Friday, 30 September 2011

Gove on education: stop me if you've heard this one before

The debate around state education, more than most debates, seems to be trapped forever in some kind of Groundhog Day. Whether it's the Blue Party or the Red in government, they will never grasp the central problem is the government, and its futile and destructive attempt to model a one-size-fits-all system. So, for the umpteenth time, we have an Education Minister declaring that all children from the youngest age will study a foreign language.
"One of the problems we have had in education, and as a country, is that we have been too insular for too long."
Insular for too long? Since the last Ice Age, in fact. I'm guessing geography isn't Michael's favourite subject. Now, I happen to like foreign languages, but that doesn't mean I want them imposed on everyone. Besides, I don't actually think learning a language in a classroom achieves much. Ten years of school lessons is nothing compared to a few months in the country.

Also, he's calling for longer school hours, and "tougher, less means-tested, fines for parents of persistent school truants so that parental income needed "for satellite TVs, cigarette consumption or alcohol" is no longer taken into account in setting the fine." Sanctimonious prick.

So, in summary, more government interference, more futile attempts to impose one version of education on everyone, more authoritarian bollocks. Same old shit.

There's shrill; there's unhinged; and then there's The Nation's attack on Hayek

To say The Nation is over-egging the pudding would be an understatement. A more accurate metaphor would be that the Nation is serving up an omelette and calling it dessert. I am referring to this attack on the long-deceased Hayek and the still-alive and very much hated Charles Koch.

The story is as follows: in 1973 Koch invited Hayek to come to the US. Hayek, who was 73 years old and recently out of hospital after an operation, declined, as he was concerned about getting sick far from home, for one reason because of the potential cost. Koch, who was eager that Hayek should come, wrote back pointing out that, due to Hayek's time at the University of Chicago and the payments he had made into the system, he would be insured under Medicare. He even included a leaflet on this latter.

Now, retire to a safe distance, wait thirty years, and prepare to start shrieking 'hypocrits!' at the top of your lungs until you collapse and vomit - at least if you write for The Nation.
"The documents offer a rare glimpse into how these two major free-market apostles privately felt about government assistance programs—revealing a shocking degree of cynicism and an unimaginable betrayal of the ideas they sold to the American public and the rest of the world."
Err, have I missed something? I better go back ... sick old man, concerned about travelling to a foreign country and the cost of health insurance, informed that he is actually covered due to payments he made while working in that country ... still not seeing anything shocking.

Obviously The Nation hate the Koch brothers. That's their prerogative, but they don't seem to have any clear idea of what Hayek stood for. He certainly wasn't a market anarchist, and within libertarian circles there are many who think he was far too compromising towards the state.

Personally I lean heavily towards Mises and Rothbard, rather than Hayek, but he's still one of our guys, and, as the Arabs say "my brother and me against my cousin; my cousin and me against the world", so The Nation can go fuck themselves with their strawman character assassination.

However libertarian anyone is, we still have to live in a world dominated by state power. Whatever our views on taxation, we know that, if we don't pay, we will face the state's enforcers. Given that we are mandated to contribute to a system of social security, it is not an act of hypocrisy to avail ourselves of that system, however better we think things would be if not run by the state.

Hat tip: Economic Policy Journal

Beware of governments bearing gifts

On the face of it, the government's plans to raise the top speed limit to 80 mph sounds good. It is clearly the case that, conditions permitting, 80 mph is a safe speed. But only a hopeless naif would take a government plan on face value.

So, if they do go ahead with the plan, expect the appearance of another few thousand speed cameras on the motorways to accompany the change and a "get tough" policy on anyone marginally over the new limit. And, according to the Guardian, they will be extending 20 mph speed limits in built-up areas.

Of course, the (often tax-payer-funded) road safety lobby will complain about the increase, and the enviro-loons will complain about fuel efficiency - not that these latter have been particularly vocal during the rise of the road hump, which has forced drivers to waste gallons of fuel chugging along in 2nd gear, and shortens the life-span of cars.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

An idiot in Brussels and a very guilty man

I quite like this clip. Oborne's a little rude to the idiot in Brussels, but it's good when the guilty wanker from the FT gets riled - fucking traitor!

Hat tip: Jon Worth (he sees it differently, of course!)

Happy Birthday, Ludwig

The great Ludwig von Mises would be 130 years old today, and thanks in great part to the work of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, he's bigger now than ever before.

To mark the occasion the Mises Institute is running a special offer of 15% off all orders of books etc, so go grab a bargain. In my experience, it's a swift service across the Atlantic.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Barroso, go blow yourself

Barroso gave a speech today, calling for the end of national economic sovereignty for the Eurozone countries. He spun this a little, claiming that people had been fooled into thinking there could be monetary union without political union, but that this had been a mistake. This is, of course, a lie. It was always the case that the monetary union would lead to this moment, and everyone knew it would.

He also announced plans for the City of London to pay over a large pile of cash to EU coffers, which he laughably made out was a contribution to society. It would not be. It would be a contribution to the corrupt and venal bureaucratic monstrosity that he fronts.

He also said: "We are today faced with the greatest challenge our union has known in all its history."

What this means for us, is that we must choose between two courses of action:
1) Sit back and watch our government betray our nation.
2) Organise ourselves to exploit the opportunity that is coming.
We cannot trust the so-called Eurosceptics to do anything, but if we can get something moving, they may come along and regain some respect. But, what to do?

Another victory over Al-Fed-ieda

Hmm, so Rezwan Ferdaus was planning to attack the Pentagon with a model plane stuffed with C4? Probably quite hard to organise such a thing, especially the C4. Nevertheless, he must have been dedicated, as he managed to get a plane (from the Fed agent provocateurs) and he managed to get some C4 (from the Fed agent provocateurs), and no doubt managed to get a few bundles of cash along the way (from the Fed agent provocateurs).

I think I can guess the line his legal defence team will be taking.

Slingin' lead

More fun with Hickok45, as he tries out three different caliber Springfield Armory XDm 5.25s.

"A terrible day for free speech in this country"

The country in this case being Australia, where journalist Andrew Bolt has been found guilty of writing something that some people didn't like, specifically mixed-race people who self-identify as Aboriginal. Reading what he actually wrote, as an Englishman, it's difficult to grasp what line he crossed, if indeed there is a line at all. Sure, those whom he named didn't like it, but so what? There's no right not to be offended, right?

Wrong. The judge in the case may claim that such controversial subjects are not off-limits, but he has just declared them off-limits. His ruling means that anyone discussing race issues will be risking legal action. The consequence is that whatever tensions exist, and the fact that the subject is controversial indicates that there must be tensions, will continue to exist, as they cannot be openly discussed.

Readers can peruse the article for themselves, but here are some quotes, which run contrary to the judge's ruling:
I'm not saying any of those I've named chose to be Aboriginal for anything but the most heartfelt and honest of reasons. I certainly don't accuse them of opportunism, even if full-blood Aborigines may wonder how such fair people can claim to be one of them and take black jobs.

I'm saying only that this self-identification as Aboriginal strikes me as self-obsessed and driven more by politics than by any racial reality. It's also divisive, feeding a new movement to stress pointless or even invented racial differences we once swore to overcome. What happened to wanting us all to become colour-blind?
The article ends with:
To me, this blacker-than-thou offends the deepest humanist ideals. And our "enlightened" opinion is debased when it takes a Casey Donovan, a mere Australian Idol winner, to hint at the healthier truth, saying she's proud of being Aboriginal, but "proud of being half-white, too".

In fact, let's go beyond racial pride. Beyond black and white. Let's be proud only of being human beings set on this land together, determined to find what unites us and not to invent such racist and trivial excuses to divide. Deal?
Brother, if you're so thin-skinned that the above is offensive, you better watch that Aussie sun.

Hat tip: The Humble Servant

Don't waste time on the LibLabCon differentiation diversion, they're all as red as Ned and all as bad as each other

Listening to Ned on Radio 4 this morning, as he tried to explain what his speech to conference meant, certain things became clear. To the extent that he had any idea of what he was talking about, this seems to be his analysis: the government is not strong enough nor quick enough to intervene in the economy. He called Cameron 'the last gasp of the old system', and that system is, of course, 'the free market'. We need a new system, he tells us. Unsurprisingly, that new system sounds suspiciously like state socialism.

Now, it is not particularly helpful to label Ned's programme thus. There is no significant difference between Ned's plans and those of the other major parties. They are all heavily interventionist, and all are in denial about the sibling relationship between the classical socialist planned economy and the interventionist state they all favour - and the same applies to the establishment media, the government mandarins and the rest of the state's fellow travellers.

Therefore, attacking Ned for his socialism is somewhat foolish, as it aids the illusion of clear blue water between the Coalition and Labour. We cannot afford to waste time with their idle disputes and attempts at differentiation. Our priority (dear brethren) must be to break apart the underlying pro-state, anti-liberty consensus that they all share.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The new bogeyman for the never-ending War on Terror

Paul Craig Roberts, writing at Infowars:

Have you ever before heard of the Haqqanis? I didn’t think so. Like Al Qaeda, about which no one had ever heard prior to 9/11, the “Haqqani Network” has popped up in time of need to justify America’s next war–Pakistan.

President Obama’s claim that he had Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden exterminated deflated the threat from that long-serving bogyman. A terror organization that left its leader, unarmed and undefended, a sitting duck for assassination no longer seemed formidable. Time for a new, more threatening, bogyman, the pursuit of which will keep the “war on terror” going.

Now America’s “worst enemy” is the Haqqanis. Moreover, unlike Al Qaeda, which was never tied to a country, the Haqqani Network, according to Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a “veritable arm” of the Pakistani government’s intelligence service, ISI. Washington claims that the ISI ordered its Haggani Network to attack the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on September 13 along with the US military base in Wadak province.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Armed Services committee and one of the main Republican warmongers, declared that “all options are on the table” and gave the Pentagon his assurance that in Congress there was broad bipartisan support for a US military attack on Pakistan.

Read the whole article here.

Missionary work amongst the Leftiti Tribe

Much as I attack the left, I am convinced that, if change is to be brought about in a libertarian direction, we will first need to win over a large section of the left to the virtues of liberty. Hence my occasional contributions to the goings-on at Liberal Conspiracy.

A current, and rather silly, post over there gives a comparison between the subsidy British tax-payers are forced to hand over to the EU and the amount paid by the British government to BAE under defence contracts. As usual, the point being made is; right-wingers moan about this, but they don't moan about that, ergo right-wingers are hypocrites. (N.B. The figure for our EU contribution is a vast under-counting of the true cost of EU regulation and mercantilism).

I have no particular desire to defend the right-wing, and there is indeed a willful blind spot on the right, at least those who proclaim a belief in small government but make an exception for 'defence' spending (see Reagan et al), but it's a shame the left doesn't spend more time trying to work through their own contradictions.

On that thread, the issue of subsidies to corporate vested interests is discussed and the great Sunny Hundal states that; "Large parts of the left have been against them for decades.” To which I responded:

Is there any hope the left is ever going to work out the correlation between corporate vested interests and the big state that the left always seem to support?

You see something’s killing the chickens, and all you ever want to do is give more power to Mr Fox the chicken-coop guard.

It is the state which enables the corporate vested interests. Indeed, historically the state and the vested interests have been essentially the same people.

It was the free trade movement that challenged this cosy stitch-up between the British oligarchy and the British government. Protectionism and mercantilism are policies which support vested interests at the expense of everyone else. And yet, when people call for genuine free trade, they are attacked by the left for supporting vested interests!

What is necessary is for the left to work out what they are against and why, and following this, what they want to do about it. If it is corporate vested interests, then they must follow through to discover how such vested interests operate, i.e. by working hand in glove with the state. Indeed, it is only through using the state that they can obtain any kind of advantage, over and above to the (legitimate) advantages they can gain through their own efforts to be competitive in the market.

Also comes the question: what do you want to do about it, lefties? It strikes me that their standard response is; tax the rich; tax the corporations. What this means is;

A) They identify all that are rich as synonymous with corporate vested interests.
C) They identify all profits as somehow illegitimate by definition.
B) They have no desire to remove the ill-gotten protectionist benefits of the vested interests, but would rather engage in an ex post facto grab on the ill-gotten loot. However, attempting to reduce the effect is surely less satisfactory than removing the cause.
D) They are giving the state/government a free pass, for its role in all such nefariousness. Indeed, they wish to reward the state with additional funds through hiking taxes.

Libertarians are, I believe, obliged to defend the free market, but this certainly does not mean, nor should we allow it to be misconstrued, that we are defending the status quo. This is especially true when it comes to monetary policy, central banks and corporate welfare. Left-wingers have a standard hostility to some of these things but for muddled reasons, and their grasp of money matters is fraught with primitive fallacies. Our job is to put forward the libertarian case with reason and patience.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Federal Reserve: The Criminal Conspiracy that is killing America

I note that the US central bank, AKA the Fed, is to spend a heap of money finding out what the plebs are saying about it, and I really wouldn't want them to miss me out in their phishing trip.

Read about it at The Economic Collapse and Zero Hedge.

Oh, may the good half of America, the Jeffersonian, Jacksonian, liberty-loving, gun-toting, inalienable rights-believing true patriotic Americans rise up and take back their country from the spineless, criminal scum who have enslaved it, and once more and forever KILL THE BANK!

Hat tip: Infowars

Legitimacy; a definition

Recently I've been catching up with Joseph Stromberg's worthy oeuvre, such as YouTube lectures, and various essays and articles, some of which can be found here and here.

From an article on Iraq, focusing on the British mandate period, I liked this line on state 'legitimacy':

Established states resort to fairly small amounts of internal violence precisely because they already killed, burned, and pillaged enough to make their point one or two centuries ago. This is what is called "legitimacy."

A plan for growth

We hear little else from the politicians these days. They delude themselves that the nation's economic problems will be solved, if only they can come up with a plan - perhaps a Glorious Five Year Plan like the soviets used to trumpet, and, considering our government's understanding of statehood and economics is about on a par with Uncle Joe and his Kremlin mechanics, that would at least show a measure of deference for the statist trail-blazers they seek to emulate.

Anyway, here's my plan:

Cut tax savagely
Cut expenditure savagely

Don't use a Keynesian model - USE A BLACK DEATH MODEL

"The immorality of national debt"

Following on from the post below, and echoing the thoughts of Jefferson, comes this from the website UK debt bombshell I find this:
The immorality of national debt

A strange religion has come to dominate British life in the post-war era. It teaches that the values of our forebears are outmoded and their achievements of no great significance. It preaches that wealth is no longer created through man's ingenuity and endeavour, but something bestowed upon the grateful congregation by a divine elite. This religion is government, its ministers are politicians and its gospel is debt.

Politicians have convinced us that everyone has a right to comfort and happiness and that government has a moral duty to provide it. They believe that wealth and liberation come in the form of paper or electronic money and that distributing limitless amounts of this commodity is a cure for all social and economic ills.

Distorted values

Only by spending this confiscated or borrowed money is a person truly moral. Anyone who dares to question this twisted faith is demonised. Any politician who questions the wisdom of government indebtedness and debt-fueled consumption is branded inhumane for supporting "savage cuts to vital public services."

Is it ethical to inflate our currency to reduce the debt burden, punishing generations of savers and their prudent lives of hard work?

Is it right that our greed threatens the economic freedom that's enabled more people to improve their lives than at any other time in history?

Is it moral that our debt has to be repaid by our unborn children, while we enrich our lives at their expense?

Taking a look at the graph above (found here), clearly something happened around the year 2000, and we all know what that was: the government went on an insane spending spree, with no regard to economic nor moral principles, taking us down a road towards penury. Now, the party responsible, ensconced in opposition, seeks to make capital, as the quote above indicates, by denouncing the cosmetic changes their replacements in government are making under the accusation of 'savage cuts'.

In reality, the current government has no plan to deal with the national debt, and certainly no issue in principle with the state continuing to live way beyond its means, and preying upon us like a junkie threatening his own mother.

We, as a society, cannot afford this kind of government and state. We need to economise. We need to trade in this government model for one that is not so 'high maintenance'.

Jefferson to John Taylor

Here follows a couple of snippets from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Taylor of Caroline, regarding the latter's recent publication of "An inquiry into the principles of the government of the United States". They illustrate how deeply rooted are the destructive forces in the American Republic viz. the concentration of unlimited power in the central government, the banking establishment with which it is entwined and the burgeoning national debt. Plus ca change:

The system of banking we have both equally and ever reprobated. I contemplate it as a blot left in all our constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction, which is already hit by the gamblers in corruption, and is sweeping away in its progress the fortunes and morals of our citizens. Funding I consider as limited, rightfully, to a redemption of the debt within the lives of a majority of the generation contracting it; every generation coming equally, by the laws of the Creator of the world, to the free possession of the earth he made for their subsistence, unincumbered by their predecessors, who, like them, were but tenants for life.

On this view of the import of the term republic, instead of saying, as has been said, "that it may mean anything or nothing," we may say with truth and meaning, that governments are more or less republican as they have more or less of the element of popular election and control in their composition; and believing, as I do, that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights, and especially, that the evils flowing from the duperies of the people, are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents, I am a friend to that composition of government which has in it the most of this ingredient. And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
Tom, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Trumping dubious empiricism

"It is, first of all, necessary to comprehend that in the field of purposive human action and social relations no experiments can be made and no experiments have ever been made. The experimental method to which the natural sciences owe all their achievements is inapplicable in the social sciences. The natural sciences are in a position to observe in the laboratory experiment the consequences of the isolated change in one element only, while other elements remain unchanged. Their experimental observation refers ultimately to certain isolable elements in sense experience. What the natural sciences call facts are the causal relations shown in such experiments. Their theories and hypotheses must be in agreement with these facts.

But the experience with which the sciences of human action have to deal is essentially different. It is historical experience. It is an experience of complex phenomena, of the joint effects brought about by the co-operation of a multiplicity of elements. The social sciences are never in a position to control the conditions of change and to isolate them from one another in the way in which the experimenter proceeds in arranging his experiments. They never enjoy the advantage of observing the consequences of a change in one element only, other conditions being equal. They are never faced with facts in the sense in which the natural sciences employ this term. Every fact and every experience with which the social sciences have to deal is open to various interpretations. Historical facts and historical experience can never prove or disprove a statement in the way in which an experiment proves or disproves.

Historical experience never comments upon itself. It needs to be interpreted from the point of view of theories constructed without the aid of experimental observations. There is no need to enter into an epistemological analysis of the logical and philosophical problems involved. It is enough to refer to the fact that nobody—whether scientist or layman--ever proceeds otherwise when dealing with historical experience. Every discussion of the relevance and meaning of historical facts falls back very soon on a discussion of abstract general principles, logically antecedent to the facts to be elucidated and interpreted. Reference to historical experience can never solve any problem or answer any question. The same historical events and the same statistical figures are claimed as confirmations of contradictory theories."

From Planned Chaos, Ludwig von Mises

Pic - Queen Anne's Lace fractal (?) found here

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Pretty Clear

I've been leafing through Suetonius, starting at the backs of the chapters (ergo the Deaths rather than the Lives of the Caesars). One aspect of history which the Roman writers seldom neglect is the record of the signs and portents which illuminate the gathering clouds with flashes of lightning.

Agrippina reproaches Nero for the death of Britannicus
The race of the Caesars ended with Nero. That this would be so was shown by many portents and especially by two very significant ones.

Years before, as Livia was returning to her estate near Veii, immediately after her marriage with Augustus, an eagle which flew by dropped into her lap a white hen, holding in its beak a sprig of laurel, just as the eagle had carried it off. Livia resolved to rear the fowl and plant the sprig, whereupon such a great brood of chickens was hatched that to this day the villa is called Ad Gallinas, and such a grove of laurel sprang up, that the Caesars gathered their laurels from it when they were going to celebrate triumphs.

Moreover it was the habit of those who triumphed to plant other branches at once in that same place, and it was observed that just before the death of each of them the tree which he had planted withered.

Now in Nero's last year the whole grove died from the root up, as well as all the hens.

Furthermore, when shortly afterwards the temple of the Caesars was struck by lightning, the heads fell from all the statues at the same time, and his sceptre, too, was dashed from the hand of Augustus.
From the opening of the Life of Galba

More discoveries amongst the Rothbard files

An excellent find: a series of Rothbard lectures, which I've not listened to. This is the third one, on the subject of advertising.

Here is the YouTube playlist.

With thanks to the great Liberty in our Time channel.

And of course The Institute.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Eat this, you lam-o commies

(Sorry, I couldn't think of an appropriate title.)

What follows is a snippet of an extract from an interesting essay by Ludwig von Mises, entitled 'The Clash of Group Interests', written in 1945. It is worth calling attention to the world he is describing, that being the post-WWII world, where central planning was proclaimed as the wave of the future. Things are different now. The system we labour under today is described as the very apotheosis of capitalism, and all perceived evils can thus be attributed to its operation. Never mind, I'll deal with that later. Here's the quote:
One of the objections raised against the liberal philosophy recommending a free-market society runs this way: "Mankind can never go back to any system of the past. Capitalism is done for because it was the social organization of the 19th century, an epoch that has passed away."

However, what these would-be progressives are supporting is tantamount to a return to the social organization of the ages preceding the "industrial revolution." The various measures of economic nationalism are a replica of the policies of mercantilism. The jurisdictional conflicts between labor unions do not essentially differ from the struggles between medieval guilds and inns. Like the absolute princes of 17th- and 18th-century Europe, these moderns are aiming at a system under which the government undertakes the direction of all economic activities of its citizens. It is not consistent to exclude beforehand the return to the policies of Cobden and Bright if one does not find any fault in returning to the policies of Louis XIV and Colbert.

Tom Woods on the futility (etc.) of the war on drugs

From back in May, after Ron Paul made the case against the Federal drug war, and was attacked with the usual misrepresentations.

Monday, 19 September 2011

State education: the stable of hobby-horses

I note a good article at Liberal Vision by Tom Papworth, criticising Nick Clegg's stance opposing profit-making in alternative schools (alternative to the bog-standard LEA comprehensives). The hatred of profit-making is one of those strange irrationalities one encounters with centre-leftists, an article of faith, which is difficult to follow back to any coherent principle. States Tom:
"The problem is that somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten that. For many people, profit is a dirty word. Large swathes of society, including (sadly) large numbers of people who identify themselves as liberal, have internalised the Marxist belief that profit is inherently exploitative: that profit must be made at somebody’s expense. This is particularly odd, because Marx’s belief only stands up if one accepts his Labour Theory of Value, which most people and all liberals would reject out of hand."
My only quibble with Tom would be to point out that no 'out of hand' rejection is needed with regard to the Labour Theory of Value, as it has been properly exploded into smithereens for well over 100 years. Indeed, the failure of Karl Marx to publish the remaining two volumes of his 'magnum opus' Das Krapital has been attributed by some to his realisation that Volume One was fatally flawed by such felonious fallacies.

Elsewhere, every theist's favourite reason not to abandon faith, Richard Dawkins has turned up with the softly-spoken Malthusian David Attenborough to demand strict rules mandating the teaching of evolution to the nation's little ones, and the expulsion of heretical 'creationists' (wherever they hide!)

To the average Joe, this may seem all well and good, but it strikes me as a perfect example of the inherent problem with state-run monopoly schools. Instead of a variety of schools enabling choice, we are to get only one and the same monolithic, homogeneous, state-sanctioned, politically-correct model. Thus, all who have an opinion must seek to seize the controls and impose that opinion on everyone else.

I have never met Dawkins, but I have known equally aggressively atheistical evolutionary biologists, and the funny thing is, in my anecdotal experience, although I cannot fault the depth of their knowledge in the particular subject of their great interest, these same champions of reason manage to hold woefully fallacious opinions in other areas, such as economics.

Now, if Dawkins gets to ride his hobby horse into the school yard, and apply some kind of purity test to the nation's science lessons, when do I get my chance? Because I suspect there are a far higher number of teachers spouting marxist and keynesian ideas without even knowing it, ideas which are incorrect and damaging. Many teachers even self-identify as socialists, or worse still social democrats! Shocking, isn't it?

Of course, no such struggle would be necessary, if freedom were to take a hand. You could send your kids to the Karl Marx School, if you chose, and I'd send mine to the Carl Menger Academy.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Praxeology Made Easy

Excellent exposition and easy on the eye and ear too, if you'll pardon me for pointing it out.

Move over Hans Hoppe, make space (and time) for Praxgirl.

This is part 8. View all over at her YouTube channel

The Beat Goes On

Eric Burdon & War - Spill The Wine


More fiddling with theory

Just because something is immoral, it should not necessarily be unlawful. Equally, just because something is moral, doesn't mean it should be lawful. The measure by which the lawfulness or not of an act should not be its morality, but whether it violates somebody else’s person or or property. Unfortunately, as long as the statute of legislation is polluted by moral interferences and property rights violations, along with the undisputed parts, confusion will build on confusion.

Where the law over-reaches to criminalise mere vice, it should be beaten back, on the basis that vice is not crime, and where no violation has occurred against another person or their property, the law should leave well alone. Elsewhere we find morality conflicting with law, at least for some, with a prime example of controvery being the continued categorisation of assisting suicide as manslaughter - a very series property rights violation (!).

Leaving aside any dispute over the categorisation itself, (I would say it is indisputable in natural law, due to the inalienability of one’s property in oneself), those who seek to change the law do so because they believe assisting suicide is a moral act and believe that because it is moral it should be lawful.

Opponents dispute the moral case, arguing that it can never be moral to assist in suicide. There can be no resolution of the moral argument, due to the subjectivity of morality. My argument for keeping the law as is, would be different. I would leave aside the moral issue. Manslaughter is unlawful, and should remain so. Let the discretion of the jury and the judge bring the necessary measure of equity. This alone can and must suffice to ensure that the iron rule of the law is tempered with mercy.

Expecting the law to concord exactly with morality is a red herring that stinks at both ends. A more extreme example of morality, its subjectivity and its irrelevance with regard to questions of lawfulness is presented by phenomenon of 'honour killing'. Whatever significance we should attach to the evident fact that some people consider it moral to murder their own flesh and blood, the crime stands!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

If only!

Nick Clegg is playing to the muesli-knitting gallery:
"Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats have vowed to face down "ruthless" and "extreme" forces in the Tory party to protect the British people from right-wing policies that would widen inequality and benefit the rich."
The only ruthlessness I see in the Tories is the by-product of the cynicism passively pervading all the major parties.


Heaven or Hell? You decide, with Nina Simone as your guide.

Oh Grace, you make me blush!

More cool music: Jefferson Airplane - Hey Frederick.

Theory, History & Rhetoric

It’s strange how a belief in self-ownership and not harming other people is seen by some as the height of callousness.

Here’s how it goes: libertarian principles state that it is wrong to take other people’s stuff or harm them. As such, theft is by definition wrong, and this does not change, if the intention of the perpetrator is to do good to someone else, e.g., by dropping off my CD collection at the local charity shop after plundering my home.

This being the case, it therefore follows, according to my adversaries, that I must also be content to see children starve, if the only way to save them involves stealing food.

I do not know how many thefts and robberies have been committed in this country this year, and I wonder how many were committed in order to feed starving children? (Somewhat less than those committed to feed a crack addiction, I’d wager). Nevertheless, what callousness to hold theft to be wrong!

But why do I hold to such a barbaric principle, even though I’d actually rather the starving child survived? I shall look more closely at the meaning of saying a particular category of human action, such as theft, is wrong.

I have written on a couple of occasions recently on the necessity to separate the law from morality, to distinguish between vice and crime, to limit the law to the defense of property rights ,defined, of course, to encompass the physical person, and tempered by a measure of equity(one would hope!).

Lawfulness and moral rectitude are not synonyms. Morality, although subject to a broad agreement of definition in society, is essentially subjective, but a property rights-based system for determining law is based on objective criteria.

Where categories overlap, we see acts that are both lawful and moral, as well as acts that are both unlawful and immoral. Where they part company we see immoral acts that are nonetheless lawful and also unlawful acts that are nonetheless moral, at least arguably moral from some subjective viewpoints.

A moral dilemma asks; what is the most moral path to choose in a given situation. This is a question one can ask oneself. Very different is the question; what does the law say?

Let us consider this example:

Smith has decided to seek food for a starving child. He sees this as a moral duty.

He approaches Jones, who he believes has food, to ask for his assistance. If he asks and Jones agrees, no lines have been crossed from moral and lawful behaviour.

Jones is now presented with a moral issue himself, that which animates Smith (plus an additional question regarding Smith’s trustworthiness!). He may consent or refuse to help. Whatever food he has, he is at liberty to hand over, and this means necessarily that he is at liberty not to hand it over. That is the position with regard to the law.

Now, should Jones refuse to help, Smith is faced with a dilemma: Should he continue his moral quest and force Jones to comply, in other words rob Jones of the food? The law is clear. To force Jones will break the law, and Jones can resist such violence with violence of his own and do so lawfully, if not also morally. The decision rests with Smith, who must be prepared to face any consequences of law for his actions.

Now the reason I have examined this question is because of what strawman versions of the libertarian position allege it to be, ergo: it’s okay to shoot starving children if they press too closely on the barbed wire surrounding your compound.

Also there is the further fear that a libertarian society would collapse into banditry, once the state stopped redistributing. What is being alleged is that such situations are more likely to arise if the state does not take pre-emptive measures to confiscate the food from Jones – and tell Smith to keep out of the matter, for let us remember that the state would not, as a rule, absolve an act of aggression from Smith.

This allegation is based on a belief that voluntary charity would not be enough to prevent the child from starving, that coercive redistribution is necessary to prevent hunger. Certain historical measures, such as the NHS and social security in the USA are cited in defence of the belief, to which I respond with other examples, friendly societies and the hospitals of London, some of which are many hundreds of years old.

But this, in itself, has nothing really to do with the question of morality, law and property rights addressed above. Suddenly we are switching into economics and a claim is being made for broad state plunder powers for the utilitarian ‘general good’.

The libertarian position is well staked out, synonymous with old school, no-buts liberalism, and it refutes the notion that the state is the most efficient means to deliver goods and services. It asserts that rather it is free trade and free markets that bring greater benefits than state management and interference, and that on utilitarian grounds as much as any other, the government should laissez faire laissez passer.

Yeah, thanks

This is Abdullah Ibrahim or Dollar Brand playing Tintinyana or Little Boy (or is it? This is the song I was looking for).

Friday, 16 September 2011

Check mate

I've expended my blogging energy elsewhere, defending libertarianism, so I'll post this (which I've probably posted before);

Beastie Boys - Ch-Check it out.

Thursday, 15 September 2011


The Manic Street Preachers from Later with Jools Holland, 1998 - 'If you tolerate this, your children will be next'.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Boycotts, coercion and blogging handbags

Reading over at Longrider's I see he is involved in some handbag action with a blogger called Left Outside, about the legitimacy of boycotting. I may have missed some of the preliminaries, but cannot help concluding that Longrider is incorrect in his equating of pressurising and coercing. It is clear that a boycott of a business is an attempt to bring pressure to bear for a particular aim, but this should not be seen as coercion, at least not in the sense that coercion is used with regard to the libertarian principle of non-aggression. As ever, my first point of call for intellectual back-up is to the Sage Rothbard:

A boycott is an attempt to persuade other people to have nothing to do with some particular person or firm — either socially or in agreeing not to purchase the firm's product. Morally a boycott may be used for absurd, reprehensible, laudatory, or neutral goals. It may be used, for example, to attempt to persuade people not to buy non-union grapes or not to buy union grapes. From our point of view, the important thing about the boycott is that it is purely voluntary, an act of attempted persuasion, and therefore that it is a perfectly legal and licit instrument of action.

Again, as in the case of libel, a boycott may well diminish a firm's customers and therefore cut into its property values; but such an act is still a perfectly legitimate exercise of free speech and property rights. Whether we wish any particular boycott well or ill depends on our moral values and on our attitudes toward the concrete goal or activity. But a boycott is legitimate per se. If we feel a given boycott to be morally reprehensible, then it is within the rights of those who feel this way to organize a counter-boycott to persuade the consumers otherwise, or to boycott the boycotters. All this is part of the process of dissemination of information and opinion within the framework of the rights of private property.

Any action would be legal in the libertarian society, provided that it does not invade property rights (whether of self-ownership or of material objects), and this would include boycotts against such activities, or counter-boycotts against the boycotters. The point is that coercion is not the only action that can be taken against what some consider to be immoral persons or activities; there are also such voluntary and persuasive actions as the boycott.

It goes without saying, that as soon as violence is threatened, let alone used (against person or property), then a line is crossed and a criminal act has been committed, and there will, as ever, be grey areas, such as with the use of pickets, which can be intimidatory. If the law were to be reformed along libertarian lines, it is likely that boycotting would increase, as a reaction to a host of prohibitions being repealed, such as around 'equality'. Indeed boycotting is a preferable reaction to certain things, rather than what we have now, which is a shrill call for legislative action to ban, control and prohibit.

But what of coercion? Can Rothbard help with this? Why, of course!
In his monumental work The Constitution of Liberty, F.A. Hayek attempts to establish a systematic political philosophy on behalf of individual liberty. He begins very well, by defining freedom as the absence of coercion, thus upholding “negative liberty” more cogently than does Isaiah Berlin. Unfortunately, the fundamental and grievous flaw in Hayek’s system appears when he proceeds to define “coercion.” For instead of defining coercion as is done in the present volume, as the invasive use of physical violence or the threat thereof against someone else’s person or (just) property, Hayek defines coercion far more fuzzily and inchoately: e.g., as “control of the environment or circumstances of a person by another (so) that, in order to avoid greater evil, he is forced to act not according to a coherent plan of his own but to serve the ends of another”; and again: “Coercion occurs when one man’s actions are made to serve another man’s will, not for his own but for the other’s purpose."

For Hayek, “coercion” of course includes the aggressive use of physical violence, but the term unfortunately also includes peaceful and non-aggressive actions as well. Thus, Hayek states that “the threat of force or violence is the most important form of coercion. But they are not synonymous with coercion, for the threat of physical force is not the only way in which coercion can be exercised.”

What, then, are the other, nonviolent “ways” in which Hayek believes coercion can be exercised? One is such purely voluntary ways of interacting as “a morose husband” or “a nagging wife,” who can make someone else’s “life intolerable unless their every mood is obeyed.” Here Hayek concedes that it would be absurd to advocate legal outlawry of sulkiness or nagging; but he does so on the faulty grounds that such outlawry would involve “even greater coercion.” But “coercion” is not really an additive quantity; how can we quantitatively compare different “degrees” of coercion, especially when they involve comparisons among different people? Is there no fundamental qualitative difference, a difference in kind, between a nagging wife and using the apparatus of physical violence to outlaw or restrict such nagging? It seems clear that the fundamental problem is Hayek’s use of “ coercion” as a portmanteau term to include, not only physical violence but also voluntary, nonviolent, and non-invasive actions such as nagging.
It seems that Longrider is making this same mistake, that of abjuring the limited definition of coercion as: The invasive use of physical violence or the threat thereof against someone else’s person or (just) property, and stretching it out, so that a clear line between coercion and non-coercion is not possible. Perhaps Longrider, who passes by this way on occasion, may choose to follow the link, as it may well be that he agrees further with Hayek's position, especially with regard to the examples of employer - employee situations.

All that said, I now must turn the guns round on Left Outside, who ends his/her side of the spat with this attack on libertarians:
The reason these people were protesting (peacefully and without threat of coercion) about the sexist T-Shirt on sale was because it was sexist and they don’t want people telling them what to do, and sexism involves being told how to behave. Their definition of being left alone and to not be told what to do extended beyond merely what is legislated to include what those around say and do – just as Jackart and Longrider’s definition does. They are entirely analogous, much as I’m sure each is repulsed to find such common ground with the other.

I hope you Libertarians can understand what I mean when I call Libertarianism “asymmetric” now. The argument is not that “Libertarians are all selfish white men”, that is obviously false. But when it is women, foreigners, the poor, the helpless who are in need of help actually existing Libertarianism tends to be implacable. Societal pressures are unimportant, only property rights and non-interference matter. There is no room at this inn, get on your bike (and no, I will not lend you mine). Libertarianism is its most pigheaded and most insistent, to the point of calling peaceful protesters totalitarian, when it is the wealthy and privileged who are attacked (even non-violently).

Although, as I've said, I agree with Left Outside about the legitimacy of boycotting, I must take issue with some of this.

Firstly, there is the notion in the first paragraph that a slogan on a teeshirt is, essentially, an act of aggression or coercion against those who dislike the message. LO states; "[the teeshirt boycotters'] definition of being left alone and to not be told what to do extended beyond merely what is legislated to include what those around say and do". This is nonsense. The suggestion here is that if I wear a teeshirt that you don't like I am in some way infringing your liberty to be left alone. Also there is an implicit endorsement of all the legislation to date which limit our property rights with regards to free speech and freedom of association. My attitude is that I would like to see the boycott in place of much of today's legislation, not as a lobby for more of it.

Now, dealing with the second paragraph, I'll leave 'asymmetric', as the metaphor escapes me, but what we certainly find is the common misunderstanding of the libertarian position regarding law and morality and their separate spheres. Usually, the libertarian wants to limit the law to the protection of property rights. This means that a number of acts currently considered crimes would cease to be so. My recent quotation from Lysander Spooner draws attention to the distinction between vice and crime. The distinction is that vice only harms the person and property of the perpetrator. But there is more to morality than the matter of private vice. There are also questions of our moral responsibilities to others. LO riffs on the selfishness of libertarians by stating: "There is no room at this inn, get on your bike (and no, I will not lend you mine)." What this statement indicates is the position vis à vis property rights. Indeed, the inn-keeper has a right to turn someone away, and is under no obligation to lend his bike. However, he may perceive a moral duty over and above the lawful requirement to respect property rights (i.e. to abstain from aggression), a moral duty to help his fellow man. It is only that the libertarian does not believe that such moral duties should be enforced by the coercive power of the state via legislation, and indeed a coerced act of virtue is a contradiction in terms. Doing the right thing only has a meaning when there is a choice.

Charles Cunningham Boycott - the original target

Peter Schiff on Obama's hyper-Keynesian 'jobs stimulus'

Peter Schiff explains why the Job Stimulus package will not work.

Why I loath the Daily Mail; part 94

With the title of the link; 'Isn't it time you stopped cavorting semi-nude, Jade?', the Daily Mail brings us the incredibly important scoop that Jade Jagger has been seen topless on the beach in Formentera. Of course it has the photos to prove it, with a black line tastefully inserted to cover the nipples.

I think the Daily Mail needs to ask itself a few questions, such as;

Isn't it time you stopped paying paparazzi to sneak around taking photos of women on the beach AND DID SOME FUCKING REPORTING?

Or, if such a thing is inconceivable, why not just give up the pretence that you are a newspaper, and focus exclusively on the trashy titilation?

But I guess the main point is; If Jade Jagger's tits offend you, THEN DON'T PUT THEM IN YOUR SO-CALLED NEWSPAPER.

Personally, I like the female form. Jade Jagger is not a teenager, she doesn't have a teenager's body. She's got a woman's body, there's nothing wrong with it, and if she wants to get it out, it's her business, and it's certainly not newsworthy in any way.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Natural Law back-up from Spooner

Following on from posts below on the law, and how property rights and not morality should be the foundation, here is the first paragraph of Lysander Spooner's essay 'A Vindication of Moral Liberty: Vices are not Crimes'.

"Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property.

Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another.

Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property.

In vices, the very essence of crime --- that is, the design to injure the person or property of another --- is wanting.

It is a maxim of the law that there can be no crime without a criminal intent; that is, without the intent to invade the person or property of another. But no one ever practises a vice with any such criminal intent. He practises his vice for his own happiness solely, and not from any malice toward others.

Unless this clear distinction between vices and crimes be made and recognized by the laws, there can be on earth no such thing as individual right, liberty, or property; no such things as the right of one man to the control of his own person and property, and the corresponding and coequal rights of another man to the control of his own person and property.

For a government to declare a vice to be a crime, and to punish it as such, is an attempt to falsify the very nature of things. It is as absurd as it would be to declare truth to be falsehood, or falsehood truth."

Saturday, 10 September 2011

In Defence of Conspiracy Theory

As regular readers will know, I no longer run from the pejorative intent of the term conspiracy theorist. It will be used against me, so I might as well own it.

If you pick up a history book from whatever period you will find: murders, massacres, atrocities, assassinations, conspiracies, plots, coups and countless crimes. Furthermore you will find wars and the tactics and strategy for waging wars, and perhaps the most important key to the art of war is deception. If you take these aspects out of the book, you don't have a book. All that's left is a pamphlet on agricultural methods. Personally, I am interested in history, including the history that is being made now, and I'm curious to look deeper into matters than the colouring-in book level of the BBC.

I have heard that conspiracy theories are wrong because they undermine trust in the government, and faith in the system. I wonder; is this a general criticism? Does it apply equally, whether you're living in the Congo, or North Korea? The likely retort to that would be 'of course we're not as bad as North Korea'. Indeed not, thankfully, but does this mean our own government doesn't do bad things and then lie about them and cover them up? Does it mean, until such a time as the state crosses some demarcation-free border into overt tyranny, we are duty-bound to support their official version of history? The Official Secrets Act enables them to lock up documents for as long as 100 years, if they deem them 'sensitive'. Thus there are still many things from the First World War that ornery folk are not allowed to know. So if they are not prepared to tell us the truth about WW1, why would we expect them to do the same for the Iraq War or the Libyan War?

Taking these things into account, it is how you react to them which will determine whether you will be called a conspiracy theorist. If you are happy with the superficial version of events handed down from the official organs of state and establishment media, then fine. If, however you are interested to know more, then you must go further, and will certainly stray over the boundary into the badlands of conspiracy. This will open you up to a range of ad hominem attacks against your sanity, reason and intent, but it would be a poor specimen of a free man who let that influence him.

Only crazy people question the role of central banks or believe governments cover shit up

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Proudly Jeffersonian

The other night I was reading Thomas Jefferson's first annual message to the Congress, as President of the United States, dated December 8th, 1801.

It is sad, really, to note what it is that stands out, because this throws light on how far modern presidents have strayed from the position as the Constitution described it. What comes across is his deference to the Congress, his sense of service, how he is discharging his duty, and awaiting their instructions. How different things are with today's presidents, closer to Tiberius Caesar ruling over a pliant Senate, than Thomas Jefferson.

Also it's clear that he was a man of peace, who put his faith in the liberty of the people rather than a burdensome military, and a man concerned to keep government expenditure to the minimum, to reduce taxes wherever possible, aware of the need to constantly keep bureaucracy pruned back.

America needs such a man as this today. Let us hope, in the contest for the next president, the American people will seek someone true to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, who believes in liberty and property, peace and free trade, someone proud to call themself a Jeffersonian.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Government to investigate itself over Libyan documents

I'm sure we can all rest easy that the investigation into those documents which have turned up in Libya, including the pen-pal correspondence between Tony and Moammar, will be as thorough as ever such investigations are. Here's the script:

Now, Mr X, you are a senior operative in SIS, is that correct?

Mr X:
That is correct.

Is there any truth in these stories of collusion in torture and rendition?

Mr X:
Absolutely not.

Thank you Mr X. Thank you for putting our minds at rest.

Mr X:
Pleased to have been of service.

The End

Property rights and the law

Continuing on from the post below...

To a libertarian, there is only really one crime, and that is to break the non-aggression principle. The universally-applicable principle of Liberty permits anyone to do as they please with their own property, just so long as they do not harm anyone else or their property. The qualifying clause is necessarily so, as without it, the principle of Liberty would not and could not be universal. If my liberty extended to taking your property, then your liberty would be infringed.

Liberty is very often misunderstood or misconstrued by our adversaries. They wish to suppose that Liberty must be restrained, so that it cannot harm others. We must be clear in our repudiation of this idea, by asserting that Liberty does not require restraint, as it contains within itself all necessary restraint. In the definition; the liberty to do what you want, provided you harm no other, the provided is not optional but axiomatic.

With crime defined in terms of the non-aggresson principle, the libertarian finds himself confronted by a legal system which breaks through and over-runs such limitations, seeking to punish a range of actions which involve no harm to another or another’s property, especially if we are mindful to keep a clear and rational definition of the word harm. There are also a number of prohibitions which relate to moral infractions. The number of these latter has declined over time, with one of the last notable ones to fall being the prohibition of blasphemy.

Just as the term Liberty is misunderstood by many, so is the term property rights. Likewise, what harm should rightly be understood to consist of. Agreeing definitions in these cases is not a mere parlour game. Without clear and concise definitions, it is impossible to frame, and thereby limit the law. Although we can count on common sense and common understanding, we must still battle against the wilful refusal to ‘play ball’ by many of the (mis-) educated left, who are sadly deficient in the former and hostile to the latter. Their reluctance to set down firm definitions may be due to a host of ideological and psychological errors, obliging us to be imaginative in crafting common-sense snares for their flighty intellects.

The mis-use of the concept of harm is linked to a poor understanding of property. If this latter is clear, then it is far easier to assess the former. In a case of assault against the person, there is little dispute over the wrongness of the act, but we need to stress the definition of this crime in terms of the violation against the property rights of the victim. If this can be done with the simple cases, it will lay the groundwork for the more complicated ones.

Given that an act of common assault against the person is indisputably wrong, how about libel or slander? Is this a similar assault, albeit non-physical? Is there harm to property? I would say not. The attack is against someone’s reputation, and we do not own our reputations.

This will cause many to stop and doubt that property rights can form a broad enough basis for the law, but by removing the act of libel and slander from the the category of crime, the onus will switch from the victim to the one making the allegation. Currently, if a victim does not take legal action against a libel or slander, many people assume it must be true. If such allegations are not actionable, then it will be down to the accuser to present evidence to substantiate the claim.

In any case, perhaps it is worth noting that the law is not the only power available to society in order to enforce the rules of harmonious living. Boycotting and shunning businesses and people are legitimate actions, involving no harm. As we are free to employ our property as we see fit, we are therefore free to abstain from doing business with anyone we do not wish to.

With regard to this, let us consider another act which may evade the strict rules on limiting the law to defending property rights: bestiality. Now, there will be few willing to rush to the defence of such moral degenerates who seek carnal knowledge of creatures not of woman-born, but assuming that the creature in mind is the perpetrator’s property and has not been harmed, it would appear that no violation of the non-aggression principle has occurred. This does not, of course, mean that the act has any moral justification, nor we are obliged to set aside our abhorrence. But, given the rarity of such acts, would not the censure of public revulsion, coupled with shunning and boycotting be justice enough? Is it really necessary to inflict upon the public purse the cost of incarceration? If indeed we require the act to be criminal, perhaps a case could be made that the animal hadn’t given consent.

Another hurdle such libertarian reform would have to jump is that constructed by the concept of human rights. Whereas this concept has some relation to property rights, it is a very poor translation, and a libertarian is obliged to join battle against the concept, which has rather poisoned the well of liberty by removing much that is clear and rational, replacing that with ephemeral, cloudy notions which drag these important issues into the realm of emotion, and cloak the advance of arbitrary rule. No wonder lawyers love human rights, they provide endless dispute. By discarding the sure measure of property rights, they fall back into unavoidable vaguery, because, unlike property rights, human rights are constantly in conflict with one another.

What is necessary is to proclaim and explain the principle of property rights, whilst challenging the vagueries of 'human rights'. It is not an easy task, due to the entrenched hostility towards libertarian principles, but it can and must be done, and reason and common sense provide us with the tools to overcome our pavlovian leftist adversaries and free the liberals from their grip.

The BBC: disgusting pro-communist propaganda

Karl Marx: the deference he deserves - get in the water, you fucker!

If this isn't enough for all good people to start demanding the end of the compulsory television tax, I don't know what is: the BBC worshipping Karl fucking Marx, proclaiming the patron of mass murder, the fraudster, the self-refuting bourgeois parasite extraordinaire, to be right.

Personally I don't own a television, so don't pay the tax. I don't really need to delve deeply into the article, because I know all the false arguments it will use, because they were debunked over 100 years ago. The BBC is a ridiculous, indefensible affront to liberty, and must be resisted.



Sunday, 4 September 2011

Property and Self Ownership

Alas! The dissembler has spread confusion far abroad. How many of our brethren citizens boast their ignorance? Self-ownership? Pah. Property rights? They sneer at the very notion.

So I seek to turn their minds to practical matters, such as the law, and say this: To solve a problem there are two ways; the lawful way and the violent way.

The law is to settle disputes between individuals, and settle them on the basis of justice, not mere force as is the way of of the sword, and justice requires that the rules by which it shall be determined be known and knowable to all concerned, so let them be proclaimed.

Leave my stuff alone, I'll leave your stuff alone. We will abjure the violent way. It is better if we live side by side in peace. There will be some, we know, who will follow the ways of Cain, and they must be dealt with justly, and differences between us will arise. The lawful way is by definition the way of truth, justice and reason, shot through the prism of property rights. This will be The Social Contract.


What acts now considered crimes would not be so considered, if the law was reduced to only protecting property rights?

Incest between two consenting adults; libel; slander; supplying drugs; crimes of incitement; crimes of hate: non-coercive vice and obscenity; blasphemy; mere possession of weapons;

The question: Was there consent? If there was not, then you must ask; was there harm to another's property? If so, was there agency? Was there intent? Was there malice?Must there be recompense?

But if the answer is; yes there was consent, then you must be sure it was informed.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Wogan: libertarian hero

He may not consider himself so, it being really a dose of common sense rather than the product of burying himself in Algernon Sidney's Discourses, but Terry Wogan nails the health nazis good and proper in this piece in the Telegraph, entitled 'The obesity scare raises its weighty head'. Here's an extract:

This time around, the bleating of the doomsayers is well up to speed: the British public should eat only as instructed, and those rotters, the food producers, should be similarly forced to come up with only what some expert has decided is good for us.

Yet doctors, dieticians, scientists and every deranged health-food guru have been at odds about what exactly is good for us since people could afford to be worried about what the next meal was going to be, rather than if there was going to be one.

In the tranquil area of France from which I write at present, the diet of the man in the street with the beret and baguette is one of wine, duck in all its forms (including the fat), lots of bread, and Armagnac to wash it all down. Heart attack on a plate, the rocky road to obesity? The inhabitants of this département live longer than any others in France.

In Spain, I was regularly presented with a chunk of country bread, grilled on an open fire, on which I was invited to spread liberal amounts of lard, until my stomach thought my hand had gone mad. I know, I know. The “experts” will tell me that this is “good” fat, far better for the children of Britain than an oven-baked chip, or a cheap pizza.

Maybe, but what is certain is that nobody, however qualified, has the right to tell anybody else what they should be eating. Or drinking. President Sarkozy of France, a great man for jumping on a bandwagon, is proposing a tax on fizzy drinks. What about human rights? The idea that tax should be levied on “wrong” food and drinks smacks too closely of dictatorship. It is the inalienable right of every man and woman in a free society to go to hell in their own handcart, as long as nobody else gets hurt.

Obesity is not catching, it’s up to you. And only you.

Well said, sir.

Criminal law versus moral law

Recently I was arguing with someone who turned up to defend Peter Hitchens, the latter of which I was attacking for his pro-authoritarian views, which I maintain contradict his defence of traditional English liberties.

The criticism I level at Hitchens is that he wants the criminal law to enforce morality, whereas I assert that the criminal law should be tasked with no such responsibility, and that it should only be to uphold property rights.

I use the term property rights in the Lockean sense. Thus one's property encompasses not only inanimate objects in one's possession, but also, and most essentially, the physical body. Therefore all acts which I believe should be considered criminal acts involve a violation of property rights, whether it be of another's physical body or their rightfully-acquired possessions. Readers will do me a service if they can name anything which falls outside of this definition.

Morality is another matter entirely. For starters, morality is subjective. What is immoral for some is not so for others. This does not mean, of course, that there isn't broad agreement in society with regard to the categories of moral and immoral.

It is also the case that there is a significant overlap between criminal acts and immoral acts. But this should not obscure the fundamental difference between immorality and criminality. Moral law, if I am allowed such a term, is far more stringent than the criminal law should be. God's standards are over and above those of the criminal courts, and I doubt if many would wish to see people hauled into court for coveting their neighbour's wife or for sinful pride. Anchoring the criminal law to a defence of property rights has the benefit of making matters far simpler. It allows an objective set of rules to be applied.

With regard to Hitchens, the matter at hand was drug prohibition. He considers that taking drugs for self-stupefaction is immoral, and many would no doubt agree with him. However, what he has so far failed to do is establish how such immorality violates anybody else's property rights. Whatever harm comes to the drug-taker from his own action is wholly outside the limits of criminal law. If taking drugs leads the taker to rob or steal, then it is the subsequent acts which are criminal. It makes not a jot of difference whether the thief does this deed in order to buy drugs or to buy his child a birthday present. The crime is the same, and the victim deserves recompense.

I would also cite this distinction (and have done so) with regard to the death penalty. Whatever reasons against the death penalty, I would assert that, morally speaking, many murderers do indeed deserve to die for their crimes. This does not, however, mean that I think the criminal justice system should carry out upon them the punishment they deserve, even if it be arguably moral to do so.

Friday, 2 September 2011

"What else needs to be shot?"

I guess those of you who liked the post below may well have clicked through to Hickok45's channel and seen this one too, but it's worth seeing again. Simple and effective; pretty much like the Glock 21. It makes you realise how much fun we're all missing in this huge victim disarmament zone called England.