A Message from James Lovelock

I am James Lovelock, scientist and author, known as the originator of Gaia theory, a view of the Earth that sees it as a self-regulating entity that keeps the surface environment always fit for life… I am an environmentalist and founder member of the Greens but I bow my head in shame at the thought that our original good intentions should have been so misunderstood and misapplied. We never intended a fundamentalist Green movement that rejected all energy sources other than renewable, nor did we expect the Greens to cast aside our priceless ecological heritage because of their failure to understand that the needs of the Earth are not separable from human needs. We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation. –James Lovelock, 12 December 2012

43 responses to “A Message from James Lovelock

  1. Those were the day’s the “Big Bang” self regulation, the earth is an ever
    changing environment, as is the atmosphere, this natural regulation of the planet can no longer function as intended, man and pyshics will have to
    intervene at some point, the contmination of our air and oceans will have reactions, and come back to kick us all in the arse!

  2. This is a message not unlike one that James Lovelock might send. I like the man. His books are well worth reading.

  3. Well yes, that’s why I sent it !

  4. James Lovelock may be right or wrong – but he is sincere and straightforward. Most “Greens” are neither.

  5. Not to far in the distant future, there will have to be a real effort and bring change, if the commitments are not met, we stand guilty of the failure
    of future generations, things need to move at a faster pace, in
    particular in the third world developing regions, we have to be caucious
    of silly academic approaches, and secure an intigrated policy of the right
    changes, and not the knee jerks of the half bakes!

  6. There does indeed need to be a real effort to be bring change. Change in policy – and change in attitude.

  7. Attitude, yes, but not making changes so we in the west suffer, and those
    in the east produce three times as much, we must never cut off out arm
    to give away two legs!

  8. We are going to suffer either way – the question is not “will we suffer” (present living standards are going to greatly decline), but rather “will we survive”.

    I will not survive – perhaps I do not deserve to.

    But the young and strong might – if policy is changed in time.

  9. They all ready have, some people would be better off in prison, I presume
    that’s why we’re seeing so many people going there of late, and Ho God
    what of the bill, the county cannot sustain it, on paper it is immpossible!

  10. As Julian Simon says in The Ultimate Resource (1981; II 1996), a book that I offered to buy James Lovelock when I met him at a book-signing at Waterstone’s but that he told me he already owned and agreed with, people are likely to get richer in the UK of the future rather than poorer but you two seem to know exactly no economics. It is the daft Green outlook that needs to change.

    The future people will be richer then we are so they will be better to look after themselves than we are.

    We have always needed less policy, less politics or none at all if possible. The state is anti-social and most likely was what caused the extinction on Easter Island.

    If the east produce more then all will be better off as a result. That is what has happened in the last twenty years in which China has finally woken up. It has become the workshop of the world. So it should do with its vast population. The real wonder is still that Britain was in the position around 1850, not that massive China is now returning to be the richest nation on earth in the next hundred years or so.

    When are we going to suffer? The idea looks very silly to me. The idea that living standards are soon due to decline in the UK looks utterly unrealistic, Paul, but what you write suggests that you fear a complete collapse soon. Surely, that is sheer Romance. Moore’s law is the most rapid industrial progress of all time. And it has not yet stopped. As Adam Smith rightly said, there is a lot of ruining in a great society.

  11. David – what I wrote had nothing to do with Greenism .

    I apologise for not making clear that I was continuing a discussion with Karl (that has happened on many threads) about the bankrupt Welfare State and the credit bubble financial system.

    It would indeed be unfortunate if China (having, as you say, partly freed the population from the horrors of Maoism) repeated are mistakes in trying to set up a cradle-to-grave state domination of the population – which has led to most people either working for the government or being dependent on benefits.

    As you know 49% of GDP (a bad measure – but there we go) was government spending last year in the United Kingdom (not even counting government owned entities such as Network Rail).

    And the financial system is totally cut off from REAL SAVINGS – and totally dependent on government (via the Bank of England).

    The situation is much the same in most major Western countries – so the idea that we are going to have a nice near to medium term future seems unlikely.

    What the situation is in China – I do not really know. Some people tell me there is a massive credit-money bubble, and some other people deny this.

    Of course in the long term YOU ARE RIGHT.

    Technology and human freedom will indeed produce a wonderful long term future.

    But neither me or you will live to see it.

    • Thanks for your reply, Paul.

      I think the problem with the welfare state is mainly one of public apathy. Any rearrangement needed will be inconvenient, but I am not sure that “suffering” is the right word for it. Note that despite all this state mucking up of society, the poor have still got richer [the daft statists think it is owing to the backward welfare state; progress on the market obfuscates the truth of even where wealth comes from]. The dole today beats a 1950s average wage by miles in terms of what can be bought. China has done its bit in that in the last twenty years.

      China does not seem, so far, to be due to go for the wasteful demoralising welfare state. Daft Will Hutton has written a silly book urging them to do so, of course.

      We have had this state wastage since at least 1918, though it was making rapid headway way before then. I deplore it, of course, but it is not likely to completely ruin us all in fact, though the less of it the better and best no state at all.

      I think we have lived to see things better for the masses, Paul, but we may never live to see liberal anarchy emerge, that is true.

  12. Voldemort au Vent

    As Christianity decayed, leftism took its place, appealing to the same things: tribalism, ego, self-righteousness, superstition, the thrill of apocalyptic thinking, etc. Save the World! What wonderful people they are who want to do that. And who will blame them if they fail?

    Paul Marks wrote:

    James Lovelock may be right or wrong – but he is sincere and straightforward. Most “Greens” are neither.

    This is also true of Marxists. And Marksists.

  13. I do not agree “Voldemort”.

    If Karl Marx (the older Karl Marx – not the young man who wrote the philosophical manuscripts) had been sincere he would not have misquoted Gladstone as saying that wages were falling (when Gladstone, quite rightly, said they were rising). Nor would Karl Marx have put the ban on his followers talking about how socialism would work (it is an “unscientific” “utopian” question my backside).

    It is the same in modern times (with many of them – not all). Saul Alinsky (and co) never wrote a word about how socialism would work in practice – they even tried to hide from the word “socialism” (Barack Obama still does).

    They are not sincere (not about seriously thinking about what they want to put in place of the “capitalism” they wish to destroy) – their project is about POWER.

    I suspect the same is true about people who use the labour theory of value to make their anti employer points – when they know perfectly well it was refuted more than a century ago.

    Ditto the denial of economies of scale, the claims that large scale production and distribution would not have developed without “state intervention” and on and on.

    The first time collectivists (Red Flag or Black Flag) come out with this stuff they may be sincere (I grant you that) – but not if they come out with it again and again. After it has been refuted many times.

  14. I hope you are right and I am wrong David.

    However, I believe that there is no chance of rational reform – and that time may well have run out for it anyway.

    “I would not start from here” – as they say in Ireland.

    I believe that de facto, bankruptcy, at least partial economic breakdown, and terrible suffering are now inevitable in the West.

    Let us hope I am just being a silly gloomy-guts.

    As for China – I just do not know.

    India (which was making some progress) has already made the critical mistakes (copying us).

  15. Thanks for your second reply, Paul.

    The Irish are right that it is better not to have problems but a nice problem free beginning.

    The buying up of failed banks might mean a few might lose some money but is that truly terrible suffering? Do you make your case elsewhere for the breakdown that you imagine?

    What you maybe do know about China is that there has been lots of cheap goods from there into the UK over the last twenty years, that people have bought from Argos, Asda, Primark and the like. All the clothes I am now wearing were made in China, for example. So trade with China has enriched me and I am not the only one. Most if not all in the UK have gained.

    Yes, mistakes are superabundant, Paul. All of politics is an erroneous zone. The state itself is a mistake based on sheer mass ignorance. As Simon says, what both India and China have going for them is large populations. That is why they were the two earlier big civilisations and it is why they will do well in the next few hundred years. The more people who look at a problem the more likely a better solution will be found. We do start from a welfare state mess, but then people are problem solvers.

    It is not clear to me why you imagine a big change of outlook in Karl Marx, Paul. He did add to his bogus theory of surplus value but it fitted well with his 1844 ideas as far as I can see. Erring on Gladstone is a very common sort of thing, even if it seems to you to be a direct lie. Marx hardly needed Gladstone as an authority, did he? Odd how so many of us [i.e. normal people, not particularly libertarians!] see mere error as lying. We should all take the more tolerant view, I think. It is not as if we do not err superabundantly ourselves, is it? We all do so, and we do so every day too.

    Marx followed Aristotle on this odd idea of what being scientific was. I agree that today’s common sense would see the “utopian socialist” Robert Owen as way more scientific than Marx ever was. Moreover, on this issue current common sense would be quite right.

    As we cannot today say what the anarcho-liberal society will be like, so Marx could not say what the communist society would be like, but Owen tested many of the ideas in New Harmony USA, and, later, with the Trade Unions in the 1830s in the UK too, but Marx attempted to dodge any tests. Moreover, he never fully faced up to Owen’s results, but instead he attempted to move the socialist theory away from being testable. His attack on the Owenite epigone [some translations say it was Weston, others Western] in his 1865 pamphlet is a complete disgrace, but maybe he was silly enough to think the mere chance of a logical possibility, no matter how unlikely, was good enough to refute Owen. If so then Marx was a very silly man. . That is on par with saying that as we can live forever from a logical point of view then biology stands refuted in the ideas it has of general decay and death.

    I do not think we need to discuss your backside, Paul.

    As Socialism is intrinsically null set, as the economic calculation argument [eca] indicates then we are not going to get any viable socialist theory: TINA to capitalism. See From Marx to Mises (1991) D.R. Steele.

    I do not think that the statists hide the null set socialism idea/meme. They maybe know it is not an option.

    Yes, politics is about power. The politicians do not yet clearly realise that power is dysfunctional. What is more to the point, the general public, or even the intellectuals, do not either. The LA’s work has hardly even begun!

    No, people do not yet realise that the labour theory of value is bogus, Paul. The think something very much like it simply has to be the case. Listen to what they say and see. It is still very much part of current common sense. Of course, the general public, or even the intellectuals, have never yet read Marx, but they feel that labour matters way more than it ever realistically could in any economy. And here it is not different amongst the general public to the opinion in parliament, be it the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Nigel Lawson attempted to lecture the House of Lords on economics in the 1980s and he failed to get his rather simple message over by a mile, as the Lords felt it went too much against common sense!

    Again, most intellectuals see history as being very important. They feel Henry Ford was way over the top in rightly saying that history is bunk. If the state was doing something in the past then it is natural for the thoughtless [those still apathetic, which is the majority hitherto, including most intellectuals] to fall for the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc to conclude that the state was a prerequisite to progress in the past.

    A refutation has no impact till it is understood as such, Paul. That will always be a subjective or personal matter. To refute is one thing but to be understood is quite another.

  16. Below is my reply on the LA debating list.

    It is the sort of thing that Lovelock might say.

    I offered to buy him a copy of Simon’s The Ultimate Resource (1981; II 0 1996) but he said he already had a copy & that he agreed with that book.

    His Gaia (1979) tends to put the old adage that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” into the ecological domain holding that it is there quite true as pollution to one species is usually food to others. The oils spills are mainly cleared up by microbes that thrive on oil, for example.

  17. David – in the end it is a matter of judgement, I believe I know when someone honestly disagrees and when they are taking the p….. But I could be wrong. I also believe I know when someone honestly believes in a collectivist utopea and when they are after POWER

  18. I do not what happened there – the thing got posted half way through (must be me – hitting the wrong key or something).

    Anyway… – I believe I know when somone honestly believes in a collectivist utopea and when they are really after power. But, again, I could be wrong – only God (if He exists) really knows the intentions of people for sure.

    I agree that Robert Owen was sincere. And that Karl Marx just spent his mature life dodging.

    On James Lovelock …..

    What really impressed me was his logic – which leads him (for example) to passionatly support nuclear power.

    Of course it one really did believe that C02 emissions were a deadly threat – then supporiting nuclear power would be one of the things one would do.
    And it is exactly what most Greens do NOT do – hence my low opinion of them.

    James Lovelock may be quite wrong – but he is a sincere and logical man, that much is plain. And he deserves praise for that.

  19. Thanks for your third reply, Paul.

    I can see no viable reason to hold that any propagandist will ever lie. It seems to be an error that people make about others owing to an underestimating of the economics of communication, as well as of the nature of the very dire epistemological problem [EP]. People expect reason to work instantaneously, at all times, just because it does so usually. But totally misunderstanding people over decades is very common. An author called Levine held that Engels merely thought that he agreed with Marx, but never truly understood him, in a 1970s book that I once read. He held a fair case, but I have forgotten it in detail now. I have had decades long bogus agreements with friends, only discovered, by chance, much later. To err is human, as Alexander Pope rightly said. We all need to be way more tolerant.

    It is utopia not utopea, by the bye. It means no place.

    Why do you feel that motivation matters when it comes to the truth of any statement, Paul? One of my first insights, back in 1968 when I switched from athletes to reading books, was that motivation is a red herring. Switching from the message to the man is the celebrated fallacy of ad hominem. It thereby changes the topic thus is beside the point, or not germane.

    I guess that pushing “enter” got you onto a fresh post. It has happened to me, too.

    Marx did deliberately dodge. His crass error was in the idea that he was thereby being clever. Honesty is the best policy in this propagation of ideas business. We cannot be too open. Owen realised that but Marx did not but instead he foolishly thought that Owen was simply being naïve. That is a king-sized [or is it state-like?] folly.

    I think that Lovelock’s books are basically anti-Green, especially Gaia (1979). He is a very friendly man anyway, and that is a virtue.

  20. David – your second to last paragraph is (to me) the critical one.

    I find the “cleverness” (the dishonesty) of people like Karl Marx (and so many other collectivists – both Red Flag and Black Flag) very irritating. Perhaps you are a better man – as you are able to rise above it and not get provoked.

    After all, in the great scheme of things, does it matter much that Robert Ownh was an honest man and Saul Alinsky a dishonest one?

    And Alinsky admitted (indeed boasted) that his tactics of lying and ridicule would not work nearly so well, if his targets did not lose their tempers when subjected to his lie-fests.

    A socialist (or a communal “anarchist”) who honestly tries to explain how what they want would work is much more my cup of tea, than someone who (for example) tries to pretend that employment is serfdom or that there would be no large scale production without state intervention.

    But I would be a better man if I was not so easy to provoke by lies and smears.

    However, I do much prefer the honest collectivists (building their communal ways of living – either religious or nonreligious) to the lie-fest people.

  21. Thanks for your reply, Paul.

    My point about Marx is that it was not clever but backwardness to move socialist theory away from testability.

    I am very hotheaded but still tolerant.

    No, none of us matter much in the scheme of things, Paul. Robert Owen is now largely forgotten. Weston/Western is even more forgotten that is Owen. That is why it is not easy for me to sort out the spelling of his name [though poor Internet skills may also be a factor in that!]

    In what way does Alinsky’s tactics work? [I have no idea who he is, by the bye]. What have they ever achieved for socialism?

    Socialism is a futile aim anyway, as the economic calculation argument [eca] shows. To fully understand socialism is to see it as futile. Anything less is sheer ignorance. No one can attempt to go on with what they feel is futile, as I realised on realising that I had no proper answer to the eca back in the 1970s. I very surprisingly found that I simply could not go on with my beloved public speaking for socialism till I had sorted the eca out in 1974.

    I think you haply err on the lies, as I said earlier, Paul.

  22. David – I think that what Karl Marx (and Saul Alinsky and Barack and co) and so on, did/do is clever – tactically.

    Do not explain how the collectivist utopea (class based or race based) is going to work – just attack.

    As the New Left was fond of saying (and the Nazis worked out long before them) “the personal is the political”

    Do not debate the logic of a collectivist policy – just denounce opposition to it as an example of “capitalist logic” (or “Jewish logic”) and the debate is “won”.

    From an intellectual point of view it is not really won at all – but poltiically it is won.

    After all (to take a mild example) – a lot more people are going to watch the humour of Jon Stewart, than the careful arguments of John Stossel.

    Laughter is a weapon – this the collectivists (mild and not so mild) worked out long ago.

  23. “I have no idea who Saul Alinsky is”.

    And in terms of economics and political philosophy – there is no reason why you should (as his contribution is ZERO).

    However, his political practices (“Rules for Radicals”) have been wildly effective.

    They are a major reason that major American cities (and soon the whole country) are in the terrible condition that they are.

  24. Thanks for your latest replies, Paul.

    The task the LA gave itself is to convert public opinion by picking in the intellectuals to begin with but not to expect progress to be too rapid. As Confucius says:

    “If you think in terms of a year, plant seed, if in terms o ten years plant trees, if in terms of a hundred years teach the people.”

    Any criticism is either beneficial in correcting error or it is harmless as J.S. Mill rightly said.

    Why is what the politicians do seems clever, Paul? Do make your case. With an apathetic public, the politicians do not need to be clever.

    If they merely attack then they merely provide an opportunity to reply. It is a mistake to even think of them as enemies, for they are merely ignorant.

    Plato was right that we cannot ever willingly, or wittingly, err. Thus pristine liberals only need to be clear to make headway, so the way ahead is easy, that is the good news. The bad news is that we have hell of a long way to go.

    Yes, totalitarians think the personal is political but no coercion then no politics is the truth of that matter. Immoral politics is only state action; the use of proactive state coercion gratuitously against other people. The study of this is all right and even the attempt to propagate it is morally neutral.

    Humour is harmless enough. However, as Bob Monkhouse rightly said, today an alternative to comedy has taken its place on the mass media.

  25. David.

    As you know Wren is supposed to have said “if you seek my monument – look around you” (meaning the buildings he had designed).

    Saul Alinsky’s monument (and the monument of his followers and allies) is inner city Chicago – and the rest of the inner cities.

    And the Federal balance sheet – and the threat it will make the entire United States into the same sort of bankrupt wasteland that those inner cities are.

    You imply that the thought of people like Alinsky is philophically worthless – and you are correct, it is.

    But, like Karl Marx, they were not seeking to examine the world – they were seeking to change it.

    And they did change it and continue to change it – for the worse.

    The political tactics that people such as Saul Alinsky developed are clever – they direct human emotions (from humour to rage) to the purpose of destructon.

    I am on Harold Prichard’s side (“Was Moral PhilosophyFounded On A Mistake?”) I do not believe that being moral automatically makes people happy (indeed choosing good can lead to a life of agony and humilation). I am sure that Saul Alinsky was happy, and happy because (and here I am making a contestable statement) he enjoyed evil (enjoyed destruction) and deliberatly made a choice (opted) for evil. As I believe many people do – indeed part of my own nature understands the choice they make only too well.

    Once I believed that intellectual error was at the heart of bad policy. I no longer believe that. Nor do I believe that simple financial corruption is at the heart of it (although books such as “Bought And Paid For” make some valid points).

    I believe a corruption of a far more radical kind is at the heart of the policies that threaten to destroy the West.

  26. Short version.

    It is no good warning elite intellectuals of the results of the policies they favour (which is what people like Mises and Hayek and…… did over their lives) if the elite intellectuals already know what the results of the policies they favour are going to be – and want those results.

  27. Point of fact, corruption is destroying the west, it’s in every area of public
    life now, the cancer of corruption, is in the blood of our very establishment
    in all areas, from education to health care.

  28. Thanks for your reply, Paul.

    I think we finally have to blame the people who live in the inner cities for the state that they are in. Wren had a way bigger hand in St Paul’s than some backroom boy will have had in the inner cities.

    Marx had no chance of being successful. His ideas were too unrealistic. His thesis on Feuerbach, that you cite, Paul, shows Marx at the acme of his stupidity, as the task of actual science is to understand the world rather than to change it. Only a cretin would want to change it. But poor old Marx never even got to understand even that.

    No, the Marxists did not change the world, Paul. The growing habit of thinking it was fine for the state to grow has little to do with Marx, who actually opposed political reformism for good classical liberal reasons that he found in Ricardo, viz. that political reform could only make things worse. Instead, he hung out for the rise of a new economic epoch, but he was deluded into thinking that there were any distinct economic epochs, even in the past. The material conception of history, like the rather silly lateral thinking of Edward de Bono, is not up to much. But sadly for Marx, even the exceedingly stupid de Bono has more to his silly outlook, as it may be useful to check if the project we are working on is worthwhile but looking for other economic modes of production is relatively futile; not that Marx even begun to get the price system “epoch” or “mode of production” correct.

    What we got in the late USSR was more to do with the Fabian Society, and their hero Radical Joe Chamberlain, than with Marx. He hated reading books on economics as much as Marx loved to read them. Ditto Miss Beatrice Potter, who later became Mrs Webb. Her love for Joe, despite preferring Herbert Spencer whenever they met, is the reason he influenced Lenin even more than Marx did.

    Moral philosophy never made much progress as we all tend to, more or less, know the basic morals anyway. We know the syntax but fail to feel the semantics. Thus we fail to endorse basic morals. But there is not much scope for progress. What is lacking is only the endorsement.

    I have not read that book/article of Harold Prichard but I will look out for it: thanks.

    Clear thinking seems to make people happy. It will also lead to people always doing right, as Socrates/Plato says; but common sense today, as back then, disagrees.

    I am not clear how doing the right thing makes one unhappy but I note that many hold to that thesis. Christianity tends to push what seems to me to be a bogus idea [indeed, all its ideas seem to be bogus] that sin is pleasurable thus doing right is to do with rejecting pleasure.

    Politics exist owing to apathy thus ignorance. It also has tradition on its side. People reason that if the state truly was as bad as I think it is then people would have got rid of it before I was born. As they never did then maybe what I have to say is wrong.

    I would agree with Socrates and Plato that we cannot deliberately err. Morals are quasi-factual so moral error is as impossible as deliberate factual error is. So all moral wrong is owing to ignorance.

    I think your former self was right and this new Romantic self errs, Paul. Let us debate and see.

    It is not likely that the west will soon be destroyed.

    I would think it is always useful to criticise anyone, intellectual or not, over any errors they may make. One needs to be clear when one does so. It is vital to be understood when we criticise people.

    I would say that politics is immoral but not that they were corrupt. I would not use Karl Fenn’s jargon about politics, but I might about ethics. I would put the two in independent Venn Circles. I doubt if the politicians knowingly want politics as it is but even if I err here, the masses certainly do not want to be taxed for wasteful war as an end in itself. So we need to convert them to realising what politics is, but that is what needs to be done whether Socrates is right or wrong [thus myself on ethics, or, maybe, your former self too, Paul] on ethics as knowledge.

  29. Some of the Fabians were vile – H.G. Wells (with his “millions of blacks, browns and yellows” who should be wiped out), G.B. Shaw with his desire to kill anyone who could not “justify their existance” before a government board, Mr and Mrs Webb with their careful covering up of mass murder (even during the period of World War II when the Soviet Union was allied with Nazi Germany, Sidney Webb did his “best” to cover up the crimes of the Soviets).

    I do not agree that the Fabians can be explained by “intellectual error” – these Fabians at least knew what evil was, and made a choice (opted) for it.

    As for the American inner cities.

    I can not prove you wrong David – perhaps if Saul Alinsky (and all the other “Community Organisers”) had never been born, they would have turned out just as bad.

    However, these people worked very hard indeed (the living ones still do) – every day of their lives, to do as much damage as they could.

    Hard to believe that that the decay (cultural as well as economic) has nothing to do with their efforts.

    • Thanks for your reply, Paul.

      The Fabian Society members thought that that free trade was bad, Paul. They rather hoped that the USSR was going to be a new epoch that would prove to be good; after a while. They hoped that the evils they saw would soon vanish. That looks like typical ignorance to me.

      For some reason, Beatrice could not comprehend economics. She did repeatedly try to do so. So did Joe. He failed in a similar way.

      I am not sure if Sydney even made the attempt. When Schumpeter was at the LSE [that the Webbs founded] he attended Sydney’s lectures on economic history. He asked a question. Sydney replied: “You are an economist, aren’t you?”

      “Yes,” Schumpeter replied.

      “Well, I do not answer questions from economists!” said Sydney.

      I think it is down to error. The Fabian members thought that planning just had to be superior to anarchy, as did Karl Marx. Both lacked critics to rub their noses into this error.

      You, similarly, err on this Romantic claptrap of thinking it is other than the need to use more reason, Paul.

      How can the inner cities be other than the fault of those that live there? Even the state is finally the fault of the masses. We are responsible for all that we do, Paul.

      Do you truly feel that politicians mean to do evil? What would ever be the point of that?

      I think politics has lead to a bigger mess, [though overall progress on the market has not been stopped] but the mess is not what the politicians wanted. Nor do they yet see that it is they have done so badly.

  30. David many socialists are NOT evil. In fact many socialists are much nicer people than I am (not difficult – as I am not very nice at all).

    But if someone tells me, for example, that everyone who can not “justify their existance” to a government board should be killed – then they are being evil.

    Ditto if someone tells me that millions of people should be killed because of their skin colour.

    It really is important that the “ethics thing” be grasped.

    If someone is a sociailist because they want to help people then they may well draw back when they see the consequences of their actions.

    But Saul Alinsky (and so on) HATED people like that.

    They used to scream at them in conferences – you are not working to “help people” you are working for “POWER”.

    “But Paul – G.B. Shaw and Saul Alinsky (and …..) used to smile when they said these terrible things, they did not really mean them…..”

    That is actually an old tactic – Kim Philby did the same thing.

    A person says something – with a little smile on their face, so that the people they are talking to do not think they really mean it.

    When, actually, one means every word.

  31. Thanks for your reply, Paul.

    I think the statists are evil but do not see it; or they evil but they do not mean to be.

    Of course, there are times when they may see killings but they seem to have rather hoped that it was a passing phenomenon and no worse than the dreaded laissez faire anyway. But the deliberate killing by fools like Lenin or Stalin was way worse than laissez faire, and by miles.

    Ethics are important but so are facts. It is the latter that most people seem to need to know most. They think false things about laissez faire. That has been the main problem since the 1860s.

    Power is an unmitigated evil. The state is a mere mistake. But many look on it as a source of magic. They need to get real about the anti-social nature of the state.

  32. Yes David – they who control the past have massive influence over the present and future. And false information is lethal.

    Edmund Burke could not stand talk about “the once happy labourer” – as he pointed out working people did have a terrible life, but it had been WORSE (not better) in the past, And more state intervention would not make it better – it would only make it worse.

    But a century later the German Historical School were going round “measuring rooms and declaring them too small”.

    The reasoning being “this is very bad, therefore state intervention will make it better”.

    The “therefore” is fatal. And ignores all “unseen” (Bastiat style) costs. For example what happened to the poor people in Birmingham when “Radical Joe” destroyed the slums. Did they get better housing (financed how?) or did they end up on the street? Or far away from jobs and any hope of betterment?

    And it (deep down) based upon the false idea that people had lived better in Germany before the rise of industry.

    A romantic notion of happy peasants – not the grim reality of grinding poverty.

  33. Thanks for your reply, Paul.

    I think you err on the power of history and also on the use that can be made of false information too.

    Few bother about the past. Even those who love history,[I have always been one of them but as with my love of education, it does not lead me to over estimate either of them and I think others do over estimate them both]. All beliefs are superficial [this is somewhat discussed by Ray Percival in The Myth of the Closed Mind (2012)]. What we think is the case now we may not in a moment’s time. No matter what it says of history in the books it has little or nothing to do with today, and as Scarlet O’Hara says at the end of Gone With the Wind : “tomorrow is another day”.

    I do not agree that the life of the workers was terrible but I do think most did not like their job much. I found it way better than school in 1963 though. I would have preferred child labour to school, as would many children [or so it seems to me].

    The state is internecine, negative sum thus wasteful. That is why we need to roll it back then get rid of it completely. The market, by contrast, is p9ositive sum and truly progressive. So we need it to take over all that the state has nationalised.

    Radical Joe enjoyed being a leader but hated economic analysis so he never realised the costs he was imposing on others. He most likely did make the slum dwellers more miserable, as Wilmot and Young feel that the state did in the east end of London in the late 1940s.

    I think the story that the workers felt worse off than the peasants during the so called Industrial Revolution is a Tory myth that the neo-Tories who called themselves socialists were mistaken to embrace.

  34. Nationalisation, has become a complete failure, it is no longer a socialist
    affair, but a selfish form of greed by a minority, who are far detached from
    the principles of socialism, it is a power drunk system of control, with
    little sense of social justice or perception from inside the walnut, the
    Tories have never been fair or socialists, they are at the same power
    game as the Nationalists with a different objective. where Nationalists
    want wealth, so do the Tories. Nationalised areas of the state have become
    full of selfish greed, without thought for anyone else. This is why it has
    failed completely and come under fire, in relation to pensions and sickness
    perks that many people veiw as injust and selfish, Unable to enjoy such
    provisions for themselves many people have washed their hands on them!

  35. David – sadly I am not mistaken, history (or rather historical MYTHS) are used all the time. Used to make people hate “capitalism”, companies (“corporations” – Boo Hiss in the Hollywood movie, or network television, way), or just “the rich”.

  36. Good point, but these historical MYTHS seem to acheive a single objective.
    What’s the saying ” history” shapes and decides the future of mankind!

  37. Thanks for your reply, Paul.

    I think you err badly there. People hate their jobs. That is the main reason people hate capitalism. History has exactly nothing to do with it, Paul.

    It is false, that is what is wrong with it, Karl. Think about whether it has ever influenced you.My expectation is that it never ever did, not you, not anyone. History will forever be what they often called merely academic in the 1960s. But many make a sort of religion out of the claptrap in that like the religious they say they believe things they clearly do not; if we judge by their actions. .

  38. Yes, it did, I was infuenced by the second world war, being born 14 years
    after this, I became a boy german soldier, we played war games and had
    toy spitfires and Junkas, must have had some effect on my brain, certainly
    remember spending a lot of pocket money on replacement batteries for my
    elecirically operated machine gun and I had a plastic sword and crusader