Monthly Archives: November 2010

Bait-and-switch “charity” in progress…


Christopher Houseman

As the snow piles up outside my front door (among many others), The World Wildlife Fund is currently broadcasting a weepie, Warmist TV ad appealing for money to save the polar bear from extinction.

I fail to understand:

  1. How the WWF can even think about broadcasting AGW agitprop to a population that’s having trouble dealing with yet another snowy day. Even if AGW were true, has nobody at the WWF heard of Marketing 101?
  2. Why sending money to the WWF will cool the climate for polar bears in any case.

Wikileaks: Feeling Rather Anti-American Today


Mario Huet

Regarding Mrs Clinton’s absurd claim that the Wikileaks Scandal is an “attack on the international community”:

 Whenever Americans speak of attacks on freedom or on the world, what they usually mean is that they would very much like to constrain or kill someone. What they invariably mean is that something has upset them by revealing that they are evil and stupid. As they can’t easily say, “We are getting sick of people revealing to the world the extent our wickedness, incompetence and dishonesty”, they must fall back on tired old nonsense about global irresponsibility and its shocking consequences.

Well, if there are shocking consequences to the US, and to other nations who collude with them in leading their own people on a very large scale then that is just too bad. Let us not forget that it was the United States that chose to make a certain country “respect” the UN by themselves ignoring the UN’s wishes and starting a war. Yes, we all saw and heard the nonsense about how Saddam Hussein wouldn’t bend over far enough so the weapons inspectors could properly look into his bottom, but that was hardly a most excellent justification for the subsequent deaths of thousands of people. When not blaming Saddam Hussein for blowing up the twin towers (and for all I know, the assassination of JFK), America went to the most ridiculous lengths to suggest that he he had top men working on the sort of things that would have Indiana Jones crying, “Help! I want my mommy!”

And when not that, it was a moral imperative that they “liberate” the ordinary folk in poor little Eye-rack. Which they did by doing their best to blow them all to smithereens, and removing a strong leader and stable government, and replacing them with a piss-poor excuse for a leader and a bunch of resentful nutters who seem to spend most of their time plotting to kill each other. Peace, stability, human rights: all of the greatest importance to the Great Satan, (and his minions) and all served in the same usual blundering fashion.

When I hear terms like “rogue nation” and “dangerous lunatics”, I am afraid I think first and foremost of the United States. I imagine a frothing mad, but stupid cartoon character who, seeing signs of smoke, cries, “That’s a fire, that is, and I’m just the guy to put it out, I am!” He then runs round for a bit, getting redder in the face and becoming breathless, while shouting things such as, “Bring ‘em on!” and “We’ll see about that buddy!”, and then empties a great big bucket of GASOLINE on what is smouldering. And what happens next is that he begins shouting, “Oh, my, this is not good! This is even worse than I thought! Hey folks, you-all gotta take a look over here, ’cause this ain’t just my problem, and I shouldn’t have to deal with it all on my lonesome!”

Perhaps I am just feeling rather anti-American today.

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


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

Carry a Samurai Sword and become invisible to police


Michael Winning

You can see it here.


NOW…that’s what I call an idea


Bioluminescent trees.

David Davis

Bet you 50p you’ll see this at David Thompson soon, on Friday Ephemera….

Introduction to \


Early in 1991, I was persuaded to do some editing work for The Social Affairs Unit. This book was by biggest project, and it involved more work than I expected. Some of the essays were fully written out and needed only moderate editing. Many were corrupt transcripts of what were often rambling conference speeches, and these needed to be rewritten. This was in the days before the Internet, and I had to spend days in various libraries, checking facts and pulling out quotations.

via Introduction to \.

UN Global-Warm-Mongerators…always wrong, all the time


David Davis

We’ve come to expect it, since they do it on purpose.

BUT..

The pretence, of course, of appearing manfully to try to shore up a wrong position (although based on falsified data – a fact still not widely known or believed, despite the Climate-Gate scandal) is a good position for them to take. It makes them look like heroic, altruistic martyrs in the service of “The People”.

These droids are very, very clever, far-seeing, and have planned their strategic and fundamental assault on civilisation for a very, very long time.

WE must never, ever underestimate their resourceful and ferociously-focussed pursuit, in the face of all opprobrium, of their objective of irreversible enslavement of all people: this will be in a living hell encompassing the Whole Earth, where all except the bastards themselves will endure the torments specially reserved for the damned.

What the EU-governmint thinks of elections…


especially in places like Ireland.

David Davis

Fun airports


David Davis

View some here.

FLC186, Democratic Art: The Non-Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, Sean Gabb, 10th September 2009


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.

via FLC186, Democratic Art: The Non-Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, Sean Gabb, 10th September 2009.

Nigel Meek on Maurice Glasman (a New Labour “Peer”)


http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/econn/econn095.htm

The Nature of Christian Democracy: A Review and Critique of Maurice Glasman’s Unnecessary Suffering: Managing Market Utopia
Nigel Meek

Economic Notes No. 95

ISSN 0267-7164                   ISBN 1 85637 560 9 

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

© 2003: Libertarian Alliance; Nigel Meek.

Nigel Meek is the Editorial Director and Membership Director of both the Libertarian Alliance and the Society for Individual Freedom. He graduated as a mature student with a BSc in Psychology in 1996 followed by an MA in Applied Social & Market Research. He has most recently worked in market research and the support side of further education and is currently conducting further postgraduate research in political science.

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

FOR LIFE, LIBERTY AND PROPERTY

Preface

This essay, presented here with only minor revisions, was originally written in 2001 as an academic review of Dr Maurice Glasman’s (1996) Unnecessary Suffering: Managing Market Utopia. Its most important feature for Anglo-American readers is its description and analysis of that school of thought known as ‘Christian Democracy’, a largely continental European and Roman Catholic phenomenon little understood in the mainly Protestant, English-speaking world.

Although this issue is not specifically explored in the following, it is demonstrably true that most of the founding fathers of what has become the European Union were devout Roman Catholics; that the Vatican, the Catholic church generally, and senior lay Catholics in EU member states have been and continue to be amongst the EU’s main proponents; and that throughout the EU Catholics are both more supportive of European integration than Protestants and do so for cultural rather than economic reasons. (See, for example, Nelson et al (2001).) This, of course, is not in itself an argument against the UK’s engagement in the EU. However, it is another reason for more open and considered thought of the UK’s membership of, and, no doubt, eventual dissolution in, something that is alien and ill-understood.

More specifically, looking at the European Parliament, it may also serve to illustrate the inherently highly ambiguous and often controversial membership of the British Conservative Party of the Christian Democrat-influenced European People’s Party and European Democrats group of MEPs.

Those interested in the historical mirror image of this phenomenon may care to consult the earlier chapters of DeLeon’s (1978) The American as Anarchist for a brief and clear description of the profound influence of Anglophone Protestantism on aspects of modern libertarian radicalism.

All references found below are from Unnecessary Suffering.

The Quest

Glasman’s starting point is the belief that there are two ways that society actively distinguishes between necessary and unnecessary suffering: establishing a justice-based common status for all, and people’s treatment at work. However, whereas in the former case – i.e. political liberalism – he optimistically contends that the idea of individual rights has substantially succeeded via the establishment of durable legal institutions, in the case of the economy this is not so (pxi). Glasman sets out to remedy this defect.

Unnecessary Suffering is Glasman’s attempt to identify and describe a – if not the – particular concept of the ‘third way’, that oft-sought road that combines the best of the two allegedly dominant ideologies since the 19th century: capitalism and socialism. Its purpose, however, is not to concur with much of modern politics that claims to abhor all ideology, but to describe the historical antecedents, theoretical arguments, and post-war operationalisation (or not) of something very specific: the siting of democracy within the workplace rather than the collectivist State or the individualist market (p5).

Specifically, Glasman sets out a thesis, based in particular on Roman Catholic doctrine, that, whilst accepting the institution of private property and market competition (and hence is apparently anti-socialist), nonetheless rejects unlimited managerial prerogative (which Glasman finds in both capitalist (p20-21) and communist (p133) forms), the commodification of labour, and profit maximisation as the driving force of economic decision-making, demanding instead worker participation and workplace democracy (and hence is apparently anti-capitalist).

In a number of chapters, Glasman looks in some detail at the post-war history of (West) Germany and Poland, examining in particular the changing fortunes of Christian Democracy, communism, and the New Right, and both the external and internal pressures brought to bear on these countries. This aspect of the book is not fully explored here, but in any case much of it is an analysis of the implementation or not of the theories set out in the earlier part of the book.

The Theoretical Core

Glasman freely draws on the work of a number of 19th and 20th century thinkers, the first of these chronologically, and who Glasman cites as of key importance in the development of Christian Democracy in Germany, being the 19th century Roman Catholic bishop, Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler.

One assertion of Ketteler’s that goes to the heart of Glasman’s view of the relation between the individual and the collective was that, in Glasman’s words, “The dilemma of Christian Democracy was that the principle of private property had led to the removal of people’s status as members of organisations” (p37). However, the implications of this are obvious and alarming: that one can only have true status as a member of an organisation and that individuals have little or no inherent worth.

Glasman goes on to note Ketteler’s claim that contracts between an employee and an employer who holds that latter’s means of subsistence are not voluntary but really a form of compulsion (p37). Aside from perhaps an Aristotelian objection to this definition of ‘compulsion’, there are a number of arguments against this. First, they are voluntary: the employee can always starve. This may well sound a shocking assertion to those schooled in modern positive-rights welfare liberalism, but the freedom of voluntary exit is ultimately the most basic freedom of all.

Secondly, in practice, people do manage to find alternative employment after having reached the seeming bottom. In any case, it is a matter of empirical fact that the immiseration hypothesis was and is wrong and that this picture of the destitute individual prostrate before ‘the boss’ is a marginal and decreasing one and certainly not an image on which to base and operationalise any social theory.

Thirdly, the fate of the dismissed or otherwise unemployed worker under economic liberalism seems better than the same individual who for some reason is excommunicated from his organisation or guild when, as is quite clear from Glasman’s overall thesis, the guild – ultimately through its relationship with, and use of, State coercion – really can make sure that he never works again. In the Ketteler/Glasman thesis, then, there seems little real place for the individual as an autonomous economic agent.

Ketteler also claimed that society was by then so complex that welfare needs could not be met by charity alone (p37). However, it can be strongly argued that the reason that the whole raft of possible non-State welfare provision available through commercial, not-for-profit, or charitable organisations can no longer cope, certainly now at the beginning of the 21st century, is because of their ‘crowding out’ by the State from the 19th century onwards with the latter’s power to fund through coercively expropriated taxation.

For Ketteler, the role of unions and artisans’ organisations was a positive one and to quote Glasman was “to ensure high quality craftsmanship, honesty in relation to other workers and the preservation of values within the economy” (p38). Some of this is no doubt often true, but when we examine, say, the medical profession, by maintaining unnecessarily high standards it limits supply thus raising prices and denying appropriate medical treatment in particular to the poor who cannot afford to pay twice for it (i.e. once through taxation and then again to the commercial medic). In any case, the supplier is here apparently sovereign. Also, in practice, it can be interpreted to mean that individual workers are not allowed if they wish to negotiate their own terms except via the union or similar organisation.

Ketteler also believed that the State should take steps to rectify the fact that “the market violated the capacity of the person to live an autonomous life” (p38). This is an odd assertion. If one is not ‘dependent’ upon the market – a polite fiction, of course, since it is not the impersonal market one is dependent upon but other real, people – then one must be either dependent upon others simply giving one money, surely a condition even less conducive to an autonomous life, or, excluding those acts traditionally considered criminal, dependent upon others being coerced into giving it by and via the State, no less unconducive to an autonomous life one would have thought, and certainly rather less moral.

Another key influence on Glasman is Karl Polanyi, and especially his book The Great Transformation. For Glasman, Polanyi’s two key propositions were that individuals are “… constitutively dependent upon a physical environment and other people for the satisfaction of needs” (p5), and that “the economy requires social institutions which disseminate skills, distribute knowledge and preserve the status of human beings and nature as something other than commodities” (p5-6). From this follows what Polanyi calls the ‘three commodity fictions’: labour, land, and money. These are not commodities at all since they are not produced for sale. Labour, for example, is “inseparable from the body and the life of a person and cannot, therefore, be stored up or reinvested.” Land is not a commodity since it is a “gift of geography and history” (p6).

However, it would be a serious blow to Glasman’s thesis if Polanyi’s commodity fictions were themselves fictitious: and I would argue that they are, and indeed self-evidentially so. First, one might argue that a commodity is anything upon which a subjective value can be put. Then Polanyi makes the attributive mistake of confusing labour with the person: when we sell our labour we do not sell ourselves. Next, if we wish to live as anything than the most primitive hunter-gatherers, productive land needs to be wrested from nature and by a ‘Lockeian’ mixing in with it of our labour – to use a well-known concept – becomes property and hence a commodity.

Regarding the third of these, money, Glasman also discusses further on in his book subsequent Christian Democrat demands for the ‘constraint’ of capital (p35). Polanyi, the Christian Democrats, and Glasman all seem to suffer from a straightforward misunderstanding of the nature of money in all its forms. Money is a good like any other, subject to subjective evaluation and the laws of supply and demand. To ‘constrain capital’ is nothing less than to constrain the most important form of non-constituted – i.e. not of the person’s body – private property of all, that which facilitates the voluntary transfer of goods and services, and hence an autonomous private sphere of activity, and therefore ultimately advanced liberal civilisation itself.

Anticipating his later discussion of Hayek, he sets out Polanyi’s argument that atomism – i.e. in practice market capitalism, I assume – and nationalism are linked in their mutual contempt for the range of intermediary institutions and traditions such as unions, churches, guilds, etc. which serve to sustain society (p7). However, whilst there is real truth in this in the latter case, and Glasman’s theoretical rejection of the leviathan State does him credit, in the former case we begin to see Polanyi’s, and hence Glasman’s, primary error in their misunderstanding of the market, again seen more clearly when he turns to Hayek.

Whilst accepting both the State and the market, Polanyi claims that “a substantive economy … requires a society based upon non-market institutions which plays a role in the provision of needs, the distribution of knowledge and the allocation of status” (p17). (A cynic might say that this emphasis on status is to protect those that have ‘paid their dues’ from free-market parvenus.) As a result, rather like Ketteler, he goes on to say that “Unmediated dependency on either the State for welfare or the market for wages leads logically to an unmediated dependency on the State as the protector of community” (8). This is certainly true in the case of the State, but again, unfortunately for Polanyi, there really are only two ways of getting money: through theft, fraud, or coercion, whether ‘privately and illegitimately’ through crime or ‘publicly and legitimately’ through State-expropriated taxation; or voluntaristically through wages, interest and rent received, inheritance, gift, or charity. To a true liberal, only the latter voluntary transfers are morally acceptable. Any other distinction or attempt to create a fictitious ‘third way’ in title transfer is illusory.

Glasman examines – and surprisingly, perhaps, for those expecting a thoroughgoing assault on the New Right, not entirely unfavourably – some of the work of Friedrich Hayek, and indeed this is possibly the most important section of Unnecessary Suffering (p24-27). He notes Hayek’s critique – e.g. in The Fatal Conceit – of constructivist rationalism his support for a spontaneous order, and thus his opposition to socialism on the grounds of its adherence to “hyper-rationalism in its administration and atavistic communitarianism in those matters concerning ethics and moral argument” (p25). Glasman shares Hayek’s views about the role of tradition in the preservation of knowledge and his critique of the centrally planned state. However, whilst he agrees with Hayek’s identification of an intermediary between instinct and reason, he says that Hayek failed to understand that the same was true of the economy, i.e. that there is an intermediary between the market and the collectivist State, these being represented by institutions such as “vocational organisations, public libraries, universities, artisan institutions and municipal government” (p26).

This is the core of Glasman’s theoretical argument, but I suggest that Glasman has fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the market: that rather than being the discrete entity that he assumes, it is but one species of a much larger type of social interaction characterised by voluntaristic relationships. In other words, that there are only two forms of societal relationships: coercive and voluntary, with the market being the directly wealth-creating element of the latter. Also, for all his acknowledgement of Hayekian criticisms of the limits of statism, it cannot but be noticed that many of the intermediary institutions that he so favours rely on the coercive half of societal relationships – i.e. the State – for either their funding and/or their special protection.

Glasman’s theory, then, is both flawed in its misunderstanding of the societal location of the market and also its conception of many of his favoured intermediary institutions which turn out to be deeply statist albeit of a second-hand, parasitic, and dishonest nature. His announcement of Hayek’s epistemological failure to account for the “institutional means through which substantive practices of practical knowledge have been protected from the rationality of the market as well as the rationalism of the state” (p27) is anyway doubtful given the inherently subjective nature of the market, but more importantly suffers from his failure to acknowledge that such practical knowledge – that is knowledge of subjective value to either the worker, entrepreneur, consumer, or hobbyist – can be and is protected and transmitted via the various elements – market and non-market – of the voluntary aspect of social relationships.

The New Right

Towards the end of the book, Glasman discusses the rise of the New Right in the 1970s and 1980s (p98-120). He offers an interesting view into the nature of ‘crisis’, a period during which the existing arrangements come to be perceived as unstable, and either collapse due to this instability or survive thus proving there was no crisis in the first place. Crises thus resolve themselves either way: there can be no permanent crisis (p98). However, there seems to be at least a third option missing from Glasman’s analysis: that crises can be detected and changes made towards a (sufficiently) new system before the old system actually collapses. Therefore, one analysis might argue that Britain was in crisis during the 1970s but did not actually collapse due to the Conservative Party’s victory in 1979 and the implementation of the necessary ‘Thatcherite’ policies.

He claims that the major crisis during this period was that the Keynesian paradigm – qua system of historical interpretation rather than moral philosophy – was discredited by its failure to any more accurately predict and explain events (p111-113). This caused a breakdown in trust for the paradigm and the answer to ‘what is to be done?’ could no longer be given since the ‘logically and conceptually prior’ consideration of ‘what’s going on?’ was no longer held to be reliably answered. The New Right, however, in a process which Glasman likens to a Kuhnian paradigm shift (p99), appeared to offer a new and better explanation.

Looking at it from the inside to some degree, one might question Glasman’s apparent view that the New Right came out of nowhere in the 1970s (p115). There had always been a classical liberal ‘underground opposition’ to the post-war settlement, but it had been ignored by the establishment and often actively suppressed – as it still is – by the universities and much of the intelligencia. Equally, however, Glasman is, for some at least, over-optimistic about the collapse in support for the post-war settlement (p119): it is difficult to recall it being true either at the time or, providing one allows for rhetorical and tactical changes, now.

A Miscellany of Interest

Glasman highlights some interesting and illuminating aspects of post-war and post-Cold War history. It is certainly an eye-opener to learn of the massive foreign debt accumulated in the 1970s by the supposedly communist Poland and owed to Western governments and banks (p89).

Staying with Poland, Glasman describes at some length the ideological roots of free union Solidarity and plausibly describes them as a mixture of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice and the Roman Catholic socio-economic thought that forms the core of Unnecessary Suffering (86-97). If so, it shows that the democratic Left in this country during the 1980s were, after all, more correct in saying that it was their model that Solidarity was pursuing, not the contemporary Thatcherite/Reaganite one. Some of us must stand corrected.

Glasman is given to making dubious – and sometimes distasteful – historical comparisons. To take just one example amongst many, discussing the inter-war years, he writes that “Each country, whether it was New Deal America or the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, or welfarist Britain, responded to the threat that market economies posed to the existence of society by releasing labour, land and money from the subordination to the price system alone.” (p15). To talk within a ‘liberal’ thesis about labour – i.e. human beings – being in any sense ‘released’ by Stalin or Hitler, other than millions of them being ‘released’ from the burden of breathing, is unnerving.

Dr Glasman’s Internal Struggle

Throughout the book, one is aware of the tension within Glasman’s thinking, and implicitly within Christian Democracy. On the one hand he frequently rejects socialism and the centralised State, and indeed specifically says that his intermediary institutions facilitate life in a capitalist economy (p78).

On the other hand, he is also critical of capitalism in terms that would make any socialist feel proud. For example, he argues against a straw man version of ‘market utopianism’ by describing a society in which self-interest is the only acceptable form of rationality (9). It certainly calls into question Glasman’s familiarity with the world of ‘actually existing commerce’ and the way that many of those engaged in business in fact spend a surprisingly large amount of their time not acting as economic profit-maximisers.

He also openly calls for a “society [which] could democratically organise the satisfaction of needs” (p142), but ‘happiness’, for example, is not an objectively verifiable ‘need’ and Glasman is, no doubt unconsciously, promoting despotic austerity. He also seems predisposed towards a rationalist interpretation of history, particularly when discussing the New Right (and especially paradoxically when considering his support for some of Hayek’s thinking), as though the key actors consciously envisaged all real-world political events and their outcomes.

If a crude judgement about Glasman’s ideological homeland is to be made, it is that he is a liberal-minded man of the Left who recognises that socialism is no longer an intellectually respectable cause. Instead, he has cast around for something which seems to offer the political liberalism that he seeks, whilst still allowing him an emotionally pleasing denunciation of ‘capital’.

(I should note here at the last that I know the immensely likeable Maurice Glasman personally. He once told me that, because of his support for the anti-socialist elements of Christian Democracy and (in part) thinkers such as Hayek, some of his students regard him as being definitely ‘of the Right’.)

The Wrong Tools for the Job

However, this ‘psycho-political’ analysis is likely to do him a disservice, for if nothing else it is to try to interpret and make some sense of Christian Democracy using inappropriate and inadequate conceptual tools. Yet this same error is very widely made in Britain when analysing the EU, particularly by its opponents. Critics from the ‘Left’ regard the EU as a ‘capitalist club’, and can point to elements such as the free movement of goods and capital and the acceptance of material inequality to justify their belief. Critics from the ‘Right’ liken it to the old Soviet Union or Yugoslavia, and can point to elements such as the Common Fisheries and Agricultural Policies and worker participation in management decisions to justify their belief.

However, they are both wrong. The crucial point is that, as noted in the Preface above, the EU is substantially founded on and driven by a Christian Democrat ideology of the sort described by Dr Glasman. Something that is not merely philosophically mistaken, but fundamentally alien to the liberal, Protestant, Anglophone political tradition.

References

DeLeon, David (1978) The American as Anarchist, Baltimore, MA: John Hopkins University Press.

Glasman, Maurice (1996) Unnecessary Suffering: Managing Market Utopia, London: Verso.

Nelson, Brent, James Guth, and Fraser Cleveland (2001) ‘Does Religion Matter?’, in European Union Politics, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp191-217.

This is a slightly revised version of an essay that first appeared in the May 2002 issue of The Individual, the journal of the Society for Individual Freedom (www.individualist.org.uk), pp6-10.


 

Libertarian Alliance home

Dr Robert McIndoe


Tim Evans

Robert McIndoe R.I.P

On behalf of everyone involved with the Libertarian Alliance, I would like to express my sadness on learning that Robert McIndoe has died.

A graduate of St. Andrew’s University who had a life long passion for learning, in recent years he went on to gain an MBA from the Open University and then an MA in Theatre & Performance Studies.

An engaging, thoughtful and genuine ‘renaissance man’, his early career saw him train as a mental health nurse before he went on to excel at communications and management consultancy – not to mention a wide range of other commercial and professional activities.

A wonderful and creative artist with a passion for everything from painting to theatre, he will be greatly missed by everyone who had the exhilaration and pleasure of knowing him. A treasured and special friend over many years, I for one will miss him hugely.

He leaves his beloved wife Shirley, and lovely daughters – of whom he was so proud – Madeline and Isobel.

Dr Tim Evans

This fellow’s right too


David Davis

The population of the libertarian blogosphere is, if not actually falling, well then, er, possibly sagging a bit.

The LMF (libertarian motor-mouth fund) is not likely to be created yet or indeed any reasonable time soon, to “come in and audit the “posting rate versus asset-bankable-ideas”. It’s not terminal, and many chaps have other stuff to do, unlike the LeftoStaliNazis.  CountingCats has an interesting discussion going on: the hard-men will probably stick around.

Oh, and Gold’s still $1,355 , so we are not out of the (Bretton) woods yet.

Lord Young is right that things could be worse than they are


David Davis

The socialist PM, David Cameron, has slapped down Lord Young (who has now grown up and therefore is old, and so he can see further than some) for saying that things in general, considering that our government is bust and our State’s debt is unsustainable unless we all work harder for a few decades, could be worse than they are.

Ireland faces torment, meltdown and sovereign extinction.

Greece got out of the same punishment for permanently allowing a government of lazy aggressive socialist scumbags, by threatening to kill all the Germans in the world, dead. Whether it’s in the nature of the Greeks, an otherwise good and sound people, to allow their governments to pretend that all Greeks are socialist lazy scumbags and will of course go along with defrauding the peoples of other nations linked to them forcibly at gunpoint by Brussels, is another matter.

The French got out of it by their murdering fascist government getting their students and “public sector workers” (which is to say: most people there) to threaten to burn all their politicians and mayors and state-bribe-receivers and police to death. How far it would have gone, rests on to what extent we think the French pretend to go along with the pretence of their “government” being a pretend government or a real one.

The Irish, being English, don’t behave quite in the same way.

Quote of the day


David Davis

Ed West writes again about Ireland, and whay could happen despite the best efforts of the Eurocrats.

His sign-off is brilliant:-

“And political union cannot just happen; it entails becoming what Roger Scruton calls “a society of strangers”, and “democracy involves the ability to grant a share in government to people with whom you profoundly disagree, including people of another faith. This is possible only where government is secular, and where nevertheless people revere the process of government as the expression of a shared national identity.”

Ireland went along with this delusion because they believed it would bring them wealth and because they were sick of being a backward country left out of Europe’s mainstream. All of Europe’s nations had their reasons for being part of the plan to end nationalism and with it conflict in Europe.

They were led by their political elite, but in all these countries the population followed; only in Britain was there widespread hostility to the idea, not because of our attachment to some “glorious imperial past”, as the federasts believe, but because in Britain the idea of the nation-state was not discredited by war.

If Peter Hitchens got a penny for every time someone repeated this line, he could probably single-handedly bail out Ireland, but it’s worth repeating: “Britain is the only virgin in a continent of rape victims.”

Yet all along the elite of Ireland and elsewhere were wrong, and the little people of Middle England were right.”

Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize 2010


Why a Libertarian Society would not Deprive Individuals
of Cultural Roots and Collective Identity

David Robert Gibson

Cultural Notes No. 55

ISBN: 9781856376211
ISSN: 0267-677X (print)
ISSN: 2042-2539 (online)

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

© 2010: Libertarian Alliance; David Robert Gibson.

David Robert Gibson was born in London in 1953, and lives in semi-rural Essex. He left school at 16, and has worked in many occupations including the civil service, as a community worker and as a courier. Since 1988, he has worked in information technology and he has been a freelance computer consultant/technician since 2000. His interests include individual freedom, spiritual development, libertarian politics, history, the countryside, aesthetics and motoring. This essay is a slightly revised version of the winning entry to the Libertarian Alliance’s 2010 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize, ‘
Would a Libertarian Society Deprive Individuals of Cultural Roots and Collective Identity?.

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

FOR LIFE, LIBERTY AND PROPERTY

PREFACE

I take it as a privilege to present my essay for a prize established in the name of the late Dr Chris R. Tame.  I have tried to write this from the heart, to further and do honour to the cause of libertarianism, and also as a modest effort to help continue the work that Chris championed for almost 40 years.

INTRODUCTION

The answer to the question is No—well, that’s certainly my answer.  If and when we achieve a libertarian society, two things are certain—that its people will have individual freedom at their core principle, and those people will have histories—cultural roots and many of them collective identities.  Being libertarians, those people will surely reflect upon whether or not those cultural roots and collective identities are compatible with individual freedom, and so keep or discard them accordingly.  In a libertarian society, there will not be, as there are now, central authorities to impose or deny those associations, or to make a ‘Year Zero’ break from their past.  They will not be ignorant, passive ‘sheeple’ to be cajoled and coerced into obedience by rulers.  Rather, free people will, having complete freedom of conscience, action and association, decide themselves.  So we had best answer the question by reflecting upon what sort of adherence to cultural roots and collective identities will be compatible with living the libertarian life.  There is the additional possibility that these freed people will set down new cultural roots and even collective identities, freely entered into and freely left.  Any collective association will be subservient to the prime principle of freedom—that the individual person is free to think and act as they choose, provided that that does not infringe other people’s freedom to do the very same.

Libertarianism is a political and social philosophy, and most completely, a way of life.  The vast majority of political ‘philosophies’—I use inverted commas because most of them are not wise—boil down to one group of people imposing their will upon those who do not agree with them, i.e. everyone else.  In 21st Century Britain, we live in a society that most political commentators would call ‘free and democratic’.  To be sure, this is neither an absolute monarchy nor a communist or fascist state, according to the purist meanings of those words.  However, and despite regular elections, local, national and European, like all three political models ‘ representative democracy’ exists by ‘elected’ groups of people, almost invariably supported by a minority of the electorate, enacting laws that the rest of us are required to obey.  If we disobey, even if that disobedience hurts no one and may help many, the Regime can and will send their agents, and not even always as a last resort, to imprison or murder us.  That is not freedom, it is not libertarian, and it will not do!

THE SURVIVAL OF CULTURAL ROOTS AND COLLECTIVE IDENTITIES

Families are the most universal and enduring cultural roots and collective identities, and they must endure for any society to survive.  A libertarian society will not subsidise families, either by money or propaganda, and so I foresee a resurgence in the traditional heterosexual marriage/partnership between a man and woman, usually with children, simply because it is the most self-sustaining kind.  Without children a society becomes extinct!  Parents would nurture children when they are young, and children no doubt would return that kindness when they are old.  That is the traditional way.  Sadly, because the state provides copious welfare payments and big business issues propaganda in the form of advertising telling people they should work for status, possessions and shallow entertainment, this traditional way is dying-out.  Instead, parents are often ‘semi-detached’ towards their children, leaving them to be ‘brought-up’ by role models on television, the media and in computer games.  They then increasingly often, send them off to ‘uni’(versity).  These children as adults then ‘return the compliment’ by having increasingly little to do with their parents, and when the latter are old, pack them off to a nursing home.  This does not make for a caring and cohesive society.

Work would continue, and as workers spend much of their lives at work they would naturally build and sustain a collective identity with their colleagues, during work and afterwards.  As government would not exist, or if it did it would be vastly smaller than now, there would be far fewer people working in central locations.  The state would be gone or minimal in size, and large companies would no longer have the state protection given them via limited liability.  Nor would large companies have state patronage.  I work in Information Technology, and I have noticed that in state colleges, most of the computers there are supplied by huge multi-national corporations including Hewlett Packard and Dell.  Their turnover would wither considerably.  Consequently, most people would work locally and so their identities would be far more with people in their locality.  This was, of course, true of the vast bulk of people throughout almost all of recorded history.

Clubs and informal groups attract many people to spend time, with and identify with, others who share their interest in practicing games, arts, intellectual pursuits, various forms of ‘self-improvement’, myriad hobbies, and historical societies and re-enactment groups like the Ermine Street Guard and the Sealed Knot.  These are voluntary, and so I foresee they will continue.

Political parties, I expect, would cease to exist, since they serve to gain freedom or advantage for themselves and or their ‘clients’.  A libertarian society will give people freedom and those people will not take advantage, since to do so would not be libertarian!  I suspect that some readers will be surprised by my summary dismissal of political parties.  To them I pose the question: In a society where people are free, what would be the raison d’être of political parties?  The same must be asked of international organisations, and probably even the nation state—and answered, in my view, in the negative.

Religion in libertarian society deserves a more complex answer.  Religion, or the modernist term for it, ‘Faith’, includes a vast array of doctrines and, much more important, practices.  It is not the business of libertarians, rather like Elizabeth I, to enquire into men’s souls, but we must consider whether what they do allows people to be free.  Religious practices are of two very different types – those that focus on meditation, contemplation and or prayer—what I shall call mystical, and those that act to change the world socially (and culturally and politically)—what I shall call militant.

The religions that are largely mystical include Buddhism, Taoism, the more quietist forms of Hinduism, contemplative Christianity and Sufism.  In the modern world Islam is by far the most militant—both in the laws it imposes in Muslim countries, and the violence it carries out there and in other lands in the name of Islamic jihad, although in the Indian sub-continent some Hindus and even a few Buddhists take up arms to impose their religion upon ‘non-believers’.  I include under the title militant, less formal but widespread practices including female genital mutilation and ‘honour killings’.  Some ‘Christian fundamentalists’ would like to impose their religion upon others, that is a desire rather than a practice.  In short, a libertarian society can co-exist with mystics (indeed it may be enhanced by them as I will mention in my Conclusion).  It cannot co-exist with militants, but rather the overwhelming majority of individual people asserting their own freedom of action, without denying other people theirs, will make its successful establishment possible and so people will have no reason to be militant.  Some readers may find this a bland assertion; of them I ask: How can we have a libertarian society when many members of it are not willing libertarians?  People must become libertarian in their hearts and souls before a libertarian society can be created.  They will not be obeying orders!

There are people here, and in growing numbers, from abroad, who follow cultural traditions from their homelands, or the homelands of their descendants, including Ramadan, Eid and Diwali.  Jews and Muslims traditionally do not eat pork, nor do Hindus eat beef.  Most of these practices do not conflict with the libertarian life, but I feel that my Essay would be incomplete if I failed to mention, at least in passing, that many immigrants are establishing the cultures of their homelands here.  Insofar as those cultural roots and collective identity are anti-libertarian, as many manifestly are, they will delay or render increasingly impossible a libertarian society here.

I have long argued1 against mass immigration, that is immigration without the prior invitation of a native citizen here, is illegitimate.  I have also argued against imposed multi-culturalism, that is the state imposition of enforced association upon people with members of other races, religions, cultures and orientations.  I think both are morally wrong, not least because they are achieved via coercion, and that both are destroying the peace within society and may well bring it to a bloody end.  I consider that both are disruptions of the traditional relatively homogeneous culture and neither deserves to stand.  What is to be done to cure these problems?  I do not have a watertight answer, but I do feel that libertarians should spend time in thought and reflection to find one.

Libertarianism is not a nationalist movement, but rather an individualist one.  However is it a non-coercive philosophy, and both mass immigration and multi-culturalism have been imposed.  Words including racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic (not to mention homophobic, sexist, etc. in other conflicts) have been used by the new-Left establishment, with a mounting intensity that crosses the line into fanaticism, to vilify people who prefer the company of others who are like themselves.  They should not stand, and I feel that in a libertarian society people will be free to resume traditional associations, if they wish to, freely.  We will not be made to fit into cultural straightjackets tailored by any regime.

I do not know whether a libertarian society will establish itself throughout the nation, or even the world.  In view of the way society is fracturing, I think it rather more likely that it will start locally, perhaps within a ‘patchwork’ of differing cultures.  If that comes to pass, the militia that I mention elsewhere probably will be essential to its survival.

There are many periodical traditions that people follow, including Remembrance Day, Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night, (largely Christian) Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Saints Days and Harvest Festival and Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday, and wearing crosses, (largely Pagan and Druid) Summer and Winter Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge and elsewhere, May Poles and Morris Dancing, (largely in Scotland) Hogmanay, and sundry other religious and secular celebrations.  None of these involve people suffering or imposing oppression upon other people, so I see no conflict between their practice and the libertarian life.  Many of these constitute part of what many people see as ‘being English’, and again for the same innocuous reason, I do not see anything un-libertarian in that.  Some may even have ‘Charles and Di’ mugs on their mantle-pieces, but not, alas, me.

Charity is a long-established tradition here and throughout most of the world, operated by church and secular groups.  One major criticism that the political Left level at the dismantling of the ‘welfare state’—a natural consequence of a libertarian society—is that the poor will ‘go to the wall’.  Whether or not that became true it should not be maintained at the expense of coercive theft from taxpayers.  I also think that that is unjustified.  In a libertarian society, people will be free to do as they wish with their money and their time.  I have talked with many libertarians, and my strong impression of them is that they are decent-hearted folk.  I deduce that in the absence of state poor relief, charitable giving would continue and probably increase, at least until such time that the libertarian morality of self-support replaced that of financial dependency (upon taxpayers via a coercive state machine), for all but people who were too ill or disabled to support themselves.  Those people were once known as ‘the deserving poor’, before political correctness brought obloquy upon those who uttered it.

REVIVED AND NEW TRADITIONS

Some English ways are in decline or have all but died.  Libertarian culture will give people the freedom to sell their apples in pounds and ounces, to hunt foxes, and to own guns, including handguns (I was interested to see a pair of Wordworth’s pistols in the William Wordsworth Exhibition at Dove Cottage in Grasmere, Cumbria—clearly there was a time when even such as a poet would own handguns!).  Successive United Kingdom governments and the European Union have legislated to make these traditional practices extinct, and their health and safety laws threaten playing conkers and such local traditions as Cheese Rolling at Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire—no more in a libertarian society.  There may also arise new traditions celebrating men who have furthered the cause of liberty here, including John Pym, John Hampden and Oliver Cromwell.

Libertarians will not initiate violence, but those who are not pacifists will surely want to be able to protect themselves.  Even if our society becomes libertarian, most of the world will be slower in becoming so—judging by the state of the world over hundreds of years of history.  Consequently, I suspect we will see the return of militias, local paramilitary forces—strictly voluntary equivalents of the Anglo-Saxon fyrd, and of those here in the early modern period.  They will serve to expel foreign invaders, and be held together not by conscription or formal contract with the state, but rather by the security of mutual protection and a sense of honour in not leaving their comrades in the lurch.

Readers may have noticed my mention, with approval, of mystical pursuits.  I suspect that many libertarians are so because they find libertarianism intellectually satisfying or compelling (and so it is).  I find more inspiration in how well it reconciles with the quest for spiritual liberation, and I would be far from surprised if the triumph of libertarianism saw many more people following the path to spiritual enlightenment.  I think we will see the establishment of meditation centres – modern echoes of the abbeys that were widespread in the mediaeval period.  In my view we need to seek inner liberation from fear, guilt and anxiety in order to be in the right state of mind to be alert fully to our political serfdom, and to assert our freedom from it.  Conventional religion is largely focused upon collective identity—services in churches and more recently in some areas in mosques and temples, but the religion to which I refer focuses more within—upon individual identity, arguably enlightened by a greater Self, or to some God.

Why do I write of mystical religion in an essay that is considerably about politics?  Was not one of the achievements of the ‘Enlightenment’ the separation of Church and State?  To those questions I reply that personal spiritual elevation is not obedience to an institution or a creed, it is the search for inner freedom, and how can we become free without, politically, when we are not free within, spiritually?  We live in an immensely complex, fast-moving, ambitious and materialist society, in which publicly no value is placed upon the inner man—the soul or spirit.  Jesus is recorded as saying, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26 and Mark 8:36-37).  Buddhist and Taoist sages said similar, indeed Taoism has as its central principle Wu Wei—non-interference (with the natural rhythm of life).  Is not non-interference also central to the libertarian life?  I feel that it is in harmony with the thoughts of great libertarians like Mises, Hayek, Rand, Rothbard, Rockwell, Hoppe, etc.  I hope that this non-interference will become an established culture.

I will digress briefly from the central point of my essay because I think I would be unfair for me, having mentioned spiritual endeavour to readers, to leave them without giving them any direction towards it.  Do try to practice meditation (or prayer), for example two techniques ‘Sitting quietly doing nothing’—and watching the passage of thoughts without becoming attached to them, and the similar ‘Mindfulness of Breathing’—observing your natural rhythm of breaths, without interfering with that rhythm.  You may well find that you become less urgent, less ambitious and more at peace with yourself.  You may find that you understand yourself better, and as I consider that we all have the same mixture of feelings and motives, albeit in different proportions, we will understand other people better.  You may also find that you become less tolerant of coercion, being coerced and coercing other people, and so deepened in libertarian convictions.

We venture into the unknown in predicting what new traditions will arise, but judging from our pre-libertarian past, they will continue to be very varied, and probably often local.

CONCLUSION

So, to conclude: the cultural attachments that people hold dear to themselves are numerous and varied in character.  We can deduce that some of them will survive in a new libertarian society, and that others will not.  The question that the essay title poses begs another: How will we achieve a libertarian society?  Answering it lies beyond this discussion, but it should occupy at least some of the time of all who call themselves ‘Libertarian’.  Answering it successfully in ways that satisfy both our minds, and more importantly, our souls, and consequently satisfy the vast majority of people who are not libertarians, will lead inexorably to libertarian lives for all.  We do well to reflect, day-to-day and hour-to-hour, how we need to change our outlook, and to make those changes.  I commend this essay to its readers, and I hope that reflection upon it will help them to illuminate their libertarian life.

NOTE

(1) Such as on the Libertarian Alliance’s Yahoo! Group, where you can read more of my reflections from time to time on a variety of subjects.  The Group can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/libertarian-alliance-forum/.

Libertarian Alliance home

FLC188, Are the Russians Coming? Brief Thoughts on the Climate Change Scandal, Sean Gabb, 3rd December 2009


What I predict will happen is that the propaganda will continue for the next few years. But it will be gradually be replaced by a new set of justificatory lies. Global warming itself was the replacement for acid rain pollution, ozone holes, and even global cooling. In the absence of some new environmental claims, I suggest that we shall hear much more for now on about “peak oil” – the notion that fossil fuels exist in limited supplies and that they will run out within the next few generations.

via FLC188, Are the Russians Coming? Brief Thoughts on the Climate Change Scandal, Sean Gabb, 3rd December 2009.

FLC185, The National Health Service: A Libertarian Perspective, Sean Gabb, 18th August 2009


The idea that only profit-seeking organisations are consistent with libertarianism is to take a shockingly arid view of the ideology. What libertarians should like about commerce is not its taste for profit but its distaste for compulsion. What legitimises markets, in libertarian terms, is that they are structures of voluntary association. This is what brings the friendly societies and much trade union activity, and so much of what in Victorian times was called \

via FLC185, The National Health Service: A Libertarian Perspective, Sean Gabb, 18th August 2009.

Breaking News…(royal wedding imminent)


Michael Winning

DD wrote about this in one of the first posts on this blog I find.

How soon will the Euro implode?


UPDATE:- I said this the other day, too.

David Davis

About 12 years ago, or it may be 13, I bet a YEM* person £25 that the Euro, recently issued, would sink to UD$1.00 by that Christmas. It did fall, a bit: my prediction was only wrong in degree -  but I lost my bet and ponied up.

Now Peter Oborne thinks the project is at last about to come undone.

* “YEM” was the “Young European Movement”. God knows what’s happened to that.

Free Life 27, September 1997, Alternative Editorial: Bad Times Just Around the Corner, by Sean Gabb


This is to be the new alignment of British politics. There will be a party of the status quo, with all the initial benefits that money and respectability and foreign respect can provide. And there will be a party of freedom, with all the less immediate but more solid benefits of truth and conviction and the Internet. But, as with the last great shift, this one can be hastened or delayed by local circumstances. Then it was events in the Liberal Party. Now it is the Tories who are important.

via Free Life 27, September 1997, Alternative Editorial: Bad Times Just Around the Corner, by Sean Gabb.

The Case against Economic Planning 1981, by Sean Gabb


An attack on economic planning, written in 1981

via The Case against Economic Planning 1981, by Sean Gabb.

I wrote this such a very long time ago. I begin to feel old!

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown – Enciclopedia España


Sean Gabb – Very well, I’ve been idling all morning. But this came up in one of my Google searches. It seems YAB is partly famous in the Spanish world for losing an argument with me!

 

La BBC discute con Sean Gabb

La alianza libertaria publicó un comunicado de prensa que indicaba que se había invitado a su director, Sean Gabb, que participara en una charla grabada para la BBC en multiculturalismo, discutiendo a Alibhai-Brown. Alibhai-Brown se opuso cuando Gabb dijo que la alianza libertaria creyó que la Comisión del gobierno para la igualdad racial debe ser cerrada, decir que sin leyes significó controlar la discriminación, ocurriría más con frecuencia. Gabb le preguntó, " ¿Yasmin, usted está diciendo que la mayoría blanca en este país seething tan con odio y descontento que es refrenado solamente por la ley de alzarse y de rasgar a todas las minorías étnicas a los pedazos? " a qué Alibhai-Brown contestado " yes." Gabb preguntó si Alibhai-Brown pensó seriamente que Gabb quiso asesinarla, en cuyo punto la BBC apagó su micrófono y le dijo que necesitaron la suya que discutía no más (20 minutos antes del final del discusión). La alianza libertaria anunció que él " encuentra vergonzoso que se permite a Yasmin Alibhai-Brown hacer comentarios racistas contra la población blanca de este país, mientras que censuran a un defensor liberal de las libertades civiles, de la libertad de asociación y del discurso libre. ¿Cómo sería, si una persona blanca había dicho que los negros fueron guardados solamente de violar y del saqueo por el miedo de la policía? "

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown – Enciclopedia España

FLC199, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Humour: No Laughing Matter, Sean Gabb, 11th November 2010


when someone is arrested for making jokes about Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, we can see that the line has been crossed that separates a state with police from a police state.

via FLC199, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Humour: No Laughing Matter, Sean Gabb, 11th November 2010.

Libertarian Alliance Conference Video Record


Here is an almost full video record of the conference held the weeked before last by the Libertarian Alliance and Libertarian International. One video is missing for technical reasons, but should go up in the next few days.

http://vimeo.com/channels/laconf2010

Do please blog these videos and generally spread them about. I hope you will agree that the sound quality is excellent, even if my lighting skills leave some room for improvement!

Also, here is an article published last night by VDare:

http://vimeo.com/channels/laconf2010

Here it is on my own provision website, which allows comments to be left: http://78.31.106.232/?q=node/356

Whatever we think of Nick Griffin and the BNP, the conduct of the British State is shockingly oppressive. If we won’t stand up for those with whom we may disagree, we have no right to call ourselves libertarians.

Best wishes,

Sean

VDARE.com: 11/09/10 – A Nail in the Fuse Box: The Persecution of the British National Party


 

November 09, 2010

A Nail in the Fuse Box: The Persecution of the British National Party

By Sean Gabb

The suppression of political parties is becoming an interesting feature of life in the managerial superstate known as the European Union It happened six years ago in Belgium, to the anti-immigration Vlaams Blok. And in London, High Court hearings have just (November 8th and 9th) that will determine the fate of the British National Party. Since judgment was reserved, we do not yet know whether BNP assets will be seized and whether party leader Nick Griffin, who is an elected Member of the European Parliament, will be sent to prison. We do know what has become of England: it is now a soft totalitarian police state.

For those who may be unaware of it, the British National Party is what its name says it is. It opposes immigration and the associated political correctness and attacks on freedom of speech and association. It also opposes British membership of the European Union and British involvement in wars of military aggression that do nothing to secure the peace and prosperity of the British people. And it is contemptuous of the claims about man-made climate change that are an excuse for the massive enrichment of ruling classes everywhere.

Not surprisingly, the BNP is not popular with the British ruling class. This has been hard at work for at least two generations on destroying a constitution that, since the High Middle Ages, had been uniquely effective at restraining power. This is a ruling class that rejoices in having put common law protections through a shredding machine; and in alienating sovereignty to a mass of foreign and even unknown organisations, to the point where democracy has become a joke; and in sponsoring the mass immigration needed to reduce working class living standards and to justify totalitarian “anti-racist” witch-hunts.

Yes, not surprisingly, the BNP is a witch that must be hunted. It is described as a “racist” party, and its members as violent and even psychopathic criminals. Its leader, Nick Griffin, is remarkable for his ability to assemble softly-spoken persons of quality into something like a baying mob.

To describe all the ways in which Mr. Griffin and his party are persecuted would take an essay which would also be a dissertation on the growth of the British police state. I have not the space to write such an essay. Therefore, I will look at the two chief current persecutions.

  • The first was announced on Tuesday the 2nd November 2010: Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, told The Guardian newspaper that he would allow headmasters of state schools to dismiss any teachers known to be members of the BNP.

The ostensible reason for this is that members of the BNP cannot be trusted not to preach “hatred” in the classroom. Mr. Gove said:

“I don’t believe that membership of the BNP is compatible with being a teacher. One of the things I plan to do is to allow headteachers and governing bodies the powers and confidence to be able to dismiss teachers engaging in extremist activity.”[BNP members to be barred from teaching |Education secretary pledges new powers for heads to dismiss teachers who are members of groups with 'extremist tenor', by Jeevan Vasagar]

Gove did add that this permission to dismiss would also cover members of other “extremist” organisations. However, it is to be doubted if radical Moslems and members of Trotskyite groups will be at risk of losing their jobs. There are too many of them in teaching, and they are too well-organised and too well-connected.

The permission might eventually be extended to religious Jews and Christians who refuse to celebrate the rich diversity of sexual orientations that is part of our established faith in England. Or it might not. But the permission will certainly be used ruthlessly to seek out and remove all schoolteachers who are, or who might have been, members of the BNP.

  • The second persecution has been under way for a couple of years: the concerted effort by the managerial state to suppress the BNP.

There is in England a taxpayer-funded body called the Equality and Human Rights Commission. This was set up under the Equality Act 2006, and it ostensibly exists to ensure that people are treated fairly and have their rights respected. One of its main actual functions has been to sue the BNP to the verge of bankruptcy in the name of “human rights”.

In August 2009, the Commission began proceedings against the BNP under sections 24 and 25(5) of the Equality Act, on the grounds that BNP membership was confined to natives of the British Isles and white foreigners. Apparently, it was a violation of the Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended) that non-whites were not allowed to join a party committed to keeping Britain predominantly white.

Since then, the Commission has been lavishing the taxpayers’ money on an action that is supposed to vindicate the right of non-whites to join the BNP—a questionable cause of action, bearing in mind that few non-whites can really be aching to join an organisation like the BNP, and bearing in mind that the British State overall has been running the biggest budget deficit in the civilised world.

But vindicating abstract rights has not been the purpose of the action. Its real purpose has been to shut down the BNP. The legal proceedings could achieve this in three ways:

First, the BNP might lose and be compelled to admit large numbers of non-white members. These could then exploit its internal structures or take further legal action until there was no more BNP.

Second, the BNP might lose and then be sued again for breach of the final order. This could result in forfeiture of all party assets and the jailing of Mr. Griffin.

Third, win or lose, the BNP might be forced into bankruptcy by the costs of defending an action that had unlimited funding.

This real purpose became absolutely clear in the March of 2010, when the BNP did change its rules to admit non-whites, and the Commission immediately moved to the second option in its strategy for destruction. The BNP imposed two conditions on new members to prevent flooding attempts. First, prospective members should be visited at home, to see if they were suitable for membership. Second, all members should declare support for the “continued creation, fostering, maintenance and existence” of an indigenous British race, and should support action towards "stemming and reversing" immigration. The Commission argued that these conditions amounted to “indirect racial discrimination”.

The Commission won that round. On the 12th March 2010, a Judge outlawed the requirement for home visits, saying that this might lead to intimidation—though admitting that there was no evidence it ever had. He also outlawed the requirement to declare support for party principle and policy. He said:

“I hold that the BNP are likely to commit unlawful acts of discrimination within section 1b Race Relations Act 1976 in the terms on which they are prepared to admit persons to membership under the 12th addition of their constitution.” [New BNP membership rules judged to be biased, Manchester Evening News, March 12, 2010]

The reason for this, the Judge went on, was that no non-white person could support these policies without compromising his “personal sense of self-worth and dignity as a member of their racial group”.

And so the BNP changed its membership rules again—it would now accept members regardless of whether they agreed with its policies.

However, these conditions for membership were only suspended by the BNP, not removed. And so the Commission went to court again, this time arguing that the BNP was in contempt for not complying in full with the earlier judgment.

As I reported earlier, judgement has been reserved. We can, however, be sure that, if the Commission turns out to have lost, it will find some other grounds of continuing its taxpayer-funded vendetta against the BNP.

How much more of this the BNP can take before it goes bankrupt is hard to say. As of August 2010, the BNP was said to be £500,000 in debt. This is about a quarter of its annual income. Much of this debt appears to have been run up in legal costs.

Every time I write one of these articles about the persecution of the BNP, I get several dozen e-mails from people who claim that the party really is a national socialist organization, and that its recent conversion, under Nick Griffin, is a convenient lie.

I find this an irrelevant claim. I happen to believe that the BNP is a white nationalist organization. Even if it were not, though—even if the BNP leadership really did believe that non-whites were less than human and that the Holocaust never happened, but should have—the rights and wrongs of this case would be unchanged.

It is unfair to treat people in this manner. What has been done, and is being done, to the BNP is oppressive. It is not the sort of thing that happens in a functioning liberal democracy. In a liberal democracy, people have an unquestioned right to say whatever they please on public issues—and they do not suffer even official discrimination, let alone legal harassment. In a liberal democracy, they have an unquestioned right to associate or not with whomever they please—and are not subject to administrative and legal bullying about “inclusiveness” and the unacceptability of “hate”. The fact that BNP members and the party itself are victims of state harassment—and, as said, there is much more than the two instances just given—indicates just how much England has moved towards totalitarianism.

I go further. If Nick Griffin and the BNP were openly avowed followers of Adolf Hitler, and if they met together in public to listen to the webcasts of Harold Covington, they would probably be more left alone than they are. They are persecuted for their opinions on race and immigration. But they are persecuted still more because of all else they oppose or stand for. For all it did badly in the elections of May 2010 (in terms of seats—as two left wing blogs perceptively noted here and here, it did strikingly well in terms of votes) the BNP remains the one possible voice for working class dissent from the established order of things.

And though unfair in itself, what is being done to the BNP should make any reasonable man worried about the future of England. Anyone who looks at the various manifestos and pronouncements of the BNP will see a party that claims to believe—and possibly does believe—in freedom of speech and association, in trial by jury, and generally in constitutional government as this has always been understood in England. It does not even advocate compulsory repatriation of those non-whites who are legally here. Whatever it may or may not believe in private, the BNP leadership is very distant in what it says from the Hitler-loving caricatures shown in the MainStream Media.

But destroy the BNP, and the result will not be a vacuum. Other movements will emerge. These will be less interested in organising to win elections and debates than in arguing their case on the streets. Already, there is an English Defence League that has no apparent interest in electoral politics. This is almost certainly less thuggish than the ruling class and the MSM claim it to be. Equally, though, it is less constitutional in its aims and methods than the BNP. And the English Defence League may be only the beginning of the next stage in working class dissent from the established order of things.

Until modern trip switches (circuit breakers) became the norm, household wiring in England was protected from overheating by wired fuses. Each ceramic fuse contained about an inch and a half of wire to a stated ampage. This connected power as it came into a property to one ring circuit. Any power surge or appliance failure would result in immediate burning out of the fuse. The fuses were deliberately the weakest point in the whole wiring system. One reason they have now been replaced with trip switches is because many people were in the habit of replacing fuse wires with nails. This meant that fuses never blew—instead, houses burned down.

What the British State is doing to the BNP is the political equivalent of sticking a nail in the fuse box. The destruction of the BNP will buy a few more years of life for the politically correct fantasy of England as a country of enlightenment and universal love.

What may follow is well enough known to any student of history.

VDARE.com: 11/09/10 – A Nail in the Fuse Box: The Persecution of the British National Party

Life imitates art again


Michael Winning

I just saw this about a Conservative MP who’s pretty sure he’s a Tory. Oh well there you are.

Were not these fellas supposed to represent us? Didn’t he ask himself what he was before he stood and then check it out with hs voters?

Attention: Heavy Ion Alert!


David Davis

Any outfit that suffixes itself with the word “alert”, and that is commenting on science stuff  with a “could destroy the earth” slant, should be pilloried without mercy by libertarian bloggers.

The Sword of Damascus by Richard Blake


An early puff for the latest novel by the critically-acclaimed and internationally best-selling author of so many masterpieces. Hodder thinks it will come out next June, but may bring it out early.

Murderous intrigue brings Aelric – Blake’s engaging, murderous antihero – to Damascus as the triumphant Muslim caliphate sweeps up from Arabia to threaten Constantinople itself. Aelric knows the secrets behind Greek Fire – the flame-throwers that have kept what is left of the once-mighty Roman empire safe until now. And he has very little choice about sharing them with the new rulers. Or so they think …for Aelric has not lost any of the cunning and courage that so far, have kept him alive.

The Sword of Damascus by Richard Blake

Various from Sean Gabb


Various things to report:

2010 Libertarian Alliance Conference

The Libertarian Alliance conference went very well last weekend. All the speeches were of very high quality, and so was the audience. As in previous years, we did eventually sell every place, and this was despite the price rise forced on us by a rise in costs. Indeed, we had 120 people at the dinner, which is a record.

Half the videos are up on Vimeo. The other half must wait until my upload quota resets next Tuesday. The footage is worth waiting for. My use of camera lighting is still haphazard at best. Sometimes, I get it sort of right. Mostly, I manage to throw shadows onto the wall in ways that suggest a debt to German expressionism. I shall, no doubt, improve.

http://vimeo.com/channels/145518

At last, though, I’ve got the sound right. Except for the after dinner speech, where we had to use the distance microphone, the sound is good enough to describe as studio quality.

You’ll notice that I’ve spent more time discussing the recording of the speeches than the speeches themselves. The reason ought to be obvious. It’s already well-known that the LA puts on good conferences. Most people we approach are eager to speak, and they speak well. As said, the audience is generally polite and intelligent – even if sometimes sceptical too. Ever since we moved the location from various basements and hotel rooms to the National Liberal Club, we’ve gone from good to better. We’ve learned something in the past few years from the Property and Freedom Society conferences that Hans-Hermann Hoppe runs in Bodrum. But we already had a fine product.

Something that’s only recently become as issue, though, is recording. We always used to make a vague effort to capture speeches on audiotape. We felt it was our duty. But we had limited ability to publish the tapes – we couldn’t copy them very well, and no radio station ever offered to broadcast them. With the rise of the Internet and of digital recording, this state of affairs was wholly transformed. We can now make high definition video recordings and make these available via the Internet. Because we can do this, we have a plain duty to do it as well as we can. Therefore, my endless fussing at these conferences with lighting and the placing of microphones.

Our duty, of course, is not imposed simply by the existence of technology that makes recording possible. It derives from the fact that we are, for the most part, shut out from the mainstream media, and that, if we are serious about being heard, we must take our message as far as we can. Then there is the fact that something can only be said to have happened in this age if it has been recorded.

I think you’ll find that this year’s recordings are better than last year’s. I hope next year’s will be even better. Our object is to upload video footage to the Internet that, except in its content, might have been recorded off the telly.

Other Libertarian Alliance Events

The conference is over for another year. Even so, the LA Calendar continues. On Tuesday the 22nd December 2010, we shall be holding a drinks reception in the National Liberal Club. Attendance is free, but you’ll only be let in if you’ve said in advance you want to attend. Do wait for the formal invitation. This will tell you to whom you should reply, and will confirm the date.

In the meantime, our friends over at the other Libertarian Alliance are pressing on with their monthly lectures. David McDonagh writes:

“We meet on the second Monday of the month at 7pm at The Institute of Education, just off Russell Square – student bar, Room S16, Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1B 5EA.

“On Monday, 8 November Anthony J. Evans will present ‘A Proposal for Sound Money’

“On Monday, 13 December Mark Littlewood will talk on ‘Libertarianism’s Challenges, Opportunities and Threats in the Coalition Era.’

“All are welcome, admission free. So do come along.”

The Chris R.Tame Memoral Prize

I should have announced this at the Saturday banquet. Sadly, I forgot. I would have announced it at the closing drinks party the following afternoon. But we had a dwindling audience, and the winner was present, and the winner is a modest man. I have since then been busy with other matters. But the winner of this year’s prize is David Robert Gibson. There was, I will admit, stiff competition. But his entry hit the right tone most consistently.

I will publish all the essays on the LA Blog over the next week.

That’s all for now.

Regards,

Sean

Jokes of the day: why teachers drink


David Davis

http://theforexmom.com/why-teachers-drink/

Turning the mirror around…


Christopher Houseman

In the latest example of multicultural blowback, 21-year old Roshonara Choudhry has received a life sentence for the attempted murder of her local Labour MP, Stephen Timms, because he voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

No doubt, devout Muslims in Britain and elsewere are even now trying to come to terms with the facts that:

  1. Stephen Timms and his pro-war colleagues receive taxpayer-funded salaries, pensions and awards, despite voting for the invasion of a sovereign state which posed no credible military threat to the UK, and for the attendant destruction of life and property in Iraq.
  2. Ms. Choudhry faces life in prison for trying to assassinate a man who personally authorised the deaths of thousands of Iraqi military personnel and civilians who had committed no crimes against the British government or British nationals.

I wish them well in their efforts to find a sensible and peaceful resolution of this dilemma, and close with an excerpt from the words of Mr. Justice Cooke to Ms. Choudhry:

You intended to kill in a political cause and to strike at those in government by doing so. You did so as a matter of deliberate decision making, however skewed your reasons… I also hope that you will come to understand the distorted nature of your thinking, the evil that you have done and planned to do, and repent of it. You do not suffer from any mental disease. You have simply committed evil acts coolly and deliberately.

I hope the wisdom of these words won’t be lost on Mr. Timms and his fellow warmongers either.

Alex Deane, Anonymity is not a Crime


http://vimeo.com/16435249

Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism: Richard Blake: The Blood of Alexandria


http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2010/10/richard-blake-blood-of-alexandria.html

 Thursday, October 21, 2010
Richard Blake: The Blood of Alexandria
Richard Blake. The Blood of Alexandria (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2010).
Reviewed by Kevin Carson 

This is the third installment of Blake’s novels featuring the adventures of Aelric, the Anglo-Saxon scholar cum covert operative, in the seventh century. Having survived a change of dynasties in Byzantium in the previous book, Aelric finds himself in this one commissioned as the Emperor’s agent in Alexandria. His mission is to negotiate a stable modus vivendi between the parties in Alexandria, in particular through a land reform, in order to secure imperial control of the Egyptian grain supply. Such stability in the rear is imperative, given the situation on the Persian frontier. (The irony of the situation, as the story is recalled from the perspective of Aelric’s old age, is that Syria will be regained from Persia only to fall to the armies of Muhammad).

In Alexandria, Aelric confronts an explosive cauldron of rival factions: The old Ptolemaic ruling class, snobbishly provincial Greek creoles who see themselves as more Greek than Alexander, seeks autonomy from Byzantium — in part to avoid having their large land holdings broken up. The Brotherhood, a resistance organization that may go back to Persian times, seeks to restore native Egyptian rule (the Brotherhood itself is split between Monophysite Christians and pagans who want to restore the Old Religion). And this is all complicated by a split in the Coptic church between Monophysites and orthodox adherents of the Chalcedonian creed.

Aelric’s adventures take him into Upper Egypt and nearly to the boundaries of Kush, with archaelogical digs in what Blake hints quite strongly are Atlantean settlements (fiber optic cables and all).

In this story Priscus, the sadomastic head of the imperial secret police in the previous installment, reappears as Aelric’s rival in intrigue. But Priscus’ character, which came across as rather monochromatically monstrous in the last book, acquires some complexity in this one. Indeed Blake’s development of his character reminds me a bit of Theophanes in The Terror of Constantinople. Priscus is still monstrous, make no mistake — but as the complexity of motivations behind his monstrousness emerges, he becomes far less one-dimensional.

As always, Blake writes with immense historical and classical erudition, while displaying an ability to render 1500-year-old conversations in realistically colloquial English.

Blake, in the persona of Aelric, also displays libertarian sensibilities (from whatever source he may have acquired them). In a debate with a leader of the Brotherhood, who aims to restore the Old Religion and set himself up as Pharaoh, he ridicules the latter’s assertion that the native pharaohs ruled Egypt in peace and plenty for ten thousand years with the freely given consent of the governed:

‘I’ll tell you this, my lad: Phocas himself never put up images of himself standing three times the height of his nobles, nor the nobles three times the height of the poor bloody people who worked to make their lives easy. All government, in every time and place, rests on fraud and force — the force of soldiers and officials hired by the rulers, and the fraud of the priests who assure everyone that the force is just…. 

‘It has never, I’m sure,’ I went on, ‘crossed your tiny minds thhat there is in human affairs, as in the world around us, a natural order in which your kings and their priests — of whatever faith — have no place…..

‘Let us imagine a state of nature,’ I said, ‘that is, a world in which all are at “perfect freedom to order their actions, and sispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man”.’ I was quoting here verbatim from Epicurus — his Second Letter to Scatodotes of Cyrene. ‘This being given, let us suppose that everyone uses his freedom to supply himself with all his needs. Some he will abstract directly from the earth, which is common to all. Others he will acquire by free exchange with others…. All property in this state of natural freedom will be based on the efforts of the possessor.

‘Men may gather together to appoint judges for those disputes that cannot be resolved by good will or by individual force of arms. They may further appoint generals for the defence of the whole community. But they’ll never voluntarily establish the system described in the Greek histories of your country or shown on your monuments.’

A note of warning: this novel is far more graphic, sometimes appallingly so, than its predecessor. The riots in the native quarter resemble a tableau from Goya. And the torture carried out by Priscus caused me a sleepless night and several days’ depression. So if you’re at all squeamish, when you get to the part where the kid’s about to be put on the rack, you might want to skip to the end of the chapter. It’s a passage that puts Clive Barker and Poppy Brite to shame.

ENGLISH SECESSION: a new blog arises


David Davis

Since the General coagulation last May gone by, there’s been a slight fall-off in the number of classical/libertarian blogs among those regularly active, and perhaps also a slwing of the posting rate in others. That said, while calling in on Legiron just now (as you do) I spotted the arising of a new one. It’s called English secession, and if the likes of Legiron and Frank Davis have been lent the keys to it, the writing style and content promises to be good.

Although the British-Blanket-Smoking-Ban is indeed wicked, divisive and deliberately Nazi in its planned conception, I never realised quite how angry it’s made some people. I merely oppose it on objective individualist grounds, that being to say that it’s nobody else’s ****ing business what one does with one’s own body, provided that one does not injure the rights of another.

The whole “passive smoking” fraud and scam was an attempt by the GramsoFabiaNazis to capture that particular ground of third-party-harm from Natural-Rights-Libertarians such as we, whom they correctly fear as their primary Mortal Enemy. They know that, of all the people of the Earth, it’s we that will see through them always and everywhere. Like Richard Hannay knew, with certainty, that he’d always spot the Graf von Schwabing ever after, whatever disguise or name was adopted.

It’s sad that the majority of people today know little of the background of smoker-persecution, and also that fewer actually care much. You’d think that the smokers themselves would be up in arms, “en masse”, at their shabby treatment. But where are the riots, the protests, the demonstrations, the refusal to stand in the rain shivering while passers-by shun you and pretend not to notice you in your misery? You’d have thought this was a no-brainer for people like “UAF“, to take up the street-cudgels on behalf of an oppressed minority? No?

 

A Miracle in Italy


CULTURE: BRITISH WRITER REVERED IN ITALY AS ‘LIVING SAINT’
28 October , 18:36

(ANSAmed) – ROME, OCTOBER 28 – When Italian youth Tulgio Serdipini, came off his motorcycle, doctors in the small Calabrian town of Ritirata pronounced him brain dead and wanted to turn off his life support machine. However, his mother, Agnellescina (37), refused to sign the necessary consent. “He will wake up and eat a dish of my cannelloni,” she told all who would listen.

For six weeks, she sat day and night beside his bed, hoping against hope for a miracle. On an accordion, she played songs by little Tulgio’s favourite group, the Killer Boy Rats. She read out the whole lyrical poetry of Metastasio. It was all to no effect. The doctors and lawyers pressed her with increasing force to sign the consent. “My son will wake up yet and eat a dish of my cannelloni,” she repeated, though with diminishing assurance.

Finally, an old Gypsy woman pressed into her hands a much-thumbed copy of “La Cospirazione Papale”, by Richard Blake, the critically-acclaimed and international best-selling novelist from England. “Read this to your son,” the old woman begged her. “Read it and he truly will eat a dish of your cannelloni.”

So she took up a novel that, in translation, had already become a cult classic in Italy. As she finished its first chapter, young Tulgio’s eyes flickered. By the end of chapter 15, his eyes were fully open. Soon, he was sitting up in bed. As Agnellescina finished the last words of the last chapter, her son did indeed eat a dish of her cannelloni.

“It is nothing less than a miracle,” said Stiletto Giovanni, spokesperson for the Bishop of Ritirata. “His Grace recommends that all should buy the works of Signor Blake. Truly, he is an instrument of the divine providence.”

Speaking from England, Richard Blake confirmed that his new novel, “Blood of  Alexandria, will be published in paperback in January 2011. He promised that Tulgio would receive a signed copy. This will replace the copy of “La Cospirazione Papale,” which has been removed to Ritirata Cathedral for veneration by the faithful.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Social Justice


Michael Winning

I was over at David Thompson’s just now and saw this. You fellas may like to rtead it.

The evil woman will not stop yet


David Davis

Well, what do you know?

The Underdog bites back


David Davis

I have often been mildly criticised, on here and elsewhere in British Libertarian circles. You know the way it goes… in that way (as one recognises) that you gently admonish a grumpy autistic old man with un-politically-correct and publicly-embarrassing opinions. Some people even think I have contracted a variety of “political Tourette’s syndrome”.

This is about my persistent use of the terms “GramscoFabiaNazi”, and – more recently and with increasing traction on Facebook – “GramscoStaliNazi”. Many of my American friends on the Conservative wing over there recognise the meaning instantly. The positioning of the internal capital letters is important to the meaning and subtexts.

Legiron, today, uses good arguments to show conclusively that the lefty-control-ethic is absolutely and at bottom Nazi in its application.

On other matters:

I hope the LA conference was a success and was sold out as is the custom. Sadly I could not attend this year, having other pressing matters to attend to, and being slightly short of funds…London is a long way and a lot of expensive/highly-taxed petrol away: and, last year each time I and the Boy wanted to get on the “Underground” or a bus, it cost each of us £4-per-station and a queue of angry Londoners behind us, all pushing us and whingeing about why we didn’t have “Oysters”….some piece of plastic or other that Red Ken forced everyone to carry and which Mayor-Boris has clearly failed to get rid of.

For llight relief, here’s some good engine noises:-