Monthly Archives: December 2010

Thomas Jefferson on gun control


David Davis

I quote:-

Carrying of arms

Jefferson copied many excerpts from the various books he read into his “Legal Commonplace Book.”[82] One passage he copied which touches on gun control was from Cesare Beccaria‘s Essay on Crimes and Punishments. The passage, which is written in Italian, discusses the “false idea of utility” (false idee di utilità) which Beccaria saw as underlying some laws. It can be translated, in part, as:

A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility … who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.

The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. … It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.[83]

Jefferson’s only notation was, “False idee di utilità.”[83] It isn’t known whether Jefferson agreed with the example Beccaria used, or with the general idea, or if he had some other reason for copying the passage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson

What an extraordinarily articulate and educated man this was: I never knew. You learn something new and exciting every day, as you get older and older – I only looked him up out of interest as I was arguing with a student about the exact contents of the USA’s Declaration of Independence.

A re-arrangement of the deckchairs


David Davis

Estonia, strangely, is going to join a sinking currency.

Bradley Manning: One Soldier Who Really Did “Defend Our Freedom”, by Kevin Carson


Kevin Carson

http://c4ss.org/?p=5587

When I hear someone say that soldiers “defend our freedom,” my immediate response is to gag. I think the last time American soldiers actually fought for the freedom of Americans was probably the Revolutionary War — or maybe the War of 1812, if you want to be generous. Every war since then has been for nothing but to uphold a system of power, and to make the rich folks even richer.

But I can think of one exception. If there’s a soldier anywhere in the world who’s fought and suffered for my freedom, it’s Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Manning is frequently portrayed, among the knuckle-draggers on right-wing message boards, as some sort of spoiled brat or ingrate, acting on an adolescent whim. But that’s not quite what happened, according to Johann Hari (“The under-appreciated heroes of 2010,” The Independent, Dec. 24).

Manning, like many young soldiers, joined up in the naive belief that he was defending the freedom of his fellow Americans. When he got to Iraq, he found himself working under orders “to round up and hand over Iraqi civilians to America’s new Iraqi allies, who he could see were then torturing them with electrical drills and other implements.” The people he arrested, and handed over for torture, were guilty of such “crimes” as writing “scholarly critiques” of the U.S. occupation forces and its puppet government. When he expressed his moral reservations to his supervisor, Manning “was told to shut up and get back to herding up Iraqis.”

The people Manning saw tortured, by the way, were frequently the very same people who had been tortured by Saddam: trade unionists, members of the Iraqi Freedom Congress, and other freedom-loving people who had no more use for Halliburton and Blackwater than they had for the Baath Party.

For exposing his government’s crimes against humanity, Manning has spent seven months in solitary confinement – a torture deliberately calculated to break the human mind.

We see a lot of “serious thinkers” on the op-ed pages and talking head shows, people like David Gergen, Chris Matthews and Michael Kinsley, going on about all the stuff that Manning’s leaks have impaired the ability of “our government” to do.

He’s impaired the ability of the U.S. government to conduct diplomacy in pursuit of some fabled “national interest” that I supposedly have in common with Microsoft, Wal-Mart and Disney. He’s risked untold numbers of innocent lives, according to the very same people who have ordered the deaths of untold thousands of innocent people. According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Manning’s exposure of secret U.S. collusion with authoritarian governments in the Middle East, to promote policies that their peoples would find abhorrent, undermines America’s ability to promote “democracy, open government, and free and open societies.”

But I’ll tell you what Manning’s really impaired government’s ability to do.

He’s impaired the U.S. government’s ability to lie us into wars where thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of foreigners are murdered.

He’s impaired its ability to use such wars — under the guise of promoting “democracy” — to install puppet governments like the Coalition Provisional Authority, that will rubber stamp neoliberal “free trade” agreements (including harsh “intellectual property” provisions written by the proprietary content industries) and cut special deals with American crony capitalists.

He’s impaired its ability to seize good, decent people who — unlike most soldiers — really are fighting for freedom, and hand them over to thuggish governments for torture with power tools.

Let’s get something straight. Bradley Manning may be a criminal by the standards of the American state. But by all human standards of morality, the government and its functionaries that Manning exposed to the light of day are criminals. And Manning is a hero of freedom for doing it.

So if you’re one of the authoritarian state-worshippers, one of the grovelling sycophants of power, who are cheering on Manning’s punishment and calling for even harsher treatment, all I can say is that you’d probably have been there at the crucifixion urging Pontius Pilate to lay the lashes on a little harder. You’d have told the Nazis where Anne Frank was hiding. You’re unworthy of the freedoms which so many heroes and martyrs throughout history — heroes like Bradley Manning — have fought to give you.

Release — Wasted: Carson on the Political Class versus Leisure


I hope KC is right – SIG
http://c4ss.org/?p=5585

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12/29/10
POC Thomas L. Knapp
media
530-618-C4SS

WASTED: CARSON ON THE POLITICAL CLASS VERSUS LEISURE

Per the conventional wisdom, big government and high tax rates reduce the incentive to work. And that may be true — to a degree. But, shows Center for a Stateless Society Research Associate Kevin Carson in a new research study, the modern corporate capitalist economic paradigm utilizes an ethos of waste to enrich the privileged by artificially promoting work over leisure.

“The historical evidence,” writes Carson in “The Great Domain of Cost-Plus: The Waste Production Economy,” “is that people do indeed prefer, on the whole, to work less when their wages increase. Therefore it makes perfect sense from the employer’s standpoint to extract more labor from people by reducing the share of their output that they keep, and by compelling them to support idle rentiers in addition to themselves.”

Carson traces overt political class propaganda on the need to increase the portion of labor earnings extracted as rent to at least as far back as Bernard Mandeville’s 18th-century _Fable of the Bees_. Wrote Mandeville:

“[I]t is the interest of all rich nations, that the greatest part of the poor should almost never be idle, and yet continually spend what they get …. Those that get their living by their daily labour … have nothing to stir them up to be serviceable but their wants which it is prudence to relieve, but folly to cure …”

Or, as the anonymous author of 1770s “Essay on Trade and Commerce” put it:

“[O]ur manufacturing populace … do not labour, upon an average, above four days in a week, unless provisions happen to be very dear. … The labouring people should never think themselves independent of their superiors …. The cure will not be perfect, till our manufacturing poor are contented to labour six days for the same sum which they now earn in four days.”

But, writes Carson, there’s good news for today’s workers: “[T]he ability to manufacture scarcity does not follow from the need. The rentiers and managers are confronting the harsh reality of their increasing inability to manufacture scarcity. The productivity of new technologies of abundance is outstripping their ability to suppress them.”

By reducing scarcities long artificially maintained through political force, the new economic paradigm — horizontally networked distribution and what Carson calls “the Homebrew Industrial Revolution” in production in a book so named — is pushing the political class into obsolescence.

-30-
about 390 words

The Great Domain of Cost-Plus: The Waste Production Economy

http://c4ss.org/content/5580

Paul Marks agrees


David Davis

…about the left’s hegemonic control of education, schools and the Universities, and what needs to be broken or else we are in a New Dark Age.

Attack Tyranny at Its Weakest Link — Enforcement, by Kevin Carson


http://c4ss.org/?p=5564

Liberal goo-goos and “good citizens” of all stripes are fond of saying that “We must continue to obey the law while we work to change it.” Every day I become more convinced that this approach gets things precisely backwards. Each day’s news demonstrates the futility of attempts at legislative reform, compared to direct action to make the laws unenforceable.

The principle was stated most effectively by Charles Johnson, one of the more prominent writers on the libertarian Left (“Counter-economic Optimism,” Rad Geek People’s Daily, Feb. 7, 2009):

“If you put all your hope for social change in legal reform … then … you will find yourself outmaneuvered at every turn by those who have the deepest pockets and the best media access and the tightest connections. There is no hope for turning this system against them; because, after all, the system was made for them and the system was made by them. Reformist political campaigns inevitably turn out to suck a lot of time and money into the politics—with just about none of the reform coming out on the other end.”

Far greater success can be achieved, at a tiny fraction of the cost, by “bypassing those laws and making them irrelevant to your life.”

Johnson wrote in the immediate context of copyright law. In response to an anti-copyright blogger who closed up shop in despair over the increasingly draconian nature of copyright law, he pointed to the state’s imploding ability to enforce such laws. The DRM of popular music and movie content is typically cracked within hours of its release, and it becomes freely available for torrent download. Ever harsher surveillance by ISPs in collusion with content “owners” is countered by the use of anonymizers and proxies. And the all-pervasive “anti-songlifting” curriculum in the publik skools, in today’s youth culture, is met with the same incredulous hilarity as a showing of “Reefer Madness” to a bunch of potheads.

The weakest link in any legal regime, no matter how repressive on paper, is its enforcement.

I saw a couple of heartening news items this past week that illustrate the same principle. First, a judge in Missoula County Montana complained that it would soon likely become almost impossible to enforce anti-marijuana laws because of the increasing difficulty of seating juries. In a recent drug case, so many potential jurors in the voir dire process declared their unwillingness to enforce the pot laws that the prosecution chose to work out a plea deal instead. The defendant’s attorney stated that public opinion “is not supportive of the state’s marijuana law and appeared to prevent any conviction from being obtained simply because an unbiased jury did not appear available under any circumstances …” The same thing happened in about sixty percent of alcohol cases under Prohibition.

Public agitation against a law may be very fruitful indeed — but not so much by creating pressure to change the law as by creating a climate of public opinion such that it becomes a dead letter.

Another morale booster is the rapidly improving technology for recording cops, which Radley Balko (a journalist whose chief bailiwick is police misbehavior) describes in the January issue of Reason Magazine (“How to Record the Cops“). Miniaturized, unobtrusive video cameras with upload capability can instantly transmit images for storage offsite or stream content directly to the Internet — which means that the all-too-frequent tendency of thuggish cops to seize or destroy cameras will result only in video of the very act of seizure or destruction itself being widely distributed on the Internet. “Smile, Officer Friendly — you’re on Candid Camera!”

The practical implication, according to Balko, is this:

“Prior to this technology, prosecutors and the courts nearly always deferred to the police narrative. Now that narrative has to be consistent with independently recorded evidence. And as examples of police reports contradicted by video become increasingly common, a couple of things are likely to happen: Prosecutors and courts will be less inclined to uncritically accept police testimony, even in cases where there is no video, and bad cops will be deterred by the knowledge that their misconduct is apt to be recorded.”

As such technology becomes cheap and ubiquitous, police will increasingly operate in an atmosphere where such monitoring is expected — and feared — as a routine part of their job. Even the most stupid and brutal of cops will always carry, in the backs of their minds, the significant possibility that this might be one of the times they’ve got an audience.

New technology, empowering the individual, will soon deter cops in a way that decades of civilian review boards and police commissions failed to achieve.

So the goo-goos have it backwards. Don’t waste time trying to change the law. Just disobey it.

Smoking bans, and not


Michael Winning

Over at Samizdata there is a discussion going on about different smking bans in different European countries. The Spanish solution seems good to me, if you have to have the State interfering at all in what people put into their bodies.

North Sea Oil


dj

I think investments are on-topic here, as we need a nation of people providing for themselves and not relying on the state. I said earlier (https://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/another-masterpiece-by-richard-blake/) that Xcite, an oil company with a prospect in the North Sea, was a good punt.

That was on September 16th, when the price fluctuated between 80.3p a share and 92.5p, where it closed. On December 21st, they announced the result of their oil flow test, which proved the oil, 200 miles to the east of the Shetlands, to be commercial. The price fluctuated between 356p and 431.65p yesterday, closing at 384p. If you invested the day I mentioned it on the LA site – you would have quadrupled your money.

Tips in the newspapers are useless. The FTSE shares do not go up that much – you would get a 5% increase if you were lucky and think you had scored a hit. The AIM market shares are for developing companies and you can easily double your money in a year, even during a recession.

I am not a wealthy person, so I am not “bragging” of success here. My house is very small and cheap, and I may be living in a house that no one else on this blog or in the LA would contemplate living in. So I am not richer than you people here. But I am living cheaply and trying to invest. But I believe in trying to better yourself via investment and have been feeling my way this year.

First, always do your own research. Don’t rely on bulletin board comments or anyone’s recommendations. You need to fully understand the company and what it is doing.

Second, make sure you have a detailed knowledge of upcoming newsflow. You need to know if the company is announcing a drill result in the next week – and possibly consider buying in beforehand. On the other hand, if you invest in a company with good prospects, but no upcoming newsflow for several months, you will just see the stock dive and dive and dive, before eventually making good on your hopes for it.

Third, an investment mistake needs to be recognised immediately. Don’t sit for weeks on a plunging stock. Take the hit and find a better investment.

Fourth, don’t panic over fluctuations in the share price, especially very close to news results. The Xcite share rose to 330p and then plunged to 226p in the week before results, before rising on results to 431.65p (intraday high). You need to decide if the price is being manipulated and, if you still believe in the stock, hold, or sell with an aim of buying back cheaper, if you think it will be possible to do so (but you run the risk of not being able to buy back in).

Fifth, the AIM market is illiquid. You can’t just roll up with £1m and buy shares in Xcite. There are not enough shares being sold for that. You would need to buy in stages, or get a negotiated price with a market maker. You frequently find you can’t sell on a price spike. The price goes up, but the market makers are not accepting your sell offer. Don’t bank on being able to sell £100,000 of stock in one go.

Sixth, be careful how you time your purchases. If the Sunday newspapers tip a share, 8am on Monday is going to be the worst possible time to buy. A lot of people will ask their brokers to buy in on Monday morning, and the price will spike dramatically, before falling back. You will normally find 11am a more better time to buy in, although no hard and fast rules apply. You need to get up at 7am every day to check for news on your shares, as companies can issue Regulatory News Service (RNS) information bulletins from 7am in the morning, and often do so at 7.01am. Alternatively, you can get text messages sent to your mobile phone if one of your companies issues an RNS.

Seventh, try not to give the state money. If you open a SIPP, a self-invested pension, you get tax relief on investments, and any money you make is free of tax. You can’t access the money till you’re 55, when you can take 25% tax-free and draw the rest as a pension. There is a limit of £1.8m on how much you can build up in a SIPP, but you can ask the Inland Revenue for “enhanced protection”, whereby the limit is removed but you can’t put more money in. ISAs are tax-free too, but you can only put £10,100 in a year, although you can let the shares you invest it in build it up as high as you can go. Note: not all shares can be put in an ISA: I know libertarians will agree that the state should not try to tell you what to invest your money in. AIM stocks can’t normally be put in an ISA, unless they are dual-listed on a recognised exchange. In the case of Xcite (XEL:LN), it is listed on Toronto, and so can be put in an ISA.

Broker reports have upgraded their price target for Xcite to £6 a share (compared with the close of £3.84 today), and the company is expected to upgrade its oil in place estimate in Q1, and the target price could go up to £8. The Competent Persons’ Report on their oil reserves, which may double oil in place estimates, is expected to come by the end of January, or in the first quarter, and could see the price hit £6 or more. Xcite are starting production in late 2011, when the share price could (probably will) go into double figures – and that is if the company is not taken over by then. The company has a mechanism in place to prevent hostile takeovers, so any T/O would only be at a good price. Nothing is certain in life, but this share is a probable two-bagger, or three-bagger, in 2011. Note that some analysts, such as those who write the FT Alphaville blog, have egg all over their faces today. They poured scorn on Xcite, only to see the small private investors win here.

Other good prospects:

GKP: Gulf Keystone Petroleum – they have billions of barrels of oil in Kurdistan and only the murky Iraqi politics are holding this share back. The Iraqi government is on the verge of being formed, and this should lead to clarity and the eventual passing of an oil law ratifying the oil contracts given out by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Of course there is a theoretical risk they will expropriate, but the Kurdistan parties in the parliament are insisting on a resolution of the oil question as a price of joining the coalition. This share could treble in price in 2011, and go even higher in 2012.

CNR: Condor Resources – they have silver and gold investments in Nicaragua and El Salvador. If you believe that quantitative easing will boost precious metals, this would be a good punt. They are expected to issue an official upgrade of their reserves imminently, which could put the price in orbit. El Salvador has a moratorium on drilling in place: if that is lifted the orbit of CNR could go stratospheric. Some punters expect this price to treble or sextuple in 2011.

Another silver share that could double in 2011 is Arian Silver Corporation (AGL) – this is one of those that can be put in ISAs.

BLVN: Bowleven – an oil company exploring in Cameroon – a number of newsflow items expected imminently and throughout the first quarter should boost this price.

EO. : Encore Oil – have started a drill in the North Sea and the results are expected ca. January 7th. This company has a number of prospects and is a good long-term hold (but you still need to find a good entry point even into shares that have prospects). This share could be taken over early in 2011… which would be very positive for the share price.

NPE : Nautical Petroleum – also prospecting in the North Sea and expected to rise in 2011.

RKH: Rockhopper – expected to rise in 2011 as they drill more in the Falklands and prepare to start production from their Sealion prospect.

It is very much “caveat emptor”. DES (Desire Petroleum), drilling next to RKH, has caused a storm by announcing an oil discovery, only to say it was only water a couple of days later. A lot of investors lost their shirts on that (which is why spreading investments is a good idea). I personally would not touch DES with a bargepole after that stunt.

Too much buying in and selling out of shares, chasing spikes and the like, can be a waste of money and lose you a lot of money. I recommended Xcite to a friend when it was at 130p, saying it could treble in price. It has trebled in price, but she did not invest until it hit 259p, and kept selling when the price fell and getting back in when the price rose again. Suffice it to say she lost a lot of money, and is now blaming me, despite the fact that the price has trebled as I said I thought it would. Even good shares can lose you money if you play them with stupidity.

Finally, I have to say, if you lose your shirt, don’t complain. Be like the Englishman in Rudyard Kipling’s If, who lost everything on one game of pitch and toss and never breathed a word about his loss!

Back in the USSA, by Kevin Carson


http://c4ss.org/?p=5477

Politicians and talking heads, of both the mainstream liberal and conservative persuasions, commonly refer to this as “our free market system,” or maybe “free enterprise.”

But we haven’t had anything even remotely resembling a free market for over 150 years. (For that matter we didn’t have one before, what with Enclosures, the Combination Law, mercantilism, slavery and colonialism.) Since the mid-19th century, what we’ve had is massive collusion between big government and big business. The corporate economy was created almost whole-cloth through a monstrous act of top-down government intervention, with the help of such things as the railroad land grants and other infrastructure subsidies, the exchange and pooling of patents, tariffs, regulatory cartels, and union-busting by uniformed thugs. The New Deal was just corporatist icing on the cake.

What we have is not a free enterprise system, but an interlocking directorate of giant, centralized government and corporate bureaucracies. The same personnel circulate, through a revolving door system, between senior corporate management and government political appointees. The same person who is now Assistant Vice President for Such-and-Such at So-and-So Corp LLC, is apt in five years to be Deputy Undersecretary for the Other Thing. And vice versa, of course. It makes about as much sense to treat a Fortune 500 corporation as a “private business” as it makes to treat a count in fourteenth-century France as a private landlord.

Within the large corporation, management bears more resemblance to the Soviet Nomenklatura than to free market entrepreneurs. They justify their power in the name of shareholder value, but in fact shareholders exercise almost no control over corporate management. Proxy fights almost never work, and corporations are typically controlled by inside directors. After a brief period of hostile takeovers in the ’80s, management quickly acted to restore insider control and nullify the threat of such attacks through measures like poison pills and greenmail; today, most takeovers are friendly and carried out by the management of both companies in collusion. If some seats on the board are occupied by institutional investors, it’s more accurate to describe it as a coalition between interlocking corporations. Bond issues are reserved mainly for financing mergers and acquisitions, and most new investment is financed by retained earnings, so the external control exerted by the capital markets is largely mythical.

American corporate management claims to represent shareholders as a legitimizing ideology, just as the Soviet bureaucracy claimed to represent the workers or the people — meanwhile having dachas, private cars, and shopping privileges in the luxury department stores reserved for Party members. In both cases, though, what you really had (and have) is a self-perpetuating oligarchy in control of a free-floating mass of unowned capital.

The typical Fortune 500 CEO invests money that she didn’t contribute from her own past savings, but that lacks any external owner capable of exercising any genuine control over it. Corporate management spends other people’s money, amounting to de facto owners of it. Shareholders are conventionally regarded as residual claimants, because in legal theory they have a claim on all revenue that’s left over after after all contractual claims are paid. But in the real world, it makes more sense to say that the shareholder is a contractual claimant with even fewer rights than a bondholder, and that management is the real residual claimant. A shareholder is entitled only to whatever dividend management sees fit to issue, if any. But senior management is entitled to whatever salaries and bonuses they can get, through mutual logrolling with the board of directors.

A lot of establishment libertarians, when they call for a “free market,” really seem to mean the present corporatist system without the welfare or the health and safety regulations — a world owned by Wal-Mart and Halliburton.

But when you hear a call for a freed market by someone at the Center for a Stateless Society, or anyone else on the free market left, please be aware that we mean something completely different by it. What we want is a society in which corporations are deprived of all the subsidies, privileges, protections, and artificial property rights they currently enjoy. What we want is a society in which all market activity consists of free exchange between equals, without anyone paying monopoly rents to the privileged and powerful. What we want is a society in which all functions of the state are replaced by voluntary association, whether by market transactions, mutual aid associations, or gift economies.

In short, the free markets we talk about have nothing to do with those of Dick Armey and FreedomWorks, the AEI, or the Heritage Foundation. We’re not talking about socialism for the rich and a Dickensian work house for everyone else.

When we say we believe in free enterprise, we mean it.

National Security is the Last Refuge of Scoundrels, by Kevin Carson


http://c4ss.org/?p=5470

At National Review Online (“WikiLeaks What-Ifs,” Dec. 17), Deroy Murdock once again illustrates the tendency of statists to compartmentalize the criminal activities of the state into a separate category of things that aren’t crimes because the state is doing them.

Murdock starts out with a rather clueless analogy to the Revolutionary War. He suggests that Bradley Manning, had he been alive back then, might have forwarded Washington’s battle plans for Trenton to Julian Assange, who in turn would have galloped through the streets of Trenton hollering “The Yankees are coming!” Well, that’s a great analogy, except for a few little quibbles: First, George Washington was a traitor who’d violated his sworn oath to the crown as a British officer. Second, Washington’s army was fighting to overthrow their own legal governments, under the terms of assorted colonial charters. And third, they were fighting a war against a global colonial empire and the greatest military power in the world, to stop it from intervening in our local affairs. In short, Washington was at war with the United States government of his day.

Murdock complains that “WikiLeaks will snuff out innocent lives, if it has not already,” and calls for Manning and Assange to be sent to the firing squad (after a fair trial) in order to “persuade Americans to stop flapping their gums about things that will enable murderers.”

Interesting. Consider the hundreds of thousands — no, the millions — of innocent lives snuffed out by the U.S. government since WWII, by U.S.-trained death squads, military dictators installed in CIA-backed coups, and the like. It’s Murdock who’s flapping his gums to enable murderers. If you want to take the red pill and see how far down the rabbit hole goes, if you want to confront all the lies you heard in civics class about the generosity and benevolence of U.S. foreign policy, just read “Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since WWII,” by William Blum. It’s a heavily footnoted prosecutor’s brief, organized country by country, of all the utterly filthy things the U.S. national security state has done around the world.

Oh, but wait — none of that counts as murder because it’s the government doing it. And because it’s the U.S. government, by definition it’s doing it to “protect our freedoms” — no matter how many union organizers or landless peasants it has to butcher (cough cough United Fruit Company cough).

Murdock also bloviates a lot about “our enemies,” implicitly assuming (oddly enough for someone who professes to fear big government) that the U.S. government’s interests and ours are one when it acts outside American borders. Apparently when government officials make foreign policy they transform into those “angels” that Madison wrote about in The Federalist, and don’t promote corrupt interests or aggrandize their own power.

But from the standpoint of the American state and its ideological water-carriers, “our enemies” include the American people. The functionaries of the American national security state, for all their public rhetoric about “democracy,” really want a free hand to do things the way they want without any popular interference gumming up the works. And the real enemy, the American people, are potentially a far greater threat to their power than any foreign government.

Back in 2004, Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said of the growing unpopularity of Bush’s war in Iraq: “We have too much at stake in Iraq to lose the American people.” That really says it all. Next time some liberal goo-goo tells you “the government is just us,” quote Berger to them.

“National security” is the last refuge of scoundrels. If you license government to decide what we do or don’t need to know, based on the “national security,” you’re trusting the fox to decide how much we need to know about what’s going on in the henhouse. If government could be trusted, there would be no need for transparency. If you trust the government — the government over which we’re supposedly expected to exercise popular vigilance — to decide what we’re allowed to know about its actions, why even bother with all that pretense about a Constitution?

When government officials are allowed to decide, in the name of “national security,” what the allegedly sovereign citizenry is allowed to know about its actions, don’t be too surprised when information that sheds light on government malfeasance and corruption or on the falsehood of government’s justifications for its policies wind up being classified for reasons of “National Security.”

Libertarian Alliance Christmas Message 2010


What is liberty for, and why should people be free?

David Davis

Merry Christmas, ladies and gentlemen. May God rest you merry, and perhaps tight this year. Get tight while you can still afford it – for governments, specially this one, would like to think they can “combat drinking” by over-taxation, freely and cheerfully admitted to.

Well, this year, among other things, the awful and totally-unelected Gordon Brown zeppelin-thing-in-the-ether, foisted on us by Tony Blair and possibly his worst single act, imploded finally. We voted, and guess what? Nobody won, and the Government got in, again. This may be a good thing in the short term, in that the coalition can’t actually do anything to hinder people much more, let alone help. But strategically in the battle for universal individual freedom, we here are certainly no better off than before.

In fact, a little worse, for some of us like me and Sean see the Clock ticking…. We know that however relatively more slowly than before we are being marched to the living-gas-chambers of sustainable socialist greenery, and to the concentration-camps of more intricate and closer repression, the available decades of living people’s lifetimes in which they might do something to reverse The Big Modern Managerial State, are slipping away like sand in a glass. Time, literally, is running out for liberty in the UK for sure, and so it would seem also for other Anglosphere nations. I gather that you can get fined for speeding in Australia, if you are tracked by a police helicopter…I thought helicopters were foreign-policy-war-winning-weapons, for machine-gunning GramscoStaliNazi “freedom-fighters”, until I researched Australian Policing.

So, what’s wrong with liberty? Why exactly are we under assault? And given the seeming consensus ranged against individual freedom, not only among the governing Enemy-Classes of the world, but also among populations who you think should know better, what is the point of freedom? Why should people be free?

If slavery seems to make so many people happy, why should bother to resist? Why continue to accept the nonplussed opinions of our contemporaries? Why bother any more to bear their frank uncomprehension at our persistent criticism of statist ideas and outcomes? Why should we endure the perpetual status of outsiders and deranged wierdos?

We do have the comfort of course, of knowing that everyone else is mistaken. We know we are right: we also know there is objective truth, about why liberty is good, and all the alternatives are evil.

But, why is it that in the presence of large measures of individual liberty, Men seem to advance and the nett sum of human comfort – not to mention the absolute amounts of energy able to be deployed – go up? Along with life-expectancy, freedom from hunger and want for more people than before, and the like? And that the converse is true: tyrannies actually produce cars, such as the Trabant, whose specification actually _declined_ as the years went on?

The world must thus divide between those who think as we do, and those who think that progress is a zero-sum-game. We know that market-based co-operation of Men produces absolutely more wealth, able to be spread by trading and money. To do this fairly, money must be “sound”, which is to say: unable to be corrupted and debased by outsiders and agencies (such as monopoly government issuers, which see a way to “have more” to spend, on “projects” or on themselves.) We also know that we think the Enemy-Class knows that for one man to succeed, many must fail. That’s why they have abolished failure in education, schools, and increasingly, non-Olympic Sport. (They like the medals, you see, “for the People”….)

What’s wrong with liberty, as seen by our Enemy-Classes the world over, is exactly that it makes Enemy-Classes redundant. There can be no purpose in such a Class, so long as individuals can sink or swim by their own efforts and forge, or fail to forge, their own destinies, by their own considered efforts and also while happy to accept the outcomes as they fall. Furthermore, many of the Enemy-Class are against what they call “religion”. Specifically this means Judeo-Christianity, for they do not seem to be against other ones although I bet you 5p this will change, before too long, say about 5-15 years. And they’re only “against the Jews” because the “Palestinians” being exotic and phantasmal have captured the imagination of those that shape public perceptions, and also because the Holocaust has now almost faded from living memory, and Europe is returning to its traditional 16-century-old let-out of Jew-hating.

I give British Muslims until about 2025 before they suddenly find themselves physically inside real enclosures looking out, rather than outside the hegemonic-discourse-enclosure looking in. And it won’t be liberals and libertarians who put them there, it will be their erstwhile friends in the Political Enemy-Class, and they will cry “foul!” and there will be nobody left to speak for them.

As for Christmas? I always like to make the point that Liberty is not the daughter of order but its mother. For those libertarians who believe there is a God, well that’s fine, and I just remind the others that He gave Man free will, as a gift. OK, OK. We all know the concept evolved along with an ever-increasingly-ramified brain and the ability to comprehend self-hood, accumulate Memory, and use Learning, in the fulfilment of the brain’s biological brief, which is to “do what you think best in the next seconds of time, all the time, to keep us other cells alive, using what you know”.

As in 1.John i:- In the beginning was Order. Order was God, (which means God exemplified Order), and Order was “with” (which is to say “by” or “created by”) God. In other words, Order pre-existed everything observable in the Universe, which of course makes perfect sense to any good scientist. (The “science” is settled! Ha ha…) Now, we say that Liberty is Order’s mother, which is logical in a political sense and is always and everywhere shown to be true in history. This makes liberty the greatest of all gifts. So, all Men should be free, for in that state a civilisation founded on Order, freely arrived at, not needing “police”, or “cameras” or DNA datatbases, or other such low stuff, can arise.

 

Chapter One of The Churchill Memorandum by Sean Gabb


Chapter One

“Of course,” he said, dropping his voice so it could be heard only half way down the queue, “the Americans have never changed over. They still call today March 6th 1959. Their custom is to put the month before the day. It makes good sense, as the month is more significant than the day.” As if looking for support, the old bore pointed up at the calendar that hung just beside the concrete statue of the President. It was a wasted gesture. The departures hall of Anslinger International may have its excellences. If so, these didn’t extend to its calendar. Through dust-covered glass, it was still showing a date from January.

“Next!” the check-in clerk snapped. The New York accent is never friendly. New York bureaucrats, I’d long since found, go out of their way not to sound friendly. Somebody muttered, from a few places behind me, about the interminable wait. We shuffled forward another eighteen inches. One of my coloured porters strained with his box. Since the others didn’t think it worth the effort of moving theirs, he scraped it an inch or so across the uneven floor, then went back to sitting on it. I took a new standing position as I came to my own halt. It didn’t do to scratch in public. Even so, my left buttock was itching again like mad. Had I been bitten by something? I wondered. I’d been told you might pick up some nasty things in America.

“Mind you,” the bore struck up again beside me, “the computer chappies go one step further. They put the year in front of it all. They write today as ‘59-03-06’. That lets them put dates into a numbered list where they follow each other in fully logical sequence—most significant number first. Just before I retired in ‘56, we had a new computer fitted in Calcutta. The Marconi people had shipped it out in pieces for fitting together in situ. Big thing, it was—needed its own building, you know.” He took out his pocket handkerchief and, holding it in his left hand, blew his nose hard enough to start an echo round the cavernous dump where we’d all been shivering half the afternoon. I was one place from the check-in desk, and I saw the clerk look up disapprovingly from her inspection of yet another exit visa. Unimpressed—or perhaps unaware—the bore sniffed loudly and rearranged the very large and very white moustaches that covered his very large and very red face.

“I did ask the boy in charge,” he went on, “what would happen when the century number changed—what would he do when ’00 came after ’99? Gave me a fishy look, the little blighter, and muttered something that boiled down to ‘sufficient unto the day’.” He chuckled. Would he drift into recollections of his Indian days?

I could have kicked myself. Buttonholed—and even before check in—by the voyage bore is bad enough. Buttonholed by a bore who’d served in India was surely as bad as things could get. Unless I was to spend the next three days locked in my cabin, all my thoughts of a pleasant flight home were looking decidedly iffy. I looked again at his tie to see if it gave any indication of what he’d been doing before he retired. But the nearest fluorescent lighting was on the blink, and I couldn’t see the details of its pattern.

There was a loud crash behind us. Fifty bored, impatient faces turned to see who’d got the double doors unlocked that led back out into one of the less ghastly areas of New York. It was whole squad of Republican Guards. In their regulation fedoras and trench coats, they paused at the entrance and looked round. Most carried hand guns. A couple had sawn-off shot guns. One of them pointed in my direction and held up a folded sheet of paper. Coming at a brisk march, they set out across the fifty yards that separated us.

I fought to keep a blank face. Even so, I could feel my guts turn to vinegar. Forget voyage bores. Things had just gone horribly to the worse. And this wouldn’t be the end of it. For what it might be worth, I put a hand up to reach for my passport.

“Hands out of pockets, dear boy,” the bore breathed into my neck. His voice had a soft urgency wholly different from his calendar monologue. He was right. I’d been here long enough to know the drill. Trying to control their trembling, I stretched out my fingers and pressed my hands against the fabric of my trousers. Looking neither to right nor left, on the men came through the now silent hall. I thought of the permit I’d bribed out of the Repository Office in Chicago. Would it mean anything against these people? I prepared to clear my throat, and tried for an easy smile.

But it wasn’t me they were after. They stopped beside me. But it was the man right at the front of the queue they were surrounding.

“Alan Greenspan?” their officer snarled. He unfolded his sheet of paper. It was covered in typewriting, and there was a photograph in its top right hand corner. “You are Alan Greenspan—enemy of the people!” The little Jew in front of me cowered backwards and got out a few words in the sort of English accent you hear in Hollywood films from the old days. The officer laughed unpleasantly and took up the British passport the clerk had been in the process of stamping. Holding it in his left hand, he rubbed one of the pages between the thumb and forefinger of his right. He sniffed at his fingers and held them out to show how blue they’d turned. “Take him down,” he said to one of his men. The man’s face took on a gloating look as he put a hand on the Jew’s collar.

“I’m a British subject,” Greenspan squealed in an accent that now said he clearly wasn’t. He looked at me as if for confirmation. I forced myself not to step backwards, and looked steadily down at the floor. “You can’t touch me,” he cried again, desperation in his voice. “I’m a British subject.” A hard poke in the stomach sent him to his knees. The officer turned to face the flight representative who was hurrying over to protest.

“He’s none of your concern,” he said in the cold voice of authority. “He’s not a British national.” He put a hand on the holster that bulged through his trench coat. The young representative opened his mouth to speak, but thought better of saying anything at all. It was now that Greenspan found his own proper voice.

“Free Ayn Rand!” he shrilled quickly. “She’s been in solitary for a year now. They’re killing her with neglect.” He was taking in breath for another slogan. But a knee in his face sent him straight down on the floor. The officer snapped an order to his men. They pulled Greenspan to his feet and three of them began dragging him back towards the doors. “Restore the Constitution!” he managed to shout. “Anslinger’s a tyrant!” But that was it. With a last despairing wail of “A is A!” from Greenspan, the doors closed behind him and his keepers, leaving the rest of us in total silence.

“I can smell a Jew at five yards,” the officer said, now looking directly at me. He smiled and flexed backwards, showing still more prominently the bulge of the metal in his pocket. “And I can smell subversion. You were beside him. You were with him?”

I wanted to tell the man very smartly I’d never seen Greenspan before in my life. It was the truth. He’d pushed in front of me not half an hour before, and had been giving me funny, sideways looks ever since. I thought of claiming friends in high places. Instead of all this, though, I opened my mouth and found that I couldn’t even breathe out. The officer was looking triumphant. Already, I could fear, he was turning to give orders to more of his men. Before I could open my mouth and try for gibbering, the bore had an arm on my shoulder.

“My dear fellow,” he said to the officer, “you’ll find this young man really is a British subject. He had nothing to do with your felon.” The officer’s face turned a kind of puce. I thought for a moment he’d pull out his gun and try some pistol whipping. But he controlled himself. He took the bore’s offered passport and looked long and closely at it, comparing face with photograph.

 “Stanhope,” he said at length to the bore, separating the syllables into Stan Hope, a slight emphasis on the second syllable. He twisted his thin face into an apology for a smile. “Reginald Stanhope. Do your friends in England call you Reggie?”

“They call me Major Stanhope,” came the reply in a tone that avoided all hint of rebuke. The officer turned the pages of the passport.

“Well, Major Stanhope,” he said, now mockingly, it says here you’re subject to Imperial immigration control. You sure don’t look like no nigger.”

“British bred,” came the now breezy reply, “though born in Cyprus. The law is very strict, you know—doesn’t just apply to Her Majesty’s coloured subjects. One law for all and all that.” The officer continued looking at the much-stamped pages.

“What was the purpose of your visit?” he asked with a lapse into the official. He pointed at the dense mass of previous visa stamps. “Is it family business?”

“Not in so many words, dear boy,” Stanhope said with a wave. “But there’s a brotherhood among those of us who served in the War that’s very like blood.” I tried not to look at the black glove that covered the stillness of his right hand. He saw my attempt and laughed softly and held the hand up. “I got this on the fourth day at Paschendaele,” he said. “Jerry machine gun bullet—went in through the knuckles, lodged in the elbow. Whole lower arm had to come off in the end.” He waved the artificial limb and looked the officer in the face. “You might say I was lucky. Whatever the case, life goes on. You learn to get by with the other hand. I can’t complain.

“I sit on the Veterans’ Relief Board in London,” he said, pulling himself back to the main subject. “Not many Americans in the War, of course—came in too late for that. But they took quite a few casualties. All old men now, those still with us—some older than me. But American war pensions don’t buy much with all this inflation. We do what we can. You’d be surprised the difference a few shillings a week can make between want and dignity.”

“They fought in England’s war,” the officer said with quiet contempt. “It’s only right that England should look after them now.” He gave Stanhope back his passport and now took mine. “Anthony Markham,” he said with the same division of syllables. “Born in Rei-gate, January 17th 1930?” I nodded and managed a feeble smile. I wondered if Stanhope was laughing inwardly at the unconscious reversal of the dates. I could feel the sweat running down my back. “And the purpose of your visit?”

“I’m an historian,” I said, trying and failing to match Stanhope’s easy assurance. “I’m researching a biography of Winston Churchill. You—you may have heard of him. He was half-American—his mother’s side. He left all his later papers to Harvard. I was out here to consult them. I—I…” The officer had lost interest, and I trailed off. Avoiding his face, I looked up at the statue of Anslinger. It had been cast in the early days when he was modelling himself on Mussolini, and there was still black paint on areas of the uniform. Somehow, the artists had got a smile on the man’s face. He was looking down at the little girl he held in his arms. She looked back adoringly. I tried to think of something flattering to say about my trip.

Just then, though, the sound of a gunshot came though the doors. Stanhope raised his eyebrows. “Well, really!” someone said from far along the queue behind me. All about, there was a buzz of quiet outrage. I looked past the President’s statue, though the single sheet of plate glass that gave a view over the landing field and the huge body of the airship that quivered two hundred feet up in the breeze. The cabin was painted in the Imperial Airways colours, and had a Union Flag at each end.

I felt a hard bump in my chest. It was the officer handing back my passport. Before I could gather any words for thanks, he and his men were already heading back for the doors.

“Next,” the clerk grated. It was my turn. Still trembling, I put my passport on her desk and pulled out the paper copy of my exit visa. She ignored the documents and pointed at the five wooden boxes my coloureds were still attending. “There’s a forty pound weight limit for non-stowed luggage,” she said. I pointed at the handwritten amendment on my ticket. She waved it aside. “There’s a forty pound weight limit for non-stowed luggage,” she repeated in exactly the same tone. I stared up at the ceiling and tried to pull myself together.

“I am a personal friend of the British Foreign Secretary, Harold Macmillan,” I said with an attempt at firmness. “These boxes contain papers for a project in which he has taken an interest.” She gave me the dead look that only officials in a down at heel police state can give.

“There’s a forty pound weight limit for non-stowed luggage,” she replied, for all the world as if there were a gramophone record in place of her mind, and the needle had stuck in a groove. I smiled weakly. Normally, I’d have called the representative over and got him to explain things. Now, I was even willing to leave the boxes behind. For all they meant to me, the safety of that cabin hovering in the sky outside meant more.

“If I might be so bold, Dr Markham,” Stanhope whispered conspiratorially from behind, “I would suggest the offer of a supplemental fare. £2 should do the trick.” I swallowed and reached into my pocket. There was obviously no point offering any of the thousand dollar bills that still bulked out the paper section. Instead, I took out one and two half sovereigns, and pushed them quietly across the desk. The clerk stared at them. She took up one of the smaller coins and bit into the gold. She covered all three coins with a sheet of paper. Without another word, she stamped my documents. Well she might. That must have been a month’s salary for her.

“Next,” she cried. I glanced at my coloureds and pointed at the boxes. There were hours still to go till boarding. But I could at least get out of this bloody queue.

To read more, you’ll have to buy a copy:

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Now Available: The Churchill Memorandum by Sean Gabb


 

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A Libertarian Approach to Family Values


dj

We live in the era of so-called “women’s rights”. I am not sure that women’s rights could only have been interpreted in a way that has weakened the traditional family. But that is the situation that now obtains in England today. My interest lies not in opposing women’s rights, as far as the latter is a self-sustaining ideological movement and not achieved via state fiat, but rather in the traditional family, and, in particular, in the role that it has in supporting the social fabric.

While I do believe that, ideally, all children should be brought up by parents that are committed to each other and to their children, I don’t see that the state can mandate the traditional family as the sole household arrangement. However, by the same token, it should not be funding the breakdown of the family either. It is simply anti-social for the state to allow single mothers to apply for and get social housing. The result has been an upsurge in the numbers of women who see single parenthood as a career choice.

I should add that I do not agree there should be any social housing available at all. Social housing distorts the property market, and allows large numbers of people to live essentially parasitical lifestyles. The recently leaked US embassy cable referring to the fact that 28% of Muslims present in the UK live in social housing also highlights the fact that social housing is being used to promote the government’s anti-British demographic objectives.

I would like to see all social housing privatised and all levels of government withdraw from housing policy. As a libertarian society would scale down (and ultimately eliminate) social security, one feasible way of withdrawing from social housing and slashing social welfare payments would be to give all present social housing to their present occupants, giving them a safety net in life, but being accompanied by a large cut in social welfare payments too. I would strongly support this in the case where social housing is inhabited by people of British or Irish descent; in other cases, social housing could be sold in job lots to private landlords, thus allowing the state to withdraw from the sector.

This would mean there was no social housing for single mothers—which is how it should be. No single mother should be able to casually assume that the broad mass of the population wished to fund her parasitical lifestyle. But the other aspect of this moral/social question I wish to comment on is relations between the sexes, and in particular the impact on the fathers of the children being brought up by mothers outside wedlock of the mothers’ decisions to proceed with the pregnancies.

While I do not necessarily approve of abortion—and serial abortion as a means of contraception is even more repugnant to me—there is an interesting social question regarding who makes the decision to proceed with an unplanned pregnancy. At present, the decision is 100% the woman’s to make—not unreasonably considering the fact that an operation on her own body would be required to accomplish an abortion—and yet the man is left in the situation where he will be called upon financially for 16 years thereafter if the woman decides to proceed, regardless of whether he wants the child or not.

This is manifestly unjust. The Child Support Agency is also a manifestly unjust organisation that doesn’t even ensure that the monies it garners from the fathers are given to the mothers/families involved. Quite simply, if a man has not entered into a legal agreement to support a woman and any children she bears—and this is the definition of “wedlock”—it is unjust for him to be required to financially support the upbringing of children who do not live with him and whose birth he did not agree to. A thirty-minute liaison after a drunken night out does not create an agreement of lifelong commitment to the woman—or to her future children. While people will say that a man has to honour his responsibilities, he is not involved in the decision whether to proceed with the pregnancy or not. He therefore has no responsibilities in the matter.

Why would any man want to pay for children who don’t live with him and with whose mother he has never entered into any agreement of commitment? A glance at The Jeremy Kyle Show on ITV shows that most working-class men who are interested in their children want the mother and the children as a package—and where he wishes to have a relationship with the woman, but she doesn’t reciprocate, he rarely wants to fund the lifestyles of either the mother or the children. Most of the DNA testing done on that show relates to the idea that a man has a responsibility to fund the upbringing of children who are genetically his, but who he may not even know, or with whom he is allowed only brief and supervised contact, and who are often the results of only a thirty-minute relationship with the mother.

The Child Support Agency should be closed down. Where children are born out of wedlock, and bearing in mind that the mother’s decision to proceed with the pregnancy is final, there should be no legally enforceable obligations on the father. In such circumstances, and given that I support the withdrawal of all benefits to unmarried mothers, the woman could only proceed with the pregnancy had she a private income or where her parents were happy to help to finance the child’s upbringing. The father might be prepared to help out, but given that he was under no moral or legal commitment (i.e., “no bond of wedlock”), it would be his free choice whether to do so or not.

Of course, a decision to proceed with a pregnancy is irrevocable once the child is born. It should be possible for parents who are not married to agree that the pregnancy go ahead, with the man signing a legal contract agreeing to take on the obligation of supporting a child born to a mother to whom he is not married. Such a legal agreement would give a cast-iron guarantee to the mother that she could proceed with the pregnancy and would be able to sue the father for maintenance were he to go back on the agreement. In the absence of such an agreement, she would not be able to look to the father or to the state for help. (Were it later shown via DNA testing that the child was not his, this could create a legal justification for his backing out of the agreement; ultimately, a mother does know if she has been having sex with numerous men and she has to take responsibility for herself too.)

This policy would lead to a large reduction in unmarried motherhood, with positive implications for crime, delinquency, child abuse and the quality of child rearing. It would create a situation of genuine equality between the sexes, which is after all what the rhetoric surrounding women’s rights is all about.

How Do I allow Someone Else to Post to this Blog?


Now for a cold and dark Britain


Michael Winning

The buggers don’t like us you see. Chris Hoon or someone of that name wants to close all our power stations, the ones that work actually, and build a load of bloody useless non-functioning wondmills. Don’t know about you but out driving today I saw many wind turbines as one does round here, and they are all stationary…..except some.

Werry odd as there’s no wind. I expect the grid’s being used to turn a pile of them so all the sheeple think they are producing some power, eh?

Why’s nobody doing some thinking around here?

 

Another Libertarian Novel


Sean:

    Congratulations on publication of your libertarian novel.  You might be
interested to know that I also had a libertarian novel published very
recently.  It is a near future science-fiction novel called RAPID TRANSIT: A
NOVEL OF TELEPORTATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP.

    It can be found at Lulu.com, or purchased from any of the big on-line booksellers.  I think that you and any of your readers would like it.  I am
hoping to get some libertarians to read it and do on-line reviews.

    Again, congratulations on your own successful efforts.

Jim
James Rolph Edwards
Professor of Economics/Political Science
Montana State University-Northern

New Book by Sean Gabb


Various matters in addition to my new and wonderful novel.

1 Free Food and Drink

The Committee of the Libertarian Alliance request the pleasure of your company at:

Happy Free Market Christmas 2010: The Libertarian Alliance Christmas Reception for the UK’s Free Market and Civil Liberties Movement

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Drinks and Canapé Reception 6.00-9.00pm

National Liberal Club

One Whitehall Place

London SW1A 2HE

The dress code for this event is lounge suit or smart casual. RSVP Dr. Helen Evans at hsevans@btinternet.com

2. Christmas Greetings

Please accept my best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. If you celebrate some other festival at this time of year, do enjoy that one instead. Bear in mind that, if you think the world is already an awful place, it will be worse come next Christmas. So tuck into that turkey while it’s still in the shops and you can afford it.

3. The Churchill Memorandum

Now to the main reason for my message. Though I promised it for the 20th January 2011, copies of my new novel, The Churchill Memorandum, are now available – or are subject to postal delays. Anyone who wants to buy a copy, anywhere in the world, can expect to have it delivered within three to five working days.

But why should you want to buy The Churchill Memorandum? The short answer is that it is probably a very clever and entertaining story, owning much to John Buchan, to Sapper, and to the early Ian Fleming – and with a few ironic bows to George Orwell. If you like this sort of thing – or if you are just a very conservative English nationalist – you will enjoy The Churchill Memorandum.

Let me turn now to a longer answer. All through my life, nearly everyone has  accepted the Churchill Myth. This is that Germany in the 1930s was crying out to be crushed, and that only one man had the wisdom and resolve to do this. And so, by some act approaching the providential, once we were properly at war with Germany, Winston Churchill came to power. During the next five years, he was the most determined and implacable enemy of German aggression. At the end of that war, his country was bankrupt and the place it had held in the world for the previous quarter millennium was now unsustainable. But so what? This had, after all, been our “Finest Hour”. And if England was now to decline, America was there to pick up the fallen torch of world power. After a slight rearrangement of positions within it, the “Anglosphere” would continue through the 20th century, spreading right, truth and justice.

I first realised what crap all this was in 1981. I was an undergraduate, and had accidentally agreed to write my dissertation  not about the Byzantine Empire, but about the Second World War. I began my research in no doubt of the Churchill Myth. I was surprised to see how quickly and completely it fell apart. Germany was never a threat to England. The War ruined us financially and morally – not least because the deal Churchill made for fighting it was that the left should be given control over domestic policy. It massively aggrandised a morally corrupt and viciously Anglophobic America, and brought about a Bolshevik occupation of Eastern and Central Europe. As for the crimes committed by the National Socialists, these were made conceivable only once a total war had been fought and lost.

Anyone who thinks the Second World War was “the Good War” is deluded. It was a catastrophe from which our civilisation may never recover.

The Churchill Memorandum helps advance this case by imagining what might have happened if Hitler had died in 1939 and there had been no War. My own view is that, alive or dead, he was no threat to England. But I make this much concession to the established wisdom by assuming that the man is dead. No War means no collapse of British or Japanese power, and no breakout into the world of the comparably if differently evil Soviet Union and United States. It also means the cooling of German National Socialism into something half-Franco, half-Hapsburg.

Go forward twenty years, to 1959, and England is still England. The Queen is on her throne. The pound is worth a pound. All is right with the world – or with that quarter of it lucky enough to repose under an English heaven.

Rejoicing in this happy state of affairs, Anthony Markham takes his leave of a nightmarish, totalitarian America – an America where Alan Greenspan is summarily executed as an enemy of the people, and Harry J. Anslinger is the President. Markham has a biography to write of a dead and now largely forgotten Winston Churchill, and has had to travel to where the old drunk left his papers. But little does Markham realise, as he returns to his safe, orderly England, that he carries, somewhere in his luggage, an object that can be used to destroy England and the whole structure of bourgeois civilisation as it has been gradually restored since 1918.

Who is trying to kill Anthony Markham? For whom is Major Stanhope really working? Where did Dr Pakeshi get his bag of money? What connection might there be between Michael Foot, Leader of the British Communist Party, and Foreign Secretary Harold Macmillan? Why is Ayn Rand in an American prison, and Nathaniel Branden living in a South London bedsit? Where does Enoch Powell fit into the story? Above all, what is the Churchill Memorandum? What terrible secrets does it contain?

All will be revealed – but not till after Markham has gone on the run through an England unbombed, uncentralised, still free, and still mysterious.

You can buy copies of The Churchill Memorandum for a mere £9.99. Order yours now from here:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-churchill-memorandum/14310600?productTrackingContext=author_spotlight_91479272_

or here:

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

The EU Euro stability fund draft press release…


Christopher Houseman

Found in the memory hole.

In the wake of widespread pessimism and protests in Europe regarding the very existence of the Euro, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers have agreed that a permanent Euro stability fund will be established shortly.

All Eurozone members will be expected to pledge impressive sounding amounts of money, which won’t in fact be anywhere near enough to cover the gaping hole in the heart of our wonderful would-be global reserve currency. And we won’t actually expect them to pay anywhere near as much as they pledge – unless they urgently have to.

The existence of a permanent Euro stability fund will reassure the gullible citizens of our glorious Union that all is well – until they actually have to buy something more valuable than our promises about their future earnings and productivity. In fact, the very existence of the stability fund means that:

1) We have no intention of trying to turn the Euro into a sound currency, and we probably wouldn’t know how to do so anyway.

2) We won’t be able to stop Eurozone members overspending in the future. Why else do you think we need this fund? Besides, we know every such crisis provides the justification we need to centralize even more money and power in our hands, so why would we even bother to try?

3) We will pay no attention whatever to calls for repudiation of national debts and a return to national currencies by Eurozone members. Any politician who tries to do this had better have very good life insurance and first-class bodyguards. Our message to the little people is simple: Shut up, pay up, and trust us to spend more money than you can possibly imagine. We’re a government – what else do you expect?

We note that UK citizens have been assured that non-Eurozone countries won’t have to contribute to the fund. We’re glad you like the eyewash, and rest assured that we’re working hard to address this state of affairs.

Next Year’s News on Health…


Christopher Houseman

From a possible future near you.

In the wake of the Coalition Government’s pledge to fine hospitals which persist in using mixed-sex wards, it’s emerged that the NHS has produced an unwritten 2-step plan in response:

1) Leave more people in the corridors – patients will be selected for this form of accommodation based on the gender of whichever patient is put in a ward first. Calls for the majority gender in the hospital to receive first dibs on the beds will be dismissed with the response that NHS staff are far too busy meeting government performance targets treating patients to keep shuffling people in and out of wards on the basis of periodic recounts.

2) Refuse to admit patients for treatment, and refer them to a neighbouring hospital instead. This will head off attempts to invoke sex discrimination legislation to abolish step 1. A Government report will then recommend sex-segregated hospitals, which will be discussed ad nauseam while hospitals quietly get on and implement the idea wherever possible until the mixed-sex ward fine is abolished.

Governments and price-fixing: pot calls kettle black


Michael Winning

I learn that supplies of heating oil are running low. Worse, we have this:

Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, said that ministers would work with suppliers to ration supplies to make sure that customers could get through the festive period, and confirmed that the outlook was potentially “very serious”.

Pres Reagan said “the most dangerous words in the English language are “I’m from the government and Im here to help”.

Of course there are more broken promises and bribery in the pipeline (sorry) as in this:-

Chris Hoon, the Energy Secretary, promised that no customer would be without oil over Christmas, adding: “The Energy minister has been in constant discussions looking at any way in which those who need heating oil, and are short of heating oil, get it. That is absolutely essential.

Not helped by “moochers and looters” as in this:-

Pat Glass, Labour MP for North West Durham, accused oil suppliers of “utter exploitation”.

And Conservative backbencher Neil Parish, representing Tiverton and Honiton, added: “Isn’t it time you took on the oil companies and ensure constituents get a fair deal as many of my constituents have no choice but to have oil?”

I am learnng to be more careful about my typing.

Never been a gender pay gap here


In farming, women earn what men do.

Michael Winning

We do the same stuff, same hours, same heavy lifting, its never been any different. Labour eat your heart out. Maybe that’s why they don’t like us, can’t force us to comply wiht something we alrady comply with?

Oh and no time off for being preggant either, if you don’t do the animals on time, all the time, always, then they die.

Houston, we have a problem


David Davis

I have a problem.
About 6 years ago a local builder brought an “optic probe” into a hire shop where I was working. I said I might be able to repair it.

As it turned out I couldn’t. Then I stopped working there a few months later.
He never came back for it. Two years ago I binned it with a load of other stuff. Today, he turned up at my house asking for it. What shall I do?

Unsurprising but of little significance


Michael Winning

So people now lean back to Thatcher, eh? Not sire about that but I know history will be kinder to her than toady.

Tail-chasing


David Davis

UPDATE: I note now. 16.12.10, that Iain Dale has handed in his cyberpress and has ceased blogging. It’s a pity: although nobody in his right mind would call Iain a libertarian, he writes well and knows which targets to assault.

The trouble with being retired is that you have so many things you have to do. So, writing has been a bit light, held up here sporadically by Michael and Sean Gabb mostly: they also have family duties and stuff like that.

I wonder if serious blogging is really, in the end, only for people who nobody much likes, such as those fellows at Labourlist or whatever it’s called? Or, else it is for those so powerful and prominent that they can make time to think (it’s not the writing, it’s the thinking that costs time) or have people to do stuff for them while they think/blog, like Guido and Iain Dale and that lot. I have worked out that the “half-life of a blogposting” is somewhere between 20 and 36 hours, depending on the prominence of the writer. This half-life is the time in which the “hit rate” (absolute new page views per unit time) declines to half the value it was at the moment when the first regular stopper-in noticed it. Guido is on about 36 hours. We manage around 20.

Or it’s for people like Brian Micklethwait, who don’t much mind how few or many read their thoughts, but have interesting things to say about cats, cricket, photography, buildings and finer points of liberal philosophy.

Sometimes too, I wonder at the state of the Political Domain of human endeavour, and consider what more it’s worth saying that we have not already said. There are only so may thousand ways you can justify your ire at the scumbags and fascist time-servers that blight our lives in return for taking all our money and using it to oppress us more….

….well, that was exciting…The LA tab I was on, just…well…disappeared right out of the browser, throwing me back to the Waily (“coalition” ) Torygraph. Lucky that WordPress had pre-saved a draft with most of the text on.

I’ll trail the Christmas message though: it’s becoming a LA-Blog tradition, and I’ll be starting soon to try to find time to think of something interesting and relevant to say about this year’s Enemy-Class-machinations. If any of you disgusting and dysfunctional reprobates would like me to talk about something in particular, please state so in the comments!

Friday frolics


Michael Winning

Wikileaks: better late than never


Wikileaks’ domain name may be shut down, but you can still access it at this  address: http://213.251.145.96/

Murray N. Rothbard, "Know Your Rights"


 

Know Your Rights

Murray Rothbard

Recently, a bewildering and seemingly new phe-nomenon has burst upon the public consciousness, “right-wing libertarianism.” While earlier forms of the movement received brief and scornful attention by professional “extremist” baiting Liberals, present attention is, almost miraculously for veterans of the movement, serious and respectful.  The current implication is “maybe they’ve got something here. What, then, have they got?”

Whatever their numerous differences, all “right-wing libertarians” agree on the central core of their thought, briefly, that every individual has the absolute moral right to “self-ownership,” the owner-ship and control of his own body without aggressive interference by any other person or group.  Secondly, libertarians believe that every individual has the right to claim the ownership of whatever goods he has created or found in a natural, unused state: this establishes an absolute property right, not only in his own person but also in the things which he finds or creates.  Thirdly, if everyone has such an absolute right to private property, he therefore has the right to exchange such property titles for other titles to property: hence the right to give away such property to whomever he chooses (provided, of course, that the recipient is willing); hence the right of bequest—and the right of the recipient to inherit.

The emphasis on the rights of private property of course locates this libertarian creed as emphatically “right-wing,” as does the right of free contract implying absolute adherence to freedom of enter-prise and the free-market economy.  It also means, however, that the right-libertarian stands foursquare for the “civil liberty” of freedom of speech, press, and assembly.  It means that he necessarily favors total freedom for abortion, pornography, prostitution, and all other forms of personal action that do not themselves aggress against the property of others. And, above all, he regards conscription as slavery pure and simple.  All of these latter positions are of course now regarded as “leftist,” and so the right-libertarian is inevitably put in the position of being some form of “left-rightnik,” someone who agrees with conservatives on some issues and with leftists on others.  While others therefore see him as curiously fluctuating and inconsistent, he regards his position as virtually the only one that is truly consistent, consistent on behalf of the liberty of every individual.  For how can the leftist be against the violence of war and conscription and morality laws while yet favoring the violence of taxes and government controls?  And how can the rightist trumpet his devotion to private property and free enterprise while favoring conscription and the outlawing of activities he deems immoral?

While of course opposing any private or group aggression against the rights of private property, the right-libertarian unerringly zeroes in on the central, the overriding aggressor upon such rights: the State apparatus.  While the leftist tends to regard the State as an evil enforcer of private property rights, the right-libertarian, on the contrary, regards it as the prime aggressor on such rights.  In contrast to believers in democracy or monarchy or dictatorship, the right-libertarian steadfastly refuses to regard the State as invested with any sort of divine or any other sanction setting it up above the general moral law.  If it is criminal for one man or a group of men to aggress against a man’s person or property, then it is equally criminal for an outfit calling itself the “government” or “State” to do the same thing. Hence the right-libertarian regards “war” as mass murder, “conscription” as slavery, and—for most libertarians—“taxation” as robbery.  From such past mentors as Herbert Spencer (Man vs. the State) and Albert Jay Nock (Our Enemy the State), the right-libertarian regards the State as the great enemy of the peaceful and productive pursuits of mankind.

With this as the central core of libertarian thought, we must now investigate the numerous facets of the right-libertarian spectrum; and, despite the numerous difficulties of such an analysis, it is still most convenient to align the various tendencies and factions of right-libertarianism on its own “left-right” continuum.

On the extreme-right fringe of the movement, there are those who simply believe in old-fashioned nineteenth-century laissez-faire; the major laissez-faire group is the Foundation for Economic Education, of Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, for which many of the middle-aged members of the right-libertarian movement have worked at one time or another.

The laissez-fairists believe that a central government must exist, and therefore that taxes must exist, but that taxation should be confined to the prime “governmental” function of defending life and property against attack.  Any pressing of government beyond this function is considered illegitimate.  The great bulk of libertarians, especially among the youth, have, however, gone beyond laissez-faire, for they have seen its basic inconsis-tency: for if taxation is robbery for building dams or steel plants, then it is also robbery when financing such supposedly “governmental” functions as police and the courts.  If it is legitimate for the State to coerce the taxpayer into financing the police, then why is it not equally legitimate to coerce the taxpayer for myriad other activities, including building steel factories, subsidizing favored groups, etc?  If taxation is robbery, surely then it is robbery regardless of the ends, benevolent or malevolent, for which the State proposes to employ these stolen funds.

Most libertarians also reject the laissez-fairist position that it is morally imperative to obey all laws, no matter how despotic, as well as the all-too-common laissez-fairist patriotic devotion to the American Constitution and the American State.  They have also found current laissez-fairists (though this was not true of the nineteenth-century brand) to be conspicuously silent in mentioning the heavy respon-sibility of big business for the growth of statism in twentieth-century America, instead, the blame is almost always placed on unions, politicians, and leftish intellectuals.  Moreover, almost never is there criticism of the greatest single force accelerating the Leviathan State in America: the military-industrial complex, and the American Empire fueled by that complex.  For all these reasons, the old-fasioned laissez-faire position has lost credibility for the bulk of today’s right-libertarians.

Moving one degree leftward, we come to the Randian and neo-Randian movements, those who follow or have been influenced by the novelist Ayn Rand.  From the publication of Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged in 1958, the Randian movement developed into what seemed to be destined as a mighty force. For the emotional impact of Rand’s powerfully-plotted novels attracted a vast following of young people into her “Objectivist” movement.

In addition to the emotional drawing-power of the novels, Randianism provided the eager acolyte with an integrated philosophical system, a system grounded on Aristotelian epistemology, and blending it with Nietszchean egosim and hero-worship, ratio-nalist psychology, laissez-faire economics, and a natural-rights political philosophy, apolitical philoso-phy grounded on the libertarian axiom of never aggressing upon the person or property of another.

Even at its peak, however, the effectiveness of the Randian movement was severely limited by two important factors.  One was its extreme and fanatical sectarianism; Randians refused to have anything to do with any person or group, no matter how close in outlook, who deviated by so much as an iota from the entire Randian canon—a canon, by the way, that has a rigid “line” on every conceivable question, from aesthetics to tactics. (An odd exception to this sectarianism, by the way, is the Republican Party and the Nixon Administration, which includes several highly-placed Randians as advisors.)  Particularly hated by the Randians is any former colleague who has deviated from the total line; these people are reviled and personally blacklisted by the faithful. Indeed, Rand’s monthly magazine, The Objectivist, is probably the only magazine in the world that consistently cancels the subscription of anyone on their personal blacklist, including any subscribers who send in what they consider to be un-worshipful questions.

The second, associated factor is the totalitarian atmosphere, the cultic atmosphere, of the Randian movement.  While the official Randian creed stresses the importance of individuality, self-reliance, and independent judgment, the unofficial but crucial axiom for the faithful is that “Ayn Rand is the greatest person who has ever lived” and, as a practical corollary, that “everything Ayn Rand says is right.”  With this sort of ruling mentality, it is no wonder that the turnover in the Randian movement has been exceptionally high: attracted by the credo of individualism, an enormous number of young people were either purged or drifted away in disgust.

The collapse of the Randian movement as an organized force came in the summer of 1968, when an unbelievable bombshell struck the movement: an irrevocable split between Rand and her appointed heir, Nathaniel Branden.

Since then, the Randian movement has happily become polycentric; and Branden repaired to California to set up his own schismatic movement there.  But the latter is still a movement confined to psychological theories and publications, and to book reviews in the occasionally appearing Academic Associates News.  As an organized movement, Randianism, whatever variant, is a mere shadow of its former self.

But the Randian creed still remains as a vital influence on the thinking of libertarians, so many of whom were former adherents to the cult.  Politically, Rand is to the left of the laissez-fairists in rejecting taxation as robbery, and therefore illegitimate.  Rand saw through the illogicality, the inconsistency, of the laissez-faire view of taxation.  Randian political theory wishes to preserve the existing unitary state, with its monopoly over coercion and ultimate decision-making; it wishes to define its “govern-ment” as a Utopian institution which retains its State monopoly but gains its revenue only by voluntary contributions from its citizens.  Still worse, while Randians agree that taxation is robbery, they stubbornly refuse to regard the government-even the existing government which lives off taxation—as a band of robbers.  Hence, Rand illogically infuses into the political outlook of herself and her charges an emotional devotion to the existing American government and to the American Constitution that totally negates her own libertarian axioms.  While Rand opposes the war in Vietnam, for example, she does so on purely tactical reasons as a mistake not in our “national interest”; as a result, she is far more passionate in her hostility to the unpatriotic protestors against the war than she is against the war itself.  She advocated the firing of Eugene Genovese from Rutgers, on the surprisingly anti-individualist grounds that “no man may support the victory of the enemies of his country.”  And even though Rand passionately opposes the draft as slavery, she also believes, with Read and the laissez-fairists, that it is illegitimate to disobey the laws of the American State, no matter how unjust—so long as her freedom to protest the laws remains.

Finally, Ayn Rand is a conventional right-winger, as well, in her attitude toward the “international Communist conspiracy.”  While Randians are not exactly champions of war, they are prevented by their simplistic diabolism from absorbing the revisionist view of American foreign policy—from realizing that the Cold War and American interventions overseas have been caused by the expanding aggressions of American imperialism rather than by a noble response to “Communist expansionism” by the “freest nation on earth.” Randians persist in the right-wing myth that the antipode of individualism is Communism, whereas the real antipode to liberty in America today is far different, the existing Corporate Monopoly Welfare-Warfare State.

Many neo-Randians, devoted as they are to logical analysis, have seen the logical clinker in Randian political theory; that if no man may aggress upon another, then neither may an outfit calling itself “government” presume to exert a coercive monopoly on force and on the making of ultimate judicial decision.  Hence, they saw that no government may be coercively preserved, and they therefore took the next crucial step; while retaining devotion to the free market and private property, this legion of youthful neo-Randians have concluded that all services, including police and courts, must become freely marketable.  It is morally illegitimate to set up a coercive monopoly of such functions, and then revere it as “government.”  Hence, they have become “free-market anarchists,” or “anarcho-capitalists,” people who believe that defense, like any other service, should only be provided on the free market and not through monopoly or tax coercion.

Anarcho-capitalism is a creed new to the present age.  Its closest historical links are with the “individualist anarchism” of Benjamin R. Tucker and Lysander Spooner of the late nineteenth century, and it shares with Tucker and Spooner a devotion to private property, individualism, and competition. Furthermore, and in contrast to Read and Rand, it shares with Spooner and Tucker their hostility to government officials as a criminal band of robbers and murderers.  It is therefore no longer “patriotic.” It differs from the older anarchist in not believing that profits and interest would disappear in a fully free market, in holding the landlord-tenant relationship to be legitimate, and in holding that men can arrive through reason at objective law which does not have to be at the mercy of ad hoc juries.  Lysander Spooner’s brilliantly hard-hitting No Treason, one of the masterpieces of anti-statism and reprinted by an anarcho-capitalist press, has had considerable influence in converting present-day youth to liberta-rianism.

It is safe to say that the great bulk of right-libertarians are anarcho-capitalists, particularly among the youth.  Anarcho-capitalism, however, also contains within it a large spectrum of differing ideas and attitudes.  For one thing, while they have all discarded any traits of devotion to the State and have become anarchists, many of them have retained the simplistic anti-Communism, devotion to Big Business, and even American patriotism of their former creeds. What we may call “anarcho-patriots,” for example, take this sort of line: “Yes, anarchy is the ideal solution.  But, in the meanwhile, the American government is the freest on earth,” etc. Much of this sort of attitude permeated the Libertarian Caucus of the Young Americans for Freedom, which split off or were expelled from YAF at the embroiled YAF convention at St. Louis in August, 1969.  This split—based on their libertarianism and their refusal to be devoted to such unjust laws as the draft—led to the splitting off from YAF of almost the entire California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New Jersey sections of that leading conservative youth organization.  These groups then formed “Libertarian Alliances” in the various states.

A group of older anarcho-capitalists centered in New York founded the Libertarian Forum as a semi-monthly, in early 1969, and formed the Radical Libertarian Alliance, which had a considerable impact in fueling and sparking the 1969 YAF split in St. Louis. Its ideas were propagated among the youth with particular effect by Roy A. Childs, Jr.  Childs had particular effect in converting Jarret Wollstein from Randianism to anarcho-capitalism and then to a realistic view of the American State.  Wollstein, an energetic young Marylander, had been ejected from the Randian movement, and had formed his own Society for Rational Individualism, publishing the monthly National Individualist.  Finally, at the end of 1969, Wollstein’s SRI merged with the bulk of the old Libertarian Alliance members of YAF to form the society of Individual Liberty, which has become by far the leading organization of libertarians in this country.  SIL has thousands of members, and numerous campus chapters throughout the country, and is loosely affiliated with the California Libertarian Alliance, consisting largely of the ex-YAFers and which itself has over a thousand members within the state.

Meanwhile, as the SIL and the old Libertarian Alliance has flourished by moving from right to center within the spectrum, the New York-centered Radical Libertarian Alliance has fallen upon evil days.  Murray Rothbard and Leonard Liggio had founded the journal Left and Right in early 1965 as a means of splitting finally from a conservative movement with which they had been allied but which had become a crusade against Communism and a celebrant of the American Consensus.  In contrast, they saw in the New Left of those days many of the libertarian elements which they had, in earlier days, found on the Right: oppo-sition to centralized bureaucracy and statism, hostility to the public school system, opposition to conscription, and a renaissance of the old “isola-tionist” hostility to war and American imperialism. Hence, they called upon the libertarians to find their allies on the New Left rather than on the Right. Leonard Liggio has been particularly energetic in working with the Left, having lectured on “American Imperialism” at the original Free University of New York, edited the magazine Leviathan, and having been associated with the American branch of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation and its War Crimes Tribunal on Vietnam.

Under the inspiration of this search for the New Left, Becky Glaser led the transformation of the YAF chapter at the University of Kansas into an SDS chapter, and such youth leaders as Alan Milchman, then head of YAF at Brooklyn College, and Wilson Clark, Jr., head of the Conservative Club at the University of North Carolina, abandoned these organizations to plunge into radical left activity.

Rapid growth in the New York movement in 1968-69 led Rothbard and his associates to found the Libertarian Forum, as well as an ever-growing series of dinners, culminating in a conference attracting several hundred libertarians from the East Coast and Middle West, held in New York City on Columbus Day, 1969.  Increasingly, however, a split grew within the Radical Libertarian Alliance, which had branches in Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and Boston.  The factional differences centered on the problems of revolution, relations with the Left, and communalism vs. individualism.  For as the RLA youth took the concept of alliance with the New Left to heart, they increasingly and to varying degrees became “leftists,” thus setting up an extreme-left tendency within the anarcho-capitalist movement.  Leading this tendency was former Goldwater speechwriter Karl Hess, who had been one of the most spectacular converts to right-libertarianism during 1968.  Going through a Randian phase—reflected in his famous Playboy article “Death of Politics” in mid-1969—Hess had passed through the center and on to lead the extreme left by mid-1969.

Responsive to the call for alliance with the New Left, the Left tendency began to oppose any criticisms of their newfound allies, leading to an uncritical adulation of the Black Panthers and other groups on the Left, including the anarcho-communists headed by Murray Bookchin.  As in the history of many ideological movements, tactics began to merge into principle, so that many of the extreme left began to become anarcho-syndicalists or anarcho-communists, or, failing that, to see little or no difference between the various branches of anarchism.  On revolution, in contrast to the Right, which opposes revolution on principle, and the Center, which holds revolution to be morally defensible as armed self-defense against State aggression but tactically and strategically absurd for present-day America, the RLA-Left began to favor any and all revolutionary tactics, including street-fighting, “trashing,” etc.  This strategy has become increasingly unviable with the general collapse of the New Left and its drift back to Stalinism.

The final split between these various factions occurred after the Columbus Day, 1969 conference held by RLA in New York City, which degenerated into a screaming match between Left, Center, and Right factions, and featured a Left-exodus from the Conference to join a march on Fort Dix.  Shortly afterward, the over-30 group severed all connections with RLA, and soon New York saw two, separate right-libertarian organizations, each wary if not hostile to each other: RLA; and the New York Libertarian Alliance, which was headed by Long Island lawyer Gary Greenberg, and which became affiliated with SIL.  Since then, RLA has fragmented into various splintered affinity groupings, the only viable remnants being Ralph Fucetola’s New Jersey Libertarian Alliance, which publishes The Abolitionist, and a group led by Charles Hamilton, which publishes the newly-established quarterly Libertarian Analysis.

In many ways, California, with the largest right-libertarian population, differs from the movement in the rest of the country.  The movement there is led by the California Libertarian Alliance, of over a thousand members.  Led by youthful former YAFers, the CLA is rightist and neo-Randian in tendency, although over the last year and a half it too has moved leftward and abandoned many of its Randian tenets.  CLA has held several highly successful conferences based on the idea of a Left-Right libertarian dialogue.  The last conference, held on the campus of the University of Southern California last November and attracting over 700 attendees, featured Paul Goodman as well as more orthodox right-libertarian speakers.  It also featured the libertarian psychoanalyst Dr. Thomas Szasz, who, influenced by such laissez-faire libertarians as Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, has also become a favorite of the New Left for his crusade against the coercion involved in the “mental health” program.

At the center of the flourishing movement in southern California is Robert LeFevre, head of the anarcho pacifist tendency within the movement. LeFevre had founded and run for many years the Freedom School near Colorado Springs, a school which ran two-week summer seminars and was very successful in converting students and members of the public throughout the country.  After trans-forming the school into Rampart College, LeFevre moved the operation to the Los Angeles area, where it has formed the nucleus for the libertarian move-ment there.  LeFevre believes in absolute pacifism, holding it immoral not only to aggress against the person or property of anyone else, but also to defend that person or property by means of violence.  Since he opposes all use of violence anywhere, he is far more consistent than socialist-pacifists in his opposition to force, and ranks as a kind of right-wing Tolstoyan.  He himself rejects the label “anarchist” and prefers to call his pacifist libertarianism “autar-chism.”

Another split within the libertarian movement centers on “youth culture”: drugs, rock, dress, etc. Almost exclusively, the split is generational, with the over-30’s (with the exception of Hess) lined up against the youth culture, and the under-30’s (with the exception of dyed-in-the wool Randians) strongly in favor.  However, the California youth lead their generation in pushing youth culture as a supposedly mandatory part of the libertarian struggle; a similar but less important split centers on Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation, both of which are pushed strongly by the CLA youth.  California is also the home of such bizarre variants as “retreatism”—the dream of small groups for eluding the State by buying (or even making!) their own island, or even moving into caves underground.

Necessarily little-known in the rest of the country, but probably with relatively the greatest influence within its own is the right-libertarian movement in Hawaii.  Led by Bill Danks, a graduate student in American history at the University of Hawaii, the movement there managed to gain control of a major radio station, KTRG.  For two years, KTRG beamed libertarian programs at their many thousands of listeners for many hours each night.  However, the FCC, in a flagrant though unknown example of political repression, has cracked down and taken away the license of the station, and Danks as well as the heads of KTRG have been indicted for violation of the 1970 census!  These are the only indictments so far for the high crime of refusing to answer questions on the census.  Danks, affiliated with SIL, was head of SIL’s Census Resistance ‘70 in the state of Hawaii.

Another emerging activity in the movement is the National Taxpayers’ Union, headquartered in Wa-shington, D.C.  Headed by James Davidson, publisher of SIL’s The Individualist, and Wainwright Dawson, Jr., a former conservative who has merged his United Republicans of America into the NTU, the organization includes among its officers and advisors Murray Rothbard, A. Ernest Fitzgerald, and the distinguished socialist-anarchist Noam Chomsky.

As “left” and “right” categories dissolve and be-come increasingly meaningless on the American ide-ological scene, as young people, with the collapse of both the SDS-Left and the liberal “consensus,” grope toward a new philosophy and a new orien-tation, the emerging phenomenon of right-liber-tarianism may be destined for an important role in American life.  If that happens, left-pacifists should not be very dis-tressed, for this would mean an important thrust toward the dismantling of the war machine, the imperial expansion, and the domestic Leviathan of the giant American State.

Murray N. Rothbard, "Know Your Rights"

Free Food and Drink!


Sean Gabb

Before we get to the free food and drink bit, various announcements:

1. I may inadvertently have implied that “The Churchill Memorandum” was a novel by my dear friend Richard Blake. In fact, it is by me. I do  apologise for this wholly pardonable slip of the keyboard. But you may be glad to know that copies will be ready to ship on the 20th January 2011. You can see the publication details and pre-order copies here:

http://www.seangabb.talktalk.net/hampdenpress/churchill.htm

2. I keep receiving orders for my 2007 book, “Cultural Revolution, Culture War”. This went out of print on Monday. However, it is now back in print, and copies can be ordered from here:

http://tinyurl.com/37nekw8

3. I never really published my 2005 book, “War and the National Interest: Arguments for a BRITISH Foreign Policy”. Copies can now be ordered from here:

http://tinyurl.com/3ay9d7w

Right, now to the freebies – and an RSVP is essential:

 

The Cobden Centre For honest money and social progress www.CobdenCentre.org

 Christmas Reception Invitation 

The Chairman and the Chief Executive of The Cobden Centre request the pleasure of your company at:

The Cobden Centre Christmas Reception 2010

Thursday 9 December 2010

Drinks and Canapé Reception 6.00-9.00pm

National Liberal Club
One Whitehall Place
London SW1A 2HE

Guest of Honour
Steve Baker MP 

The dress code for this event is lounge suit or smart casual.

RSVP Dr. Helen Evans at hsevans@btinternet.com

Trade and food and self-sufficiency


Michael Winning

I always get riled by folks that bleat “we should grow our food locally and cut emissions/save transport/ eat s”easonal vegetables.”

Well I don’t know about you but I can’t see any veg growing right now here, we are about 890 feet up and the ground is like iron, there’s a thick airfrost and the temp is -6 and it’s the afternoon. So dow e starve or what?

Sterling and Ireland


David Davis

Interesting take on Sinn Fein voters in Eire.

Counting Cats on culture, and….other things


David Davis

A good read, even if the writer s a little disappointed in the sorts of people he’s describing.

conservative politics « Cork Irish


 

In these circumstances, I do not believe the Church of England can reform itself from within. The physical and financial resources of our Church are being abused by people who have wormed their way into an organisation whose traditional values they have never espoused. The reformation of the Church, therefore, must become a political issue. The General Synod must be closed down; the heretical bishops, the openly immoral priests and the female “priests” must be defrocked; the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, together with an authorised collection of solemn and patriotic hymns, must be reimposed on the church. The loss of so many heretical clergymen would leave many a parish without a minister, but any male member of the congregation can lead a service of Choral Matins, a traditional service that has regrettably faded away in the modern Church. The pretence of a religious faith to oppose these changes should be greeted with contempt. We may not believe in the literal truth of the Bible, but English patriots do believe in the holiness of the culture that Christianity created in this country; we need to restore that and start providing succour to our people in every parish once again.

conservative politics « Cork Irish

How to have conferences in nice places


Michael Winning

They certainly look after themselves don’t they, these UNClimate people.

John Kersey on Freemen of the Land




The Freeman on the Land Movement: Grass Roots Libertarianism in Action
Professor John Kersey

Legal Notes No. 50

ISSN: 0267-7083 (print)           ISSN: 2042-258X (online)        
ISBN 9781856376235

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

© 2010: Libertarian Alliance; John Kersey

Professor John Kersey is President and Director of Academic Affairs at European-American University, a private university operating in Africa and Asia. He previously held teaching, administrative and management positions in the private higher and further education sectors, and holds degrees from universities in the UK, Africa and Central America. His book, The University Outside State Control, was published by European-American University Press in 2008. A musician and music historian by training, he has recorded over 50 CDs as a concert pianist..

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

FOR LIFE, LIBERTY AND PROPERTY

 

Introduction

Those of us who hold that libertarianism is a process that rests upon a series of logical and connected principles would hold that these principles are capable of discovery by any who choose to look for them.  The developments in English law during the post-1997 era have placed an increasing regulatory burden upon the citizen which has been perceived by a number of people as unjust, petty and politically motivated.  In that situation, it is unsurprising that some people have sought to exercise a degree of independence from the state, and that in the course of establishing the means by which such independence may be brought about, they have re-examined the relationship between the state and the individual in law.  Their resulting movement is of profound interest to all concerned with the future development of libertarian ideas in England.

The Freeman on the Land Movement

Although we refer to the Freeman on the Land movement, in as much as this is a single movement, it is by nature amorphous and decentralized.  As an outsider looks upon this movement, its co-ordination is primarily online through websites, forums and online radio, although there have also been public meetings, talks and the formation of local groups.  One of the principal websites that acts as a rallying-point is The Peoples United Community1 which features the work of John Harris, a pioneer in the movement.  The website Lawful Rebellion2 takes as its motto “Stand for What is Right”.  Other activity has taken place on the website forums of David Icke,3 where it has attracted those who are less interested in Icke’s esoteric teachings and more concerned with his strong anti-government and anti-authoritarian position.  Activist and commentator Raymond St Clair4 is also a vocal and prominent proponent of the Freeman philosophy whilst Ben Lowrey5 used his website to document his own “sovereignty and freedom education adventure”.

Some trace the origins of this movement to the American Freedom School6 website and the work of Robert Arthur Menard,7 which provides evidence that these ideas have some degree of international applicability at least so far as common law jurisdictions such as the United States and Canada are concerned.  A World Freeman Society8 exists and invites its members to “claim their rights as a Freeman on the Land”. There are many other examples of groups and individuals involved in the movement who maintain a presence on the internet.

If it is possible to generalize about such a group so far as our own country is concerned, we might say that it appears to consist primarily of working-class people who feel themselves disenfranchised from the political establishment as a whole.  A summary would be “ordinary people who have had enough.”  Specifically, they have had enough of what they perceive as the abuse of authority; common complaints concern council tax contributions, the faceless and legally aggressive behaviour of large corporations, the perceived use of civil penalties such as parking fines to raise revenue for councils and private operators, and other issues ranging from civil debt recovery to television licensing.  It follows that many have found themselves at the sharp end of such matters, and that just as there are individuals who believe themselves to be genuinely wronged, there are also those who are seeking to subvert the legal system for a variety of other, sometimes morally dubious, purposes.

Discussion is practical in nature, resting principally on problems, solutions and strategy, without moving into the metapolitical or philosophical arenas.  The word “libertarian” does not feature in these discussions, nor is there any present connexion with libertarian organizations.

The online nature of the movement makes it difficult to give an estimate of its size.  However, it would appear on a rough estimate to consist of many hundreds if not a few thousand people who have at some point or other expressed an active interest in its activities.  There is a strong impression that the movement is growing in numbers and strength as more people become aware of it.

Principles of the Freeman on the Land movement

There is some debate within the movement on exactly how its principles are established and operate, and to a certain extent they are constantly evolving both on the basis of research into the law and in the light of the practical application of these maxims.  However, there seems to be general agreement on the following:

  1. The common law of England and Wales is universally applicable to those people (natural persons) within that jurisdiction.  A natural person is endowed with a number of inalienable, God-given rights.  That natural person is referred to as a Freeman on the Land.
  2. By contrast, civil or statute law, the majority of which is considerably more recent in origin, is not universally applicable but instead, because of its commercial basis (in the law of the sea), rests upon a contract between two parties, the first party being the state, and the second party being the legal fiction representing a given individual.
  3. The instrument that is held to represent a given individual entering into such a contract with the state is a birth certificate.
  4. The validity of such a contract is questionable because the contract as represented by a birth certificate is entered into between a minor (who cannot validly contract) and the state, and because consent is therefore assumed rather than established.
  5. It follows that if the contract is deemed void, it may be possible to separate the natural person (common law) from the legal fiction (civil law).  As a result, whereas the birth certificate (as a piece of paper) is evidence of the legal fiction contracting with the state, that birth certificate is not the same as the natural person represented by the living individual.

Freemen make a distinction between the name of their legal fiction (John Smith) and their natural name (which may take many forms, but is usually expressed as “John: as commonly called of the family Smith”, “John: Smith” or similar.)  They refer to the legal fiction as a “straw man”9 and maintain that it is possible for the natural person to control the straw man as a legal fiction for the purposes of contracting with third parties, without at any point entering into liability on behalf of the natural person.

In addition, it is proposed by some that it is possible to obtain documentary evidence of this separation between natural person and legal fiction by completing and serving a series of sworn affidavits upon the Queen .  The first of these provides, inter alia, that the Queen10 has been unlawfully and falsely induced to give unlawful effect to legislation that has violated and continues to violate the Common Law, with the implication that the security and safety of the individual under the laws that are his or her inalienable birthright (under Common Law) are now threatened without prospect of redress, and that unless the Queen should dismiss the House of Commons and provide redress, then he or she will withhold all allegiance and obedience to the Crown and its representatives. A forty day period is provided for the Queen to act in the manner proposed.  On the assumption that she does not, a second affidavit to be delivered after the forty days confirms the statements of the first and declares the person concerned to be subject solely to the Common Law.

An alternative proposal on similar lines involves serving a sworn affidavit to the Prime Minister11 that establishes the position of the individual as a Freeman and invites the Prime Minister to respond in rebuttal of the points made.  On this not being done, a notarized Notice of Fault and Opportunity to Cure is sent, followed in the event of further non-response by a notarized Notice of Default.  This last default statement is held to be a “bona fide lawfully binding agreement/contract” between the individual and the government that can then be produced to other public authorities in evidence of the same.

A number of legal sources are cited by Freemen in support of their position, including such documents as the Charter of Liberties of 1100, Magna Carta (1215, 1297), the Treason Act 1351, the Declaration of Rights and Bill of Rights 1689, the Parliament Act 1911, the National Insurance Act 1922 and the Gold Standard Act 1925.

Further, some claim that their position is strengthened by the decision of a number of divisions of government and the public services to incorporate as companies (for example, most police forces are thus incorporated).  This makes the contractual relationship involved considerably clearer.

There is even some evidence to suggest that the government itself has in the past been incorporated and has functioned as a corporation.12

Applications of principle

The principles outlined above have provided the basis for a variety of activities.  They have provided the basis for at least some successful challenges to civil proceedings, and in some cases the Freemen involved have responded in an undeniably assertive manner by serving commercial liens13 on those concerned.

There is some fascinating video footage of what has happened when Freemen have tested these principles in the magistrates’ courts and before police officers.  A selection of these videos includes Raymond StClair  being interviewed by a police officer14 and Freemen in the magistrates’ court for non-payment of council tax.15

In the videos, the police officer is confronted with a frank refusal on St Clair’s part to identify his natural person with his legal fiction.

The videoed court proceedings in each case fail at the point where the magistrates are asked to produce evidence of their authority in the form of their oath of office.  Being unable to do so, the proceedings cannot continue.  Attempts to remove the lay adviser who is requesting this evidence from the court likewise fail when the lay adviser explains to police officers the basis of his request and its lawfulness.  The conclusion is that the magistrates leave the court and the lay adviser declares the court to have been abandoned by them.

There are several possibilities in analysing these responses.  One is that the reason for success on these occasions is because the principles behind the actions concerned are deemed to be valid.  The other is that these actions create such a level of confusion and disruption among the authorities that, regardless of the validity of their underlying principles, they effectively prevent the court process from taking place, or place it under an intolerable strain in respect of time and resources.  Both possibilities achieve the desired end of those concerned in these actions, which is to nullify or substantially constrain the action against them, and indeed to make the cost of recovering any monies concerned prohibitive when compared to the expense involved.

Reactions

The nature of reaction to the propounding of these principles has been interesting.  There has been a number of flat denials that these principles have any applicability, and that the Freeman on the Land concept is mere wishful thinking based on archaic legal precedents that have been in some way superseded, and indeed there are detailed matters concerning the primacy of statute law over common law that merit a deeper consideration than this essay can offer.  However, in a move guaranteed to inflame the conspiracy theorists among the movement, these denials tend to take the form of a sweeping statement rather than a detailed exegesis.

It is clear that a number of those opposed to the Freeman philosophy have attempted to put it into action and have met with no success in doing so.  They have become prominent detractors of the movement.  Other detractors appear to have infiltrated Freeman forums with the intent to disrupt them on the grounds that these ideas are perceived as a threat to the state, whose interests they in some manner seek to protect.  The attentions of this latter group are taken as evidence that the authorities are starting to take this matter seriously and recognize that it has the potential to cause them widespread difficulty.

Those promoting the Freeman philosophy are not so far as can be ascertained legally trained or qualified, and at the present time there is an interesting absence of commentary from solicitors or barristers for whom this subject should be of interest at least on a purely academic level.  There are further reports that notaries public are becoming reluctant to co-operate in the affidavit processes referred to above.  This may suggest that the raising of these issues has implications for the relationship between the state and the legal profession, which has become explicitly closer in recent years.16

One aspect which is central to all of this is that seeking to use the courts, which are instruments of the state, to act against the interests of the state in any challenge to statute law is in essence to misunderstand the nature of state power. The law is not a neutral entity, but the means of maintaining the balance of the relationship between the state and the people in favour of the state. As such, it is more than likely that the state will act swiftly to close any perceived legal loophole that is being exploited against its interests, and that future attempts to establish common law jurisdiction in a magistrates’ court will simply be refused outright and judgement given in default, as if the defendant had not been present.

The real impact of the Freeman movement is likely to come not from any arcane legal discovery but from a systematic peaceful protest by the public against what is perceived as the unjust abuse of the civil law. Were the disruption to the courts already engendered by this movement to be repeated on a larger and more widespread scale, it would likely cause the breakdown of civil law on the basis that the consent underlying that jurisdiction had in effect been withdrawn by a significant proportion of those involved, and that obtaining a judgement against a defendant could no longer be regarded as generally enforceable or affordable.  Without a single unlawful act being committed, those people concerned would have had a potentially far-reaching effect on our nation’s legal development whose consequences cannot at present be foreseen.

Conclusion

Although the issue of whether these principles have a firm basis in law is of considerable interest, it is, as we have said, not the sole or even the most important aspect of the Freeman movement.  The key to the importance of that movement lies in the assertion of the sovereignty of the individual, the opposition to the bureaucratic state, and the willingness through lawful and peaceful means to disrupt the operations of that state where they are perceived to transgress upon the inalienable rights of the individual.  That disruption to the system of civil law has the potential to effect fundamental change in the basis of the relationship between the state and the individual.

All of these aspects are likely to be welcomed by many declared libertarians, just as they have been by the many people interested in the Freeman movement who have discovered the principles of liberty for themselves.

Disclaimer

Nothing in this paper is intended as legal advice for any person or situation, nor is it intended as an endorsement of any of the individuals featured therein.

Notes

(1) The Peoples United Community website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.tpuc.org

(2) Lawful Rebellion website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.lawfulrebellion.org

(3) David Icke website forum, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://www.davidicke.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=60

(4) Raymond StClair website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.raymondstclair.com

(5) Ben Lowrey website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.benlowrey.com

(6) Freedom School website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.freedom-school.com

(7) Think Free website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://thinkfree.ca

(8) World Freeman Society website, 2010, retrieved 30th November 2010, http://worldfreemansociety.org

(9) Your Strawman website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.yourstrawman.com

(10) ‘Steps for sending off your Affidavit’, The Peoples United Community website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.tpuc.org/node/257

(11) ‘Get ‘government’ to lawfully agree you’re not a person subject to Acts’, Lawful Rebellion website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://tinyurl.com/37u4m3r

(12) See http://tinyurl.com/2edn2a3 (retrieved 28th November 2010) at The Peoples United Community website in which, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, HM Treasury states (18th March 2010) that “The United Kingdom is not a corporation. There was a United Kingdom corporation during the second world war, but it is no longer operational.”  See also ‘Birth tracking bond’, What Do They Know website, February 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://tinyurl.com/26qdht6

(13) ‘Commercial Liens’, Ben Lowrey website, 22nd July 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://www.benlowrey.com/drupal/node/94   See also ‘Winston Shrout’s Lien Process’, Ben Lowrey website, 23rd September 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://www.benlowrey.com/drupal/node/185

(14) Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwWEK3eAgO0
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqS790FlF3U
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SAgofVHbd4
all retrieved 30th November 2010.

(15) Video 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU7G6XIMt2Q
Video 2, Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWb_89i6vmk
Video 2, Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGK_Lb84WhA
all retrieved 30th November 2010.

(16) See in particular Sections 9 and 10 at ‘Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007: Rule 4: Confidentiality and disclosure’, Solicitors Regulation Authority website, 2010, retrieved 30th November 2010, http://www.sra.org.uk/rule4

David Webb on the Managerial State


http://www.corkirish.com/wordpress/archives/1423

The basic question of politics is “who does what to whom?” This was put a little more succintly in Russian by Vladimir Lenin as “kto, kogo”, “who? whom?” He was a Marxist with a fondness for class analysis of society, but that does not reduce the force of his view that the fundamental facts behind any society are who the ruling class are and who the ruled.

It is quite false to believe that Britain is capitalist or bourgeois society. This is the most important theoretical point that needs to be grasped. Without an understanding of this, all other comment on British society will be superfluous. James Burnham, the former Trotskyist who became a conservative, and whose writings underpinned the views of the US conservative (now sadly deceased), Sam Francis, believed that bourgeois society had been replaced by “managerialism”. The more vulgar forms of Marxism had posited a linear progression, whereby slavery gave way to feudalism, feudalism to capitalism, and thus ultimately to socialism and communism. What else could there be after capitalism?

We have seen a greater expansion of the managerial state than in Burnham’s times, and are therefore in a position to agree with his thesis that after the bourgeoisie comes the managerial class. Note that I do not assert any linear progression: the managerial class has replaced the bourgeoisie, but it didn’t have to happen this way. However that may be, there are few genuine “bourgeois” running large businesses today. The nineteenth-century style owner-manager, whereby a rich individual owned his cotton factory and everything in it, does not exist today. Most businesses are joint-stock corporations. The owners are actually pension funds and private investors, and the operations of the company itself are controlled by a class of managers.

Now, it would be possible to argue that the greater complexity of big business today, the larger size of the enterprises and their greater number of employees mean that an owner, a single bourgeois, could never hope to manage his company singlehandedly today. Surely he would need chief financial officers, accountants, personnel managers and so forth. From that point of view, economic growth has led to a technocratic future, with the various managerial functions occupying various technocratic roles in business.

I am not one of those libertarians who would like to attack big business and replace it by smaller business units. But there is a certain amount of merit to the view that the greater complexity of business today has led to a proliferation of technocratic roles within businesses, and in particularly large businesses. Without a bureacratisation of the polity, however, such a managerial stratum would never have emerged as the ruling elite of society as a whole.

It was pointed out by Sam Francis that the same types of people–in fact a managerial elite–was running everything, both private- and public-sector, today. The technocratic style of the managerial roles allows managers to move seemlessly between the sectors. There is no reason why a personnel manager of, say, a drinks company, should not move over to the Church of England to perform the same role, and then into the civil service and then back into the private sector. The role–the technocratic function–is the same. Similarly, an accountant with an oil firm can get a job in the Salvation Army, and then the Ministry of Defence, and then maybe a EU institution. Whereas once all these organisations would have employed different types of

people, the managers are an identikit class.

This is partly a function of the education system, which is highly influenced by political priorities. Much of the university syllabus in many subjects is taken up with various forms of promotion of egalitarianism, producing a uniformity of view among the would-be managers. However, this in turn is also a function of the politicisation of culture. The larger state has been created, ostensibly in response to demands for greater government intervention to even up socioeconomic outcomes. However, the university-educated are well-placed to take advantage of such greater government spending, and more likely to speak the politically correct jargon of the managerial class.

Take, for example, multi-culturalism. This political obsession, once confined to “loony left” councils, is now preached in the universities and promoted by all state bodies and all private-sector companies. It seems extraordinary that private companies should take part in political campaigns, but all companies are required to have “equal opportunities” policies–which frequently do not amount to a promotion of “equal opportunities” at all–and have therefore staff members occupied with the administration of and promotion of this agenda. A cursory glance at well-paid job vacancies today shows that many of these are connected with the open promotion of this political agenda, creating a relatively large class of people who are doing the bidding of the political elite as a matter of course in their day-to-day work. It is important to realise that this agenda blurs the distinction between the public and private sectors, creating a class of people who move between both, using this political agenda as a vehicle for their career aims.

Multi-culturalism bring in its wake a slew of jobs in the police force, the prison service, the courts, insurance (because of higher crime), counter-terrorism, border controls and even translation services, all of which are either parasitical on the political agenda of multi-culturalism or justified as an attempt to address the social dislocations caused by having non-integrated ethnic communities in our country. While multi-culturalism is in many ways the most prominent of the elite’s obsessions, and important because the promotion of mass immigration threatens to dispossess the British of their homeland, it is, from the point of view of the elite, but one of many “causes” that justify public spending, well-heeled jobs in the public sector and equivalent jobs in the private sector.

First of all, there are other forms of egalitarianism, including feminism and the “gay rights” agenda. There are organisations public and private (and many of the private ones are funded or partly funded by the state) promoting this agenda, and jobs to be had in both public and private sector in connection with it. Often the egalitarian agenda is wrapped up in one department, with “human resource” staff charged with complying with legislation on racial, sexual and sexual orientation equality, as well as a number of other issues (such as disability) that are spawning public- and private-sector technocratic employment. However, feminism and “gay rights” produce their own spin-offs too. They justify intrusive government intervention in the form of family courts, social workers, employment tribunals–and even adoption agencies are reported in the press as being involved in an attempt to promote the “gay rights” agenda. Solicitors benefit financially from family break-up, and then there is the so-called Child Support Agency bureaucracy, with its own technocratic and financial interest in the breakdown of family values and the promotion of state intervention in the area.

So called environmentalism is another bureaucratic growth area. A large number of public-sector jobs result directly from claims that economic growth is fuelling “global warming”. Jobs in academia and the Metereological Office, both paid for from the public purse, are dependent on political interest in this area, and local councils are employing large phalanxes of “carbon change co-ordinators”. A number of charities, quangos and EU bodies are parasitical on the environmental agenda.

Health and safety has metamorphosised from an area characterised by common sense to one where common sense is not allowed to intervene, as it would threaten public-sector and private-sector jobs. The Health and Safety Executive is a gross example of technocratic employment in this area, but a large number of private-sector jobs are in this area, with fatuous business expenditure on “training” in this area, including trivial and absurd examples, such as “training” in the movement of a chair.

Public health is a growth area too. Despite the financial crisis, £4bn has been announced in spending to influence health prevention behaviour in the areas of obesity and smoking. There is little evidence that bureaucracies trying to influence personal health prevention behaviour work, but the jobs are well-paid, and the ideology behind them provides the sense of self-righteousness that motivates the people working for the state in this area. Jobs in academia also leech from the public purse in this area, invariably revolving around research showing a “link” between various types of behaviour and health outcomes, often of questionable logic. Publicly funded media, such as the BBC, also devote great space to these issues. Dyslexia, dyscalcula, hyperactivity and other obsessions are also essentially parasitic on the public purse and depend on publicly funded media and academic willingness to promote the various panics or concerns that lead to the opening of the public purse-strings. The number of people involved in the “AIDS establishment”, the number of people publicly funded to treat HIV/AIDS or promote a panic over the issue, exceeds the number of people with AIDS in the UK.

It is important to note that these areas of public concern have a large ideological component. Any ruling elite depends, not on physical force, but on cultural hegemony to support its rule. With great media, political and academic resources at their disposal to promote their points of view, invariably requiring government expenditure and bureaucratic positions to address alleged evils and often requiring private-sector participation in the campaigns, the managerial elite is in a position to influence a broader range of the population. People who are not conceivably part of the managerial elite espouse the managerial ideologies. One can cite, for example, schoolteachers who think it is appropriate to lock a primary schoolchild alone in a classroom while police are summoned to deal with a “racist” incident of the most utterly trivial kind or the local council staff who cite the health and safety ideology to justify an inability to remove household waste that cannot be pulled with two fingers alone. In addition to the elite or managerial-level jobs that are involved in promoting bureaucratic intervention of many kinds, there are numerous (millions?) of lower-level hangers-on, people who abuse their positions in schools, hospitals, companies or government offices, and justify their behaviour by reference to one or more of the managerial ideologies.

However, even this would not be enough to explain the dominance of the technocratic point of view in society. Why do so many business leaders spout these ideologies? It seems clear that a crisis of elite belief in the nation-state and British culture has led to a search for a new, more sustainable ideology in a globalised world. Democracy appears less meaningful once the national culture has been debunked and the population, once united by a common culture, reduced to a meaningless collection of people with little connection between themselves by means of multi-culturalism and immigration. The various managerial ideologies provide a way of looking at the world that is a replacement for Christianity, patriotism and the nation-state. The business class has therefore been ideologically captured by the new managerial elite, at least to the extent that they are prepared to mouth the managerial rhetoric. It makes no difference that many business leaders will not privately be sincere about anti-racism, egalitarianism, helping Third World development, environmentalism and all the rest; their sincerity need be no greater than their previous support a century ago for Britain’s traditional Christian culture.

As a consequence, the business and state-sector sections of the elite are able to unite behind an agenda in a way that few businesses can speak out against things like climate change levies and carbon taxes. The business leaders themselves are not personally majority owners of their companies, although they may own some shares. They are not the family-firm bourgeois of previous centuries, but in fact people who have risen up the managerial ranks, spouting the various managerial ideologies on their way up.

In addition to the various “causes”, huge government expenditure in health, education, housing and social security provides massive technocratic job opportunities, as well as giving political power to public-sector unions. Firstly, the large state is supported by many businesses, who are able to privatise profits and nationalise costs. One can cite big business support for cheap labour immigration, which involves huge costs for the taxpayer in the form of crime, the promotion of multi-culturalism and social anomie. Many businesses are directly dependent on state spending, as with solicitors (dependent on crime and family break-up), accountants (dependent on a state that levies high taxes), companies working in the health area, and any private-sector body or company getting any kind of grant from the local or British governments, or the EU. High fees charged by nursing homes or residential homes for the elderly, which frequently exceed the cost of staying in five-star hotels, depend directly on the government’s intervention in the area of “social protection”, and the willingness of the taxpayer to pay exorbitant fees. Lower down the food chain, landlords are able to charge absurd rents in poor areas owing to the housing benefit, adding a further layer of individuals who support the state technocracy and the levying of high taxes to support it.

The charities were once voluntary organisations, but are now mainly semi-quangoised and receive a good deal of their money from the state. The state funds them firstly by not levying tax on them; this is equivalent to a direct grant. But in addition to that, most of the large charities receive explicit state funding, and have halted much of their non-political work. Charities like Barnardo’s and the NSPCC have closed down most of their children’s homes and are spending most of their money on campaigns against Borstals for young offenders and campaigns in support of social workers and other forms of state intervention in the family. They do not campaign for policies to promote the traditional family, although this would achieve nearly all of their stated aims, as such a campaign would offend the political elite. The proliferation of quangos is another area where political campaigns are used to leech off the public purse. Quangos promoting health or environmentalism or egalitarianism abound, and the recent “cuts” by the Cameron government have shown that the Conservative Party will only close down the smallest quangos with the smallest budgets, rather than touch the employment opportunities of the technocratic elite.

Despite the fact, therefore, that we are told we operate a free market, it is clear that the state is spending nearly half of GDP (the figures are distorted by tax credits and the tax-exempt status of charities; were the beneficiaries of those schemes deemed first to have paid all their taxes and then received a grant, it would be seen the state is larger than official figures show), and that much of the private sector is also dependent on public policy, state spending or the managerial ideologies in various ways. And the private-sector part of the economy is not run by owner-managers, but by people who have worked their way up in the managerial elite. Consequently, it is not surprising that all the political parties are remarkably unanimous in their support for managerial ideologies, and that the UK is signed up to membership of a number of international bureaucracies that provide job opportunities for technocrats and aim to lay down public policy on an international basis. Our laws are mainly issued by a technocracy based in Brussels over which we have no proper control.

It is clear therefore that we are not in the same circumstance as nineteenth-century Britain, where the state spent 7% of GDP, most companies were controlled by the families or entrepreneurs that founded them, and there was little in the way of public-sector employment, whether domestic or international, and no pressure on private-sector companies to promote political agendas. If the laisser faire free market is at one end of the spectrum, where more than 90% of economic activity is private and not subject to much in the way of taxation or regulation, then communism lies at the other end of the spectrum, where more than 90% of economic activity is directed by the state. We clearly lie in the middle, with a “mixed” economy, but the nature of the mix is the primacy of public expenditure, and the united nature of the senior echelons of the elite who move between the public and private bodies with ease, speaking their politically correct jargon fluently, and noting that they mix with people of the same type as themselves, whether in the private sector or the public sector or in multilateral institutions, such as the EU.

It would be as wrong to characterise the UK as capitalist–”bourgeois”–as it would be to characterise it as “communist”. This is why the ruling class is not essentially based on the relatively small number of private-sector enterpreneurs as if this were still the nineteenth century, but on the managerial elite of people who support massive state intervention and speak a language of government control. It is important to note that the economy as a whole is run in the interests of these people. The “cuts” going ahead now have in the main been directly away from the managerial elite. Few quangos are affected. The core civil service is hardly touched. And wasteful state expenditure in the arena of managerial ideologies remains untouched. While propaganda by the BBC and others alleges that the point of the large state is to help the vulnerable, it seems clear that the real scroungers are the managerial elite themselves. They are not all working in the public sector, but it is reasonable to believe that a collapse of public-sector spending and an end to state intervention would lead to a reduction in job opportunities in the private sector too for such people. After all, race and diversity personnel are only needed because the state requires it.

It is interesting to see the argument that the government has to pay the market rate for its senior managers. Of course the market for senior managers is greatly distorted by the availability of so many positions in the public sector for such people. Just think, if Whitehall no longer paid salaries over £40K, how many of the highly paid state officials could find highly paid jobs in the private sector? Some could, but not all, as there is not the demand for so many of them in the private sector. For this reason, it is not private-sector salaries that are dragging up public-sector ones, but the other way round. Without so many high-salary public-sector posts available, it is likely that private-sector salaries for senior managers would be lower than they are now. In other words, the “egalitarians” have managed to create a socioeconomic setup that works to their financial advantage, and in fact fosters social inequality. If social inequality has risen over the decades, it is because of the size of the state sector, which is committed to providing salaries equal to those in the private sector, but which has effectively doubled the market for highly qualified personnel (or for utterly non-qualified personnel who speak managerial ideologies fluently), and thus driven up salaries throughout the upper echelons of the public and private sector.

It seems clear that in terms of “who? whom?”, our society is run for the benefit of the managerial elite. State spending is justified on the basis of helping the vulnerable, but the greatest beneficiaries are state employees themselves, as well as highly paid individuals throughout the economy who benefit from the general effect state spending has of promoting wage inequality. I am not arguing that we should intervene to prevent wage inequality: I am arguing that our intervention to prevent inequality is what underpins wage inequality, and that we should stop such intervention.

The “who? whom?” approach is important because it helps us identify who British society is run for. By contrast, we are constantly told we live in a democracy. But democracy is not a form of society in itself. If slave-owners were the beneficiaries or ruling class of slave societies, as the lords were in feudalism, and the bourgeoisie in capitalism, are we to believe that the ruling class of “democratic societies” are the broad mass of the people themselves? That the unemployed lout collecting his dole cheque is in fact part of the ruling stratum of society? Clearly, democracy is not, and cannot be, a form of organisation of society. There may be an electoral mechanism, but there are still class faultlines in society, and those who are in the driving seat socially are usually able to manipulate public opinion and democracy to their ends. Democracy is therefore just another form of oligarchy.

I am not denying that there must be a ruling elite, and so therefore democracy in its true sense is impossible. But we have becomes serfs to the managerial elite where we could be free people. A great deal of freedoms were allowed us under the former bourgeois elite, and British culture gave a structure of belonging to all those in society. Under the managerialists, we have lost our liberties and our social identity and end up supporting a vast superstructure of state hangers-on with our taxes. We would be better off without them.

I don’t like it….it’s too quiet…


Michael Winning

Not much about poor Ireland right now, perhaps the journos are all stuck in the snow.

It says over at Conservative Home blog (HOward Flight, he of the comments about paying the underclass to beget more labour voters) that Germany might leave the Euro. I can’t see a problem myself, the Merkel-Hilda just has to say the word. I think most of “her” people are baying quietly for he to do it.