is a situation that I have sought to change. I have done so by advocating a broader, more expansive approach for political anarchism than what the current mainstream of the movement will allow for. This effort has won me many highly sympathetic friends within the anarchist milieu, and many bitter enemies as well. In a recent and highly controversial essay, I argued for a “revolution within anarchism.” What I was calling for is the future advent of a “non-leftoidal” anarchist movement, meaning one that is more substantive, comprehensive and original in its approach, rather than simply championing the run-of-the-mill causes and issues favored by leftists and post-60s counterculturalists. Continue reading
by Keith Preston
In what way does the actually existing libertarian movement, anarchist or otherwise, threaten the existing political order? If anything, the libertarian movement is a microcosm of the wider society. There are the “right-libertarians” who extol the virtues of capitalism, Christianity, and the American way (kind of like, you know, the Republicans). And there are the “left-libertarians” who jump over the Democrats and even the far left to demonstrate their opposition to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, “bigotry, “brutalism,” etc. There may not be anything inherently wrong with these ideas, but in what way do they threaten the state or the establishment? They don’t. Instead, they just reflect contending factions of the system. Continue reading
by John Kersey
Dr Gabb has recently posed to us the questions “Was Crowley a sort of national socialist, or a sort of libertarian? Was he a sex-obsessed libertine, or did he preach absolute self-control?” He suspects that all these questions have the same answer, and that such an answer does not reflect well upon the self-styled Great Beast. I hope I can propose to him a rather more nuanced appreciation of this complex and enduringly fascinating – though hardly entirely admirable – character.
An understanding of Crowley – and by that, I mean an understanding of what Crowley himself intended by his work and actions rather than the various re-interpretations and smoke-and-mirrors exercises that even he indulged in, should start from the context of the revival of interest in Western esotericism in which Crowley became a pivotal figure. The key to this revival is that it was by nature anti-modern; its proponents were counter-Enlightenment conservatives who sought to recapture the wisdom and ways of the ancients. Their models of spiritual belief were hierarchical and retrogressive at a time when the demos was in its ascendancy; they proposed not only an aristocratic replacement for modern ecclesiastical structures, but furthermore that progress towards the upper echelons of this enlightened aristocracy would involve exposure to and understanding of progressively more advanced ritual practices and the results thereof, bringing about the growth of the soul and rewards that were to be expressed beyond the present world. Continue reading