10 May 2013 Last updated at 10:18
US government orders removal of Defcad 3D-gun designs
The US government has demanded designs for a 3D-printed gun be taken offline. Continue reading
The US government has demanded designs for a 3D-printed gun be taken offline. Continue reading
By 1909, Chesterton was contemplating the prospect of the decline of the United States, especially in light of its war against Spain over the Philippines. The decline of the British Empire after the Second Boer War of 1899-1902 was a given.
It may be said with rough accuracy that there are three stages in the life of a strong people. First, it is a small power, and fights small powers. Then it is a great power, and fights great powers. Then it is a great power, and fights small powers, but pretends that they are great powers, in order to rekindle the ashes of its ancient emotion and vanity. After that, the next step is to become a small power itself.
Chesterton, G. K. (2010). Heretics (265). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Says it all really, doesn’t it?
THIS is how you knock down a door…
And if this is what we are up against, I shouldn’t worry…
I was encouraged by this here.
But I’m not holding my breath: traditionally, Good People do not make the first move against bad. This is sad and regrettable.
But this time, just for once, could it be different? Could we eat the GFNs, before they bankrupt, starve and freeze us?
Just spotted this from an incoming link. Strange, as it seems libertarians are in favour of letting people make their own decisions about when and how to get pissed, and how pissed to get. Perhaps it’s a fake charity?
Now in America school children are being taught to sing the praises of Obama, literally.
Heres the lyrics:
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
He said that all must lend a hand [?]
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be clear today
Equal work means equal pay
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
He said that we must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
He said Red, Yellow, Black or White
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
Hello, Mr. President we honor you today!
For all your great accomplishments, we all [do? doth??] say “hooray!”
Hooray Mr. President! You’re number one!
The first Black American to lead this great na-TION!
Hooray, Mr. President something-something-some
A-something-something-something-some economy is number one again!
Hooray Mr. President, we’re really proud of you!
And the same for all Americans [in?] the great Red White and Blue!
So something Mr. President we all just something-some,
So here’s a hearty hip-hooray a-something-something-some!
Hip, hip hooray! (3x)
Please don’t give Gordon ideas, we would be singing “The Ode of the one eyed Scotsman”
It is not suitable, for people whose lives depend upon it not happening, to allow socialist mountebanks to grandstand to the world mob cheering a murderer, while wearing the stolen clothes of liberal charity. No good will come of this for libertarians, or even for ordinary people in Britain, Scotland, Libya and the USA.
We should think sometimes.
See update below, and the MSM heat is, slowly but inevitably, building:-
It is an independent federation of States which chooses (and does choose) to behave as an independent nation. We ought not to take its benignity in any form of alliance for granted. Remember who gave them the Statue of Liberty, and for what historical deed and attributes. The USA has never needed critically to be our friend, or indeed anyone’s friend!
(There are in fact interesting arguments in favour of its having been better for it to continue in utter isolation, as “A City upon a Hill”. Especially to defend against institutionally-European diseases and mortal risks such as GramscoFabiaNazism, in all its various vile guises. If the USA goes down to GFNs, and it does seem now to have its fair share, we are all in trouble. But this is the subject of another post later.)
Conveniently for us here, the USA chose to aid us in most of the 20th Century, in our manichaean struggles with sundry tyrannies, at critical times. In 1917 for example – even up to February, and even up to the Zimmermann Telegram – it was an entirely neutral and almost uncoloured decision, for the USA, to side with one or other batch of belligerents. Or even not at all.
Whatever valuable points Sean Gabb makes or implies about the First World War, it was (1) probably unavoidable in the end, and (2) our underlying motives were just and noble. The sheer scale of waste and slaughter is another matter, as is the generality of libertarian opposition in principle to war.
What happened over Lockerbie, which accidentally happens to be in Scotland, affects the USA more if anything than the UK. What would, for example, have been the prosecution’s position against Megrahi et al , in either of these two cases? Firstly, if the device had exploded, say, over Ribblehead or Slaidburn (if earlier it might have done – I am the Director of Northern Affairs: I know these places!) or secondly instead over international waters of the North Atlantic?
Here, I must add that it does not even matter a monkeys, whether it was the Gaddaffi-Megrahi mob wot dunn it, or another mob, most likely Syrian/Iranian, as the estimable Devil (pbuh) suggests here. If the Devil is right, then it’s the renaging on deals, of whatever sort (ask Stalin, he renaged on lots) that endanger them. And the initial results, always, are bad for liberty.
If public opinion in the USA leans towards refusing to buy our stuff (and they are I still think our major trading partner – the EU is nowhere by contrast) then that’s one more to chalk up to Gordon MaCavity, who seems to bugger off and go to ground when things get embarrassing. It’s becoming clearer by the hour that his pawprints (and most likely Mandelson’s, his puppet-master) are all over Megrahi and his release. But none of these three will be on the DNA database, you can bet the usual 17p.
Libertarians should hope that the sound good sense of the American People (it did however fail last November, for a critical minute) will prevail, and that little lasting damage will be done and this sleazy-dealy-oily-scumbag-under-the-carpet-while-nobody’s-looking event will sidle gently into oblivion. Libertarians in the UK and Europe will need all the help they can get in the next few decades – not just from US bloggers and think-tanks and philosophers, able to narrowcast to us and to each other – but from a broad front of general friendship and fellow-feeling for liberty – from an entire Nation.
And now this stuff is getting about:-
Look, guys: it’s all very well to strike postures – like about how Megrahi is not the right man, althoug he probably is. The Syrian and Iranian fascist guvmints were much much too clever, even in the late 1980s, to be seen with own their fingers in the blood if they could get somebody else to be the fall-guys. Also it’s just as heinous of Westminster to pretend to agree, by inference, and (worse) by silence, that it was a “Scottish Government decision”.
Libertarians are worried, because there are still a few hundred over this side of the Pond, and they want there to be somewhere they can disappear to more easily than Mexicans can, and in which there is enough space not to be found for decades, if not ever. Libertarians with British versions of EU passports are therefore endangered as regards their human rights to become refugees, by decisions like this one.
But I doubt it will.
This guy ought to be the President….or on second thoughts, perhaps we ought not to have those.
Am I paranoid, or is “piracy” by a load of towelhead scumbags with pop-guns and lilos, being allowed for some reason? It does seem rather odd that in the 21st century (I still piss myself at the very idea of one!) huge metal ships bursting at the seams with crewmen (I assume they are men?) get held up, presumably in the full sight of toher ships, hijacked and emptied of people by a couple of thug-muggers on a rubber ring, with what amounts to an airgun.
Are these buggers friendly with fake charities? Are their Khalashnikovs paid for by “Chrisdaia Nit”, for example, or “people not profit”? Or even Gordon Brown? I do not know. I think we ought to be told.
Has nobody heard of the British East India Company? Of course, it was really a fascist monopolistic “public-private-prtnership”, fully in bed with the State in most aspects of its operation, but it did manage to mostly protect its ships and employees from attack, most of the time. I wonder what the employers are doing about this modern matter, and what their insurers say?
I note that The LandedUnderclass wondered about this same problem a little while ago.
Posted by Kevin Carson on 29 March 2009
On the economic fascism of crony capitalism and irrational American common sense.
19 Mar 09 | C4SS
There are all too many people in American politics whose real concern, concealed behind all the “free market” rhetoric, is not so much “statism” per se as statism that benefits the wrong class of people. A good example: it was quite amusing to hear some Republicans, during yesterday’s Congressional hearings on the AIG bonuses, wringing their hands over the prospect of “interfering with the management of private business” and “altering the terms of contracts.” Last night Rachel Maddow ran clips of some of the very same people, last December, crowing about how they were forcing the UAW to renegotiate it’s contract and accept lower wages in return for bailout loans to the auto industry.
Another example: I don’t advocate Social Credit or greenbackism, but I don’t understand the reasoning of those who object to either as an increase in statism over the present system.
By way of background, Social Credit is a proposal to remedy corporate capitalism’s chronic tendency toward overinvestment and overproduction by periodically depositing a sum of interest-free new money, equivalent in aggregate to the demand shortfall, in the citizenry’s bank accounts. Greenbackism is a proposal that countercyclical deficit spending, rather than being financed by interest-bearing debt in the form of government bonds, should simply take the form of directly spending money into existence by the Treasury.
It seems to me the sticking point, if there is one, should be at the idea of government as regulator of the money supply by creating fiat money, or of deficit spending to meet demand shortfalls, in the first place. But these things are overwhelmingly accepted in principle by the mainstream public. So the sticking point about Social Credit and greenbackism can only be the sacred principle that the fiat money must be specifically lent into existence at interest, and that deficit spending must be financed by government bonds.
The problem is not the function itself, but only carrying it out in a way that doesn’t enable a class of coupon-clippers to skim the cream off the top.
It also seems to me, on the other hand, that if these basic functions are accepted in principle, it makes it more statist–not less–to compound the injury by doing it through private accomplices, and empowering them to charge interest for the function, rather than simply doing so directly.
It’s just another instance of a broader phenomenon, what the Libertarian Alliance’s Sean Gabb calls “economic fascism.” Economic fascism is his term for the phony regime of “privatization” advocated by such organizations as the Adam Smith Institute. It doesn’t get government out of the business of performing particular functions. It just delegates the function to nominally “private” corporations that perform the function with public money, with government protection from free market competition, and with a guaranteed profit for performing the function (on the regulated utility’s “cost-plus” model).
Under this vulgar libertarian model of “free market reform,” the only thing that matters is the comparative percentages of functions which are carried out by nominally “private” and nominally “public” organizations–not the substance of things. But it seems to me that if a corporation receives its revenue from the government, is protected from competition by the government, and is guaranteed a profit by the government, it IS the government. The only significance of the entity’s profit is to increase the overall cost of performing the function, and thus increase the total injury to the taxpayer.
And while we’re at it, let’s be honest about something. Given the existence of a corporate economy on the present model, countercyclical government spending is absolutely essential to prevent its collapse. Those who advocate a return to the Reaganism and Thatcherism of the ’80s, or the cowboy capitalism of the ’90s, absent high government spending, are either delusional or disingenuous. Reagan was the biggest Keynesian of them all.
There are only two alternatives: to eliminate the existing–statist– structural causes of overinvestment and underconsumption, or to continue adding new layers of statism to counter the chronic crisis tendencies. Either more and more statism, or forward to anarchy.
The American corporate economy has been statist to its core since its beginnings in the late 19th century. There wouldn’t even be a national market at all, or national corporations serving it, had it not been for the land grant railroads and other subsidies to long-distance shipping that made possible artificially large firms and market areas. There wouldn’t be stable oligopoly markets had it not been for the cartelizing effect of patents, or the stabilizing effects of the Clayton and FTC Acts’ restrictions on price warfare.
To repeat, the system was statist from its beginnings. There are all too many on the Right who like to refer to a mythical “free market” system that prevailed before 1932, and to pretend that the “statism” only began when government started intervening on behalf of workers and consumers. But in fact, all the “progressive” interventions of government under the New Deal were secondary, aimed at ameliorating the side-effects of the prior interventions that created corporate capitalism in the first place. Had it not been for the secondary, ameliorative interventions, corporate capitalism as we know it would have collapsed in the 1930s.
Returning to my earlier point: if we are to have statism at all, and we are reduced to quibbling between Democrats and Republicans over what kind of statism it is to be, I make no secret of the fact that I prefer the kind of statism that weighs less heavily on my own neck.
If phony “free market” Republicans accept NLRB certification of unions in principle, and only want to quibble over the Employee Free Choice Act because it makes it easier to certify unions without harassment, intimidation and punitive firing of organizers–well, why would I, a worker, prefer a system of certification that suits the bosses’ interest?
If we’re going to talk about a genuine free market labor regime, then let’s eliminate the Wagner Act–and with it Taft-Hartley’s prohibitions on sympathy and boycott strikes, and its mandatory arbitration and cooling off periods. Let’s eliminate the Railroad Labor Relation Act’s provisions that prevent transport workers turning local and regional disputes into general strikes. In short, let’s eliminate all the legal prohbitions on the tactics that unions were using to win before Wagner was ever passed.
But if we’re going to have government certification of unions, let’s have a form of certification that fulfills its stated purpose–determining the intention of workers–as accurately and automatically as possible.
Likewise, if we’re going to have a welfare state, let’s eliminate the costly and intrusive welfare bureaucracies and spend the same amount of money on a guaranteed income. If we’re going to have a regulatory state, let’s eliminate all the agencies and replace their functions with pigovian taxation of negative externalities.
My goal is the abolition of the state. I would welcome all these things tomorrow, if I thought they were genuine steps toward the abolition of the state altogether the day after tomorrow. They certainly wouldn’t be net increases in statism.
C4SS Research Associate Kevin Carson is a contemporary mutualist author and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political Economy and Organization Theory: An Individualist Anarchist Perspective, both of which are freely available online. Carson has also written for a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation and his own Mutualist Blog.
We should find out, each morning, by meticulous research, what the Obesity-Nazis, foodfascists, dieticians, doctors, dastardly politicians who want to ration food, anti-fattists and other scumbags, want to do to our consumption of nice things, and we should do _precisely_ the opposite of what they say.
…in one of the countries that matters and is still “nominally” “free”.
There are several blogs out there devoted to this enterprise. Here is one. Written by a powerful and incisive libertarian analyst. Much is going on down, in the destruction of Barack Obama’s reputation for “being able to govern”, which will continue apace. More needs to be said by the substantive blogs available now and with long histories.
Not that we really, as libertarians, want people to govern other people. It’s like, just sort of expected right now, that someone will do so. Bummer. Ultimately, it would become un-necessary: the State could indeed wither away.
Here at The Cautionary Revelation. I am beginning to like the way this guy thinks.
Yup. He can be as rude as he likes to Brown, and we will laugh, ‘coz we despise him as well. It was quite funny, to watch our PM being met out of his car by a “director of protocol”, whatever that thing might be (I have no idea…)
But underneath, we hope that, in the sad and continuing absence (for now) of libertarian administrations in the USA and the UK, Obama understands who the people _really_ are, who would really in their hearts like to be his Nation’s friends.
A couple of hours ago, we posted this stuff here, ripping as it does the public-trousers (if you can call them that) off the bugger Kim Jong-Il. He shot a woman on the Wireless Tele Vision. Hillary Clinton can’t want that, even though Monica Lewinski was also a woman.
Now, we learn that “North” Korea can point a missile at the continental USA. Personally I doubt that, but we have to be sure either way. It also means that he can point it at China, India, Japan, Russia, Pakistan (he won’t, it’s where he probably got it from at a Bootle-type-boot-fair) Persia, Arabia, Australia and New Zealand (better watch out just in case) Indonesia (he won’t) and so on.
Israel….NOW you’re talking! Everybody of course hates the Jews because they are so clever and thus they have to be killed in culls all the time, or they’ll rumble you and cause you to lose your tenured-university-job-teaching-Gramsco-Marxianism-to-those-who-have-been-Big-Brothered. He’ll get away with that one.
He can’t quite reach South Africa, but it’s gone Nazi so he will leave it.
That’s the abiding problem, with socialists, for ever. They’ll never, ever be able to help; they’re always calling on others to “do”.
They think they’re officers, probably.
UPDATE:- And I have just learned that Guido is playing what we did the other day…..
They’ll be partying soon. We’ll be working.
And the saddo nerdish historian fellows among you may be interested in this.
We stand aghast, at the possibility of “military intervention by the USA” against – of all places – Mexico. We know that, since “drugs” are grown in Latin America, and since Mexico is in the way of their transfer to “Film Stars” and wannabes in British North America, where these things are officially illegal to have or trade, that therefore mexico will be on the road of transfer.
This is all very well and ought not to matter. Cars and lorries carrying cocaine and other stuff whose names I can’t remember ought to be able to cross Mexico as though it was anywhere. The problem arises because – and only because – it is locally illegal to have, sell or use these substances, in the points of destination.
This has several effects:-
(1) It makes the substances themselves more desirable in the eyes of certain people. They will want it more because “The State” says they shouldn’t have any at all at all at all, for their own good at all at all at all . Nsty useless Hollywood delinquents film stars will leak details of their use of it, and because they are pretty and shaggable (and that’s just the men) you will want to do it too, as you are sheeple because the liberals Stalinists have told you to become so.
(2) It makes it risky and unprofitable and demoralising, for legitimate businesses to supply the stuff. If you wozz an off-licence, would YOU want to supply cocaine to any willing buyer, if you got raided every week by the rozzers for doing it, and had your shop smashed up by them (rozzers) and were put in jug?
(3) It makes the risks of supplying it worthwhile, for shysters and hoods, who don’t mind having to shoulder the boring business of killing people including police and soldiers, in the course of securing their hold on the distribution of of their stuff, to you. The £5-a-day habit, if the stuff was legally sold through chemists even including the impost of State Taxation, becomes the £100-a-day habit if you have to buy it through hoods who have to insure themselves – at your cost – for their own risk against both the State and against other hoods who want to compete, for what is really a rather small niche sector.
(4) it makes jobs for Police rozzers. Rozzers are inherently tormented people, who ought not to have got like that; they need psychiatric help, and quickly. Just as you ought not to want to be a criminal, also you ought not to want to be a policeman in the 21st century: what does that desire say about you, and your morals, and world-view, as a person?
So the way forward is quite clear. ALL drugs have to be legalised, in all jurisdictions, preferably by yesterday. This will have a number of good effects:-
(1A) The “Police”, currently a pantomime collection of gamma-minus droids unfortunately increasingly supplied with real guns as opposed to things that shoot out a flag which says “bang”, and who are “employed” by their “states” not in chasing real muggers, robbers, burglars and killers but in harrassing “drug dealers”, “motorists”, “paedophiles”, “racists”, “terrorists”, “non-payers of council tax”, “TV-license-evaders” and “climate-change-deniers”, will find that their workload is decreased alarmingly. We will “need” fewer of them. Good.
The main solution to civilisation’s ills is
and more and better people.
There may even be “calls for” “FEWER POLICE ON THE STREETS”. I think that in a civilised society, the police ought to be invisible: see poll below.
(2A) The use of “drugs”, which is to say substances currently classified as drugs”, by all people, will fall dramatically. or it may not: I do not know. But I think it will fall.
(3A) The legalisation of “drugs” will mean that Galxo-Smith-Klein, Schering-Plough, Ciba-Geigy, and all the others, will be abot to compete legally for whatever market they think they can get. Adverttisisng will be allowed. Advertising is the best way to garotte bad stuff fast. The purity and quality of products will thus rise, and the price will fall to the point where the “State” will come in.
(4A) The “State” will take a take. Where GSK wants to sell you your Ecstasy for 50p a go, via the chemist down the road in Shaky-street (PR8 . . . ) , the State will take £4 or so, making it about the price of 20 fags. What’s the point of going and doing crime, if it’s only that much? You can get it from your dosh you that get “on the sick”.
OK so the “State” wins, win-win in the short run. But it’s got to justify how it needs to spend so much less on policing, since there’s so much much less less petty crime going on down.
That in itself will be tremendous fun to watch.
Andrew Roberts will be proved right about Bush here. (UPDATE:- for the majority-commentariat who view Bush just slightly less positively than I do, Andrew Roberts is more famous than I am and makes a lot more (than no) money out of his opinions.)
And Bush was right here:-
I wonder if Keeley Hazell thinks he was right? I suspect not, since she has been on SkyNews telling everyone how she’s in favour of stopping climate change:
but like Andrew Roberts, she can tell people what to do:-
Here. And here he is, speaking on tape while dead:-
Perhaps the West should release a tape of this stuff below, with a pic of “the West” leaning beside a SA-80 and praising God:-
Time for some plain plane porn I think:-
To get up the noses of fascist Western lefties and Nazis who think “Palestinians” exist and have not been artificially-created in thought-vats by anti-civilisational-Gramscians, you might want to send some moolah to http://pizzaidf.org…Guido thinks that £100 will feed and water a platoon: I think it’s about right, but I guess even £10 will do stuff for four guys in a tank, or a “gun group”.
It’s probably about as much as a “rocket”: think about it.
Why is it, that a self-defining nation, aided by all the leftist special-interest-groups in the West including the (very great and important) BBC which reveres the memory of the fascist cockroach*** “Yasser” “Arafat” (who was actually a pig) and which are called “Palest” “Inians”, has not got a situation where it can allow its merchants to provide “food, medicine, cooking gas”, in a place which is part of that which is called “Palest” “Ine” ?
Why do the Israelis Jews have to provide it, under fire?
I only ask because I want to know (I want to know what’s wrong with the “Arab model of reality”)?
I’d just like to know, being half-Lebanese myself, what the f***** is so wrong with Israel that everybody execrates it.
Look at this nonsense:-
Stockpiles of aid inside the Gaza Strip had dwindled to nothing creating a potential crisis for a place where over 50 per cent of the population rely on humanitarian aid to survive.
The issue of militants firing rockets into Israel from Gaza has been a thorn in the side of the Israeli government for years.
If they can afford rockets, they can affiord food, which is mcuh cheaper!
***I don’t use “pig” any more. The pig is a useful and benign animal for humans to eat.
*****I don’t really know what “The Gaza Strip” is for:-
If it’s supposed to be a “thorn in Israel’s side”,
(1) then why is it starving and why are its friends, such as Syria and the Harzi-Khazi not supplying its food and power?
(2) why is Israel flying in food, medicies and gas?
And why has Keeley Hazell not got a view on this? Perhaps she has been got at by the mediapimps of socialism, such as “Dr” Robert Mugabe (who still holds 11 honourary Doctorates from supposedly real Univerisites) or other humanitarians jus like him at the United Nations, so that she can freely show her body but not her opinions:-
Here’s Yoram Monrof, playing a songabout peter Mandelson, although he doesn’t know it:-
Oh and I did try, just now, on Youtube, “Keeley Hazell Gaza Strip” – I really did think something would come up, with her taking houri/seraglio-type bras off, but it didn’t.
Perhaps she has not formed an opinion yet. In the meantime, I am prepared, being what my (very very late) East-End grandmother called “another little arab boy” when she first met me, to leave the matter to the Israelis.
(I should add that, being half-Lebanese as I am, my (Lebanese) mother was a “French Presbyterian”, whatever one of those might now be, or ever have been. I strongly suspect that such people are extinct.)
The Landed Underclass thinks we ought to get off, too. Or, do something radical and quick. But maybe it’s more realistic for a proportion of humans, even if small, to leave for “other shores”. After all, that’s what we did before.
I don’t go for conspiracy theories, or for “world government” conspiracy theories. I don’t think the Fabianazis, indisputably and irremediably evil, murdering and wicked though they are, are sufficiently well advanced in their plans yet to consider this matter, even if they thought they were even to mean it literally, which I doubt.
I don’t even believe in the (Bob the) “Builder Burgers“. These are a fiction. It is just rich and powerful guys who want to get together and have a drink and a sexy f***, with girls who are specifically not their wives (just look at the wives and see why) in some nice hotels near to some good sources of the more pretty escort girls. Also if money is no object, so I guess the sex would be fairly OK. Why do you think that _”journal ists”_ are kept out? They fear the News of the World just as everyone does. (Tony, it’s your cue here to say if we are right or not.) But this planet may become too unpleasant for liberals, and in the not to distant future, mainly because we failed to see how serious the Enemy Class was, about reinstating slavery, feudalism, and pre-capitalist-neopastoralism, because it has so little imagination abour how it could survive in a real-world.
But the idea of confining, by orbital forts, the pre-capitalist population of bureaucrats – sadly plus those peoples who are too badly-armed or too sheeplike to oppose them – on Earth, while the rest of us leave, is an attractive one.
It looks like “business as usual” on Capitol Hill, for a bit. At least, since having actually won, we shall not be leaving Iraq and Afghanistan with our tail between our legs quite this minute. Time to at least get the planes and vehciles out I guess, to sell them to some dictator or other (see “Mercs for Jerks”.)
Wonder what she will think of him in a few weeks’ time:-
Isn’t it nice NOT to have to talk about the BNP membership list any more! Lancaster Unity is miking it for all it’s worth. I guess they have “nothing useful to say about anything”, as Duncan Money said about me, in his comment on this posting. (Of ours.) We’ll send you some traffic, Duncan, old chap, there you are, we’ll paternalistically toss you a penny as we pass.
Pirates are a problem, caused by Global Climate Change. If you go there, then you will see why. The “precautionary principle” of course shows why we really all ought to reduce our “carbon footprint”, and only burn chicken shit, in order to eliminate piracy.
As Auberon Waugh would say: “I am not suggesting that we should all shoot all pirates on sight, but it may help to reducde the problem”.
9th November 2008
Libertarian Alliance Conference
Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize 2008 – £1,000 Won!
Norman Barry RIP
Sean Gabb in The Times
Other Media Appearances
Attendance at UKIP Function
Negative Scanner Wanted
I have done rather less during the past few months than usual for the Libertarian Alliance. My time has been taken up instead with finishing one novel and working on another, and with playing nursery rhymes to my daughter in many different keys.
But the Libertarian Alliance as a whole has remained very active. We have just held our most successful conference ever, and we continue to put our case in the media and wherever else we are invited.
Our conference of two weekends ago, at the National Liberal Club in London, was our most successful ever. It is unfair to single out any particular speakers at the expense of the others. However, our three most prominent speakers were Aubrey de Gray, David Friedman and Hans-Hermann Hoppe. These all gave excellent speeches.
When advertising our conferences, I have always urged people to book early to ensure a place. Usually, we get between 80 and 90 people, and there is always room to let people come along on the day – even if dinners are less easy to arrange at short notice. This year, however, we reached the Monday before the beginning of the conference, and had 112 people on our list. The Liberal Club’s fire regulations limit for our usual room was 120. Over the next few days, another 20 people tried to book with us. When I removed the PayPal buttons from the brochure page on our website, people began to telephone us and tried begging for places. In the event, we had 120 people at the conference, and 113 booked in for dinner.
One of these, I am pleased to say, was Teresa Gorman, who was one of our most consistent friends in the Parliamentary Conservative Party during the 1980s and 1990s. Though now in semi-retirement, Teresa looks good and remains on good form.
It is not certain we shall be so crowded next year. Even so, I do recommend early booking.
As ever, we made a full video record of the speeches. Because I am busy doing other things, because it takes time to process video, and because my desktop computer is unaccountably very slow, it took me a fortnight to get the video files uploaded to the Internet. But they are now available. You can see our video record at
These files have been radically downsampled for Google. However, if you want better quality copies on DVD, you can use the PayPal buttons at the bottom of the record page. This year, we are happy to take payment in pounds, in dollars and in euros.
The subject for this year’s essay as “Can a Libertarian Society be Described as ‘Tesco minus the State’?” I am disappointed that no one came forward to give a robust defence of corporations on libertarian grounds. I did promise impartial judging. However, I received a number of very fine entries, all of which will be published by the Libertarian Alliance. After much deliberation, I decided that the best entry was from Keith Preston in America. His was a very impressive entry, and we shall be delighted to publish this as a Libertarian Alliance pamphlet. For the moment, it can be seen on our blog:
Next year, I am hoping for several thousand pounds of sponsorship, so that we can offer a first prize of £1000, but also several dozen second and third prizes for lesser amounts.
We were all naturally concerned when Helen Evans, our Events Coordinator, fell dangerously ill just before the conference. However, she is now out of danger and well on the road to recovery. Our thoughts are with her, with her husband Tim and with their daughter Petica.
For those who have not heard already, I must announce the death, on the 21st October 2008, of Norman Barry. I first met him in 1986, and he was one of my external examiners some years afterward. A most distinguished scholar, he was victim in his final years to multiple sclerosis.
According to the announcement on the University of Buckingham website,
“It is with great sadness that the University has learned of the death this morning of Professor Norman Barry. As one of the foremost exponents of classical liberal theory in the United Kingdom, Norman established the foundation around which the study of politics developed at the University. His work as a scholar of Friedrich von Hayek, as a social and political theorist and as a writer in business ethics contributed greatly to the academic reputation of the University after his arrival in 1982. He received the ‘Liberty in Theory’ Lifetime Award from the Libertarian Alliance (LA) in 2005. Our condolences go to his colleagues, friends and family.
“A graduate of the University of Exeter, Professor Barry lectured in Politics at Queen’s University of Belfast and at Birmingham Polytechnic (now the University of Central England) before being appointed as a Reader in Politics at the University of Buckingham in 1982. His books include Hayek’s Social and Economic Philosophy (1979), An Introduction to Modern Political Theory (1981), The Morality of Business Enterprise (1991), Classical Liberalism in an Age of Post-Communism (1996) and Business Ethics (1998). He was awarded a Chair in Social and Political Theory at Buckingham in 1984. He was also a visiting scholar at the Centre for Social Philosophy and Policy, Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and at the Liberty Fund, Indianapolis. He was a member of the Advisory Council of the Institute of Economic Affairs, London; the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, London; and the David Hume Institute, Edinburgh.”
The full announcement is here:
You can also see an interview with Professor Barry from 1991. This is in our Botsford Archive at:
I think I did send this out. If not, I should have done. On Friday the 24th October 2008, The Times carried an article by me in favour of disestablishing the Church of England. Here is the article:
Here is a longer article I wrote a few years back, in which I argue against disestablishment:
I have changed my mind about the Church and about several other issues on which I was once a strong conservative.
I have been much in demand by the BBC these past few months. I regret, however, that I have been far too disorganised to record any of these. My most recent was the night before the American election on Radio 5, where I denounced most politicians as motivated by money, kinky sex, or the sheer joy of messing up the lives of others. I scandalised some Labour politicians and politics lecturer, who had come on in the belief that he would be worshiping at the shrine of St Barack the Redeemer. His embittered annoyance, and his attempt to turn the listeners against me with his revelation that the Libertarian Alliance believes in legalising all drugs and even incest between consenting adults, made for an entertaining broadcast. Sadly, I failed to record any of this. I will try to do better in future.
I did think of betting money on the election of Mr McCain as American President. However, the more I looked at him on the television, the more I realised he was one of those figures, half comic, half sinister, who are thrown up at the end of every ancien regime. I guessed that millions of Americans would vote for him through clenched teeth, bearing in mind it was him or a black man. But I decided in the end he was not worth the risk of losing £20.
So Mr Obama it is. He will contrive, if very differently, to be even worse for America than Mr Bush has been. On the other hand, he will probably be less inclined than Mr McCain would have been to blow the world up. And if he is a closet Moslem, that is certainly less alarming than the acknowledged Christianity of Mrs Palin.
Oh – and, since he is half-Kenyan and was born before 1963, he will be the first American President in many years whose father was a British citizen. I am sure this fact will not be overlooked by Lyndon Larouche and his many followers in America. Perhaps the Empire is striking back!
My comments on his election can be read here:
Those who want to understand the true nature of the evil he means to America, should read my book Cultural Revolution, Culture War. You can get copies here:
I am running out of copies, but want to sell all of these before I set to work on another edition. If you buy now, you may be able to give copies to your loved ones for Christmas/Hannukah/Diwali/Kwanzaa. You are too late for Eid.
At the Libertarian Alliance conference, David Friedman gave me a copy of his novel Harald. This is a fantasy set in world loosely based on the early middle ages, and is a very good read. I wish he had brought more copies so he could have sold and signed them. I think it is important for libertarians to write about more than how to privatise the Bulgarian motorways. David has always been a diverse writer, and his novel is a significant move into fiction.
You can buy your copies of this at:
I have also been sent a copy of The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain by Douglas Carswell and Dan Hannan. This is a remarkable attempt by two Conservative politicians to give their party some actual policies. Of their two main prescriptions, one is excellent, the other on the verge of terrifying. The first is to devolve to every county and city in England all the powers of the Scottish Assembly. This would at once undo the massive centralisation of power England has suffered during the past hundred years. The second is to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and to subject the judiciary to the restored legislative sovereignty of Parliament. Giving power with no hope of appeal to 625 of the most ignorant and corrupt people in the United Kingdom is not the way to make the country a better place.
I will review this book at some length in the next few weeks. you can buy copies here:
On the 17th October 2008, I was invited to a closed meeting of the UK Independence Party on HMS Belfast. This was addressed very ably by Nigel Farage, who spoke about his party’s strategy for doing well at the next elections to the European Parliament. Though I do not feel able to say more about what was a closed meeting, I was very impressed by all I saw and heard. Regardless of the strained relations for much of this year between UKIP and the Libertarian Alliance, it has been my settled intention to continue voting for UKIP. I am now glad to report that relations are no longer strained.
I have accepted an engagement to speak to the Shelley Society at Eton College. This will be around the middle of the present month. I may record the event, but will only make my own speech available on the Internet.
I have several thousand negatives from the Chris R. Tame collection of photographs. I want to have these scanned in for upload to the Internet. Is there anyone out there able and willing to lend me a good negative scanner?
Director, The Libertarian Alliance
Tel: 07956 472 199
FREE download of my book – Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back
It is good to find that I am not the only one who thinks the Obama Presidency will crumble into the usual dust, to the great unweal of all the rest of us fighting the coming of the New Dark Age.
Barack Obama and America’s 1997:
Welcome to the Club!
by Sean Gabb
I have been asked by several of my American readers to comment on their presidential election. I did think to ignore these requests. Having spent very little time there, I cannot be regarded as an expert on America. Nor am I particularly fond of the place. I think its war of independence was brought on less by the Stamp Act than by Lord Mansfield’s judgement on the illegality of slavery at common law. I also think its war between the states was won by the wrong side. It would have been better for humanity had the Union been broken up and its member states made into British satellites. Sadly, the United States survived, and was able to grow into the mercantilist oligarchy that took the most significant – because ultimately the most successful – place in the triumvirate of Soviet communism and European national socialism that ended the hegemony of English liberalism.
Having considered the request, though, I do have something to say. The range of opinion about Mr Obama’s election seems to be marked at its limits by the BBC and by organisations like Vdare and American Renaissance. The former believes he is a fusion of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, and has turned its news broadcasts into a hymn of secular joy. The latter believes that he is indeed Messrs Mandela and Luther King – the real ones, that is, not the constructs of the politically correct classes – and that he will surround himself with Black Panther bodyguards and declare Ebonics the official language of America.
I think both opinions are wrong. The first is not worth commenting on. The second is wrong because so many American conservatives are still in shock at the thought of having a black man to rule over them. Mr Obama got his campaign funds in the usual way – from business interests that will now want their reward. He will need to operate within a system that remains dominated by whites. Within a year or so, the non-whites who are still celebrating his victory will have noticed that nothing much has changed as it affects their lives, and will be denouncing him as a white man with a black face.
This is not to say, however, that nothing important has happened. Something has happened, and it is both important and dreadful for the American people. America has just had its equivalent of our 1997 revolution. Looking at the eighty four years until then, power in England had become both more oppressive and less accountable. But the main features of our Constitution remained in place, and conservatives had been able to retain sufficient institutional power to slow down the drift into tyranny. The election of New Labour allowed the wholesale remodelling of the Constitution, so that little now remains around which conservatives can unite. I now live in a country where power is less restrained than at any time since the sixteenth century – where formal sovereignty has been passed to various foreign agencies, where the media is controlled, where civil liberties have been casually squashed, where the armed forces have been made into instruments of an imperial aggression that brings neither glory to their nation nor better government to their victims.
So it is now in America. The American Constitution and Bill of Rights have always been a fraud. From slavery to civil asset forfeiture, they have never restrained any abuse of power on which the American ruling class has been determined. But the country is very large, and there has usually been strong local suspicion of Washington. Given a ruling class interested mainly in dividing up the profits of commercial privilege, and prepared to indulge any right that did not get seriously in the way of this, the American people were left with the appearance, and often the reality, of much freedom.
The new presidency is no more about having a black man in charge than New Labour was about having all those Scotch voices in government. It is about a change in the ruling class. This is the election in which those whose minds were captured in the 1960s and 1970s by the neo-Marxists have taken over from their parents. The Clinton presidency was largely a failure because the new ruling class was still too young, and because the old ruling class had not grown too old to cling to power – and because the Clintons were too easy to hate and despise. All is different now. The new ruling class has no political opposition but a group of neo-conservatives who disgraced themselves during the Bush presidency, and who are probably less interested in opposition than in a few compromises on foreign policy. And it has a figurehead that cannot be mocked or even criticised without risk of the most horrid accusations.
Mr Obama cannot be more stupid in his actions or more embarrassing in his utterances than Mr Bush has been. But his essential function as President will be to shield the new ruling class of America while it carries through a total transformation of American life. I do not know exactly how America will change. But I can predict that, come 2016, most Americans will no longer recognise their country. It will be less free. It will be less prosperous. It will be less American. What has happened in England, and what is happening in Australia, will now happen in America.
All this is to be regretted. I think increasingly, however, that if those who are transforming the English world are to be blamed, those who are being transformed are no less to be despised. In 1917, power was seized in Russia by men who were prepared to murder anyone who so much as raised an eyebrow at them. Whether they murdered thirty million or sixty million people is important in the obvious sense. Where ensuring absolute docility of the ruled is concerned, it is the first million who matter. No one can blame the Russian people for grovelling before Stalin. But none of the almost equally radical governments that have taken over in the English world has killed any of its own citizens, or is proposing to kill any. We have been enslaved by a small minority of intellectuals whose most potent weapon is words. Any people who can be so enslaved deserves to be enslaved.
But I am about to digress. I will only say for now that the American people deserve Barack Obama. To some extent, he is their punishment for tolerating, if not welcoming, eight years of George W. Bush. More generally, they are about to lose nothing more than they have long since abdicated their right to possess.
So, welcome, America – welcome to the New Labour Club.
NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3 Any American who wants to understand the nature of the Obama Revolution should buy a ocpy.
Yeah, the baddies have won. That’s life, and it’s a bugger, and then you die after it.
…I thought the Kennedys were all dead. It seems not. No corroboration from the Booby-See, strangely…Kerry aaaaAND two Kennedys? All it wanted was the Goracle and they’d be crowing world victory. (Here’s a report of more verbal garbage from John Kerry.)
Come to this blog again in 12 months’ time, and see if we didn’t tell you it’d be a disaster (this new US administration, not the blog…) I long to be proved wrong here, but I fear I will be right.
Peter Davis (still on inset)
Not much else to say really.
*It’s Lancashire for “grandmother”.
Now, I’d be the last to question Obama’s sincerity as regards his emotions towards his nan, and as I don’t know the man I’m therefore not really in a position to say whether the tears he was crying in front of billions yesterday were crocodillean or real. But it does seem rather convenient, doesn’t it. The timing, I mean.
I’m not even saying he’d be a bad president. But as he is a socialist, I’d have thought that’s a risk that the American People ought not to want to take – seen from a Randian perspective. That’s not to say McCain would be much better; however, the Americans ought to get back into the habit of choosing to elect those who are slightly less collectivist in outlook than this one – and who won’t tlak so freely of “sharing the wealth around”, as though it was some sort of collective property that wasn’t being distributed right.
Also, we learn that he’s been sent by God. Aways tricky, that one…..
…..saying that Palin is “a disgrace to women” (yep that’s what it said.)
You can read all the guff if you want, but it’s rather like being asked if you want to shag Elizabeth Taylor – you can decline, since you know exactly what it will be like.
Poor sad old BB. She was lovely in 1965 when I saw a pic of her in a confiscated mag at school, lying on her tum, in a bikini, rather small (the bikini, not BB). The pic was about seven years old which would have made her, say, 24….yep that would be it.
It’s so sad, what happens to the human body with age, such a beautiful thing that it once was.
Forget it, BB, get a life, just keep on upsetting the French Nazis, who fine you thousands periodically for saying things about animal rights and gays and stuff…that’s your job, and you can afford it, and you are good at it. Just keep Nicolas-Psychosis busy, for then he can’t do any worse stuff to people.
Do what you do, and move on. The (democrat) Nazis in the USA would eat you for breakfast, so keep out of it, for old times’ sake, OK?
…And Perezhilton doesn’t seem to have quite as positive a view of BB as I do…
Update: 05.11.08. he’s been elected. We’ll have to make the best of it I guess. the next four years will be what the ancient Chinese would have called “interesting times”.
I must be living in the Stone Age – this has had about 10-gazillion-grillion views and I have only just found it…lovely little girl, so exquisitely shaggable: what a waste. Hope she’s really a conservative but is wisely not telling:-
This is supposed to be a “European” song….doesn’t sound like it to me…it somehow doesn’t, er, quite…fit…into what I’d call the Western Canon of Music:-
What a ridiculous prat he is being made out to be. Have to do my bit for America I suppose.
…..in more ways than just one.
Firstly, if the English Colonists in the Lands of King George III Beyond the Seas had not decided, in their exasperation, to do what they did, I wonder what would have transpired. It’s fun to do historical-what-ifs, and there are as many positions to take on this particular one as there are fierce autistic libertarians reading this blog.
We in the UK still mark sad, or glorious, anniversaries, but more and more in a “politically correct” way. The objective of the Enemy Class here is to hollow out their meaning, turning them into a sort of trivial Morris-dance. As time goes on, the events themselves thus lose definition, and people find themselves performing slightly strange rituals, eating such ceremonial food as is still permitted by the Safety-Nazis, while fewer and fewer recall what the rituals signified.
For stuff like Armistice Day, it’s still not so bad, although practically everybody has died who really knoew what it meant. For 9/11, I have my doubts already.
Seven years ago today, in about two hours’ time by GMT, nineteen hoodlums and death-eaters hijacked four non-military planes full of civilians, and deliberately drove three of them into crowded and conspicuous buildings. The fourth crashed “harmlessly”, as a result, it is believed from wireless evidence, of the efforts of the passengers to either regain control or redirect it. The truthers will of course say otherwise, but I have not time to refute their theories in detail today (although i oppose them to the end of my strength: for I want this to hit the blog before offices in the USA wake up in an hour or so.
As of now, more time has elapsed since 9/11 than the entirety of the Second World War. Yet we seem in the West to be arguing among ourselves about which batch of US government agencies, with or without Israel, plotted to trash several hundred thousand square yards of New York real estate, together with up to 50,000 living humans inside it.
There are now some dissenting views about what really happened. The “truthers”, whatever they might be, come to mind, as I said. Their hypotheses attract people whose sympathies are leftward-leaning, neo-pastoral, East-Coast-intellectual, and anti-capitalist in general.
But the substance of the case remains that, unless hundreds, if not thousands of (probably mostly) American citizens who collaborated in an “inside job”, were “silenced” or “made to disappear”, (along with all their friends and families who would have an interest in grassing up whoever it was) then a foreign power or religion took it upon itself to perform what you must say was an act of war against the USA, which is to say, the West.
It says a lot for the West that very very widespread dissent about the causes of 9/11 is freely allowed. However, a person called Osama bin Laden, made, before he was killed some years ago, a series of interesting videos in which he freely and proudly assigned responsibility for these acts. Not to the agents of a Western government, but to elements within a certain religion. This religion holds tenets, both explicitly stated in places in its Vulgate, and implied in others, and rarely denied categorically by its adherents, which are inimical to coexistence with other “faiths”. It’s enough to make a man agree with Prof. Richard Dawkins.
The main result that endures is that we are fighting, strategically, the wrong “war”, even though tactical theatres in it may be the right ones – such as iraq, Afghanistan, and the like. the war we have been given is not against an actual enemy, but against a tactic used by one. The “War on Terror” makes no sense: you can’t fight a war aganist “bullets”, or “bombs” – the items are deployed by people.
It’s not what our rulers can’t say, that’s our problem – it’s the way in which they can’t say it….and won’t even allow us to, increasingly.
After seven years of quite disarmingly frank rhetoric and clear-bright statements of their objectives, by the enemies of Western Civilisation, both at home and elsewhere, we are no nearer to being able to admit that a sizeable body of people thinks that human civilisation, with capitalism, liberty and natural rights aloft, is going in the wrong direction.
Many of these people reside in the Anglosphere, in particular the UK which is now coming in for exemplary punishment and cultural erasure from its rulers and popular media: they comprise what Sean Gabb has successfully dubbed the Enemy Class. There are examples of Enemy Classes in all Anglosphere nations. Elsewhere, in more self-confident polities, they are ruthlessly suppressed, along with liberals. It is inevitable that we are infested with these people, so long as we ourselevs are real liberals and we yet do nothing about this mortal danger.
Many others are extreme members of a related mass of pre-capitalist-death-cults which number as either nominal or more enthusiastic adherents over a billion people. And many are comically-charismatic murderers such as Castro, Mugabe, Hogu the Chav, Kim-Jong-Il, and the like, who take pleasure in winding-up and patting-on-the-head the legions of insecure yet terribly-famous Western “journalists” (and some politicians, such as the disgusting Ted Heath who fawned on Saddam in 1990.)
No. Sorry. you can’t have a “war on terror”, od what you have done, and expect it all to be sweetness and light after a few years. Sadly, the half-life of the attention span of modern Western audiences and electorates is decreasing.
Moreover, the widespreadness of the ability to (a) understand and (b) carry on in episodic fashion, a political discourse, is decreasing almost by the year. This may be deliberate “education policy” on the part of Western governments, or it may not, but I think it is. All government persons are shits, which is why they do the jobs they do: these days have no other ability – the times are gone when a “great man”, who has raised factories from dust, or laid the b utchered corpses of tyrants in the bloody sand, would “think of a later career in politics”.
But I don’t think that even the government of the USA – no, not even Halibushitlerburton, not even that lot, is capable of covertly murdering 3,000 of its own citizens and trashing its most important city in a morning, “for oil”, or for any other nefarious objective such as “helping Israel”. Even that lot is not a shitty as that.
But it’s time they either shat or got off the pot and let someone else have a shit, as to the titanic battle of our time, which is whether we either can, or indeed want to, save Western Civilisation. it will be of no use to be a libertarian, and fight our own Jihad for the gradual LIBERTARIAN-NEO-FABIAN drive towards more minimal-statist societies, if nobody stands now. We can be Fabians too. But we must have faith that we are right, and know that it will take a long time, or else the loss of our people in 9/11 was for nothing.
The Blogmaster adds:-
For further material by Sean Gabb, regarding tomorrow’s 7th anniversary of 9/11, please visit this link to his post of 29th July 2008. This comprises a remarkable and prescient article, written by him just after the 2001 event itself.
Free Life Commentary,
an independent journal of comment
published on the Internet
Issue Number 101
14th April 2003
The War: Won but not Over
by Sean GabbThough the pacification is as yet incomplete, Baghdad has fallen and the war seems in the conventional sense to be over. I am glad that the Allies have won, and that they have won so quickly. I did not think they would. I really did expect the Iraqis to use their advantages of defence to greater effect. I expected them to blow up all the bridges over the Tigris and Euphrates, and to spread rubble over all the roads into Baghdad—thereby preventing the Allies from driving straight in—and to use snipers to hold up attempts at clearing the rubble. Above all, I expected the Iraqis to defend the city from behind a large and shifting mass of civilians. I do not know why they failed to do any of this, deciding instead on strategies that an idiot child—let alone the Americans—might have countered. As said, I am glad that they failed. But it has made me wrong so far in my gloomy predictions. I was wrong and my more bellicose friends and opponents were right.
This being said, it does not affect my belief that the war was unnecessary and therefore should not have been fought by this country. Success does justify many risks—and this was a risk. But no degree of success can justify a risk that was unnecessary, that has brought human, financial and diplomatic costs, and where the longer term consequences of success may involve still greater costs. Such was this war.
I know that I am repeating myself. Then again, repetition is a valid form of argument where new or forgotten propositions are concerned. But I regard the proper duty of the British Government to be the protection of British life and property. The duty may occasionally require interventions abroad, but will mostly require action only within the borders of the United Kingdom. I believe this for two reasons.
First, a government is an agent of its people, not a principal, and so must take care to spend lives and money on ventures that relate directly to its duty.
Second, when governments set their foreign policies according to known and predictable interests, the chances of war are much reduced. Even when wars do happen, they are for obvious and limited ends, and do not require people to be lied into states of hysteria that are far easier to excite than to abate and that may complicate efforts to make peace.
Against this proposition, three arguments have been raised. Once again, I know that I have disputed these on many occasions. But I have not so far been successful in winning my case. I will therefore risk the impatience of my readers in repeating myself here as well.
First, we were told that Iraq had weapons that it was willing and able to use against this country, or that it was willing to give to others for use against us. Day after day, the media poured out claims to chill the blood. To these were added claims from within my own circle. One person told me —he promised me he had inside knowledge—that there were tunnels under the presidential palaces in Baghdad up to a mile long, filled with chemical and biological weapons. Someone else assured me that there was a secret nuclear programme, but that Tony Blair was unable to reveal its details to us. Someone else told me in a semi-closed meeting about the “verified links” between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Iraq was cried up endlessly as a clear and present danger.
If true, this would have justified war on the principles given above. But I doubted if it was true. Iraq is a poor and barbarous country. It lost a war with the more civilised countries in 1991, and after that was continually monitored and blockaded. That it could, even so, develop weapons for use against us struck me as absurd—and that was without considering the evidence. But just look at the evidence given. Assertions and plain forgeries aside, not even an opportunistic connection was shown between al Qaeda and the Government of Iraq.
As for the alleged threat posed by the Government of Iraq in its own right, we can now see the quality of that evidence. Doubt has been justified by events. If I was wrong in my military predictions, it was only so far as I believed the Iraqis to be more effective than they were. Their inability to defend their own country showed the nature of their threat to ours. They used throughout nothing better than old conventional weapons. Many of these they had trouble making to work. If Saddam Hussein had been the lunatic he was claimed to be, he ought surely to have used his chemical and biological weapons on the first day of the war. If he was the scheming tyrant he was also claimed to be, he ought surely to have used them on the last. He did not use them because he did not have them.
Until Saturday, I was willing to believe that such weapons would be “found” by the Americans. They had the means, motive and opportunity for planting them. But the surrender of Amir Humudi al-Sadi has complicated any such plan. He was the chief weapons adviser to the Iraqi Government. Before the war, he had repeatedly denied that his country had any of the weapons it was alleged to have. He helped reveal the report on Iraqi weapons published by the British Government as a mass of lies—and often of plagiarised and obsolete lies. For his own safety, it was in his interest, once the war was over, to confess that he had been lying, and to validate all American claims. In fact, he called a news conference before surrendering and repeated his earlier denials: “I was knowledgeable about these programmes” he said. “I never told anything but the truth and time will bear me out”. Bearing in mind how little shame the present Government of America has about torturing prisoners of war, it will be interesting to see how long Mr al-Sudi maintains this insistence. But no amount of retraction will now be believed. There were no “weapons of mass destruction”. There was no danger to this country. We were lied into this war.
And so this first claim has been dropped for the moment. The war is now justified on the second grounds of “régime change”. Some of my friends have always supported the war on these grounds, and, while I do not agree with them, I do not accuse them of discreditable motives. But I am shocked by the sudden change of excuse in Washington and London. Interference in Iraqi internal affairs was expressly and continually disclaimed before the war started. The talk then was all about disarmament of Mr Hussein. He had only to comply with the weapons inspectors, we were assured, and his country would then be left alone. To see the politicians now changing their story reminds me of the Victory Square parade in George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four.
But let us set aside the manner of its advancement, and consider instead the substance of the claim—that we have a right or obligation to overthrow tyranny throughout the world. Of course, I deny the claim. So long as it does not endanger us, I do not see what happens in other countries as any business of ours. I know there has always been a strain of liberal imperialism in the libertarian movement. But this is misguided. It is no more the business of our government to liberate foreigners from oppression than it is to feed them if they are hungry. If we oppose foreign aid, why support humanitarian invasions? They both involve spending the taxpayers’ money. Why the inconsistency?
I suppose the alleged answer is that foreign aid does not work, but that liberation does. But what reason have we to suppose that it does work? If the Americans were to conquer Iraq and its neighbours, as we conquered India, it might work. We had not only the will to put down widow burning and sacrificial murder, but the means to enforce our will. We stayed there long enough to remake Indian civilisation. Will the Americans now rule Iraq for two centuries? I think not. The intention seems to be to set up a new government there and then withdraw.
Now, liberal democracy requires more than a written constitution and a few bribes. Though all human beings may want to be free, I doubt if all have an equal capacity for freedom. Free institutions are not the same as satellite television dishes and motor cars. They cannot be exported to and established in countries that have not previously had them. Instead, they proceed from the cultural values of a nation. They can be gradually transplanted. They can even spontaneously evolve. But they cannot be unpacked as if from a box.
Unless they can be taken apart and remade, the various civilisations of the Arab world all require strong authoritarian government. The looting and communal violence we have seen in Iraq since the collapse of its government may be in part a reaction against tyranny. But it is also what happens when order is destroyed in a deeply corrupt society. It will be ended when order is restored, but this order will not be liberal or democratic. To set up a constituent assembly that is any more than a fraud will mean reproducing indoors the hatred now running wild in the streets. This is a truth that liberal imperialists need to learn in every generation. Because of this war, we are now due for another lesson in true sociology.
There is worse. By conquering Iraq, we may have destabilised the country and the entire region. The Arab mind of the past hundred years has been divided between secular nationalism and radical Islam. The first of these now looks to have been comprehensively defeated. The resulting void will not, I think, be filled by liberal democracy. Instead, millions of young men can be expected to grow their beards and pay attention to the usual texts. They will probably make everyone around them unhappy. And I am reasonably sure they will contrive to make us unhappy before the fiends who direct foreign policy in Washington move on from preventive war to preventive genocide.
But I turn to the third justification for a specifically British involvement in the war. This takes it as given that the Americans wanted to invade Iraq, and does not ask why. It simply looks at the advantages for Britain of supporting the Americans. The main advantage alleged is that the war may have destroyed all chance of our integration into Europe. There are persistent claims that Tony Blair will use his restored popularity to call a sudden referendum on the Euro. More likely, though, it seems that the French and Germans have just had all their suspicions confirmed that Britain will never be a loyal and contented member of the European Union, and that our leaving it could be more a question of when than whether.
Before the fighting started, I might have been willing to accept this Machiavellian justification of war. Getting out of the European Union, after all, is a first rate British interest. But, having looked at the civilian casualties—small in number as they have so far been—I have changed my mind. I cannot stop thinking about that poor child who last week had his arms blown off and his lower body scorched all over. If the war had been for our immediate defence, I have no doubt I should have hardened my heart and agreed that his suffering was regrettable but necessary. But the war was not for immediate defence. It was at best in pursuit of an interest that involves further contingencies before it can be achieved. His life has been destroyed for nothing. Perhaps worse, it may have been destroyed because we as a nation are too decadent to save ourselves by other means from a wholly political threat. If we cannot use our still formidable constitutional freedoms to save ourselves without that, I do not believe we deserve to be saved. There is a story that Pope Innocent VIII was prescribed human blood to keep him alive. Three boys were chosen and bled. Too much was taken and the boys died. The Pope still died. Perhaps that is now what we have become.
Since that picture of Ali Ismaeel Abbas was published, some of my critics have stopped denouncing me for my cold-hearted nationalism. I am now accused of being soft-hearted—almost a “leftie”. The reason for this is that I have not made myself sufficiently clear. I deny that it is our duty to go out of our way to help foreigners when they are suffering. But I also deny that it is our right to make them suffer when it serves some doubtful interest of our own. What was done to that boy would always have appalled me. But the knowledge that I share in the corporate responsibility for it almost maddens me with shame and horror.
I hear the liberal imperialist argument that he has been destroyed so that others in Iraq might live in peace and freedom. As said, I doubt if they will live in peace and freedom. I am also not concerned. I am suspicious of caring about people whose faces are invisible. I prefer to look at individuals. Perhaps this leads to an imperfect view of suffering. On the other hand, it keeps one from the callous indifference to actual, known lives that has been shown over again these past few centuries by men who killed even as they paraded their universal but abstract love of humanity.
I am told that the American Government has a list of future targets, and that on it are Syria, Iran, Cuba and North Korea. Already, it seems, opinion is being softened for war with Syria—it has, we are told, “weapons of mass destruction”. I do not know whether to laugh or cry. How could these psychopathic children have been elected in London and Washington?
I do not yet know how Mr Blair will emerge from this war. My fear is that he will be strengthened in his ability to do evil at home as well as abroad. But perhaps the people of Britain have not joined in the worship of power so fully as the opinion polls now indicate. Perhaps they will turn on him. We cannot unwrite this page of our history, or even blot it out. But perhaps by destroying the career and execrating the memory of its author, we can yet rescue some of our self-respect.